When I moved to New York City almost two years ago, I dreamed of this huge new life that I would create for myself. I thought of my career goals, bettering who I am as a person, and, of course, I thought about finding love.
For almost three years previously I lived in a beautiful town in Appalachia with a population of 8,000 people, mostly consisting of seniors over the age of 70. Needless to say my chances of finding a man were slim to none. But that didn’t keep me from trying out Tinder when my friends who were also single and looking for love in this tiny town urged me to join with them.
That lasted about two hours before deleting my account. When most profile pictures included holding up a dead deer or fish, I knew I was looking in the wrong market. Hunting is not my forte.
So when I signed my lease to move to Manhattan, one of the first things I looked forward to was meeting some single men who were slightly more in my age bracket. I had visions of Jennifer Hudson in the first Sex and the City Movie confessing to Carrie Bradshaw that she moved to New York for love.
Unfortunately what I found is that it actually isn’t that easy.
Yes, moving to a big city means that the pool of available guys grows quite substantially, but it also turns out that trying to locate these people is difficult. I don’t know about y’all but my parents continually tell me stories about how much easier it used to be (and how much safer it used to be) to meet other singles at the bar. Well, with the luxury of social media for our generation we get to be the guinea pigs for what is either the biggest breakthrough or the biggest mistake ever made for dating: DATING. APPS.
Once I figured out that meeting random men in bars wasn’t the way I wanted to start a relationship, I tried my hand at the apps. In New York there’s an app for just about every person: Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble… and the list goes on.
Here are five effective tips I learned when trying these dating apps out:
1. Write something down.
Make sure your profile reflects who you are. Don’t just throw up some cute pics of you with a puppy or you holding a Starbucks cup and expect your life to be changed. Flesh out your profile and make sure to write something that represents YOU!
In case it isn’t clear, you attract the type of energy you put out. If you want to attract a man who is as kind, smart, funny, and AWESOME as you are (Yes, you! You who are reading this right now), then make sure you’re showing that.
2. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Look folks, I have accepted the fact that I’m not mainstream. And you know what? IT’S SO GREAT. Your quirks, passions, and flaws are what make you attractive. These qualities separate you from the pack. Easier said than done, but embrace who you are.
Coupled with that, allow yourself to be exactly YOU from the beginning. I felt myself trying to hide parts of my personality on first dates hoping that by the time I showed that aspect of me, the guy would already like me enough that he wouldn’t care. But why would I try and hide something that I love about myself? The fact that I can talk about Broadway shows, dog breeds, and scuba diving for hours is something that I LOVE about myself. And the guy you want to be with will love it too.
3. Leave the text behind ASAP.
I don’t know about y’all, but I am not a cute texter. My personality shines through in-person, but when it comes to flirting via iMessage or dating apps this girl does not know what it takes. While it’s important to establish a little conversation via the app before meeting up, get together in-person as soon as you can (Meaning don’t wait until you’re comfortable). Blind dates, which is what I consider dating apps to be, is supposed to make you go outside your comfort zone a little bit. Just show up, have fun, and be yourself.
4. Have a backup plan when you’re on the date.
Unfortunately, we live in an era where saying, “No!” isn’t always heard by members of the opposite sex. While I’m glad that there’s attention being drawn to this with movements like “Me Too,” the problem hasn’t been completely resolved.
Honesty hour: my roommates and I always set up an emergency exit plan. Whether it’s a text or a phone call, we will reach out about 1-1.5 hours into the date. I have never had to answer the text or call, fortunately, because I haven’t had to. But ladies, if the time comes where you feel unsafe USE. THAT. BACKUP.
You’re not any less brave for getting out of that situation using a fake excuse.
On the opposite end of this, don’t use the emergency text or call if you just aren’t feeling it. Give the guy a chance and be grown-up enough to stick it out. Let him know you aren’t feeling it if you aren’t. And for goodness sakes, don’t ghost the poor dude. Dating is hard enough without knowing why someone isn’t texting you back. Let’s all just agree to be classy enough to own up to our feelings.
5. Say “Bye, Felicia” if you aren’t getting anywhere with apps.
Last but not least, if dating apps don’t work for you, GET OFF THE APPS! It’s ok to not follow the crowd on this one. I’m pretty sure if you had told some of the great women in history that this is how we’d be meeting men one day, they would’ve laughed incredibly hard.
Meeting in person is so much more organic – you know the so-called “spark” is there because that’s what drew you to the other person in the first place. Some of the best guys I’ve dated I’ve met through mutual friends or at random parties. Simply put, if the technology of the age isn’t working for you, don’t let it work you over.
Put the phone down, look up, and see what’s around you.
Get involved in some organizations or volunteering. Not only will you be having fun or giving back to the community, you never know who else will be there. Boom! Similar interests already.
At the end of the day know that whether you’re in a big city or a small one, whether you use dating apps or not, you are so incredibly worthy of love. You are a miracle of miracles in the fact that you were created and put on this earth, and you bring gifts and nuanced thoughts that no one else has ever thought before you. You are one-of-a-kind. If you are ready, you will find and choose your person. And if you aren’t, you have the great opportunity to continue down your path and enjoy your life! It’s all good.
You are enough.
You are so enough.
It is unbelievable how enough you are.