Today I want to talk about something that I’ve been seeing pop up all over social media. There have been a lot of blog posts made recently from other Millennials about how dating should and shouldn’t be. While we’re all entitled to our own opinions about dating and we all have our preferences when it comes to dating, I wanted to take a page from my personal experiences with dating to kind of combat the points made in these type of posts.
I’m sure you’ve seen the type of posts I’m referring to (some of these posts are really well written, so don’t take this as a negative), especially if you’re a Millennial or have a lot of Facebook friends who are Millennials and like to constantly share posts from The Odyssey. Every post starts off basically the same way. Someone makes a declaration that “the dating game has changed” (which, I’ll admit, is true). But has it really changed? Or do we just like to complain?
Millennials are the generation of nostalgia. We yearn for times long past because of how rapidly our world evolved as children. With technology coming into the mix, it’s no wonder people are begging for “the good ol’ days” when dating was “simple.” Every time I see one of these posts say something along the lines of “I want you to walk up to me and ask me out” I cringe a little. Do we really want random strangers walking up to us in bars, bookstores, and the grocery store when it’s 8 am on a Saturday and you’re looking gross? Let me answer that for you: no.
The argument people use against online dating can also be used for those who you randomly meet in public. Sure, you may immediately know what that person looks like but you have no way of knowing if anything they tell you about themselves is actually true? You don’t. So yes, while meeting people on the internet can be dangerous, so can meeting them in person.
Whether you know this or not, my boyfriend and I met on the infamous dating app Tinder. And you know what? It doesn’t matter… at all. It doesn’t matter what our intentions were for signing up or why we “matched” with each other. None of that matters. Tinder allowed for two people from completely different places who never would have met otherwise to meet. How amazing is that? (I also can’t imagine him bumping into me at the grocery store and trying to pick me up… it would have been laughable and I mean that in the most loving way because we’re both awkward dorks).
That’s the other thing about those who wish for nostalgic dating practices to be relevant again. Those of us who are really awkward, have social anxiety, etc. can’t just walk up to that cute stranger in a bar or coffee shop and introduce ourselves. Whether you look at that as natural selection or what not that’s fine but apps like Tinder make it possible to actually get to know someone before you make the decision to meet them in public.
Justin and I messaged quite frequently and for a while within the Tinder app before we even exchanged phone numbers. It took even longer than that for me to agree to meet him in person. Those of you who say the internet makes the chase virtually non-existent obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. There is no “dating game.” Dating is always going to be exactly what you make it. So if you’re the type of person who can confidently approach strangers, go for it! If you’re not, that’s okay too.
What I’m trying to say is that it really doesn’t matter where or how you met your significant other. Your relationship is based on so many more important things than whether you met late one night in a bar or on a dating app. I’m tired of people looking down on relationships that were initiated online. I would venture to say that my relationship, which started online, is better than the relationships of most of the people my age. #RelationshipGoals. Tinder (and the fact that basically all we could do was hang out in my car for a few hours on the weekends) made our ability to communicate better than if one of us had bumped into the other and awkwardly trying to make a move.
What is so bad about sending someone a message and saying, “Hey!” or asking them how their day was? I can’t remember exactly how Justin and I started talking, but I’m assuming it started with a message like this. It’s. that. simple.
Why do we have to complicate things by always saying there’s a right way and a wrong way to “date?” I’m sorry that I live 6 hours away from home and my boyfriend can’t walk up to my door and ask my dad to take me out. I’m 23, why do I need that to happen in order to solidify my relationship? The answer is I don’t and neither do you. You don’t need any of that because that’s not what makes or break a relationship. You may not fantasize about meeting your person on a dating app known for hookups (I always imagined meeting someone in a bar or café) but in the end, does that really matter?
Dating still exists, if you want it to. Justin and I would do nothing but have ice cream and sit near this little pond or down by the Hudson for hours. Is that not considered dating? Does dating mean he has to take me out to dinner every time we hang out or that our impromptu lunch dates after a long morning of homework don’t count? I don’t agree with that in the slightest. And I’d take our version of “dating” over others in a heartbeat.