“Enough!” said a friend recently who had it with online dating. She was fed-up, burned out, and ready to breakup. It’s too much work, with little return, she complained. In protest, she was going to delete all her dating apps and join a nunnery.
She’s no nun, but she does have a point. Digital dating IS a lot of work. All that searching, swiping, typing, texting, winking, liking, browsing and chatting is practically a full-time job. Add in the lack of follow up from potential dates, and you can see why my friend is frustrated.
Online dating is a giant time suck. A recent survey from online magazine The Week found that online daters spend an average of two hours a day on their mobile dating apps. That’s two hours of having your head down in your phone every day. My neck is killing me just thinking about it.
And then there’s the issue of “ghosting,” that online dating practice most used by cowards who disappear into thin air after making contact. Don’t they know it’s shitty dating etiquette to leave someone hanging?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-technology; in fact, I think technology is the greatest thing to ever happen to dating. So many apps, so many options! Swipe right or right click and you can find lasting love, or a quick hookup if you’re bored and horny.
Just in case you haven’t been introduced, there’s Tinder, a location-based dating app that matches up strangers; Hinge, a mobile app that accesses friends of friends on Facebook; Bumble, the app where chicks are in control; and The League, a dating app for elitists. And let’s not forget old standbys Match, J-Date, PlentyOfFish and OkCupid, which also have apps.
There’s a lot to love about digital dating: it can build your confidence, boost your ego, keep you busy, and get you back in the game if you’re newly single. I went back online after every breakup and I found it good therapy.
Thanks to technology I met my husband on Facebook, so I’m not complaining!
But digital dating isn’t everything. When you rely too heavily on your phone to play matchmaker or when your computer becomes your sole source of social contact, you’ve got problems.
Your dating life shouldn’t exist on a screen.
That’s why I suggest going on a digital dating diet. It’s not a breakup, and it’s not forever, it’s just a way to add balance and quality into your dating menu.
Diets are horrible and I hate them, but this one’s different. It will free you. You’ll feel lighter, less stressed, more liberated, and your neck will thank you. Here’s how to get started:
PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN, PICK YOUR HEAD UP, AND LOOK AROUND!
I guarantee you will see just as many dating options in front of your face as you do online, except these options are real walking, talking people, not profile pictures and usernames. You can see for yourself if they’re really that old, that out of shape, or that good looking!
The League dating app says it aims to “make offline cool again.” Excuse me, but when was being offline ever uncool? The last time I checked, meeting people the old-fashioned way, FACE-TO-FACE was preferred, not passé.
But just in case you’ve forgotten how to go offline, here are some suggestions:
A local coffee house
The grocery store
The putting green at a public golf course
The subway (not in L.A. yet, but we’re getting there)
A yoga studio
Hobbies and classes
One of the best places to meet people though, is volunteering. You can hook up while you change the world!
These places may not be fancy or sexy, but that’s the point. They’re opportunities to meet people that don’t exist on a screen. You don’t need to boot up, log on, or check in. All you have to do is make eye contact and smile. It’s like swiping in real life.
If you can think of dating apps and sites as a supplement, not as your entire subsistence, you might actually free yourself up to make a real connection– that is, if you can look up from your phone long enough.
So good luck with your digital diet, and don’t worry: if you get too bored and horny, relief is always a swipe away.