I am no stranger to dating apps. I remember the craze of Hot or Not when I was in high school. (I fell into that unfortunate “trap-plication” for a few months.) From time to time, I’ve downloaded Tinder or Bumble for two- or three-month stretches. Even though I’ve successfully dated people from both, I’ve often asked myself, “Is this how we’re supposed to meet people in 2019?”
I guess it’s important to ask myself why I keep reinstalling Bumble and Tinder. Basically, I love meeting new people. Dating has sometimes been my default for maintaining a robust social life. Afterall, I live in a quiet Czech town. I love the proximity of mountains and small town feel but I also love sharing experiences with others and most people my age, who speak English, study or work in cities like Prague, Hradec Králové, and Brno. This is one reason why I try to visit Prague every few weeks. There’s a lively social scene that satisfies my need to mingle.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with dating apps. Meeting people online isn’t better or worse than meeting people in person. It’s just different. The reality, however, is that most virtual meetings remain exactly that: virtual. So, while online socializing is a part of life in 2019, you and I shouldn’t bypass real experiences for a few hours of WhatsApp chatting.
Sure, swiping through a bunch of selfies until your heart skips a beat is fun but it’s pretty passive. Instead, I implore you to consider the alternatives. Whether you want romance or friendship, there are several ways to find it, especially if you look beyond your phone screen and venture off your couch.
This week, I’m not asking you to remove that little flame icon from your app list (the horror of it!). I simply challenge you to try a new approach to meeting people. Here are some possibilities:
- Make small-talk with someone on line at the grocery store.
- Join a gym and chat with the person on the bench next to you.
- Try a few yoga sessions and invite someone cute to coffee.
- Ask what the person next to you is reading on the subway.
- Go on a walk and pet someone’s dog (only if they’re okay with it).
Yes, maybe you’ll be seen as a bit odd for talking to strangers (be careful that you don’t come across like Rebecca Bunch from my newest obsession Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) but, as according to an NPR article by Paul Nicolaus, research shows that these interactions can have a positive influence on our mood.
Read more about this topic in Ashley Fetters’ article “Why It’s So Hard for Young People to Date Offline” and Hannah Smothers’ article “Your Step-by-Step Guide to Quitting Dating Apps in 2019.”
Take care and happy mingling, friends!
P.S. This week, I didn’t have an appropriate featured image in my own library (sorry!) so thanks to Pxhere for the public domain photo.