Social media isn’t ruining romance, your expectations are

TWP Demonstrating how not to put on a condom. (Photo by Jensen Hsiao)

Some advice to avoid disappointment and awkwardness in the complicated world of online dating

By TYLER WAYNE PATTERSON

YOU’RE GETTING ready for a blind date, but this blind date ain’t your grandma’s blind date. Thanks to social media, you know what your date looks like. The two of you have already talked. I mean, hell, the two of you were a 89 percent match on OKCupid. You just feel you are compatible. While browsing Instagram photos, you have begun to imagine what they will be like. Your expectations are high.

You choose a coffee shop in a neighborhood where you feel comfortable. Yet, when you meet the special somebody you feel disappointed because your date doesn’t meet your expectations.

Still, you might keep trying to find the spark you had dreamed of. But why? If you knew so much about each other before the first date, why were you so nervous beforehand? Why did you have high expectations?

Don’t be so quick to blame technology. Tinder doesn’t do anything without an actual human to swipe left or right.

The most important dating advice I could ever give is this: your love for someone should grow in the beginning, never shrink. When you first meet someone you actually like, your excitement will continue to grow as you get to know them. If you leave your first date disappointed, or unsure if you like them, that is a bad sign. Still, sometimes we continue going on dates, trying hard to like them.

In the world of Tinder and OKCupid, the reason you leave the first date disappointed is because of their “ideal self.” The “ideal self” is the self-curated, public persona we present on social media. For instance, when you untag yourself from an unflattering photo, you are curating your “ideal self.”

But, in-person your date can’t untag unflattering angles. Their humor is less intentional and inconsistent. They are their complete self, flaws and all. It is impossible for them to live up to your expectations.

On the flip-side, your own “ideal self” weighs on your own nerves. Had you first met your date in-person instead of virtually, they would have already heard your voice, seen how you look in-person and thought you were interesting enough to date. But instead, your “ideal self” creates the stress of having to live up to your carefully curated selfies, jokes and carefully selected list of interests.

I once met this really cute guy on OkCupid. I’m talking dimples, million dollar smile and a great ass. OkCupid matched us, and online he was charming. Our first date was fun, but the spark wasn’t there. Still, I tried to like him for multiple dates.

Be willing to realize that though they are cute, your alikeness might serve better a nonsexual, nonromantic friendship. These apps can help people find love and partnerships, but social media profiles are created by humans trying to present the best version of their self. Just like dating before social media, authenticity is key. Limit pre-date conversation and you will likely be able to avoid disappointment.

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