I have a date tomorrow and I’m already dreading it. Don’t get me wrong, I am indeed looking for love. But the idea of going out after a long day at work, meeting a stranger and engaging in small talk—lots and lots of small talk— is less than my ideal evening (leftovers and Netflix, if you must know). Maybe I won’t like him, and this whole exercise will be for naught. Or worse—what if I like him and suddenly have a lot more socializing in my future?
Online dating: The good
It could be Tinder, Match, OKCupid or Farmersonly.com, but if you’re single and looking, you’re probably looking online. If you’re an introvert and looking, this probably makes it easier on you.
For one thing, you don’t have to go out to meet someone. You don’t have to endure a loud club full of loud people all shouting at each other to be heard. You don’t have to mingle at an event or party. You can simply log on from wherever you want whenever you want. You can search for your soul mate in your pajamas and that’s pretty great.
You also don’t have to talk to anyone and that’s even greater. Swiping left and right is a quiet experience, where I can learn about people without having to expend any social energy. It’s up to me if I want to send a message or read one that comes in. As an introvert, I like to think about what I’m going to say and find that especially important when talking to potential suitors. Sure, it’s technically hiding behind the internet, but it gives me some space to read, reflect and respond. There’s no pressure to go from zero to “on” immediately.
Online dating: The Bad
“You have to put yourself out there. It’s a numbers game. Just get out and meet people.” Thanks, well-meaning extrovert, but what you think is a pep talk is really our worst nightmare.
For many of us, meeting people while we’re out socializing can be pretty rare. Which is why it’s been so easy to say “I just haven’t met anyone.” Now, with 338934 dating apps in our pockets, there’s no excuse. And you have to consciously put yourself out there (well, on there); you don’t just bump into the person of your dreams on an app.
Choosing a date based on some photos, a brief profile and possibly a couple of messages also means you’re less likely to get a feel for the person right off the bat. It’s hard to get a vibe from your phone screen. This means you’ll likely end up going on more first dates than you normally would. First dates that are a minefield of small talk, awkward silences, loud environments and other such natural threats to the introvert.
Online dating: The “Whatever”
I think we’ve already established that dating is not an introvert’s favourite pastime. But let’s embrace technology for at least allowing us to socialize on our terms.
I won’t lie and say I haven’t been figuring out ways to postpone tomorrow or worrying about how drained I’ll be. But as long as I don’t open with, “Hi, nice to meet you. I’ve been dreading this all day. Shall we order?” I think it’ll be ok.