I was in a committed relationship for the majority of my twenties when suddenly I found myself single at 27 with no idea how to play the dating game. Not only had technology changed quite a bit during that time, I had never actually had a chance to practice dating. In my entire life I have been on 4 real dates – which I’m pretty sure either makes me really lame or really picky (let’s go with the latter). I met my current partner on Instagram, well technically we saw each other on Bumble then he proceeded to stalk me on Instagram, slid into my DMs (calling you out, babe) and asked me out for coffee. A year and a half later we can now confirm that it does, in fact, go down in the DMs.
These days it seems like that’s how everyone is meeting – on some sort of social platform. We can say a lot of things about how technology is affecting our relationships in a negative way, but this is certainly one of the positive effects of social media and the rise of the digital landscape. Yeah, sure, it’s a little weird – laying in bed, sitting on the toilet (you know you’ve done it) making dinner, hanging out with friends, watching a movie – all the while you can be swiping through a plethora of available men or women. Are we living in the future? Damn straight. You can try to de-digitize your life, but in reality, this is the world we live in and it’s only going to get weirder.
I got out of a 5-year relationship in December of 2016 and over the next 10 months proceeded to explore the modern dating world, aka Bumble. I was hesitant to join but my friends insisted I at least check it out, so I did. It’s funny because at the time I worked in a very people-facing job where eligible men would come and go and I was always out with friends, meeting new people – but for some reason, I chose to explore an online platform for my dating needs. The nice thing about it is that you know why people are there and you know whether or not they are into you (at least initially) due to the nature of the app. In person, it’s really hard to tell – like, are you single? Are you into me? Should we hang out? These are not questions we typically just straight up ask a person – it’s hard out there and we’re in a weird era of human history and communication. It’s kind of nice to sit back and let an app do some of the up-front work for you.
When I was on Bumble I would download it, swipe through all of the available men until there were none left (no doubt making quick decisions to swipe left or right based on their initial photo) and then proceed to delete the app. Sometimes I would wait to see if I matched with anyone and then delete the app. I probably downloaded and deleted the app 10 times. That’s normal, right? Totally normal. I’m fine. It’s fine. I was nervous at the thought of meeting up with some random person that I met online – who wouldn’t be? I sucked it up and told myself that I needed to “get out there” as they say, and even though I wasn’t necessarily looking for something serious right away, I could at least potentially get a free meal out of it, right?
All-in-all I went on 3 Bumble dates until finally landing with Alex (my now boyfriend). Around the time we went on our first date I was really working on listening to my gut – I almost canceled on him but something told me I needed to go. I’ll never forget walking into Muddy Water’s in Minneapolis and seeing his smiling face. We were both wearing all black and ordered whiskey on the rocks – that was it, done. We moved in together after 8 months, got a puppy at 10 months and I’ve never been happier or more excited for the future. It worked because we were both in the right place in our lives (mentally, physically, etc.), at the right time. If there’s anything the last couple of years have taught me it’s that life is all about timing – it’s also about going after what/who you want when you want it and learning to listen to your gut in that process.
If you’re single and loving it, more power to you. If you’re single and pursuing a relationship (or a companion in the least) and you’re wondering whether a dating app is right for you – I’d say, what do you have to lose? We’re all just out here trying to do our best and making a ton of mistakes in the process – keep doing that. Practice listening to your gut – and like I said in my last article, do what feels right, repeat.
Katie Weed is an anthropologist and philosopher at heart. She’s usually one of three places: outside, at the gym or at work. By day, she works as a social media strategist at Nike, a freelance writer and sometimes a model. She resides in Portland, Oregon with her 18 plants and her German Shorthaired Pointer, Finn.
BY Katie Weed - June 22, 2018
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.