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I Tried Online Dating and Here's What I Learned

By HERWriter
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woman online via Fotolia, edited by Katelyn Greno

Match, Tinder, Bumble, Badoo, MeetMe… There are so many dating apps and websites that it’s hard to keep up. Face it, we’ve all at least considered trying one out.

I was that girl sitting in her apartment bedroom late at night pondering the idea of downloading a dating app. I even asked my friends for their advice. I was in the mood to try something different and I wanted to meet new people. So I joined an online dating community: POF, or Plenty of Fish. I didn’t necessarily download the dating app in hopes to jump into a relationship with someone; I was just looking to meet new people in my area.

The registration process was a little long; it took a while to make my profile. But I took my time and filled everything in, after all this was how complete strangers were going to see me, first impressions are important!

There is a feature on your profile that you can tell people what you are interested in. I put “Interested in Making Friends." I still wasn’t too sure if I was looking to date so I played it safe.

Then I explored the app. I discovered that finding “matches” was as simple as pressing a check for yes or an X for no after seeing someone's picture. At first it was innocent and entertaining, but eventually it turned into a really bad habit. I found myself just staring at my phone looking at pictures of possible matches for hours.

On the plus side, my inbox was full however most of the messages were a little creepy and weird. I didn’t even bother responding to most of them. At last, there was one guy who stood out. I was nervous, but his picture was good looking so I clicked on his profile, which automatically gives him a notification.

His profile was similar to mine. He enjoyed writing and making films. He was a hopeless romantic like me, and the way he described himself made me interested in pursuing or at least trying to get a match back.

I clicked yes and I got that notification that it was a mutual match. My heart skipped a beat. I wanted to message him right away but knew that waiting a few days was a wiser approach. After days of waiting, I didn’t get a message so I gained some courage and I messaged him.

We spent the next few days messaging through the app, sharing similar interests, getting to know each other.

One thing that made me uneasy was the fact that he was looking for a long term girlfriend, so I was a little nervous we were both looking for different things.

But after a few weeks, I kept asking my friends , who were familiar with POF what to do about meeting in person. I was skeptical about that as well. I have heard horror stories of meeting people from online and even though I wasn’t against it, it still made me nervous.

After thinking about it for a while, I made the decision to try and plan to meet up. That’s how it works. You talk for a while and then someone initiates a meet up.

So I tried to plan something. But where do people even go for a “first date” or “first meet up?" We exchanged numbers and texted for the next few days. In the end, we decided to go to Top Golf, a high tech driving range, which I wasn’t opposed to since I’d never been. It seemed like more of a fun activity to break any awkward tension there may be.

As the day was approaching, I kept psyching myself out. I wanted to cancel because I had never done this before. I am pretty shy so this was something completely out of my comfort zone. I knew what I was getting myself into when I downloaded the app but now that it was about to happen, I started to panic.

Before I drove to Top Golf, I told my sister to go and keep an eye on us. As embarrassing as that may sound, I was so nervous I made my sister and her boyfriend scope out to make sure I was safe.

I didn’t know what to expect so I wanted to be cautious. This is very important when it comes to online dating. Meet in a public place, or try going on a group date with another couple you know. If you have a family member or friend that can keep an eye near by, that’s another approach, and that’s the one I went with.

When I got out of my car I saw my sister and her boyfriend nearby minding their own business. Then I saw him walk up and I could feel the nerves rush in.

We chatted outside; casually walking past my sister and went to the restaurant inside to eat.

At first, I could feel the awkwardness coming off of me like waves. I kept sipping my water because I was nervous.

Things started to go smoother. It took a while for my anxiety to settle, and once it did it was normal. Our conversations were intellectual and it felt good. Then we finally got to play some golf. To say the least, I was SO bad and it was pretty embarrassing. But it was all fine because we were laughing it off. It was completely casual.

When the day was over, he walked me to my car and we hugged and that was the end.

And by "the end" I mean we didn’t talk after that.

I was okay with that because it was just a meet up. You have the first meeting to test the waters, get to know each other in person and if it doesn’t end up going anywhere then that’s ok.

But after the experience, even though it wasn’t a bad one, I deleted the app. Online dating just isn’t for me. I prefer traditional dating, being friends first and seeing where things go. I couldn’t handle talking to a stranger online and meeting in person.

If you want to try online dating, here is a tip. Just be cautious. Online dating can be fun and something new and exciting, but it is so important to be mindful.

It doesn’t hurt to try it. And who knows? Maybe it is exactly what you are looking for.

Editing Note: This article did not filter through the normal EmpowHER editing and fact checking process. It was checked for spelling and grammar.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.