14 years ago, when I was just a high school student, I first learnt what a crush means.
Feeling giddy at their presence, wanting to be near them, longing to talk to them, blushing and smiling at the mere thinking of them, were some of the nice moments indeed.
However, 2 years passed and I never could gather courage to confess to my crush, just because I was too scared and super introverted.
3 years after high school I found out what online dating is, and since texting was always easier for me than talking in real life, I found this method of initial dating to be quite easier.
I have been in and out of different dating apps for different lengths. The last time I installed Tinder was 2 years ago, where within 4 days, I found my current partner. So, I guess, from a shy introverted kid who couldn’t confess to their childhood crush, I have gained enough experience in Online dating to quickly find a good partner and to guide other introverts like me on what to do.
Anyways while all of this depend on you being at the right place at the right time, this guide will help you to be there to find the right person as well.
Don’t think a lot — Let’s install a dating app
I remember how I was trying to make up my mind to install a dating app. I was not sure if that was the correct thing to do. “Am I going to get in trouble, am I going to get scammed, or am I doing an indecent thing?” I thought.
In reality, as long as you are over 18 and/or considered an adult in your jurisdiction, you have all the rights in your hands to install a dating app.
However, do your research before you hop into the Google Play Store or Apple store. There are several dating apps depending on your preferences and localities. It would be useless to install a certain app where the most users are located in USA while you are in India, or install a Straight dating app if you are LGBTQ+ or vice versa.
However, there is no right or wrong app. You can definitely play around with different ones until you find a good one. By chance if you don’t like them, you can anyways uninstall them in a snap, so don’t worry.
Update a decent profile. Be honest — You are looking for a potential life partner
The day I installed Tinder the first time, I was as lost as a newborn puppy. I didn’t know what to write on my profile and what not to. I wrote my whole formal CV on the profile, until I saw others’ profiles were simple and to the point.
So I quickly learnt what to include and what not to include.
Since you can’t pretend to be someone you are not, especially when you are expecting to find a life partner, you gotta be honest. Following are the musts that you need to include so more compatible people will reach out or swipe right on you.
- As long as you do not intend to keep an anonymous profile, you can insert your name, at least your first name.
- Upload a decent picture of yours that shows your true nature clearly. I used to update pics of me in scrubs, reading books, and sipping boba, which exactly shows me in my natural habitat.
- Rather than just mentioning your interests such as reading novels, watching movies, and listening to music, make sure you mention those interests with a further character. If reading, which books or authors you prefer; if movies, then which genre, is it horror, sci-fi or fantasy? If listening to music, do you listen to Classical or RnB, do you prefer BTS to Elvis Presley? There is no correct or wrong way to mention your interests, but make sure you are giving it an additional character.
- Add your age. It will not only establish you as a legitimate person, the people who fall into or prefer your age bracket will reach out to you. Hiding it will only shy away your potential partner.
- Add your preference, but never shame or defame any particular body type or a community. It will only show you as a distasteful and an impolite person and shy away your future mister or miss.
- Civil status and work: while you don’t have to be specific here, you can add if you are single, or in an open relationship, etc., so that the people who are into your preference will reach out more and you will meet less people who would discriminate against you based on your status or your job.
- If you look for more intimate first meets and dates, it would be nice to disclose your STD status as well, so the proper safety can be followed by you and them both. Keeping your partner in dark about such a condition doesn’t warrant good behavior, albeit it sounds like privacy invasion. However, when is totally up to you. This is just a suggestion.
Swipe and Talk
The first time I opened up a dating app 6 years ago, I was hell bent not to talk to anybody. I told myself — I’m only here to look around and swipe right and left. However, when the people who matched with me started to talk to me, I freaked out. I thought a million times before replying to any of them, because not only I was shy and introverted, I was scared thinking I’m being indecent.
So I wasn’t replying to any of the messages until once I mistakenly opened one.
Shit! — I muttered to myself. I didn’t want to look rude by not replying so I replied a Hi.
Although I don’t exactly remember that person, and it didn’t lead to anything more than a 5 mins talk, it gave me some confidence to explore my inbox and reply to some people.
Some of the people didn’t reply back, some did but didn’t go much further, and some are still my friends, even after 5 years of meeting them randomly online.
The truth is, nobody exactly knows you — Yet! Pinging a quick Hi to a girl or a guy you like wouldn’t harm anyone.
Just do it! You might find good friends in there at the least, even if not exactly a life partner.
Rejection simply says, Swipe more ← →
One thing I learnt about dating apps even before I knew all the sections of its Settings Menu, is that people reject you — A LOT!
People would have enough reasons to not reply to you, or stop replying altogether after a few days.
Usually, I used to give 3 days to anyone who starts talking to me. If someone keeps talking to me for more than 3 days, there is a high chance they would become someone you would personally acquaint yourself with.
But if they don’t keep talking to you, don’t feel bad about yourself. Even Emma Watson was rejected by Tom Felton.
Be respectable and smart — but also be flirty
On dating apps, I had met outward fun people, flirty people, and also more reserved people like myself, but one thing I have learnt by myself is that respect goes a long way with anyone of them. Yes — even if they are not respectable to you.
Be smart in answering, be open in talking and if they try to flirt don’t feel shy. Play along, even if you don’t exactly understand. Google can always help you if you don’t understand what they tell or ask you. There were several instances where I used to open a Google tab and search something during a conversation( Yes I didn’t know what “ASL?” means, which is “Age? Sex? Location?).
You will get used to it, and you will have a good laugh, when you learn the art of it.
After all, we are the masters of texting, so this initial step shouldn’t be that hard.
Be carried away — but be careful
One of the most important lessons I had learnt in dealing with dating apps is that you should never lose your veil of cautiousness with them. While not everyone is a jerk, there could be scammers and predators.
You should always be cautious when you are taking the next step in giving away your personal information like your personal phone number, or address.
This is something I couldn’t emphasize more, do not send your nudes to anyone online. While it can be illegal in some jurisdictions, even if it is not, once these pics or videos leave your phone, you have no control over how they will be used. Don’t feel relieved if your face is not indicated. Try not to send nudes at all, for your safety.
Be extra cautious if you are inviting someone unknown over to your place; or even more, if you are going to meet someone outside.
These are the times you have to trust your gut feeling rather than giddy emotions. If you are going out always make sure you tell a friend where you go at what time, and also tell them to check back on you after a certain period of time.
Safety is number one! However, enjoying life comes to a close second. So make sure you don’t ignore it.
After my disastrous breakup with my ex 3 years ago, I went to Tinder not to find a partner, but just to talk to someone. But within 4 days of being there swiping right and left, someone texted me Hi.
We started talking and on the first day itself, this person, K, asked me if I am looking for a serious relationship and if I’d like to consider this talk to proceed seriously.
Initially, I didn’t think it would work, so I asked K to keep talking to me for 3 days, and I’ll think of it seriously.
Surprisingly we talked for 3 days, and K asked me if I can take things seriously then.
After that, I made a silly bet since K asked me to meet me. I said — Not yet, but if we kept talking for a month, not only I will travel 3 hours for a meetup, but I will also go to a hospital in that city for training. That was indeed a joke, because that sounded unrealistic AF.
However, one week passed, two weeks passed, and K didn’t look at all ready to give up. K kept reminding me how many days are remaining for me to come for the date.
By the end of the third week I felt like that I liked this person, so I booked a ticket and I left my city.
It was scary, because I had never traveled that far to that city before, and I didn’t know what to expect, but as I said earlier I felt it in my guts that I’m meeting a safe person. However still, I kept my best friend notified on every step of my way, so I my bestie would know my whereabouts.
So yes — even if you are a guy, going to meet your date, inform your friends and keep a track with them, for your own safety.
However, soon after K and I met, I was melting down at their charm and attractiveness, and soon I was making schedules to get a training hospital in K’s city. Time slowly passed, and we are happy together ever since.
So, as the final take home message, please remember, even if you are an introvert, there is a place for you in online dating, and as long as you are at the right place at the right time, you will meet your right person.
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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