Let’s be real here: Introverts, especially those looking to meet new people but are too shy to do so in person, are looking to online dating as an option in a world saturated with mediated communication. Even if you decide to create a profile out of sheer boredom or curiosity, you know you would never be doing this in real life (i.e. meeting and getting to know new people in a diverse *offline* social environment).
Of course, if you’re looking for a secure long-term relationship, dating apps are probably not the best platforms to find true love, and I personally do not encourage my friends to cast their nets into these dark, troubled seas. From catfish to paedophiles, to people with “here for a good time, not a long time” in their profiles, the ‘selection pool’ in these apps hosts some of the worst nightmares we introverts may face if we dare to brave these polluted seas.
I have this theory that it is nearly impossible to come across anyone decent on dating apps. I have personally tried out some of these for fun and have come to the conclusion that this theory may be difficult to falsify, although there are extraordinary exceptions. However, for those looking into online dating as a resource and platform for meeting new people, it’s best to dive in with a filter on- or you may just drown in the pollution.
Mostly, extroverts seem to dominate the spheres of online dating, leaving us introverts a little reluctant to throw ourselves into the thick of it. Contrary to popular belief, many introverts are now gravitating towards online dating services to find dates. Here I present a three-part guide to slaying online dating (a little humour goes a long way!), but ultimately the choice is up to you.
So, what makes online dating platforms so alluring for introverts? Let me count the ways:
#1 We have the liberty to choose who we want to talk to, if at all
One of the common struggles we introverts face is having to endure a boring or uncomfortable conversation with someone we are not interested in. Dating apps like Tinder provide a certain degree of screening (even if it’s a shallow one!) before a text conversation can ensue. Both parties have to find something interesting in each others profile and swipe right, thus you know that if you two match, the other person might actually want to talk to you (for a variety of reasons, of which some are too disturbing to get into).
What if your thumb slipped and you accidentally swiped for someone who radiates creepy vibes? Not to worry, if you end up matching with them, just immediately unmatch!
#2 The ability to avoid small talk
A major plus! No need to antagonize over pauses in the conversation. If there’s a long break in the chat flow, chances are, the other person has lost interest and you can unashamedly exit the chat. You’ll never be able to ghost on a person in real life without appearing impolite and hurting them. Yes, you may still wound other people’s feelings by not replying their messages, but it’s always easier to turn someone down after just a few awkward attempts to connect. It’s also easier to forgive someone for ghosting and move on if you haven’t met them in person.
#3 There’s no pressure to make a good impression
Unless you antagonize over self-presentation, you don’t have to worry whether a stranger online likes you right off the bat. After all, it’s just the initial stage of meeting new people that online dating platforms offer. It’s up to users to take the first step to get to know each other. The worst possible thing that can happen is the other person loses interest in the conversation and unmatch. (Of course, they might screenshot your conversations and circulate them among online, therefore damaging your image if it comes around to your social circle, but let’s think positive here!)
Furthermore, we can hide our insecurities and flaws, as dating apps usually operate on shallow, attraction-based rules for selection. Tinder is the best place to present your best side, and no stranger would know your true personality if they don’t attempt to scratch beyond the surface.
Once you do get to know each other on a deeper, more personal level, you two can arrange to take the conversation out of Tinder (because who wants a creepy online pen-pal on a dating app?) and meet up in person.
#4 We can stalk your social media
Like FBI pros, we (and not limited to introverts) love to look potential love interests up on their social media accounts to gauge their background. Before you meet up with someone, it’s recommended that you do a little research into their life. Believe me, you can learn a lot about another person from the posts they share (and from a little digging into the past). After all, you don’t want to get catfished by an Internet troll or a serial killer.
However, there is no such thing as complete online privacy in this day and age, and if you can find them, also assume that they can find you!
Hence, introverts will be relieved to be able to conduct mini background checks before meeting the person who seems too good to be true.
#5 We can do this from the privacy and comfort of our home
With dating apps, we have the privacy to meet fun people without going to the trouble of preparing ourselves for a night out… you know what I mean. Instead of dressing up to go out (and return home not meeting anyone), you can now converse with strangers at your own timing, even when your hair is a mess and you look like a zombie.
Also, when you’re alone in a private space, you don’t have to worry about anyone silently judging you for swiping right for the weirdest-looking profiles… you’re free to explore the selection pool to your heart’s content.
Furthermore, as most dating apps operate on a geographic-location principle to find potential matches, you don’t have to worry about accidentally swiping NO for someone who might happen to be looking right over your shoulder!
#6 We gain a little more self-confidence
We feel good knowing that we engaged in conversation with other humans… even if we don’t plan on talking to them again. We celebrate small achievements like successfully holding a conversation for longer than two minutes. With dating apps, we get a little confidence boost every time someone wants to talk, even if we mess up five minutes later and never hear back from them.
If you’re not too thrilled about the idea of going out to mingle, socializing on dating platforms from the comfort of your home may just become your next favourite pastime- and your #1 social activity!
#7 The possibility of meeting someone special…
…is too alluring to pass up, taking into consideration all the aforementioned points.
I heard a rumour that some of the greatest matches are struck online now!
Dating is a difficult boat to navigate in the turbulent, polluted waters of modern dating. Online dating for introverts is just one step out of the comfort zone and another into the possibility of open doors.