Intentional Swiping: Navigating Dating Apps

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14 Aug 2018

By Arielle Estoria

I want to meet him while reading a book in the corner of a coffee shop somewhere. Or maybe we’ll unexpectedly brush shoulders as we both enter onto a subway car and an Adele soundtrack will be playing in the background. .As the slow song begins to play, we will casually start to walk towards each other and most likely I will lose the coordination of my feet somehow and conveniently stumble into his arms. Slowly as the slow song begins to play, we will casually start to walk towards each other and most likely I will lose the coordination of my feet somehow and conveniently stumble into his arms. The moment will fade out while we exchange laughs and dance the night away and that very scene will be the the story we’ll tell our children about how we met.

Have you ever imagined how you might meet your significant other? This is something I daydream about constantly. The hopeless romantic in me can’t help but to want to have a story, you know THE story. The story everyone always wants to hear because it never gets old with how whimsical and beautiful it is. The story that makes your eyes twinkle every time you tell it and you fall in love with each other all over again. I wanted THAT story but then college came and went with no luck on that “ring by spring” life. Shortly after, I found myself in the frenzy of postgrad feeling very confused as to where exactly I was meant to find him.

Pretty much everyone I graduated with was out of the question, I found myself at weddings with already taken people or people who I was just not the interest of. Church was a place where everyone was not only taken but had three little humans trailing behind them also. I started to get discouraged and lose sight of the magical story that I wanted to have. Then dating apps came into the picture and to be honest, everything about them at first made me cringe. Something about this rating, swiping way of viewing people just made the hopeless romantic in me die a little. However just like every good session with friends, it usually resulted in talking about dating and or relationships and we found ourselves with profiles set and fingers ready to swipe away by the end of the night.

Our generation is heavily social media connected and influenced, so it is no surprise that when it began to trickle into our way of networking and connecting, it also trickled into our dating context. First things first: there are honestly no “good” dating apps, they all have their little quirks and flaws to them. I had a season where I had downloaded and created profiles for almost every dating app just to compare and contrast what they each offered. I don’t suggest doing this, I suggest taking notes of the apps your friends and peers are using (and seem to be enjoying) and jumping onto those bandwagons.

Now, I am no expert but after many seasons on and off dating apps, I have learned a few things. So here it is ladies and gents, Arielle’s never before seen tips on how to navigate through dating apps:

  1. Be honest in your profile.

Listen, do not use dating apps as your chance to be on the next episode of Catfish. Be honest with who you are, your likes and dislikes, passions and glimpses about what you do. Give them an idea of who you are, enough to be intrigued and want to know more. Does my Bumble profile say, “If you have cats swipe left because I’m allergic and can’t be having asthma attacks just to date you”? Yes, yes it does. Have fun with your profile, throw in something fun and unique!

  1. Read the bios.

I am all about words, so if a guys bio makes me giggle a little or I’m impressed that he didn’t abbreviate words like “you, then I am most likely going to swipe right before I even really take a look at his photos. On the other hand, maybe they’re an absolute dream boat with sparkly eyes and a dimple but he has nothing written in his bio but a location, then that tells me he didn’t really try to put any effort into explaining who he is, which most likely means he’s not there for a serious or could be serious relationship.

  1. Be open.

This is already a space that could easily be so focused on looks and status, so I would encourage you to be open to all the possibilities available. Be willing to maybe swipe on the quirky guy with a good bio who doesn’t necessarily look like a Hemsworth brother but could be really great at holding conversation. I am a firm believer in the just go go on the first date mentality and if it’s awful then obviously don’t feel like you have to go through it again but you never know how that first date could go!

  1. Have an idea about what you’re looking for.

I have met some very interesting and non compatible human beings because I was just aimlessly swiping on so many “potentials’ who actually weren’t in line with what I wanted at all. I have gone on some very unappealing dates because of my swipe happy laxness and I never again want to sit across from someone wondering how in the world did I get there (and not in a good way). The more I was on them, the more I realized I wanted a certain age range and maybe even height and obviously for him to have some connection and familiarity to the faith that I had. All that to say, know what you want before the apps have a chance to try and tell you what you want.

  1. Be safe.

Yes, this can be a really fun space to meet people, sometimes even new friends but it’s also still social media and these are still strangers. So be cautious, alert and safe. If I ever hesitated at all with dates, I would group text some friends and share my location with them or I would find a reason to cancel because my gut just didn’t feel good about it. Be smart and follow your discernment, if something is telling you not to go then please listen to it and don’t go! Block people who have the audacity to say anything disrespectful to you and be willing to protect yourself if necessary.

I would dare to say that growing up and in youth groups, we weren’t really taught how to date. Especially the early millennial generation, we were lectured on how to get married but not how to go about meeting the person that’s supposed to happen with. I vote the Christian community creates some type of conversation on how-to-date-outside of your private Christian school context, while giving us tools for navigating through this new culture of dating. We want to talk about the waiting WITHOUT the whole, “but the wait will be worth it” tidbit because we aren’t there yet. We want to know that we aren’t “wrong” or “desperate” for being on dating apps and that we could actually learn tangible and beneficial tools for dating from them.

Dating apps are not the enemy, they also aren’t the greatest either but they do help navigate through the dating world in a different kind of way. Because the reality is, the waiting IS hard and it takes using this season of waiting to know who you are and what God has purposed you to do but also to learn about what you want in a relationship and in a significant other.

So if you need help setting up your dating app profile – I got you (because even though they haven’t really worked for me so far, I have heard many beautiful love stories that started with a swipe). or if you need a phone chat, debrief party, then call ya girl, we’ll talk about all the ways our hearts have been broken (or haven’t been) and yet how we still are crazy enough to dive back in and try again. Weather it starts with a swipe or a whimsical run in, whatever the story may be, know that it will be yours and it will be beautiful.

 

Arielle ​Estoria is a Writer, Speaker and Creative. Her motto of “Words not for the ears but for the soul” stems from her dedication to remind her audience that words are meant to be felt and not just heard. Arielle’s first EP, a collection of music and poetry called Symphony of a Lioness is now available on iTunes or Apple Music. She is Co-author of two self published collections of poetry: Vagabonds and Zealots (2014) and Write Bloody Spill Pretty (2017) which can both be found on Amazon.com. She is made of sass and good intentions, has a deep love for car karaoke, brunch and flowers.

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