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The Talk: How to Online Date

8 mins read

Trigger Warning: Non-consensual contact

Let’s make one thing clear: I don’t like dating. I am aware that this might not be the best starting point for an article about online dating. However, it is the most honest.

It is fascinating to know that you are about to meet a stranger for the first time, and anything might happen. You might like each other, or maybe it might just not work out. The reason why I pushed myself to start this experiment is: I think you can only grow by getting outside of your comfort zone.

So the hypothesis for this experiment was: “Any date can be an experience as long as you are open and ask the right questions”. The methodology was: Going out with different people after writing with them on Tinder to test the thesis. The conclusion: Wait… we are not quite there yet.

Before I expand on the stories of my dating experience, here are a few basic tips for anyone that wants to start online dating.

  1. Swipe right (terminology for liking a person on an online platform) on a person if you actually intend to write them.
  2. Don’t spend too much time swiping left and right. You will get into a flow and forget the real people behind the profiles.
  3. What are you looking for? Be sure about your intention. Even if you want to escape this question, it will come up one way or another.
  4. What are your No-Go’s, dealbreakers and turn-offs? Know yourself to avoid getting into difficult situations.
  5. Don’t spend too much time only writing. Try to meet up after a certain amount of time even if it’s uncomfortable or at least have a phone call. The chemistry that you have online won’t be the same.
  6. When you decide to meet a person in real life, always be safe and share your location with at least one of your friends.
  7. If you want to initiate stuff – especially physical stuff – always, and I mean always, ask for consent. I have a story to that as well.

Now, ladies, gentlemen and non-binary folks buckle up your seat belts and let’s dive into the deep waters of online dating.

My first date. Didn’t. Happen.

Me and, let’s call him Jack, decided on meeting up on a normal Sunday afternoon to get some coffee together. We were texting the day before and I knew that he would go out on a drink with his friends. Since we didn’t agree on a time to go out, I just waited on him to reply to my text. What a nice encounter to hear from him on Monday evening.

Thank you, next.

(He asked for my number later on, as if nothing happened. I respectfully left him on read).

My second date took place on a beautiful rainy day in Stirling. I know, I know, what did I expect? It’s Scotland after all.

After connecting through our deep love for films via text, we both agreed on going out on a walk together and testing the waters. Even though the weather was not the best, I had a great time talking about hobbies, favourite movies and past school trauma.  

Going on a walk is a nice idea for a first meet-up. You can talk but you don’t experience awkward silence either. Outside distractions always keep you occupied, and you don’t have the feeling of being bound to a place if you feel uncomfortable.

For the third date, we both showed commitment. We met in Glasgow since we wanted to have Mexican food and Stirling doesn’t have a Mexican restaurant.

We had a conversation, went to get some food and then… we were confronted with not knowing what to do. I recommend having a plan for the date, then you can avoid those moments of unease.

We ended up sitting down in a café and having a talk over hot chocolate and some dessert. If you don’t click that is completely fine. A first date is meant for both parties to understand how they feel about each other.

If you don’t click and you get touched. That is where it crosses the line.

The guy that I went out with touched my leg on purpose a few times in a row and I just sat through it.

In hindsight, I wish I had said something in between or moved his hand. But I just didn’t. I guess I didn’t want to make it more awkward than it already was for me.

To anyone who is reading this: It is okay to show your boundaries and it is never acceptable to get touched without your consent. Ever.

Your body is your body.

So what did I learn?

Firstly, as a pansexual woman, I noticed that I mainly talked to men. Reflecting on this with one of my queer friends I learned to choose your dating platform wisely. There are queer people on Tinder but you could have more chances finding them on sites like Hinge or Bumble.

Secondly, it is rewarding to get out of your comfort zone. Even if you don’t end up finding the person of your dreams, you gain a bunch of experiences that will help you get closer to what you want.

Thirdly, dating is a skill. Just like a muscle you can train it and understand your individual strengths. Holding a good conversation is nothing that happens overnight. You need to go out and train it.

And lastly, set boundaries, respect them and make others respect them as well. I cannot stress this enough. Be safe.

I am proud of myself for trying out dating, despite my initial dislike. I can say that I have learned plenty. I took the first step. If you are interested, you could take the next.

Feature Image Credit: Pexels Free Photos

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