8 unexpected life lessons I learned from online dating

You said you would never turn to online dating, that your love life wouldn’t need that much help. You thought it was for old people or the socially awkward. And then comes the day that you, yourself, are creating profiles on Match, PlentyOfFish, or dare I say, Tinder. It’s a reality we just have to face. Online dating isn’t as cheesy or ridiculous as we once wanted to believe. It’s pretty normal, in fact And sometimes, it actually works.

Here are eight bits of wisdom I’ve gathered from the concept of online dating.

You will only get as much out of life as you put into it

If I’ve learned anything within my 24 years on this Earth, it’s that the only person responsible for your own contentment is yourself. No, life is not always fair. It’s not always exciting or fulfilling or beautiful. Sometimes, it feels like a door that’s been slammed in your face. But guess what: you hold the key. Your life will only be as thrilling and adventurous and amazing as you make it.

You can’t complain about being alone if you’ve never put yourself out there long enough to meet anyone. Approximately one third of “online daters” never even go on dates with the people they meet online. So do what the old phrase says, really put yourself out there. You’ll get a lot more in return.

If you’re waiting for life to happen, it won’t. So, go out there and make it happen.

All good things take time

Just because you signed up for Match doesn’t mean you’ll find your “match” that day, or even that year. Just because you got your master’s degree doesn’t mean you’ll land your dream job on the first interview. Don’t give up!

Real results require patience. They require an optimistic attitude and the acceptance when things don’t go our way at first. They take repetition and hard work.

No one analyzes you as much as you do

It’s hard because, as women, we’re so socialized to be critical of ourselves. But guess what? You are your loudest and harshest critic. Don’t fret so much! Channel that energy into learning about other people. Dating would feel a lot easier that way, and life would be a lot less stressful.

Having good friends is just as important as finding your soul mate

What I’ve discovered, as of late, is that finding the right friends can be a feat just as difficult and essential to being happy. If online dating, or even life, doesn’t lead you to your life partner, it might bring you lasting friendships and that’s worth just as much.

Life isn’t always as it seems

Online profiles present our best selves, without listing our pet peeves, strange habits, or personality flaws.

So, just because they check out on all of your requirements, “beautiful, humble for not sharing too many selfies, smart, funny and loves dogs,” doesn’t mean they’re the one for you.  It’s important to keep an open mind. Don’t be naïve. Don’t get caught up in the idea of someone or something, and be crushed when it doesn’t meet your expectations.

Physical attraction is important, but it’s not everything

Just try not to limit yourself to a specific “type.” Maybe the person you’re meant to be with looks very different from what you imagine. Maybe the life you’re meant to live looks very different too.

Be careful who you trust

Online dating can be shady. It’s difficult to know when someone’s being genuine, or lying about their identity. You can’t trust everyone you meet in life. On the other hand, you shouldn’t write somebody off too quickly either.

You can relate this notion to experiences. Don’t be too quick to judge a situation. Try saying yes, sometimes. If you’re not open to new experiences, you’ll miss out on all the wonderful moments that could make your own life unique.

YOU come first

If you feel like you’ve been played or cheated by dating, or by life in general, it’s important to focus on yourself again. Meditate, pursue a hobby, write in a journal, workout, go out, stay in, do whatever it is that helps you reconnect with yourself. Spending time alone, without the distraction of other people, helps us create a self-awareness that so many people lack. It enhances your intuition and allows you to participate in life more fully, more openly and with a better understanding of what you need from it, and what you can give it in return.

Olivia Mello is a regular contributor to Wingman Magazine – an advisory blog for men. She explores the topics of dating and self-improvement, in hopes that her failures will inspire others not to fail, as much.

[Image via HBO]

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