Sarah Baxter
February 03, 2016 10:50 am

Dating in general can be pretty intimidating, especially for a shy introvert like myself. But as I’m focusing more and more on what I want, not what other people want me to do, I’m finding that a boost in my personal life could give me a bit more confidence and just, well, fun. I spent plenty of time working on myself: building up my self-esteem, evaluating my shortcomings, reevaluating what I wanted, and just plain lovin’ my self and I was ready to get back out there. So I decided to give online dating a shot.

Now I wasn’t always keen on online dating. I used to be one of those people who wanted love to happen in a spontaneous, magical, rom-com level romantic way where you just happen to stumble across the love of your life walking down the street and make out with them at sunset (that’s how love works right?).

And even though I’m still a total romantic, I realized I lived in a small town with little opportunity for ~*big city romance*~ and also that the odds of running into someone who’s at least a 90% compatible match for you when you’re not one to talk to strangers or even leave the house unless necessary is, well, at the very least unlikely.

The way I see it, there’s a decent sized bus full of people out there who’d be a great match, but they’re swimming in a expansive sea of people who look amazing but are terrible for me and a lot of people who are just exceptionally average. If great matches are as statistically rare as we imagine out perfect love to be, then finding them isn’t going to be easy. People who are a “diamond in the rough” may require some digging to find.

But as someone who’s personal worst nightmare is networking, I decided my digging was better suited behind the relative safety of a computer screen. Seems perfect right? I can ignore or block people if I want/need to, I can trick people into thinking I’m a lot more funny than I really am…seemed like a good place to start.

Here’s the problem: I was still terrified. Once I started filling out all my personal information I realized A. people are actually going to be able to see this and B. someone of them will talk to me. TERRIFYING. Panic set in and I thought I might be making a horrible mistake. What if I don’t have any matches? What if people don’t like me? Or worse, what if they DO?! What will I do then????

Luckily, most online dating websites are pretty fun. In my experience, you find yourself spending more time looking at other people’s profiles than you do worrying about your own. Sure there are going to be people who don’t like you, but there will be plenty of people you don’t like, too.

The more you realize that your lack of attraction or interest in someone else isn’t personal, the less you’re upset by the idea of people not liking you. You definitely don’t want people who aren’t right for you pretending like they’re interested because then you’re just wasting each other’s time. The sooner someone who’s not or is only vaguely interested bails, the closer you are to finding someone who’s crazy about you.

And here’s the weirdest part: it’s actually kind of awesome. There’s something to be said about the ego boost that comes with people being interested in you, even if you’re not interested in them. Online dating reminds you (in case you’ve forgotten) that there are people out there who find you cute, funny, smart, and even sexy. And although you’ll definitely find plenty of creeps, it’s pretty easy to delete or ignore them. (Wouldn’t it be great if we had that option in real life?) Simply put, online dating reminds you that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Some of them are boring, some of them are creeps, and most of them are delightfully average, but there are definitely gems to be found. (I mean, I’m on there so like, duh).

Although I haven’t found the love of my life yet (it’s been like two weeks so I think I got time), I have found at the very least some good friends and a definite confidence boost. Not to mention some people in my real life have come out of the woodwork to flirt with me so I’m guessing that that confidence boost I talked about is starting to show.

Who knew feeling more desirable actually made you more desirable to other people? (A lot of people, huh?)

Anyway, if you’re wondering if online dating is worth it, my advice is that it totally is. Sure, it doesn’t guarantee anything for certain, but at the very least it might increase your love-finding odds and more importantly your confidence.

I haven’t fallen in love yet but I’m kind of totally okay with that. Besides, I’m actually starting to enjoy this being single thing.

(Image via Hulu)

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