Welcome to our series, The Love Diaries – a space for you to share your experiences, advice, fairy-tale endings, setbacks and heartbreaks. We’ll be hearing from industry experts giving practical advice alongside Capsule readers (You!) sharing your firsthand experiences with love – everything from finding love, to keeping love, to losing love.
If you have a topic you’d like to discuss, share your thoughts, experience or advice about, drop a line to [email protected] with ‘Love’ in the subject line. All stories that are published will will a Dermalogica BioLumin-C Moisturiser, valued at $119!
This week, we speak to a dating expert about finding love in the real world – yes, even during a pandemic – and look into why apps may actually be hindering, not helping.
Why does the technology that’s supposed to help you meet your soulmate tend to make you feel like they’re even further out of reach? It all boils down to five key barriers that are actively preventing you from attracting your match every time you enter the online dating space. Capsule spoke to the author of The Offline Dating Method Camille Virginia for her tips on finding ‘The One’ in the real world – yes, even in a pandemic.
If someone can go into the apps with genuine intentions (e.g. they are not already in a monogamous relationship, they actually want to meet someone, and they are ready for a committed relationship) and they enjoy their time on them, then absolutely they should use the apps,” she tells.
“Unfortunately the majority of people on the apps don’t fit those parameters – they’re either already in a relationship, are bored or lonely and have no intention of actually meeting someone, haven’t done the inner work to be ready for a healthy relationship and/or are not having fun on the apps and putting out the wrong energy.”
In fact according to Camille, there are five reasons why these apps might actually be keeping you single:
Instant Attraction, Long-Term Disappointment
Online dating and dating apps are like a “human supermarket” designed to mimic your online shopping behavior. This means many people treat others they encounter online the same way they would when browsing for a lamp on Amazon: as a disposable commodity judged mostly by appearance. OkCupid founder, Christian Rudder, estimated that photos drive 90% of activity in online dating.
The Paralysing “Paradox of Choice”
In his book, The Paradox of Choice, author Barry Schwartz describes how having too many options can significantly decrease happiness. In the digital dating world, there are thousands of dating apps on the market – with big players like Tinder boasting an estimated 50 million members. Exposing yourself to even a fraction of that number of people is enough to trigger “analysis paralysis,” where you become so overwhelmed by choices that you’re unable to make any decision at all.
The House Always Wins
In addition to being modeled after addictive casino games, online dating and apps are optimized for user engagement (e.g. membership and advertising revenue) instead of user desired outcome (e.g. finding your future spouse). Think about it: as soon as you find your lifelong partner the platforms lose you as a customer. And that’s a risk this $1.9 billion industry is probably not willing to take.
The Mean Behind the Screen
Not only are online dating websites and apps designed to keep you single, they often bring out the worst behaviour in people – from sexual harassment and body shaming to lying about age, appearance, and relationship status. Interacting with someone from behind a screen makes it easier to remain anonymous and avoid real-time repercussions – such as watching tears stream down the cheek of the woman you just insulted – that tend to happen when treating others badly in person.
Human behaviour may have adapted to the speed of modern technology, but the human need for social fulfilment has not. It’s no surprise studies have shown that people who are addicted to social media (which inherently deprives them of time with people face-to-face) have a higher risk of suffering from depression.
So, in light of so many Kiwis being in lockdown, what can you do if you are still keen to use apps? Start bold, Camille says.
“Ask a great question off the bat that stands out from every other generic “Hey there” intro message,” she tells. “Try some of these to kick off a more meaningful and less boring conversation, right off the bat:
What’s one of the best trips you’ve been on?
What’s something you’re passionate about?
What are you freakishly good at?
What’s something that makes you really happy?
What’s the worst intro question you’ve been asked on an app?”
Good luck for that #hotgirlsummer!