Ever since I was old enough to understand crushes and relationships, I have relied on any and every sign that could point me towards how my relationships were going to unfold. From Linda Goodman’s zodiac sagacity to the hundreds of Cosmopolitan quizzes, anything that I thought would calm my nerves was always scattered on my desktop. By the time I reached my twenties and started pursuing the men I had swiped right on, I was perplexed by how to quickly ascertain the data I needed to make the best decisions in my love life. Surely the actual stories of these men were deeper than the modest amounts of information on their dating profiles! I mean I’m not sure that the fish they held with heavy pride, quotes derived from popular/ rap music, and/ or links to their creative instagram pages were all that helpful? Several dates, many drinks and a few failed relationships later, I decided it was time to figure out how to extract the information that I needed in less than ten dates. While I’m still trying to find my Mr. Perfect online, I thought I would share my step-by-step guide to tackling the real Tinder experience.
Eject the stigma. Just because you’re on a date with a stranger from a dating app, it does not make you any less than your girlfriend who met her love in a cafe or amusement park. Congratulate yourself for expanding your horizons and for putting yourself out there. The judgement from society can wait! Enjoy that rush of adrenaline and wash it down with some wine.
Leave your rating scale behind. You’re nervous, you’re excited, you’re scared. Don’t worry! I guarantee he is too! It doesn’t matter what either of you are looking for- you’re doing it together- as absolute strangers! If he dropped a fry or spilled a cup of water, give him a chance to clean his mess before you bring out the judgement police within you. I, too, once tried to end a date as soon as he spilled his wine on himself. Thank goodness I didn’t! After all, my patience was rewarded not only by a pity glass of wine from the waiter, but also a great conversation towards the end of my night with him.
Your past doesn’t predict your future and neither does his! Talking about all your missed connections will probably ensure you miss this one too. Moreover, asking him about his horrible Tinder experiences will not prevent him from using your date as an anecdote for his next one. Be present in the moment and focus on what he brings to the table. Discussing your pasts will only make room for biases and preconceived notions that will end up driving your date towards a dead end.
The sun and the moon can guide you but it isn’t a magical formula. Every date with a stranger has always brought up one very important question in my mind:“Is his sun sign vicious? Does his rising sign guard behaviors that I can’t see? Oh god- I hope he’s not a Gemini!” While all these factors can tell you the overall strengths and weaknesses of his character, we have to exert some patience. Why are we so hasty to want to know the end point before we even begin the uncovering process? Where’s the chase? In the end, their zodiac can’t really prove if they’ll make you a mean steak on your next date! (Actually, their sun signs will never give you an accurate picture at all. You would need todo a full birth chart analysis and I’m not sure that’s really appropriate for a first date!)
They say there are many fish in the sea. Reeling in too tight will put you at risk of snapping your line, losing out on possibly the biggest catch of your life! Hook, line and sinker with all your heart! The only control you have over the process is the quality of bait you show up with on your date! Don’t worry about how they come off, just give them the best version of you!. Online dating, like all other kinds of dating, is a trial and error affair- you’ll find what you find as soon as you get out of your head and into the present moment! So go tinker with Tinder and socialize like the Bumble bee you are! You never know who you are going to meet!
Baruni Sharma is a Senior studying psychology at Sarah Lawrence College. She has interests in clinical research, child development, and relationship science. You may follow her on Instagram @_baruni.