Dating is one of those 'human' experiences that almost everyone goes through at some point in their lifetime. You never really get the same path away from singledom twice, but the end-goal is always the same.
Since forever, that path often led you to meet people at a bar or a nightclub, or to hook up with a friend-of-a-friend. But within the last decade that's changed. Things are more superficial and facelessly brutal now.
People no longer start talking by saying "hey, how're you going?" because that's a conversation killer. You don't tell someone you're not interested, you 'let them know' when you next want to meet up -- and then you don't message back, ever. And if you're not sending messages to more than one person at the same time, are you sure you're even dating?
I was 21-years-old and had just come out of my first 'real' long-term relationship when I had to come to terms with these new 'rules' of dating. And don't get me wrong -- I've had some great dates, but there have also been some shockers.
Like the time a girl I was on a date with said she "just wanted to go for a drive somewhere" but got nervous meeting new people so she'd have a drink before coming. Only to then also bring a whole bottle of straight vodka into my car, proceed to drink herself silly and then hang the top half of her body out of the window without warning as I was driving, "because it was fun".
The problem was that I had no idea where to start searching and, like many other millennials, that uncertainty led me to the ever so tenuous world of online dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. To say that move has been an eye-opener is probably an understatement.
At first, swiping through an endless collection of single people was like a fun and challenging game: Who could I like? Who might like me?
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But then I started to experience some of the not-so-pleasing aspects of meeting people online, from 'ghosting' to wondering how much they've embellished their profile, were they the person in the picture...?
I've now been single three years and come to realise this new age of 'dating' means everything is more impersonal and frustrating. There's more to worry about than just whether you're into someone or not and if you want to get anywhere, you better have a cracking online profile.
I discuss how dating has changed and how it now affects people in different age groups on HuffPost Humans, a podcast series by HuffPost Australia. I talk to Jenny Haward, HuffPost Australia's Partner Studio Commissioning Editor, who is 33 and has experienced dating both on and off apps; and Sarah Cloutier, who is 49 and currently in a relationship, but has found online dating to have taken the compassion and love out of finding new people.
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