Especially in the 21st century with applications and websites at the swipe of a finger, it’s no wonder that online dating apps are becoming so ubiquitous among people of all ages, from college students to retired seniors. It’s a lot of choice and instant gratification that rise from having it so easy to meet complete strangers virtually, that technology has evolved more rapidly than our social skills in navigating the complexities and nuances of such services.
Online dating has shifted the idea of finding love from a qualitative aspect to that of quantity. Instead of meeting one person in public through friends, family, or mutual acquaintances and just letting time and frequent physical contact develop into eventual romance, we’re now faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of options on the Internet. We get profiles that highlight the best of ourselves, from carefully-curated photos to witty one-liners in our Bios. It’s an act of selling ourselves to others in a competitive market where there are others who are smarter, prettier, and/or more well-accomplished in life than we are. All at a chance for finding “the one” to click with and live happily ever after (or, at least, for a quick one-night stand).
From my experiences on various dating apps (trust me, I’ve tried a lot, including Tinder, HER, Zoe, Facebook Dating, Bumble, Hinge…), it’s a lot of swiping just to hear back from a very-selected few who choose to match back. And within the selected few with whom I match, even fewer of them can I keep a conversation going, as some either ghost or unmatch after two or three exchanges. At the end of it, you’d be lucky to ask one for a date, and even then, there’s the chance that neither of you feel the attraction in real life, so then it’s back to square one.
Throughout my time using dating apps, I’ve come to realize that it’s very similar to applying for jobs. Which I’d been doing a lot of over these past four months since getting laid off at my previous work in late March. Fortunately, I have a job now, but I will say that getting there also came with its frustrations. The job hunt isn’t easy for anyone out there– you could have excellent skills, experience, and education to any career, yet still be looked over by other candidates who might have more skills, experience, and education than you. You can apply to 100, 200, even 500 positions and be lucky to even hear back from 25% of them. Then it’s a matter of whether you score an interview from 10% of the ones you hear back from, and not just outright rejection. And finally, it’s whether you passed the interview and are offered the job, which can be either one to three of the jobs you’d applied to…out of 100-500 applications.
Funny enough, one of my dates told me that online dating is a “numbers game,” and I find it so true. Same applies for job hunting, as it’s all about sending out multiple applications, like how it is swiping and talking to a lot of different people on dating apps. It’s far from ideal to put your eggs in one basket, to expect this one particular person to be “your one and only” after three good messages or to hope that this one dream job of yours would become a reality. Unfortunately, quantity trumps quality in such matters like these, when in fact, it doesn’t have to. But given the current state today, with too many people to choose from and compete with, we’ve delegated the goals of love and career fulfillment to be calculated, logical matters.
Love has become different due to the Internet. Rather than be something that two individuals strive for in sharing a life for better or for worse, love has become a “checklist” of sorts for convenience’s sake. It’s not a focus on making the relationship work for both parties, but rather a focus on making it work for the individual. That’s why you end up with standards that are unrealistic (e.g. finding a partner who’s good-looking, successful in their career, and kind/caring at all times) to fit into your life, without much consideration for your actual partner, who has standards, too. There’s too much focus on “getting it right,” and being too quick to ghost or end it if it doesn’t go the way as planned. Compromise is non-existing, as it’s all too easy to move on to the “next, best” individual on the dating app.
Job hunting is similar in the sense that perhaps we sometimes aren’t willing to compromise on applying for minimum wage jobs (e.g. McDonald’s) when we have Master’s degrees and/or many years of experience in a specialized field. That we also have a checklist of things we hope to have in a job, which is a good salary, days off, and so forth. Like with dating apps, I don’t think that’s the way we should think when it comes to the job hunt, just because you cannot control the outcome of a bureaucratic system as a single person.
Rather, it’s about accepting that you can’t get everything that you want in life. It’s never going to be perfect, so there’s no point in setting high expectations for your potential partner or potential job. I’ve found that going in without any expectations often ends up being the most-fulfilling experiences. For example, not being the most-attracted to a potential date, but then you end up falling in love with him or her. Or not expecting to hear back from a particular job, but then actually getting a call back (after you forgot that you’d even applied there in the first place) and offered a job.
It’s when you least expect it that things just fall into place and turn out well in the end. Not to say that you shouldn’t sit back and just wait for these moments to happen– you still have to put in the work of swiping on profiles and sending out applications. But learning not to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way you imagine makes a huge difference in your confidence and sanity, so that once you do find someone you love or that dream job, you’re in the right head space to go forth and make it all the worthwhile.
Thanks for reading my rant, and have a great day!
— The Finicky Cynic
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