Okay, so this all started after I went on another first date, only for it to be utterly terrible. I’m talking bad.
Not only that, but it was like my twentieth terrible first date in a row. I just couldn’t take it anymore. And worst of all, as I took a hard look at the common denominator, a dreadful, irritating question came to mind.
In the words of Taylor Swift, I had to face a potential fact: Is it me? Am I the problem?
Yeah, I was ready to throw in the towel on the whole online dating experience. But fortunately, I have some pretty great friends who refused to let me think that way. To be fair, I think they also wanted me to stop whining about what went wrong on my latest date at our weekly happy hour.
So when they suggested I let them take over my dating app, honestly, I didn’t even question it.
In hindsight, it sounded like a crazy idea, but I was so exhausted with all of it I just threw up my hands and said screw it. So, I decided to hand over control of my dating app for a week and let my friends control my dating app. The results were unexpected, eye-opening, and quite interesting, to say the least.
It was definitely an unconventional dating experiment, but I realized I was eager to get a few answers. By allowing my friends to control my dating app decisions, I wanted to see if their choices would lead to different matches than I would normally choose and maybe, potentially open doors to connections I might have overlooked on my own.
It definitely allowed me to break free from the monotonous routines and limited perspectives of endless swiping and flat expectations. My friends brought a fresh perspective to the entire process by incorporating their varied tastes and adding an element of spontaneity into the whole thing.
So, buckle up as I delve into the reasons behind the experiment, the challenges of relinquishing control, my day-by-day reflections, and what I learned. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with online dating apps, maybe this could be the solution for you, too.
Setting the Stage
We’re at the point now where online dating is a prevalent and widely accepted method of meeting potential partners. It’s convenient, super accessible, and an easy way to occupy some free time.
However, let’s be real: navigating the world of online dating can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and mentally exhausting.
Managing multiple dating apps, swiping through countless profiles, and having conversations with strangers that all start the same way…it can be exhausting.
But there’s a psychological factor behind this. When you’re faced with countless options, the endless decisions can feel overwhelming. And it can actually paralyze you with doubt. The constant need to pick one option out of the endless choices can be mentally draining, so much so that it can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.
With decision fatigue, you can be paralyzed with so much doubt that you won’t make any decisions. And then, when you finally decide to make a choice, you’ll overcompensate and often forget what you’re looking for, so much so that you might end up making the wrong choice.
Honestly, I think that’s what happened to me. I was so burnt out from having so many choices that although I was still swiping on people, I wasn’t actually meeting up with every match.
It was a constant thought: what if this is the wrong person? The endless choices gave me so much anxiety that when I finally did end up deciding to go out with someone, it wasn’t because I felt a click or a spark.
It was because I was forcing myself to make a choice. Essentially, closing my eyes and eenie meenie minie moeing it. No wonder my first dates weren’t working out.
In many ways, my exhaustion towards dating led to an unconventional experiment that essentially alleviated the burden of my decision-making. But I’ll be honest, I didn’t go into this without reservations.
I love my friends, and I trust them wholeheartedly, but that doesn’t it’s easy to relinquish control of my dating choices. My friends and I have different tastes, after all; different things we’re looking for in a partner.
- Would they really know what I needed?
- How could they tell if I was attracted to someone without asking me?
- Would they know if I was compatible with someone?
Yeah, there were a lot of what-ifs here. Nonetheless, I was willing to try just about anything. I was ready to step away from my usual routine, and while I didn’t have high expectations, I was still curious to see what surprises and insights might unfold.
The Experiment: Giving My Friends Control of My Dating App
So I’ll break it down for you in case this is ever something you want to try.
No, you do not have to give your friends your phone. Especially since this was a week-long thing, I wasn’t going to be with them every second of every day, and I needed my phone.
So, I granted them access and control over the app by providing them with login information. I was already pretty happy with the photos on my profile, and my friends agreed we would leave it as is.
We then decided what role they would play. We decided they would select all of the matches, carefully swiping through each profile to consider compatibility based on what I told them I was looking for in a partner. And even though my friends know me pretty well, that’s still pretty loose guidelines in my opinion.
Not only that, but they would take charge of writing all the messages and crafting personalized messages that somewhat kept in line with my personality and voice. And before you say that we were catfishing people, hear me out.
We decided that no matter what, if a date were planned, I would have to be the one who would go. And although we wanted it to be spontaneous, I also didn’t want to be completely shoved out of my comfort zone.
I would get to review everything in the conversations not only to get to know the person they’d been talking to but also to make sure this was something I was comfortable with.
Because at the end of the day, I’m looking for something real, a connection with someone I have something in common with.
However, because I was still trying to give new people a chance, I agreed that as long as I didn’t get the heebie-jeebies from a match, I wouldn’t turn them down just because they may not be my type.
I’m not going to lie, I was pretty curious how this would play out. But I was nervous. I’ve never been a huge fan of the idea of blind dates, and this kind of felt like that.
But I was also kind of hopeful. Maybe my friends, who see things from the outside and are unbiased, would know what’s right for me better than I would. At the end of the day, it was only a week of my life. I might as well give it a shot
So while my friends and I agreed that I by no means had to go out with a date in this one-week period, we did agree that I could log into the app at the end of each day and see who they’d matched with and read over the conversations.
And let me tell you know, boy, was this interesting. By the end of day one, I was able to calm some of my nerves about it. But more than that, I realized how much of this stress I’d been feeling around online dating was really just in my head.
These conversations weren’t just funny to read; they were downright entertaining. And yeah, my friends didn’t all pick someone I necessarily would, but I’d agreed to stay open to it, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Over the course of the week-long experiment, each day brought forth a unique set of interactions and outcomes that challenged my preconceived notions of online dating. My friends approached the task of selecting matches with a more lighthearted approach than I had been, that much was for sure. But they also took into account my stated preferences and interests while also injecting their own perspectives. Some matches were based on shared hobbies or values, while others were chosen to introduce me to new experiences and individuals outside my usual dating preferences.
My only real hard ‘no’ was matching with someone who wanted kids. Personally, I don’t want kids, and I’m just of the belief that it’s a pretty big deal breaker. Even if it was just one week of my life, who knows where these casual encounters could go? I just didn’t want to give anyone hope, just in case.
Other than that, I agreed they could swipe on people who already had kids, who had different religion or political beliefs than me, or who had different hobbies than I did.
Each day brought a mix of emotions that surprised me. Some days, I got excited about a match and the way the conversations went; other days, I questioned whether this was a mistake. I’m not going to lie; there were also a lot of moments of self-reflection, of taking a step back, and really considering what I’m looking for.
I got to reassess my dating choice and question why I would have swiped left on someone my friends swiped right on. Sometimes, the most engaging conversations I read over were with a person I probably wouldn’t have matched with, and that made me question if compatibility could exist in unexpected places.
I didn’t expect to go out with anyone, but there was one person where the conversation was flowing so smoothly with my friend that she suggested we meet in person. Before I agreed to it, I wanted to read over their conversation, but within minutes, I found myself actually wanting to respond.
So, with that person specifically, I ended up taking over from my friends, and the ease of the conversation just flowed from there. And to no one’s surprise, it was someone I wouldn’t have matched with.
A few other conversations sparked genuine connections, but I only had one in-person date with that person specifically during the week.
And I’ll be honest, it was fun! Like actually fun, maybe for the first time in a long time. There were no awkward moments of tension, of scrambling to find a question.
We were just enjoying each other’s company, staying in the moment, and having fun. And to my surprise, they ended up being even more attractive in person than in their photos, to the point where I almost questioned if my friends knew them.
Turns out they didn’t. They just got a good vibe. And that was the nicest surprise of all. It highlighted the potential for compatibility that I might have overlooked had I been solely in control of the app, because I would have taken the surface-level approach. The jury is still out on where that one is headed, but overall I realized that I didn’t regret any of this.
However, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the awkward and uncomfortable moments that did arise during the experiment.
Some of the people my friends matched with were rude. Others never responded. And a few even asked to meet up and then never followed up.
Granted, because I had three friends working on this over a period of one week, I’m sure I matched with a lot more people than I normally would on my own. But it did open my eyes to a couple of things.
Online dating can be unpredictable and managing expectations is important.
But more than that, I realized that not all of this was about me. That I was taking this way more personally than I probably should have and the importance of managing expectations.
So, was it me? Was I the problem? Yes and no.
Reflecting on the overall experience, I think I gained new insights into the process of online dating. Even some of my friends who have serious game and who know how to charm their way through life, still struggled with continuing conversations with people.
So yeah, I definitely can’t take every match that didn’t go well as a personal commentary on me as a person. But that’s where my problem comes in.
I was getting way too in my head about this. My friends brought a fresh perspective to the whole thing, and they reduced my decision fatigue, but they also showed me that a lot of the time, I’m getting in my own way.
Overall, the quality of conversation stayed the same from when I used the dating app but the good conversations flourished in unexpected places–like with the person I never expected to swipe on, and a date I feared I might not enjoy.
Spoiler alert: we have a second date planned for next week. So, I guess I broke my curse of forever being a first dater. For now, at least.
Either way, I am not giving up online dating. I just needed a little help realizing that I was taking it too seriously. There’s something to be said about adding a little spontaneity into my interactions and recognizing my own personal biases in selecting matches.
And you know what? Maybe repetitive first dates don’t have to be a bad thing. I don’t need to find my forever match when I meet over coffee or drinks. It can just be an opportunity to talk to someone new and have a nice night out doing something different.
Not getting a second date isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. It just means we weren’t right for each other in that way, but I can still have a fun night getting to know someone new.
Letting my friends control my dating app for a week turned out to be pretty cool in the end. It allowed me to stop taking things so seriously and made online dating more fun as a result.
Are you ready to try out a dating app yourself? Why not find the right dating app for you by reading our dating app reviews!