You sign up for a dating app with no idea where to begin. You add a few photos of you, one with your cat, a few with your friends. You decide against the one with the fish. But still… how do you know this will work? Are your photos showing your best angle? Is that joke about a female dog and Priest walking into a bar funny or offensive?
It’s exhausting at worst and amusing at best. A month later, you have zero matches. Now what? You call up your best friend, who is a pro at these things and gets laid faster than anyone you’ve ever met. And although you want love, you can’t deny it. They’re doing something right.
They take one look at your profile, and you can tell by their grin they’ve already found the problem. Their response? I have no idea who you are from this profile–and worse, I have no idea what you’re looking for from someone else. And yeah, while you have hobbies and a general idea of what you’re looking for in a partner, you’re even more confused now than you were before.
So what does your friend say? Connection is everything. Express your interests, show your passions, and be open to meeting people who are different from you. A good place to start? An upcoming holiday you both love. Cinco de Mayo.
The Importance of Shared Interests in Online Dating
Of course, you don’t need to date your doppelgänger. Not every person you meet, friends or lovers, is going to mirror your every interest. However, being upfront about your interests will give your potential partners an idea of what to expect, and this couldn’t be more true than in the online dating universe. You have one profile, a handful of photos, and a few responses to get to the point of who you are and what you want.
Not only can you show your personality by expressing your interests online, but you can narrow down matches by filtering your interests. If you’re an avid hunter, say it. The vegans on the other side of the phone will walk the other way. Of course, this is an extreme example. Maybe you like video games. Say it!
Your potential match may not enjoy gaming, but perhaps they’re a writer, and they can value the work that goes into creating the stories behind games. And in the best-case scenario, by expressing what you’re interested in, you can attract people who share your same hobbies or passions.
Shared interests can provide a foundation for building connections and creating meaningful relationships. When two people share similar interests, they are more likely to have common ground, which can lead to easier and more enjoyable conversations and, eventually, a stronger bond. It also makes ripping the bandaid off with the first message a little less intimidating.
When two people share a common interest, it provides an easy and natural way to start a conversation. It’s easier to talk about something that both parties enjoy rather than trying to force conversation on something that neither person is interested in. It’s an icebreaker — one that can spiral into other topics, and it makes it easier if you end up having different perspectives on one thing because, at the end of the day, you’ll still have something in common.
Shared interests also build a common ground for people who come from different backgrounds, cultures, or lifestyles. This can be especially important in online dating, where people may not have many shared experiences outside of their online interactions. It also shows compatibility. When people share similar interests, it can indicate that they are compatible in other areas as well. It can suggest that they share similar values, priorities, or goals in life, which can lead to a more successful and long-lasting relationship.
You’ll also get an idea of how your potential dates will go. If someone is sober, they’re probably not going to want to go to a bar, and if you like to drink in your free time, well, maybe you should swipe next. Commonalities also enhance experiences. When two people both enjoy hiking, they’re probably going to have a more enjoyable and meaningful date than if one person likes to rock climb with no harness and the other is allergic to grass.
You don’t need to seek your mirror image to find your match, but by expressing your interests, you’re more likely to weed out people who are your opposites and attract people who will take part in your hobbies or, at the least, accept your differences.
But how do shared interests link to cultural connections?
Connecting across Cultures
Online dating can be difficult for the picky ones out there who know exactly what they’re looking for, and they’re presented with unclear options. I’m a picky eater, and I imagine it’s similar to arriving at a buffet, but I’m blindfolded, and there’s no description of what I’m about to eat. It’s daunting at best. And a gigantic ‘no, thank you’ at worst.
If your religion is important to you, then you probably want someone who shares those beliefs. Dating apps like for Christians have this purpose in mind. There are dating apps for single parents, college students, and even people looking for sugar daddies. In these examples, these are people who have something in common, a shared interest, if you will.
But what if your interest is more nuanced, your hobbies more specific? If you have a strong cultural background, for example, you may want someone who either shares your heritage and culture or is accepting of it.
Cultural connections in online dating refer to how people from different cultures can connect and build relationships through online dating platforms. These connections can stem from shared interests, values, or experiences and can lead to more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.
One advantage of online dating is that it allows people to connect with others from all over the world, including those from different cultural backgrounds. This can provide an opportunity for individuals to learn about and appreciate different cultures and share their own cultural experiences and perspectives.
In the same way, our hypothetical friend above suggested showing your interests on your dating profile; it’s equally important to highlight cultural interests on your profile if that’s of importance to you. Not only can this attract people who share your culture and beliefs, but doing this can ignite discussions on cultural topics in conversations.
It’s another icebreaker, a way to share your personal experiences and get to know a stranger by expressing a unique part of yourself. And to put it bluntly, it’s also a fast way to discover if someone holds hostile or racist perspectives about you or other cultures.
Just like you don’t need to date someone who also loves Pedro Pascal as much as you do (although that would be nice), you don’t need to share someone’s cultural heritage to date them. But by expressing your stance on your page, you’ll make clear what’s important to you. This is essential if you expect your partner to participate in cultural events and activities with you.
Building cultural connections in online dating requires embracing cultural differences and being open-minded to new experiences and perspectives. So that leads us to our next question.
Why Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday commemorating the Mexican Army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). The triumph became a symbol of Mexican resistance against foreign domination and helped rally support for the Mexican cause.
I bet you didn’t know that. I didn’t, not until I researched the holiday for this post. I also bet you (like me) have worn a sombrero at some point in your life in Cinco de Mayo if you’re reading this article. Is this a bad thing? Depends on who you ask. And that’s why a holiday like Cinco de Mayo is great for discovering compatibility with new partners.
Cinco de Mayo became a festive celebration in the United States during the 20th century, primarily because of the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 70s. Mexican-Americans who were part of this movement sought to promote and celebrate their cultural heritage and history, including the Battle of Puebla.
In the 1960s, Chicano activists in California began organizing Cinco de Mayo celebrations to promote Mexican-American pride and identity. The festivities include parades, music, and traditional Mexican food and drinks.
Over time, Cinco de Mayo celebrations spread across the United States and became more commercialized, with businesses promoting the holiday through advertising and marketing campaigns. Today, Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated in the United States as a festive occasion that often includes parties, concerts, and other cultural events. And probably lots of alcohol.
While some have criticized the commercialization of Cinco de Mayo and its emphasis on drinking and partying, many Mexican-Americans continue to view the holiday as a meaningful celebration of their cultural heritage and history. They use the occasion to promote awareness and understanding of Mexican culture and history, as well as an opportunity to celebrate their identity as Mexican-Americans.
Fun fact: While Cinco de Mayo is an important holiday in Mexico, it is not a national holiday and is primarily celebrated in Puebla, where the victory first occurred.
So why the history lesson? Well, I’m preparing you for the chance that you’ll meet someone who sees your sombrero and fake mustache as a sign of cultural appropriation. Not your cup of tea? This is why shared interests—especially as it pertains to different cultures–are so vital.
Someone who is a Mexican-American may celebrate this holiday differently than Carl on the corner, who arrives at the bar at 9AM with two mojitos asking the bartender, ‘donde esta la biblioteca?’ Especially during cultural holidays like Cinco de Mayo, it’s important to know where your potential partner stands. Is it a drinking holiday? Or a celebration of culture?
If you’re unsure, Cinco de Mayo offers a handful of interests you can use to find commonalities with a potential partner.
- Mexican cuisine: Mexican food is a popular and delicious cuisine that many people enjoy. From tacos and burritos to guacamole and salsa, there are many dishes that people can bond over.
- Music and dance: Mexican music and dance are fashionable on this day. Even if you’re unaware of the heritage, you can still appreciate the differences in music like salsa, cumbia, and mariachi.
- History and Culture: Cinco de Mayo has historical significance in Mexico, and by doing some basic research, you can impress your date with knowledge of the culture. This is also a great way to find out if this is significant to your partner.
- Festive celebrations: Cinco de Mayo is a time for celebration, and many people enjoy taking part in the festivities. Whether it’s attending a parade or party, there are many ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. But keep in mind people may observe this in different ways. Mexican-Americans may find the commercialized American parties as cultural appropriation. If you think your potential match is someone like that, ask them before taking them to a block party downtown. This is also a great way to find out if you and your partner share similar interests and hobbies. If you like unlimited mojitos and your date would prefer to go to the craft table to create Mexican textiles, you’ll have to decide if you can accept your differences or let the person go.
Expressing your interests is a crucial part of creating an online dating profile. By searching for someone who shares your interests or at least accepts the differences in your passions, you’ll discover the height of potential compatibility.
This is even more important for cultural differences, and holidays like Cinco de Mayo can help reveal if you and your partner are the beans to their burrito or are just two different tacos that ultimately won’t go together.