I graduated from university in June 2016, after 3 years that I will look back on as some of the best years of my life (cliche, no?). And I have to say, beyond all that stuff you learn about your field, time management, work-life balance, the importance of sleep, the risks of over-caffeination, etc. etc. … the most important thing I learned had to do with social skills, friendships, and relationships.
For now, we’ll skip over the classic heartbreak, the (not always the cleanest) frat parties and bar moments, and we’ll get straight to one of the most important personal lessons learned over those 3 years.
and don’t give a sh*t what people might think of you.
And I don’t mean “have zero filter.” I mean, say what you feel and don’t play games if you don’t want to.
Maybe you’re already one of those people, or maybe that’s something you can’t even imagine doing in a social situation. But here’s how I came to learn that lesson–Tinder.
Tinder is an ugly place. Especially in a college town, you’d better be ready to talk to some people that are interested solely in a quick hookup. I’m all for a girl or guy doing what they want, despite other people’s relationship opinions, you know yourself best and you’ll do what’s right for you at the time. But since that’s not me, I knew I had to be ready to interact with some people that had no interest in me as a person. And I decided to figure that part out fast, so as not to waste my time or theirs.
Can’t imagine straight up asking someone, “What are you on Tinder for? Because if it’s sex and sex only, this will be a waste of your time.”?
Here’s the thing: You know those butterflies or that lurching in your stomach you felt when texting someone something risky? You didn’t even have to be asking them out or confessing a crush, you might’ve just been asking a question about class. (Social anxiety guys and gals… we’re in this together.)
Those silly stomach lurches are nothing compared to the embarrassment or confusion the person on the other end feels for being asked and having to answer. Guys, in my experience, aren’t as tough as they look, and honestly if they’re intimated by an upfront girl, you got better places to be. (Let me know in the comments below if you have an experience to share regarding this, especially for anyone saying such a thing to a girl on the other end!)
For me, Tinder was a distraction that I hated. Delete. Re-download. Delete. Then eventually, re-download with that one ultra-outgoing fun friend who said the pointless flirting would make me feel better (not to mention the feminist quotes we’d send to the gross ones.) And we sat on the couch and swiped together for fun, sending pickup lines and other goofy things to unexpecting matches.
Would I download it again? Well, hopefully not, seeing as one of those dates became the boyfriend I’m now living with 🙂
But the point of this all…
Next time, whether the situation is online dating, in-person dating, or any social situation where you’re a little nervous or uncomfortable, just be straightforward. Ask that guy or girl how they’re feeling, what they want to do, where things are going, or anything else you might be stressing or wondering about.
I learned that I’m much happier when I tell people what I mean and I ask them what they mean, exactly. I was done wondering what people wanted, wondering what a text meant, wondering this and that and wallowing in the unknown. You might find it brings you more peace and self-confidence, like it did for me.
P.S. You don’t have to do this all at once, I’m still working on it. But doing something that scares you, even in baby steps, in an achievement by itself 🙂