I Thought Internet Dating Was Weird Until I Realized I Met All of My Friends on Instagram

Monday, May 20, 2019

Raphaela and Mike sat across from me, all of us downing our various versions of a "healthy" salad. Mine included a side of fries. Before dinner, I conquered the Goodwill Outlet for the very first time with their help.

Just a little over a year ago, another thrifter from Pittsburgh introduced me on Instagram to Raphaela who was soon moving to the city.  We chatted a few times before officially meeting at a local thrifters gathering. From there, Raphaela dragged Mike to my 30th birthday party and I effectively forced them to be my friends.  The two of them became the first "dinner" guests I hosted in my new apartment - I made a frozen pizza with a side of potato chips.  Without Instagram, our paths never would have crossed.

As I slathered a cucumber in Eat 'n Park's Homemade Ranch dressing, Raphaela asked me if I was sure there was enough dressing on my plate.  Mike started to interrogate the motives of the guy I'd gone on a few dates with.  I was dissecting the guy I met online with the friends I met online.


It started as a joke.  Within the space of an hour I downloaded and made profiles on Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, and Tinder.  I screenshot the bare chested lads on horseback and sent them to my Reseller Water Cooler girls for a laugh.  Three hours later, I closed every single profile and deleted the apps feeling utterly defeated by the sheer volume and intensity I found.

Internet dating felt too complicated.  Based on a picture and a couple lines (if provided) summing up a person, I was supposed to judge them and determine whether or not I wanted to talk to them.  From there, if matched, "talking" meant texting through an app.  How do you get a sense of someone's personality from a text message?  Can there be a spark through a text message? How do you share parts of yourself with someone you never met in person?  Most importantly, how do you know this person isn't a serial killer?

It wasn't going to happen for me, I told myself.  This internet dating game was for youngsters and I was far too old to be dodging dudes looking for hookups. Was it really possible to meet my person through my phone? Obviously, dating online works out for people or it wouldn't be around. I just wasn't sure I could be that open.

Texting Kristen for the 4 millionth time in a day, I placed my phone on my desk and leaned my head back into my chair feeling grateful for our friendship.  I tell her everything, nothing is off limits...and I met her through Instagram.  I saw her and Bryan at PoshFest 2018 after having followed them on Instagram and thinking they were funny, I approached them.  And it worked out. They could have been awful rotten people with fake photos and captions, but I wouldn't know for sure if I didn't give it a chance.  I shot up out of my chair and realized everything I was afraid of doing...I was kind of already sort of doing.

I've already met my people and they all entered my life through an app on my phone.  They supported me through the craziest 6 months of my life. I became friends with them not because of how great their pictures looked or how carefully crafted their captions were, but because I was willing to lean in and trust. If I wasn't open to starting friendships with these people through text, my reselling business wouldn't be as strong as it is because I would have missed out on some really great advice. I wouldn't be a apart of a podcast.

So I tried again with an open mind.  I chose Bumble and matched with a few guys and, after a few back and forths, agreed to a date with one of them.  In our Reseller Water Cooler group chat, I sent my location in the event I wound up missing.  They sent back X Rated advice in return.

As I got out of the car, I checked my phone.  Lindsay, an Internet pal I will meet for the first time in October, text me and wished me good luck. I told her I was nervous.  I rounded the corner and opened the door to the restaurant and unleashed Single Jen unto the Internet Dating World.

Buckle up, Internet Friends.


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