This March marks a year of online dating and my search continues. Am I frustrated that 12 months, 3 different sites and countless dates have yet to lead to a substantial relationship? Sure, but looking back, I now realize that I have learned more about myself this past year than I ever thought possible. And some of those countless dates made hilarious next day stories that still bring a smile to my face. So even though I haven’t found the one, I can still appreciate the following benefits of living in the world of online dating:
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1. You are forced out of your comfort zone – talking to strangers takes on a whole new meaning as you find yourself sitting across a blank canvas week after week. Inherently a bit shy, at first I struggled to conquer my nerves and maintain natural conversation. As I continued on, it really did get easier and just last week a first date confirmed that perhaps practice really does make perfect when he offered the following compliment: “Wow, you are really calm.” My inner neurotic smirked inside reveling in the growth that one year has brought upon my dating skills and best of all, my confidence.
2. You meet people that you aren’t used to meeting – before I took the plunge of online dating; I dated the same person over and over. He was always athletic, friendly, somehow connected to my inner circle, oh and most importantly, not for me. Online dating has broadened my experiences to meeting all kinds of people with fascinating interests and lives. And in the process, I am learning my own deal breakers and must have’s that I never even knew existed.
3. You learn to date yourself – somewhere along the past year of dating, I became more comfortable spending time alone, whether it be taking classes, watching movies or exploring hobbies. When the “ I’m the only single person I know” pity party starts to rear it’s misguided head, I simply log on, scan a sea of single faces, and feel instant comfort that I am not alone. And suddenly spending a night by myself doesn’t seem so bad at all.