swipe right: meeting people in the internet age

Things just aren’t like they used to be.

While Millennials are out here killing napkins and chain restaurants  and golf, and are living at home because we can’t afford to buy houses thanks to all of our student loan debt avocado toast… It’s hard to miss that the times are a’changin.

One of the biggest changes? In a world where we are bombarded with connectivity – sometimes it seems as if connecting is the hardest part.

So, just as millennials have changed the game on so many tried and trues, we’ve thrown a wrench into how we meet people too. After we were warned all those years, “Never meet someone on the internet,” welcome to 2017 where we meet everyone on the internet. Seriously though, from new gal pals to dog walkers, therapists to significant others – who can’t you meet online these days?

Sorry, Mom. We all know I’ve never been great at heeding advice.

I know the Baby Boomers are shaking their heads at me right now – but MAYBE if you would stop calling us spinsters at 21 and asking if we’re ever going to give you grandchildren things just aren’t the way they used to be. Thanks to having cell phones to bury our noses in, and not to mention our “f*ck politeness” attitude thanks to our love for true crime and fear of getting roofied – meeting people in public has for (for the most part) gone by the wayside. But… Can you blame us?

love the story of how my parents met. Not only because it’s such a hilarious story, but because – deep down, somewhere – it’s kind of wholesome. A tribute to a much simpler time. A great story to tell the grandkids someday.

Picture it with me: the year is 1985 (ish) and there’s a redhead working the counter at the local McDonald’s. A rowdy country boy rolls up and asks her on a date. Legend has it he may or may not have been a little intoxicated, so she told him to come back the next day – and if he did, that she would agree to go on a date with him. Plot twist: They celebrated 27 years of marriage this past September.

Now, I’ve worked my fair share of retail and service jobs, and I’ve been asked on dates by my fair share of over-confident, rowdy, semi-intoxicated males. But, for some reason, I could never find it in me to say yes to them. Just something about that doesn’t strike my fancy, and always left me feeling more than a discouraged with the dating scene.

Sorry, Dad. You’re still pretty cool, I guess.

I don’t have that kind of story because after a few horrible set-ups and first dates, in true millennial style, I took to the internet.

Sure, maybe there were some duds, a few I’m still not entirely convinced aren’t serial killers, and some that made me question whether marrying myself was an actual viable option. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, is that stepping out of your comfort zone is where the greatest possibilities lie.

The one really great thing about being bombarded with connectivity is the chance to meet people you may have never crossed paths with otherwise. I got lucky and found the love of my life with a swipe right, but more than that? I’ve found some of my very best friends online. You know, the kind you can call at 4 AM when the rest of the world is asleep, but you’re hauling ass to the airport for a 6 AM flight.

No one warns you when you graduate college and move away just how stinking hard it is to meet people sometimes. We go from a world where we’re surrounded by people who are relatively close to our age, and likely in a similar stage in life, to awkward hellos in yoga classes and networking events. I don’t know about you, but that’s my personal form of hell.

Cue the things we do best: social media and the internet. Truth in advertising, I met two of my very best friends on twitter – where we all found that we have mutual interests as well as room to learn from each other. Some of my closest friends are the farthest away thanks to the internet – literally coast to coast, sprinkled across the United States from Oregon to New Hampshire, NYC to Texas, and everywhere in between.

The internet can be a black hole full of gut wrenching headlines and political drama, funny memes and arguments over how ‘gif’ is actually pronounced. But, it can also be a breeding ground for some really incredible opportunities.

Don’t be afraid to download that dating app, send that person on twitter you share views with a DM and an invite to coffee, swipe right on that cool girl with the cute dog on Bumble BFF. Just don’t tell strangers your address, share your location with friends, and watch your drink. Be smart and aware of your surroundings, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Maybe you’ll find your soulmate. Maybe you’ll find your best friends in the world.
Or you know, maybe you’ll just find a really intense rabbit hole thread on Reddit.

And let’s be honest. Those are all outstanding options.