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Mindful Online Dating Part 2: Lets be honest here…

You’re really going through with this aren’t you? Now you get the shameful experience of downloading a dating app, congratulations. Hot tip – I like to hide my app of choice in the ‘utilities folder’ of my device, so I don’t die a little inside each time I open my phone.

Selling yourself with dignity (jk)

In the last blog we talked about these apps making rejection easier to take because it’s initially not face to face. This is an advantage here, use it. The more honest and accurate you are in your profile, the less time you are going to waste with people that were drawn in by an embellished, filtered facade. Facades always crack and typically in the first five minutes. Do you really want to be that person who looked nothing like their photos? Pictures should be less than a year old, 18 months max and at least attempt to present your current hair colour and facial hair grooming situation. If you’re overweight or bald in real life and not in any of your photos you’re a piece of shit. Anyone superb enough to be reading this is clearly a catch so just be yourself *eye roll*. Keep in mind when curating this sales pitch that who you want to be, is likely not who you are in this moment. We all want growth and development, this keeps us moving forward, but perhaps presently in this incarnation the ‘gym junkie’ tag isn’t that accurate. Be wary of the types of fish you attract with certain lures. Is the person who prioritizes boobs or a six-pack the kind of person you want to date? If not, consider keeping your shirt on, no matter what glorious assets you have stashed away under there.

It’s not a game people

Giving your app to your friends after a few beverages is not kosher. There are people that take this seriously and hopefully you are one of them. That guy with the face tattoos may have thought he hit the jackpot when he matched with you, the crushing silence of your unanswered message may be enough to make him turn that hunting rifle from his profile photo on himself. Worst case scenario! Be conscious of how your actions here can impact on the receiving end. That is a real person on the other side, don’t forget that.

Don’t play nice

No pity dates. If you’re not into it and have no intention of meeting up, don’t waste each others time. Be clear and up front, and if you decide you just want to be friends and share first date horror stories make sure you are on the same page. With that volume there is no time for maybe. I personally think the system is broken, working only with someones photos, bio and messaging banter isn’t enough. Chemistry doesn’t come through on a phone so what we’re stuck with is a numbers game. Do they check basic boxes in terms of age, interests and basic physical requirements and can you exchange mild to moderately stimulating prose? If yes, you meet in person, breathe each other in and see if it adds up. The first date version of a person is likely not an authentic representation but be compassionate toward one another, try to thin out your own ego shell a little while not judging the thickness of theirs. Hair, clothes, muscles and makeup change fast, kind eyes and warm smiles tend to stick around.

TBC in part 3

 

Mindful Online Dating Part 1: the oxymoron of the century?

Online dating has changed everything.  Gone are the glory days of mustering up courage in your butterfly-filled stomach to ask ‘can I buy you a drink’ or ‘is your friend single’. City life has descended into row upon row of coffee shops populated by sullen people sitting alone with headphones in, taking filtered selfies and swiping, and if you aren’t online good fucking luck meeting anyone. What are your options? Talk to strangers like some kind of sociopath? How can we embrace and evolve alongside the march of technological progress without abandoning earnest attempts at self-awareness, mindfulness and compassion?

Y tho?

The first step in joining the dark side is examining your motivation. Remember the ‘right aspiration’ part of the Buddhist eightfold path? What do you hope to get out of this? A spouse and 1.5 children, a free dinner, a post-breakup ego boost, a pen pal to pass the time at your shitty desk job, or the usual 2-4 week fling that fizzles into amnesia? The majority of these are not good reasons and point to some serious self-love and self-confidence deficiencies indicating you are in no position to proceed. The goal of a healthy relationship is two whole and fulfilled people complementing and enhancing the others lives, not two broken pieces scrambling to find their ‘other half’ amongst a sea of busted up shards of damaged goods. Translation: sort your shit out first.

The Rabbit Hole

Let’s make a few things clear, drifting into a vacuous swiping trance where you consume and dispose of humans based solely on their external features is fucked up. This seemingly harmless human fidget spinner is likely cultivating destructive neural pathways and permanently changing the way we relate to our fellow earthlings. Is there a subconscious ego boost you get from rejecting others? The reality here is that those people are not necessarily even an option for you, not in real life, but on that screen in that moment they are. I’ll left swipe a guy for being prettier than me any day, but would I refuse to give him my number if we met at the local dog park? Not likely. The culture of these apps sells a sick fairytale scenario in which prince charming picks through the bevy of distressed and horny damsels glued to their screens craving the dopamine surge of a mutual ‘like’. The more thought I give this, the less confident I am it can be done ethically and consciously, the rest of this series might be short.

Breeding the Keyboard Warriors

“But going up to someone in public is too hard…” be sure to say this sentence in your head with the whiny apathetic tone you know it deserves.  This evolution in courtship has taken face-to-face rejection out of the equation. There is no more “sorry, I have a boyfriend”, “don’t touch what you can’t afford” or whatever other charming jabs these man-children were scarred by in their teenage years and have yet to get over. Yes, a higher proportion of people using online dating are single than in your average bar and ghosting online is far less traumatizing (but also easier to dish out guilt-free) than face-to-face avoidance. This safety net though has produced an ever-increasing gutless demographic in often already xenophobic cities (I’m looking at you Vancouver). Barring mutual friends or some major extenuating circumstance the keyboard warriors flat out will not approach potential partners in real life, a legitimate tragedy. What you see is not what you get with hardened online daters and they typically vanish back down the warm, cozy rabbit hole at the first sign of a challenge.

Still Keen?

So you still want to plunge into the depths of swiping hell? A lifestyle riddled with thumb cramps, blue light-induced headaches and chronic low cell battery warnings. Can you do this without degrading into an ego-centric piece of shit? I couldn’t, but if you have faith let’s proceed…

TBC in part 2

Time to Let Them Go

Even the most positive changes can be scary.  Scary for you, and also scary for those you bonded with over mutual flaws. Misery loves company.  Misery wants you to come out for a cigarette and a bitchy gossip session, maybe some negative self-talk while you are at it. Misery doesn’t like being left behind in a cycle of suffering while you sail off into the sunset.

When you take the plunge, quit the job you hated, start a regular positive habit, give up binge drinking, whatever it is, you are demonstrating strength, control and capture of your own potential. Bad habits are hard to break and comfort is hard to leave, particularly if anyone is pulling you back.  Seeing real, tangible changes in you is a direct threat to the story these people tell themselves.  Suddenly their excuses are not valid.  If you can do it, they can do it and that scares the shit out of them. There is a chance the girl you spent the past two years whining about your evil boss with at the reception desk will be less than amped up about your new lease on life.  On the other hand, you might light her fire and end up in the same yoga class in Costa Rica six months later!

When is it time to pull back from someone? Any resistance to positive changes or inability to ‘be happy for you’ should be a red flag.  If your happiness causes distress, irritation, jealousy or sadness in anyone around you that can truly stunt your growth.  Wistful desire for ‘the old you’  or constant recollections from a past you are no longer proud of and no longer represents you is disabling. Anyone who dwells solely and stubbornly in your past is unlikely to contribute positively to your future.

Friendships come and go, so do romantic relationships and sometimes family bonds. You can lead by example but you cant hold hands that do not want to be held. If you let them go the right ones will always come back to you as the old saying goes. For you though, there is now potential to supercharge your life by infusing it with people who set the bar higher.  Something happens when you take control and change.  Your vibration changes, your frequency changes and you start to attract and lock in with people existing on those planes. That stagnant, toxic space and the people that are happy to stay there are no longer yours or for you.

Buddhism for Road Rage and Rejection (and assholes)

Patience, tolerance, love and compassion for all beings. Is there anything more difficult? Setting aside the extremes of human atrocities which I cannot fathom having love for, how do we apply these to the daily irritants of our modern western lives?
The girl looking at her phone and driving too fast, the relationship that promised the world and let you down or just the classic asshole. I understand I am not an instrument of karma, it is not my right to judge or punish other beings. Where is the line though? Where do we sit between accepting all others with unconditional love, versus making the world a better place by refusing behaviour destructive to the greater good?
Compassion I can handle. The girl might be rushing and texting because she is late for an exam because her dog just died! I can fathom that possibility, I can tolerate that and sell myself that story. If she flattens a toddler at the next crossing though, I’m going to wish I honked at her!
Loving someone who rejects you, is not what your ego wants. Your ego wants to kick and scream and shout names and make excuses. This may just be suffering we need to take on and allow to shape us. We won’t always get answers here and we may need to sit with not knowing. Choosing to forgive and choosing to allow yourself to be hurt again can seem too close for comfort here.
As for the assholes, I do believe offering love towards those you dislike is a strong practice that can yield some genuine changes in relationships and behaviour. I have tried this and I have faith in this, but as with anything there is no one hundred percent success rate. There will be pain in having your unconditional love rejected, particularly if you feel that person may not be the most worthy to begin with. People who reject love though, now that is another level of suffering.

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