Love is now something we think we can buy in the app store. I’m slowly forgetting what life was like without an iPhone. Not only has the world changed, but our entire mentality as human beings has surely become mechanical.
We’ve trained our brains to filter, making us all spoiled. We think we deserve the best of the best because the world is literally at our fingertips. If you’re a single gay guy looking to date, you can find it without using Grindr, Tinder or any other dating app. All you need to do is remind yourself how to connect with your intuitive self, rather than a machine to do it all for you.
I’m not saying all dating apps are bad, but for those of you looking for a change, here are some things to consider:
We tend to look at ourselves as batteries before human beings, with real feelings, emotions and thoughts. We allow our iPads, iPods or iPhones to be human for us by letting it dictate how we should think and feel. But if we take our earbuds out and put our phones away, we slowly begin the process of unplugging.
It doesn’t matter where you are—the park, Disneyland or a beach—if you’re stuck inside an app, that is where you are. You aren’t present. People will never want to talk to you if you’re preoccupied doing things on a machine. Reintroduce yourself to the world, it’s a lot more lucrative than Pokemon Go.
Limit the buffet selection.
One of the biggest problems with hookup apps is they give us a huge selection of guys. How is this a bad thing? Well, real life isn’t like that unless you’re Scarlett O’Hara (a fictional character). There are a lot of guys on the Grindr menu, but I guarantee you a very small percentage of them are compatible for you long term. Let’s face it, the majority of Grindr users are looking for short term comforts.
We have a gigantic pool of men at our fingertips. This makes us think we’re special, or that we can always “do better.” It tricks us into believing there is another man to choose from: if the one we have doesn’t meet our standards, we can find another no problem. As a result, we’ve forgotten how to connect.
Limit the possibilities of the men you choose from (let this be an exercise). When you have fewer selections, you will undoubtedly take dating more seriously. You will give more of yourself because the stakes are higher, rather than half-assing new men in your life due to the fact that there are plenty more stashed away in an inbox. It forces you to filter away the duds and focus only on attributes that make him special–shirtless torso aside.
Allow yourself to go unedited in real life.
I love autocorrect most of the time, except when I type megatron to my little nephew and end up sending him “masturbation.” For many gay guys on dating apps, we have depended on mental autocorrection to brighten our image, rather than allowing our true selves to show. We’re used to hiding behind a phone, a tag line, an “lol,” that we’re almost scared to talk to someone face to face, unedited and uncensored.
When you’re going about your daily routine, don’t worry about editing yourself. Don’t try to emulate your social media profile, terrified you won’t live up to the image you’ve created for yourself. Be a real human! Life shouldn’t be over-edited.
No one wants to be around a guy who is always trying to be perfect–it’s exhausting. The best thing about being real is that we all can relate. We’re at our most vulnerable when we allow ourselves to just BE. It gives the world permission to do the same.
Stop being afraid of change.
Life evolves as we grow. You should be happy you’re growing! Things, people, jobs, romance, they all change as we enter new phases. If we’re hesitant to let go, we become sad and depressed. Eventually our sadness turns to bitterness and resentment, which is palpable by everyone around us.
Finding dates through an app turns habitual over time. In a way, unplugging ourselves from it is changing our nature. Society is used to dealing with things via text message, email, posting. It’s part of culture, which therein becomes part of our social nature (unfortunately). Don’t be afraid to change your habits, it’s not as hard as you think. Most importantly, don’t be afraid of changing your circumstances in life–things come and go. Stop gripping.
Be your own Prince Charming.
The man we fall in love with ought to be a reflection of ourselves. Too often I run into single gay guys who claim to be looking for someone they can’t recognize. Their dream man is an image, an idealistic stimulation of what they think a “perfect boyfriend” is; anyone who doesn’t meet that standard is overlooked, or worse, not even given a chance.
We’re used to judging a man based on 2-dimensional photos. Unfortunately, we have transferred this way of thinking to reality. We judge on the outside, we make assumptions based on his job, the kind of music he likes, what kind of dog he has—please! None of these are accurate ways of knowing a man’s heart.
I always say if you want to find the perfect man, BE the perfect man first. You’ll learn it’s impossible to be perfect because it doesn’t exist! Instead of being perfect, try and be authentic—that’s a quality seldom looked for in the dating world.
When you know who you are, you will welcome other authentic people to your life, henceforth make genuine connections. Be the man you want your future boyfriend to be: honest, truthful, authentic and full of goodness.
Mix your friend circles.
I remember being a freshman in college, terrified to mix my “home” friends from my “school” friends—would they like each other? Will I get jealous if one of them gets close? At this point in our lives, however, we need to forget this schoolgirl train of thought and say, f*ck it. Mixing our circle of friends every so often is never a bad thing.
Not only do we welcome the idea of friends bringing new people into our lives, but it also gives new people a chance to say to us, “Huh… I have a friend who would be perfect for you. Want me to connect you?” Keep in mind, this is how people dated before smart phones—it’s a good thing!
We’re still boys at heart.
At the end of the day, we’re all still learning how to grow up. The whole “adult” routine is something we teach ourselves, and more often than not we fail each and every day. If you think about it, trying to pretend like you have your sh*t together is actually intimidating. When you lead with that, everyone will feel pressure to do the same.
Showing your flaws is not only liberating, but is tremendously powerful. It makes people feel relaxed around you, like they can be themselves without trying to put up a front.
Somewhere deep inside us all is a child that never grew up… talk to him. Inspire the world to unleash childlike wonder by allowing yours to shine. This is the key to compatibility, and an app is not required.