Table for One
I always admire people who eat at restaurants alone. Like what’s their story? I’m a single independent woman but would never have enough guts to eat at a sit-down restaurant all alone surrounded by couples and friend groups. Being single is something I am reminded of on a daily basis. I’m a 32-year old, somewhat successful, pretty normal, funny, attractive woman, what’s the deal??
To be honest being single wasn’t really something that I was all that concerned about until I turned 30. I spent my twenties focusing on my career and friends and not really caring much that I was single. The majority of my friends were also single and I always believed that God would bring my Mr. Right along at the perfect time. Now that I’m 32, and still very much single, it seems that I’m reminded on a minute-by-minute basis that I am alone with no prospects on the horizon. The number of single friends I have is getting smaller and smaller and the pressure from society, friends and family is getting greater and greater.
I guess it doesn’t help that I live in a city that has actually been named as one of the worst cities in the county to date, specifically for single women. Last year I looked past the dismal rankings and did some online dating. I figured I needed to put myself out there in some way if I was going to meet someone because I wasn’t really hanging out in many bars, there were absolutely zero prospects at work and well, it was 2017, meeting people online was the norm. While I didn’t necessarily get a boyfriend out of the experience, I learned so much about myself in the process!
I had joined some free swipe-based sites (which were depressing) but decided to try a paid-app because I figured if people were paying for it, they were taking the process more seriously and actually looking for a relationship (which I found wasn’t necessarily the case).
Online dating is tough. You judge people and are judged based on appearances and on what is written in a few short sentences (I’m convinced most men don’t even read at all). A message is sent and then a text conversation starts where the pressure to be witty, flirty and answer the questions the exact right way at the exact right time commences. While I didn’t respond to probably 75% of the messages I received, I put myself out there and went on 6 dates over the course of six months.
Here are some things I learned during my online dating journey
Have an Open Mind: I tried to have an open mind during the whole online dating process. People always called me too picky, but so what if I was? I went on dates with a guy who was 23 and another one who was 43, and all ages in between. I didn’t want age to dictate who I might have a real connection with. With that being said, I didn’t have conversations with every single guy who reached out to me. You could argue and say well how would you know if you don’t give the person a chance… but let’s be honest… sometimes you just know!
Take Chances: This goes along with being open minded, but I think the more types of guys you go on dates with, the more you’re able to learn about yourself and what you’re attracted to. You can’t tell from a photo or via text messaging if there’s chemistry between two people, so don’t write off someone immediately just because he’s not “perfect.”
Be True to Yourself: I really wanted to be true to myself before agreeing to go on a date with any guy. I made a point to only pursue conversations with guys who I could see dating. If I wasn’t at all attracted to a guy, I wouldn’t answer him. That might sound harsh but, I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I led someone on knowing it wasn’t going to work out just to get a free meal out of it. For me it was more about quality than quantity.
No one knows you better than yourself. As a 32-year old I obviously have a list of dealbreakers in a potential mate. The number one thing on this list for me is that whomever I date has a personal relationship with the Lord. Other things include being taller than me (I’m 5’8), have a job and can make me laugh. If you know of anyone... feel free to send them my way ;)
You'll Definitely Deal With Weirdos:While I didn’t go out with any weirdos necessarily, I definitely received many, many odd messages. I tried not to get creeped out and just took them with a grain of salt by not replying to them. I did have to block a few really persistent guys who just couldn’t handle rejection and became uncomfortably aggressive. The site that I joined allowed men from the entire country to contact me, so that at times was a bit overwhelming. I did my best to ignore the weirdos and not get discouraged when it felt like I was only attracting them.
Don’t Get Discouraged: Online dating is a process. Don’t get discouraged or feel down about yourself if you don’t land a date the first day! I went into the whole experience with low expectations probably to protect myself from getting hurt or let down when I didn’t find a man.
Of all the dates I went on during the six months, none were awful, and only one led to a second date. Each date taught me something about myself and definitely helped me realize what I was looking for in a future mate. While I didn’t find a boyfriend, I’m so glad I opened myself up to the concept of dating. I grew as a person, gained more confidence and realized I valued myself enough not to just fall for anyone. The most important thing I learned through my online dating experience was that I wasn’t going to settle on qualities and characteristics I was looking for in my future husband. I haven’t waited 32 years of my life just to throw it all down the drain to the first man who showed me any attention.
While I wait for the Lord to bring “Mr. Right” I’m focusing on living my life to the fullest and embracing my singleness. I'm taking a little break from online dating and focusing on me. I’ll never get this stage of life back so enjoying it instead of putting my life on hold until I have a boyfriend is a much better way to live! Maybe I’ll work up enough the courage to ask for a Table for One… some day.