What really happens when you skip the small talk on dating apps

I became the psycho girl I never wanted to be


Dating apps can be terrifying – you are expected to get to know someone, maybe close enough to date or maybe just close enough for a rendezvous (whatever’s your style), with no sarcasm font and no body language. Saying the right thing becomes incredibly important when words are all you have. With only one weapon in the arsenal, dating apps like Bumble and Tinder turn up the pressure and become much more of a chore than a diversion. On top of that, modern dating comes with the unspoken rule that you can’t speak about the fact you are dating, or getting in the realm of dating, or even romantically interested. There is a big fear, one that I definitely feel, that one misstep into too-close-too-personal territory will lead to embarrassing rejection.

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The fear of taking the conversation too far can keep you from having one at all. But how do you conquer that fear? Go all in. What’s the worst that could happen?

No “where are you from?” No “what was your major?” None of that. I was going to go through a week of matches asking the potential suitors only taboo questions. By asking all the probing queries that we avoid in that initial encounter, I was preparing myself for the biggest backlash, the most dramatic “whoa, who do you think you are—we just met!”

Many guys did what I expected them to do: saw my profile, said yes, got one look at my intensity and bounced.

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Alright, fair enough.

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No thoughts?

But just when I was gearing up for the dreaded moment of rejection I was waiting for—awkward response or utter mockery—things took a turn for the irritating. About 80% of the guys just rolled with it.

Let’s get down to business.

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This guy continued to follow up with me.

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They just didn’t shy away

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One suitor in particular really kicked my little experiment up a notch.

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There was no question I asked that didn’t eventually lead to a conversation with someone. My biggest fear in dating turned out to be a total dud. I have heard all the sitcoms where the guys laugh with one another about how the girls in their lives are “totally crazy.”

“Man, we went out to dinner like three times and now she thinks we’re dating? Totally crazy.”

“We’ve been hooking up for like four months and got jealous when she saw Tinder on my phone. What a psycho.”

Turns out that the “crazy, totally not my girlfriend” stereotype is more of a big talk with the bros trope than an actual element of dating from which we should all protect ourselves. Ladies, maybe we aren’t the desperate ones.

So I wasn’t able to get a rise out of these guys in order to face my fear of dating app rejection, but I learned that many guys are looking to like the people they connect with and that saying the “wrong thing” isn’t always so bad.