How I Used Tinder to Practice Believing in Myself
“So what do you do?” is one of the first things people tend to ask on dating apps. After all, our work tends to take up a great deal of our life, and many of us hope to have careers that make us feel happy and fulfilled, or at least that don’t suck our souls out.
After months of saying, “I’m in marketing” and “I’m a content manager,” I realized nothing was stopping me from talking about my writing instead of my day job.
“I’m an author and a motivational speaker. I teach people how to overcome trauma.”
Oh, that feels good. That feels really good.
You see, my matches on dating apps don’t know that I’m “just getting started” in my writing career. They don’t know that I sometimes doubt my talents and abilities. They don’t know that I’m scared to be vulnerable and invite criticism from the world.
They see a confident author who is working on amazing projects that are going to change the world — because that’s what I say about myself in my profile.
After two weeks of introducing myself as an author and speaker to my Tinder matches, something incredible happened — I started thinking of myself that way every day.
And the universe keeps tossing affirmation of this fact in my direction.
On dating apps, people are starting conversations with me to ask about my work. I am having real, engaging connections that are positive even if we never sit down to have coffee together.
I did an interview for an article in a magazine that I assumed would run online, but not only was it in print, it was the cover story.
An Instagram follower told me that she was using my book as research in her PhD dissertation.
A friend told me that she noticed my book on her partner’s desk and when she asked about it, he said it was assigned reading for a college class.
Okay, universe, I am getting this memo and I am here for it.
Being in the practice of telling people who I really am on dating apps has helped me show up this way in my daily life.
Imposter syndrome is canceled. This is all me.
Another thing I’ve been able to practice on Tinder and other apps is trusting my gut when it comes to feeling uncomfortable or having my boundaries violated.
Dating can be downright scary. Femme people are at incredible risk of being victimized by intimate partners and dates. So anything that makes me feel uncomfortable or unsafe in an initial conversation, on a first date, or six years into a relationship is fair grounds for closing that chapter and moving on with my life.
And dating apps are a really low stakes place to practice these boundaries.
If a match comes right out with sexual conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, unmatch.
If a match tells you after a first date that he thought you seemed bored and not into it, so he left early, and you find it weird he didn’t think to check in with you about that, unmatch.
If a match criticizes your schedule because it doesn’t line up with his availability, unmatch.
There are over seven billion people on the planet. You do not owe a person extra chances if they make your stomach turn before you even meet.
The power of knowing exactly what I want
I know what I want out of life. I have goals and plans. While I know that the specifics may change, the integrity of who I am and what I want remains stable.
I want to help people with my work, even though my work takes up a lot of my time right now.
And I want romantic partners who aren’t threatened by that.
I know that there are compatible partners for me that will enter my life at the right time. And I also know that if I spend my time being an emotional rehabilitation center for dudes who make me uncomfortable, I’m not operating on the belief that the right matches are on their way.
Thank you, next.