From chocolates and bouquets to curated one-liners and swipe-worthy profile pictures, we have witnessed a romance revolution. Here’s listing some of the best (and worst) of online dating as told to us by the designers and users of dating apps
From ‘Wanted: A pretty and pious girl with a good job and unrivalled family values’ to ‘Wanted: A good-looking girl who shares my revulsion for pineapple pizza and appreciation for Bob Marley’—India is awakening to the possibility of finding a date before you find your soulmate. “Indian millennials demand a dating app that helps them find the ‘right’ partner on their own terms, so they can enjoy a compatible and healthy relationship,” explains Melissa Hobley, Global CMO, OkCupid. So, we spoke to users of various dating apps who’ve shared with us their stories of romance in the digital age.
The accidental friendship
Shefali Yadav* (name changed), who joined Tinder in 2019, took the road less travelled by embarking on a five-day vacation to Goa, with a Tinder match that she had known—via phone texts and occasional calls—for just over two months. Recalling the questions that went through her mind, she tells us, “I did wonder: Am I the type of person to go on a vacation with a stranger? Should I be scared of this? I did carry an army knife with me throughout, but the fear withered away as soon as I met him.” Reflecting on everything that could’ve gone wrong with this first date, she says, “I could’ve been potentially trapped with a person I didn’t get along with.” Crediting the dating app for allowing her to connect with a complete stranger, she adds, “Today, he is one of my closest friends with whom I share secrets that, sometimes, I’m unable to tell the people around me.”
The unsuitable boy
Mekhla Joshi* (name changed) matched with a guy on Bumble who fit the quintessential requirements of ‘funny and nice’. Turns out, he was anything but. Joshi shares, “We agreed to meet for an early dinner (6 pm) one evening, since I was practising intermittent fasting at the time.” However, an unforeseen work emergency for Joshi caused a delay and things went downhill from there. Says Joshi, “He did not wish to postpone the date so I asked him to pick a place he likes because I was done eating for the day, to which he stated, ‘Wow, suddenly you seem so unattractive!’.” Having felt disrespected, she suggested that they cancel their date if he feels that way. After he apologised profusely, she finally agreed to meet him. But little changed as the conversation was centred on her eating habits: “What will you do working out and building muscle? Just eat a burger!” And true to his words, once they arrived at the café, he ordered a burger! The last straw was when he remarked about her appearance, stating, “Your eyebrow lady didn’t do a very good job, did she?” Priding herself on her control, Joshi says, “I have no words to explain the wave of emotions that coursed through my body. The next day, I messaged him saying that while I had a nice time, I couldn’t see this going anywhere, and left it at that.”
So deep in love
Preeti Jadhav met Anirudh Nair* (names changed) on Bumble in June 2018 and their first date was truly one of a kind. What started out as a swim and breakfast turned into four meals, eight beers, a few more laps in the pool and continuous laughter. Jadhav shares, “After I made the first move on Bumble, Anirudh asked me to meet him for a run or a swim. Given that we are both fairly athletic, I was impressed. When you go for a candlelit dinner, you’ve done it so often that it feels rehearsed. But when you are in the water, swimming together, with no make-up and a not-so-attractive swim cap, and still manage to have an amazing time, you know this one is special.” For Nair, their connection was exceptional—with no awkwardness or pretence. He says, “We’ve both dated a fair bit and are comfortable in our skin. We were honest about everything and that’s rare. I felt an instant connection with Preeti. It felt like I’d known her forever.” The couple got married in March 2019.
Love in the digital age
Having been married for three years now, Varun Taneja and Dipti Malhotra’s love story is one for the e-books. Malhotra shares, “I was active on Twitter, Instagram and occasionally on Facebook, and he was that ‘good-looking guy’, [who appeared] on my friends list because of our mutual friends. Our interaction was limited to sporadic likes, double-tapping and starring or retweeting tweets.” Since the two were in committed relationships with their respective partners, they never spoke to each other. However, over time, their relationships did not work out and suddenly, they were both single at the same time. Malhotra says, “I was single and ready to mingle, so I left a comment on his Instagram post and instantly, he slid into my DMs. After a brief chat, we took our conversation to WhatsApp.” A couple of months and some random flirting later, the duo finally met over pizza and beers. After bonding as friends, eventually, they started dating in 2016. “We were all over social media. The following year, we got engaged and finally tied the knot in 2017 on Christmas Eve.”
Truly, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to online dating. But it definitely doesn’t hurt to be a little prepared. Sharing her insight on online dating etiquette, Hobley suggests, “The idea behind online dating is to take it offline eventually. Your pictures as well as the information you provide should be a window to what makes you uniquely awesome.” Of course, you don’t have to undertake this unnerving task all by yourself, as Priti Joshi, Vice President of Strategy, Bumble, suggests, “Sometimes we can be our own worst critics, and our friends (both men and women) can help us see things we might miss. Ask them how they might describe you or [identify] the things about you that stand out the most.”
Even though it’s love at first swipe for some people, don’t be disheartened if it takes you the second, third or the 13th swipe to find your Mr or Ms Right!
While online platforms are a great way to find love and make new friends, there are certain factors one must keep in mind:
- Be careful about sharing your personal information
- Report and/or block any person in case of suspicious or inappropriate behaviour
- Verify the profile of the other person on other social media platforms
- If you’re going out for drinks, don’t leave your glass unattended
- Make sure at least one of your friends is aware of your location at all times