“Times are changing. You should be more proactive.” So were the ‘encouraging’ words of my sister and some friends who were convincing and prodding me to try online dating. I know, I know. It’s like that scene in a movie where your best friend or your sister opens a profile for you without your knowledge because they’re starting to worry about you and your zero dating life. It never occurred to me to even welcome the idea, because, as my best friend correctly put it, “You’re the hopeless romantic. I know you’re waiting on that random encounter where you meet a person somewhere or was introduced through someone.” And I am. She knows me too well.
So, online dating. Have you all tried this before?
To be honest, I probably have more fears and hesitations about this than I have with blind dates because when you put yourself out there with readily accessed information, people tend to take it at face value. You don’t have a chance to “defend yourself”, so to speak, from their pre-conceived notions about you, as opposed to them meeting you personally and not knowing anything yet until you finally start to divulge information through conversation. Here, it’s sort of a self-advertisement, open to all interpretation, come one come all market. That’s how online dating to me feels like. You have to promote yourself so that you will be ‘appealing’ or attractive enough for the person to send you a wink, a like, a message. Even as you post information that you think is important for people to know, others may feel like it’s giving too much, or others may feel that in a paragraph or two they have encapsulated everything about you.
Then again, sometimes, the more honest and open you are, the more drawn people are to you and the more they would want to know about you. That’s always a possibility.
I left Manila with these lingering thoughts, all the way until I was at the airport. My flight was delayed for about 30 minutes but I was early at the airport and had more than enough time to chill and wait for my flight. With the flight delays looming over everyone, with the voices over the speakers and the baby crying behind me, the only noise that really filled my head the whole time I was at the airport were these nagging thought: should I open myself to online dating? Won’t it be risky? Will it get me anywhere? Isn’t this a lack of faith?
So I prayed. I told God my worries, and what it might mean for me if I did this –as if God doesn’t already know. I asked if it even was right that I do this. And He made me remember my mom.
My mom was the first person I went for advice. Why? Because she herself met my step dad through a Christian online dating site. As expected, my mom’s advice was one of encouragement. “Just try it out.”
I know this doesn’t really make me less faithful by trying it out, but I still have some reservations. If I did open a profile, do I take an active “search”, be the one to ask guys and initiate? Or do I wait to be searched? How does this work anyway?
“By doing it, you are taking a step of faith. God can use it; He’s the Author of Christian love story. His ways can be unconventional. You both search, you get matches and nothing happens until you open a match. You have lots of control. God remains in control if you let Him.”
The last bit of line my mom said was probably the one reason for my reservations , that of control. And it is the opposite in this situation. See, I have always been the type of person to control things around me. I’m very controlling in the sense that I do what I know I can do and the things I don’t have control over –I give the reins to God. In this instance, it feels like “I’m controlling how I want my love life to come out.” It feels that way. As my best friend put it, I am the type of person to wait patiently for random encounters –because in the past, it has worked for me. I’ve met people by accident, met people on random encounters and dated some, and because it was unexpected and beyond my control, it thrilled and entertained me. You never know what you’re going to get, or you never know who you’re going to meet. As much as possible, I leave the dating scene to God. What comes, comes. If it were up to me all these years, I probably would have already found a boyfriend –given the many available men I’ve encountered in the past years. I would also probably have taken a more “active” stance. But I’ve always just left it to God, literally. I don’t go on actively searching for someone. Friends repeatedly ask why I’m still single and I give the plainest answer possible: I don’t get to meet people. I don’t go out intentionally to meet men. I tend to be very passive about it, the wait-it-out kind of situation. If people were to introduce someone to me, I probably would go because it was initiated by somebody else. See the pattern? That’s always been me.
Now as for online dating…it puts me out there. *gulp* It gets me “searchable”. It helps me become “available.” And there are still a lot of random encounters over the net. I probably should just take my time with it, see how it goes, pray that I’m of the right mind about this, and just trust God. Who knows? I might actually meet somebody for real. And my mom might be right. It could be me taking a step of faith, even just a small one. It may not mean that I’m showing God I trust him less. In fact, it could even be the opposite.
I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens. *nervous laugh*