Moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone is both thrilling and scary. Thrilling because of the possibilities that a new beginning might bring, and scary because you don’t yet know if you will eventually manage to build a strong support network and thrive in your new environment.
As a digital native, I have relied heavily on digital technology—more specially dating apps—to meet new people since arriving to Ottawa. Some encounters have proven fruitful, others have proven to be a waste of time. Through my encounters, I have learned that you lose some and you win some. Here are five things I’ve learned from meeting people through social media.
- Be ready to tell your life story a gazillion times
Once you get through the small talk, people will start to ask questions about your personal life online, and again in real life, in an attempt to make conversation. Those, of course, include questions about your decision to trade Toronto, “the best city in Canada”, for good ole’ Ottawa. You will notice after a while that you begin to anticipate and dread those questions every time you chat with someone new. My advice to you: buckle up, answer the damn questions with a smile and quickly change the subject.
- Getting ghosted—and ghosting others—is part of the game
Always err on the side of caution. Don’t get too invested in somebody because as funny and great as you may think they are, they might just cut you off the next day! Don’t take it personal! It’s all part of the game. Whenever you get ghosted, deal with it with finesse and remember what Ariana Grande taught us in 2018: Thank U, Next. If you are having a hard time coping with getting ghosted, I suggest you pick up a copy of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck.
- Show up ready to do all the talking
It’s super easy to come across as a different person online. The person you are chatting with online might seem to be super outgoing, social and talkative… but once you meet them in real life, you realize they are anything but! They have their mouth zipped shut and you can’t seem to get more than a few words out of them. But don’t fret! If you want to get up and leave, I understand. After all, your time is a precious commodity. If you don’t want to be rude, especially if like me, you are gay and acknowledge that all gays are somehow connected, be a class act and stay an hour or so. Remember you are a star and they came out to see you. After a few times, you will realize that talking to a wall can count as an opportunity to sharpen your social skills.
- Make sure your intentions are known
People use social apps for different reasons and the most common one is to find a relationship. I find it important to make your intentions known from the get-go to avoid any compromising situation. It has happened that other people have gotten the impression that I wanted more than friendship from them simply on the basis that we met on a dating app—and needless to say, things between us got awkward. So be upfront! it’s going to save you a lot of time down the road!
- Don’t get lost in the shuffle
If you are serious about making lasting relationships, you have to learn to take the initiative. You have to remember that meeting someone online is less organic than say, befriending your classmate who you see a few times a week at school. After the initial encounter, decide if you would like to see them again and if you two are a good fit. If yes, make it known by sending a text telling them you had a good time and would like to hang out again. Or add them on Instagram so you can keep up with them. Don’t wait too long to reach out, the train might leave the station without you.
If you too have used social media to meet new people, tell me about your experience. 🙂