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Dating - Creating a Genuine Connection in a Digital World

Maia Williamson

In a world where social media and online apps have taken over, the landscape of the 'dreaded D word' has begun to transform.

Couple Holding Hands
Taken January 10, 2016 - Creative Commons License Photo taken by Crew Crew https://unsplash.com/photos/xCmvrpzctaQ Image

Initiating, maintaining and navigating relationships in a digitally-dominated generation is becoming increasingly challenging. With apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge becoming replacements to organically connecting, the authenticity of an emotional connection can be hard to find. The potential for healthy relationships has not vanished from our society, yet education regarding how to approach this is more and more necessary.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t tried using the likes of Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. Admittedly, for some, these prove a success. I know soulmates that have connected via these apps. For me, I have unfortunately not had the same success.

It’s really easy to present an elevated and inauthentic version of yourself in the form of a profile. Presenting yourself as a seductive proposition, then hardly having to do more than send a couple of messages makes for a false sense of ‘getting to know someone’. There is beauty within the beginnings of a relationship - the first date packed with awkward silences, the hesitance that comes before having your first kiss, the nerves associated with meeting their friends… Those organic and authentic moments of connecting with somebody without the blanket of the elevated version of yourself is what I think makes dating most special. Moments like these are not lost with a digitally-dominated world, but they definitely require more effort to establish. 

Online apps offer so many options, it can often represent the idea that high numbers = success. Having plenty of matches and thus sparking multiple conversations can then be seen as the goal. Whilst being open to getting to know a wide range of people is commendable and healthy, it’s easily mistaken as a fleeting sense of gratification associated with quantity. The lines become blurred between ego satisfaction, and actual fulfillment.

Again, genuine connections in our society are not gone. It’s just essential to be mindful about how we approach things. Given that I’m single, my opinion can’t mean much… but I made sure to do some thorough research! A detailed article by Forbes (Perkins, 2024) had multiple instructions on...

What are important things to focus on doing if you are dating online to ensure that you can still genuinely connect? 

It’s essential to move beyond the superficial. While it’s nice to hear how nice you look, this is next to nothing in terms of a genuine connection. Admittedly, initial physical attraction can play a part in the beginning of a connection, but naturally progressing this to deeper conversation is important. 

Another that can help is using the medium as a conduit. If you hit it off, it can be recommended to shift to another platform to connect. Even better, organize a time for a date, and use that space to properly explore and connect. Staying on the app keeps you in the fabricated space, there is more room for authenticity elsewhere. 

Probably the most important one is remembering to stay authentic. Be transparent about who you are - the good and the bad. Falling into the trap of painting a perfect picture of yourself is easy to do online, but doesn’t make inroads at genuinely connecting with someone. With authenticity, operate with intention. Utilize your time and energy wisely, investing it in somebody you actually enjoy or see some type of potential with. 

Although dating shouldn’t be considered a necessity, the idea of having a romantic partner is typically lingering in this part of life. While the increasingly dominant presence of the digital world runs rampant, it does not negate the potential for genuine connections. It is well possible to navigate the digital landscape effectively - move beyond surface-level engagements and embrace your authenticity. 



Perkins, K (April 4, 2024). How to Bring Value Vs Connect Followers. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathymillerperkins/2024/04/03/how-to-reclaim-genuine-connections-in-a-digital-world/