The third week in January is supposedly the most depressing of the year. The holidays are over, the New Year’s goal burnout is real, and the days are still painfully short. For many, I believe that this really is the hardest week of the year. But for a lot of folks with depression, all the weeks are the hardest. For this community (myself included), dating apps can be a very difficult space, reinforcing negative self image and feelings of inadequacy and isolation. Here are some useful things to remember:
Whether it’s a first date or a reply to a message, there can be the belief that you can engineer the outcome you want - if you could just say the right thing or have the right pic in your profile. In practice, this can look like obsessively writing and rewriting messages before you send them, and sometimes, deciding not to send them at all. The key here is to be confident, which I know is the worst advice possible, but in this case, confidence is valuing the integrity of your words above your match’s reply. In other words, speak your truth without too much revising; if it’s well-received, amazing, if not, you get to move on and speak your truth to the next person.
You followed the advice above and the convo didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Shit. Your first instinct may be to start trying to understand what you did wrong, rewriting the message that caused the problem and going around and around about what you could have done differently. Instead of trying to change the past, live in the present: the convo is what it is and now you get to decide what to do with it. Did you say something offensive and get called on it? Don’t get defensive. Apologize and thank your match for pointing that out to you. Do they need to be called out? Do it kindly, but firmly. Was a message they sent confusing? Ask them about it (hint: we have an intent called CLARIFY for this purpose). In short, respond to the conversation in front of you, not the convo in your imagination.
Our parents’ generation talks about meeting people at bars and social events. Since so many people our age are on apps and going out right now might literally kill us, we’re left with online dating. In my opinion, the thing most sorely missing from dating apps isn’t options for partners or clever one-liners; it’s having your friends around to give an elbow in the ribs to go talk to someone across the room, to cheer you on when it goes well, and to laugh with you when it doesn’t. So find your crew, share your screen, grab a drink, and just have a good time. Odds are, you’ll be more relaxed with your friends and might strike up a conversation with someone you never would have otherwise.
NOTE: I found these things to be helpful in my personal experience - results may vary
Bottom line: online dating can be the worst for anyone, but especially for those with depression. Do what you can to make it bearable, or maybe even fun.