What Online Dating Has Taught Me about Rejection.

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Today, we are currently living in the world of technology. Times are changing and so are the methods of people. We have moved from seeing the spouse’s face after marriage to going on dates during the courtship period. Now, we are at the juncture of new trend going around, termed as Online Dating. Netflix and Chill anyone?

How does Online Dating work?
For the uninitiated, online dating has been a rage for some time now. New people meeting and getting to know each other, experiencing the thrill of dating. The only catch, all this happens in a remote chat room or on an application online. In these chatrooms, girls and boys meet each other figuratively and chat for hours and hours. Find out details about each other’s personal lives and proceed with their relationships. It all sounds very rosy and sweet until we look at the other side of the coin as well. This other side is what we call the rejection. Living an adult life comes with the harsh reality of facing rejection offline and online.

Rejection is hard enough when done face to face but in the online spectrum, it takes a different angle altogether. In the online community, being rejected by someone hits the person hard as there are several factors that play alongside it. As shared by a person who dated online, “It hurts when someone who hasn’t even met you once, dumps you.” Rejecting a person before even meeting and deciding that person is not suitable, is something which is taking a toll on the self-esteem and respect of people nowadays.

How does someone decide whether to accept a person or reject them online?
By meeting them, knowing them and then judging. But online dating has opened a gray area, where a person is mainly judged on how they look in their photos. All of us have heard the saying that never judge a book by its cover. But that is exactly what all of us are doing. Swiping left on a person’s profile just because the photo isn’t aesthetic enough or not pleasing to the eye. Or maybe swiping right, chatting with that person but not liking their way of messaging, or how they converse in English. This is what we do without realizing how this affects another person.

The online dating applications are made in such a way as to make a participants focus on the physical features first, such as the weight of person, their height, the kind of clothes they wear or even where the pictures are taken. Sadly, internal attributes such as a person’s nature, their attitude, and qualities take a back seat which can only be brought forward if the other party judges the profile positively first. How shallow can we become as to judge someone based on whether they wear Indian traditional clothes or western ones?

How does online rejection affect people?
In a time, where emotional struggles and pressures are at a all time high, adding this physical judgement can seriously trigger a person or push them over the edge. Rejection is something that all of must face at some point in our life. But this kind of rejection, for such inconsiderate reasons makes coping extremely tough and unbearable for the youth.
On one side, musical bands such as Korean pop group BTS are trying to spread the message of self-love and acceptance but on the other, we have online dating and its negative effects on a person’s life. Meeting someone online and dating them isn’t bad or wrong. The whole process is an experience in itself.
Making a profile, adding attractive pictures and writing up a bio to interest the other person. But what hurts after that is when you don’t receive any messages or so called ‘matches’. Or your profile matches with one. You start the bittersweet journey of getting to know each other but slowly it starts to fade away.

These kind of actions tend to hit right at a person’s self-respect.
Self-depreciating thoughts start to take over your mind. Maybe I am not good enough, I might not be good looking, am I lacking in some way and whatnot. Once the seed of negativity is sown, even if unintentionally, it is very difficult to bounce back from there. It transforms into a downward spiral which can seriously harm a person.
There are innumerable stories available to us highlighting how tough people find it to take rejection online. One such story is mine. I have personally experienced how an exciting thing like looking for a partner online can turn into a harrowing one when people only match with you to comment on your body structure or how you cannot be considered attractive.
Or you might get lucky and find a good catch, have fun conversing for some time but again so back to step one when one day, the messages suddenly stop. You are forced to think, what went wrong? You go back and read the chats again. Only to conclude that maybe the person got bored or found a better one.

No matter what the reason, you always end up questioning yourself. Groveling in self-depreciating thoughts and working yourself up unnecessarily. And these thoughts affect the person’s other activities as well. What I have learnt from my own and other people’s experiences is that for us to deal with online rejection in a better way, we have got to first learn to love ourselves and have the kind of self-confidence, that cannot be shaken easily.
I know it’s hard, but we have got to take that first step. Again, as the boy band BTS’s lyrics go, “I’m the one I should love in this world.” Loving someone else, starts with loving myself. Accepting someone else as a partner comes only after we learn to accept ourselves as we are first, not doubting ourselves and living while loving our own selves.

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