Dating and Disconnected in Tel Aviv

in Life, Culture & Sports

“I think we’re ready for the next step,” he says. “What’s your Facebook?”

I immediately feel vulnerable and insecure. I think to myself, why does he want my Facebook? So he can see all my pictures, my friends, my personal posts, my everything? I’m not ready for that. I’ve only just swiped him right on Tinder.

Photo Credit: Pexels

For those with the pleasure of being unfamiliar with Tinder, it’s a popular online dating app where a picture is displayed, and you can swipe left for a no, and right for a yes. Tinder is known to be quite superficial, as swiping is dependent on looks, how many gym selfies you have, or if you’re holding a guitar or puppy in your profile picture. For every 50 guys I see, there is about 7% acceptance rate. For that 7%, there is about a 0.1% chance anything will result.

My friend made fun of me. A Tinder extraordinaire herself, she said that of course Facebook is the next step, and it means that I can stalk his everything too.

It was then I realized why this next step to Facebook caused me such feelings of discomfort and insecurity. It’s because I don’t want to be judged by who I am on Facebook. And I don’t intend to judge anyone else either. I am not my Facebook profile. Neither are you. I am not my online presence. Neither are you.

Why must we go through layers of social networks just to get social? Why do we feel the need to collect information undercover instead of face to face? How can we be so connected to the world, yet so disconnected from each other? How can I meet someone who wants to get to know the real me, and not just my profile basics?

It’s exhausting to be thought of as a profile instead of a person. It’s easy to stay behind a screen. As singles, we just want to protect our hearts from past pains and fears. The challenge is that most people seem to live in an online fantasy world where it’s getting increasingly difficult to stay connected to reality. Our current dating culture consists of individuals who no longer know how to care, to connect, to communicate.

I ended up giving that guy my direct phone number. I haven’t heard from him yet – not even one smiley face emoji.

Don’t get me wrong. Online dating applications are an amazing way to connect. I know dozens of couples who are on the path to ‘happily ever after’ thanks to one right swipe – and a strong desire to genuinely connect. While technology is an incredible connection tool,  it’s still up to us as people to be open, be kind and be real – with ourselves and each other.
And so I leave you, and myself, with this reminder. Every swipe is a human. There is always another person on the other side of the screen. May we release the false assumptions and fantasies we build in our minds. May we let go of the need to peruse profiles and play games. May we show respect for one another on a human to human level. May we use online to connect offline, and feel a genuine sense of curiosity about each other. Love, kids and marriage can wait. First, let’s take the next step. Coffee?

Based in the startup city of Tel Aviv, Zo Flamenbaum is a writer and social entrepreneur who dedicates her time to mission-driven projects that empower connection between the many diverse layers of our world. In 2014, she founded School of Shine as a value-based educational space for women who are tired of the ‘default life’ and crave personal freedom through self-expression for more purposeful living.

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