As a 24-year-old straight single woman, I’ve seen my fair share of what the online dating world has to offer.
Sometimes, it's not that great.
More than a few times, I've felt really uncomfortable.
But, out of politeness, I've usually seen my dates through to the sometimes bitter end.
This is because I always believed that people should be given a second (or third) chance; that first impressions aren’t everything.
This is easier to believe when you watch a LOT of rom-coms.
Even if I knew I didn’t like someone right away, I’d reply to his texts — out of fear of I was judging him too quickly, or that he'd see me as a bitch.
In some cases, being too friendly backfired. I was accused of leading someone on, or worse, "friendzoning" them.
It seemed like I had to choose between being called an ice queen for responding too little, or a heartless tease for responding too much.
Tinder in particular provides a wealth of truly horrible messages.
Maybe because conversations are so easy to start, a disproportionate number of them take a turn for the worse very quickly.
Being drowned by these messages eventually led me to an epiphany: there are so many messages that I simply can't focus on every one. I can ALWAYS just ... stop talking.
This realization carried over to my real life, too — I slowly stopped worrying about staying in conversations that made me feel uncomfortable just because I feared the consequences.
I don't have to keep talking to someone when I don't want to, and I especially don't have to stay in situations that bother me, or make me feel vaguely unsafe.
Being on Tinder has taught me to unsubscribe from unrealistic romantic clichés. A frog doesn't turn into a prince just because you reply to his "u up?" text message, and I don't automatically owe anyone who expresses interest a second chance.