Digital dating expands fish in our sea, but not for best

One of my close friends recently met her dream match on Tinder. He was a junior majoring in microbiology, like my friend at Northwestern University, with a penchant for sweaters and collared shirts. He was cute and brilliant – an unbeatable combo.

My friend – let’s call her Kelly – fell fast. She had gotten about four or five other matches on Tinder, including a UM med student, as well as a young professional in the Gables area, all of whom were clean-cut and successful. But Kelly was completely uninterested. Northwestern boy was the one for her. They started talking for hours over Tinder and doing the traditional digital mating dance: playing 20 questions and talking about their future aspirations. It was unbelievably adorable. Key word: unbelievable.

Things started getting a little bit weird. Northwestern guy claimed to have gotten a near-perfect score on his MCAT, even though test scores hadn’t come out yet. Then he repeatedly dropped specific phrases from inside jokes Kelly had with some of her friends at UM. The whole ordeal began to stink of fishiness.

Kelly began to get paranoid. She began interrogating her set of close friends. Sure enough, Kelly had been “catfished.”

Yeah, Kelly had fallen head over heels in love with a profile picture filched off of Facebook and a personality carefully curated by a team of her closest friends.

It may seem ridiculous at first, but this could have happened to any of us. In the digital age of dating, our pool of possible “fish in the sea” has widened exponentially, and maybe that’s given us a misleading sense of possibility.

The fact that Kelly matched with several other very cute, very real guys but swept them by the wayside shows that maybe we’ve given ourselves unrealistic expectations of digital dating. Considering we could match with someone who shares our exact interests through a few clicks and swipes, have we begun to expect a level of perfection that doesn’t actually exist?

Perhaps the best-possible loves of our lives are not those connected to us on the other side of the screen, but rather those waiting in the wings of our real, tangible everyday lives.

Jackie Yang is a sophomore majoring in English and neuroscience.

Featured image courtesy Pixabay user saferinternetat.