#HaulTalk is our monthly advice column, where we help readers out with their everyday (and not-so everyday!) dilemmas + woes! Are you struggling? Do you need advice? Hit us up at hello@thehaul.com!

#HaulTalk, help me! When I’m chatting with a guy online, I always eventually back off because I’m scared to meet up in person. What gives?”

App dating is absurd, it really is! Most of us grew up dating “traditionally”; meeting in school, at parties, through friends of friends. Adulthood, though, makes it challenging to meet people. Think of your day-to-day life – how many times per week do you actually cross paths with someone date-worthy? If you’re anything like me, it’s zero.

So, what are you – are we – to do? We may deeply want to connect IRL, but the cold-approach is scary! And the reality is, apps are prevalent because it’s easier to message an avatar than it is to approach someone in a bar. And how, exactly, do you make the transition from messaging to actually meeting face-to-face? What if it’s awkward?! What if you hate each other?! What if you get stood up?!

Girl, life’s too short to live in the land of what-ifs!

Let’s break this down to three potential fears you may have, and hopefully inspire you to get out the door!

Fear of Rejection

Look, I get it. Nobody wants to feel unwanted, especially in the romantic arena. But you have to reframe your thoughts about rejection: online dating is like sampling ice cream. By going on dates with a variety of people, you learn to identify traits in potential partners that you like and dislike. And once you find a flavor of human that you like, you can look for that in your day-to-day interactions, or even on the app with other people you’re sampling. Truth be told, you can’t really identify a “spark” from an online dating profile. Just because you feel attracted to someone’s picture, doesn’t mean you’ll feel attracted to their personality. My advice? Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or the date. Think of it as a fun chance to dress up, get a cocktail, and feel cute! And if it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up! Just dust yourself off and get back out there!

Fear for Safety

We’ve all heard online dating horror stories, so it’s totally valid to feel scared to meet up with a stranger! But apps, used appropriately, are a perfectly safe way to meet cool new people!

Here’s what to do if you’re feeling nervous about a meetup: pick a place close to home in a busy, populated area, and always tell a friend where you’re going. Also, when planning the date, feel free to say something like, “I have an early meeting in the morning but am down to meet up for a quick coffee!” This way, you’ve put boundaries in place, and the other person’s aware going in that this is just a test run.  

Fear of Awkwardness

Nobody’s going to feel 100% at ease on a first date, and that’s normal. Truthfully, the more experiences you have with first dates, the more relaxed you will feel on subsequent ones. Before you go in, laugh to yourself about how ridiculous online dating is, and remember that whatever experience you do end up having – it’s not going to make or break you!

Talk to us!