Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?

I was having a particularly in-depth conversation with a friend last weekend about the woes of dating when he said something that really stuck with me, and today I’m going to share that idea with you.

Like most singles my age, I have a dating app that allows me to sort through eligible bachelors in my area and find one that I find attractive enough to “swipe right.” If he also thinks I’m attractive and he has swiped right on my profile, we match and can start a conversation. This is the dating lifestyle that so many of us have become accustomed to, that we don’t always see the major flaw in its design. The concept of online dating is to widen your search in the hopes that out of the many profiles, you’ll find someone with whom you have something in common. Because there are more choices on these dating apps, it makes us believe we have a better chance at love.

I’m here to tell you that this is all an illusion.

Author Shelby Otto launched her new column, Life by Shelby, for West Orlando News readers! Feel free to send in letters, topics or situations (see below) you would like Shelby to cover and she’ll offer honest personal advice!

By playing these dating games, you’re telling yourself that these are your only options when it comes to dating. Because there so many profiles and options to choose from, we don’t see that we’re actually limiting ourselves to what we can find in a person. I’m not saying that everyone who has an online dating profile is the same, but most of them have the same goals. We try to create this illusion of a person that we think someone is going to be interested in, and we’re supposed to find someone based on the 100 words (or less) in the biography we’ve created on our profile.

Another big mistake that a lot of people make (myself included) when searching for a significant other is where we’re looking. It can be a lot of fun to go out on the weekends and find an attractive person at the bar, strike up a conversation, maybe exchange phone numbers, and possibly share an intimate moment. The problem that arises from this situation is that the one thing you had in common with this person is the fact that you were both at the same bar. Now unless you spend most of your days sitting at a bar, I’m going to tell you that this is most likely not the place you are going to find true love.

Instead of searching online profiles and trying to find someone to flirt with the next time you’ve had a few drinks, try spending some time at a place you truly enjoy. For example, if you’re into sports and want a significant other who is also active and likes sports, joining a sports league is much better way to find someone compatible to yourself than looking for someone on Tinder who claims to like sports to impress you. Instead of actually going out and finding someone who will play basketball with you, you’re more likely to excuse this type of deception because these dating sites have you believing that this is the best that you can find.

Some of very best relationships are ones that start off as friendships. If you know a person inside out and still want to date them, that’s a great place to start. I can tell you right now that the guy who is winking at you from the other side of the bar is not interested in learning about your thoughts and feelings. Imagine doing something that you really enjoy and finding someone who also finds joy in the same thing! You’ll always have something to talk about or an activity that you can do with that person instead of, “remember how much fun we had downtown last weekend?”

So if you’re really into mini golf, put down your phone or leave the bar and find a mini golf league to join. You’re more likely to find someone passionate about the same things if you actually place yourself in the correct situation.

In short, we should be limiting our search instead of broadening it. It’s like the old saying about the apple tree. The person that we want to be with is at the top of the tree, but we’re too afraid of falling and getting hurt that we tend to pick a rotten one off the ground instead. Be brave enough to climb to the top of the tree. Be brave enough to just be happy and experience life and the things you enjoy, and someone will see that passion and want to share it with you.

Please email me at lifebyshelby@gmail.com if you’d like some sincere advice on the current dilemma in your life! Or you can send an anonymous submission directly through our WON contact form and reference the Life by Shelby column.


  1. Actually, I tried several dating apps. Most of them have the same features. Such as browse others profiles, send winks, live chat, etc. And most of them have to pay to enjoy more service. But it’s convenient for singles, don’t doubt it. LOL.


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