Swipe. Choose. Buy. Repeat.

This is a blog post by Floh member, Dhruvi. Learn more at www.floh.in (a network that connects singles in real life)

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Age not withstanding, most of us are guilty of checking Facebook a couple of times everyday for no real reason. Once we’ve skimmed over the articles, videos and tasty recipes, our eyes glaze over to the advert tailor-made for us, carefully curated based on our search history.

I’m a big fan of shoes. I am not satisfied with the closetful I own currently. There’s always room for a new style or a different colour. I’ll cram an old pair or throw out one that’s died, if I really have to. You know what else I’m a big believer of? Return and exchange policies. I know the shopping website will very well send me a bigger/smaller size, another product (if it’s different from the photograph), store credit (if I want to wait for something better). So, I pick a shoe from the thousand and one options available and order it. I’m gleeful when the package is delivered, but not so much when I have to return/exchange it. All those dreams I had of wearing the shoes with ‘that dress’ to ‘that party’ and ‘that event’ come crashing down. Some waiting ensues and new dreams are envisioned.

Why am I telling you the inner workings of my ‘shopping’ mind? Because this ‘wiring of my brain’ doesn’t stop at shopping for shoes. A lot of websites and apps, that have nothing to do with shoes, mind you, appeal to me. From websites that sell stationery to home appliances, to apps that let me order meals from restaurants as well as discover dates, I’m constantly connected and shopping.

At first, shopping for home appliances on websites made sense like nothing else. It was convenient, hassle-free and saved me the trouble of bringing it home myself. Then it became tedious, as one appliance was a different model, another was the wrong size, yet another wasn’t the right colour. It became a task to go through the process and I did it almost mechanically.

You know what else became less exciting and more robotic as I did it online Dating! I was put on to a dating app the first time by a close friend. I thought it was extremely easy to navigate this catalogue of men. I would swipe right or left within seconds without giving it too much thought. I matched with more than one man, obviously. I am a girl and that itself is an advantage in the dating app world. The matches turned to chats, which in turn changed to phone calls, which landed me ‘coffee dates’. But they never went anywhere from there. I would get back on the dating app, scroll through photographs, skim to the interests (if there were any), forget who I had picked by the time I matched with someone, exchange phone numbers, chat for half an hour at max, meet at a coffee shop conveniently located, exchange pleasantries and realise I had nothing in common with this man. So I would go through the rigmarole again.

If only I had realised that we were all ‘shopping’ for dates the way we ‘shop’ for clothes. Our approach is exactly the same. We log on to the app, we look at the photograph and the product description, we bookmark or save item for later, we buy it, knowing fully well we can exchange it for another product or return it if we don’t like what we see.

It’s a very dangerous, yet obvious rewiring of our brain. And we fall prey to this approach again and again. As if we don’t know any better. Except that we do. We know humans are different from items in a store. We know they are flesh and blood, with feelings and emotions. We know we invest time, energy and heart in getting to know someone. And feel hurt if it doesn’t turn out the way we imagined it to.

Then why are we letting the shopping nature get the better of us? Let’s change our approach. Let’s snap out of this daze. Let’s carefully pick who we want to match with, whatever our system/process may be. Let’s know for sure we want to make conversation with someone before we let out our phone numbers. And let’s not have the same attitude for all the dates we go on. Let’s make dating worth our while. Especially, if we’re looking for something to shake us out of our daze, something that will last longer than the initial rush, and something we can smile about.