I religiously fire up the Tinder app everyday, spend time going through 100s and 1000s of profiles, read through profile descriptions (where available), and right swipe the ones I like. Since I’m a paying ‘Tinder plus’ app user, I can swipe across India, and not just be restricted to my current location, and I also get 5 ‘Super Likes’ per day that allows me to let the other person know that I’ve liked them before they choose to reject or accept me.
Here’s the sad truth about Tinder and I, my offer of a right swipe, which is the equivalent of going up to a person and letting them know that I like them, is almost always rejected. I go for days, weeks, and sometimes even months with nobody accepting my right swipe or ‘Super Like.’ To call the consequent feeling of rejection painful would be an understatement.
It hurts, really hurts. Although Tinder is primarily about looks and how old a person is, it goes beyond attacking my concept of how I look and how old I am. Since I offer a description of who I am, what I do and what I like, on my Tinder profile, every rejection pulverizes my carefully crafted concept of what makes me – me. What gets rejected is also my personality, my social status, how much I earn, what I do for a living, and occasionally — the reason for my existence.
Rejection is painful. We tend to experience it on a daily basis, in almost every situation, and will most probably continue to experience till our dying day. But the magnitude of rejection from a potential love interest is particularly painful, and leads to feelings of despondency, a deflated spirit, hopelessness and anger.
I’ve thought to myself that either this is a software glitch or Tinder is populating its universe with fake profiles. I have been through the cycle of deleting the app, installing it again, re-deleting it, having it lying on my phone unused. But I finally decided that I had to accept reality.
The truth, or rather what I perceive to be truth is that there are fewer women on Tinder than there are men, the women don’t swipe right as much as men, and most women in my age group are married or not single. Then, there’s the harsher truth, that I’m not exactly eye candy and therefore women would give my profile a pass.
When this realisation dawned upon, I instinctively reacted with some of the various stages of grief, like denial and anger. But slowly, cloaked with a Zen-like demeanour, I came to accept that rejection is a fact of life. With this new found calm I slowly reframed my thinking to :
It doesn’t matter if 999 women reject me, all I have to do is focus on the one, who swiped right
I stopped worrying about the rejections that followed, and instead focussed on and celebrated the acceptance of a few. Instead of mulling over rejections, I was focused on swiping, and the more I swiped, the better the results. Not that I was suddenly considered a catch by women, but I had amped my efforts, and that lead to more matches. In 2015-16, I went on more dates in one year, than in my entire teens and 20s!
I’ve started to become emotionally disinvested in rejection and have learnt to accept it as a fact of life. Yes, I may not understand it sometimes, but I have come to open heartedly accept that rejection is as natural a phenomenon as rain, Bangalore traffic, and ageing.
More recently, I’ve also begun applying the lesson that Tinder has taught me about rejection, to other aspects of my life. I play football and I miss many chances to score a goal. No more berating myself for chances missed. Focus on the one that went in and bulged the net. Rejected by 10 editors for that story pitch that I thought was perfect, no problem, dust off the disappointment, and mail more to a few editors.
When Edison said –
Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration
I didn’t fail. I found 10,000 ways that won’t work
I believe this is what he was talking about.
Rejection maybe a reality. But accepting it as a fact of life, or looking at it as a stepping stone to success, is up to all of us.
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