For starters, let me begin by saying that I am going to punch the next person who says that “online dating just isn’t for me”.  Having used online dating websites in the past, I am very familiar with all of the arguments against its use. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told that it’s unnatural or creepy and that is impossible to have a genuine relationship with someone you’ve met online. I can’t hate though, it can be hard for people to wrap their heads around the fact that online dating is no longer just for perpetually single thirty five year old cat ladies. But NEWSFLASH EVERYONE, college students online date, it’s a thing! Yet, online dating continues to be a taboo. Every time I’ve gone out with someone I’ve met with online, I’ve felt uncomfortable telling my friends about it.  Maybe it’s taboo because people see it as an acknowledgment that you’re so incapable of connecting with the people in your day to day life that you have to use the internet just to find someone to buy you a cup of coffee. Or maybe it’s taboo because people wrongly think that every date with someone you’ve met online results in weird sex rituals or murder (thanks “Craigslist Killer”).

What’s most frustrating is that the people who criticize online dating websites most are those who have never used them. And it doesn’t help that the people who do so generally are the ones who eternally complain about being single. If you are single and do nothing about it, you have no reason to complain. Sure, we’d all like to date someone who is in our day to day life. It’s less awkward and certainly more convenient. But at the same time, not all of us have any potential romantic interests in our day to day lives and that’s not something to be ashamed of. There are ways to remedy the situation, however. If you don’t know or like any guys in your day to day life, change up your routine a bit. Join a different club, go to the gym more often, do any activity that will guarantee you meet new people. But if you are unwilling to do this, then you have to realize that you have no right to complain about being single. Dating can take work.

I’ve gone on several dates with people I’ve met online. And if you’re wondering, yes, the initial meet up is awkward. It’s hard to tell whether or not when you meet someone for the first time in person if you should act like you know them well or treat them like a blind date or stranger. That’s why I wait a couple of weeks before meeting up with the person in real life. That way I feel like I know enough about the person that it won’t be awkward doing something with them in person. Online dating doesn’t have to be awkward. And not all of my dates have panned well. I met one guy in person and realized that I wasn’t attracted to him and had to deal with the awkwardness of letting him down gently. Another date went extremely well (in my opinion) but the guy stopped responding to my messages. Things don’t always go the way you want. But now I am in a relationship with someone I met online. And yes, it is weird to tell my friends and family that I’m dating someone I met online. But I really like this person, so fuck the haters.

The date doesn’t have to go fantastically for you to get something out of it. I’ve found that you can learn a lot about yourself through online dating. You can learn more about what your type is, you can learn more about the world around you by hearing about it from another’s perspective and you can learn what local restaurants are good. If there’s any message to take from this article, it’s that there’s nothing to lose from going on a date with someone you met online. Worst case scenario, you don’t connect. Best case scenario, you get free dinner and meet someone great. But for the love of God people, SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT BEING SINGLE! You don’t need a boyfriend to be happy, you just need free pizza. And if you’re unwilling to put yourself out there to get a free slice of cheesy goodness then maybe you deserve to be alone.