Hi, I am Pat.
When, after more than 35 years as part of a couple, I found myself single again I felt extremely vulnerable and isolated. Sadly, when a relationship breaks down so does your social circle.
I felt emotionally battered by this breakdown and by the other enforced changes which resulted from it. I was totally lacking the confidence and enthusiasm that I had felt when much younger, it all felt a bit like mission impossible to recover my identity and resurrect my life.
The ‘Always onLine’ culture, with the majority of us living a virtual life ‘On-Line’ via Facebook, Twitter and other social media, presented me with a scary challenge to initiate a new social circle from scratch. The Internet appeared to be the only way forward to venture back into the social, and relationship arena.
Unfortunately, I discovered that the whole Online experience was highly disillusioning, frequently dishonest and at times particularly distressing. A good description for internet introductory sites could be:
Where the odds are good ...but the goods are ODD
The manners and behaviour of many of the members were shocking – and the content of many of the 'introductions' was just unpleasant - almost certainly the result of the anonymity and ‘virtual’ nature that this environment affords.
Online dating and the minimal commitment to swipe left or right devalues the human element.
The frequent occurrences of catfishing and ‘Ghosting’ were extremely damaging to my already fragile self-esteem, and the extent of dubious profiles, set up to target lonely vulnerable members was quite frankly terrifying!!
Although the website owners provide a degree of ‘Moderation’ on these sites it is impossible to eliminate fake profiles, or, once they have made direct contact, to moderate the content of their messages, But even more serious, moderation cannot eliminate the threat of danger.
Additionally, these sites are aimed solely at those searching for a relationship and do not support any opportunity for singletons in the same area to share common interests and form friendships/groups to socialise and support each other.
I was certain that my expectations were not unrealistic and I was positive that there must be countless other genuine members also on these sites, all facing the same challenge.
It requires tenacity and patience to plough through and eliminate the inappropriate or fake profiles in search of even a tenuous ‘match’.
Then, after perhaps several online chat sessions comes “the Meet”……when the ‘Real’ person (if they even turn up) almost always resulted in the 'match' being totally at odds with their online profile. So, there it is ..... "Back to Square One"!
The whole scenario leading to a very demoralising experience.
I gave up in despair!!
Then some time ago - I was people watching while enjoying a coffee at a pavement café when it occurred to me that every day I am being exposed to countless other people in the same situation, in my ‘Real’ life’ – in my ‘Offline’ daily routine - Supermarket, work, coffee shops, restaurants, cinema, gym – in fact.....
Anywhere and Everywhere…
It dawned on me that, there are infinite numbers of others craving friendship or company but, because there is no uniquely recognizable indicator of ‘singledom’ or 'loneliness' we have no means of being able to identify others like ourselves.
If such an indicator or 'Token' existed this could provide a visual statement, an opportunity to initiate/invite conversation with others also wearing matching tokens and
Break the Ice.
It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention - this coffee shop became the birthplace of my ‘Vision’ for the:
ICEBREAKER = INTERACTION - NOT INTERNET
Break the Ice
To find out what I did next click here