Erika Ettin: How to handle 'how did you meet?' questions when the answer is an app
This is the week of the Jewish High Holidays, and a lot of Facebook and Instagram posts show photos of people around a long Rosh Hashanah dinner table with family and friends. (I personally don’t do anything for the holiday, save for eating some matzah ball soup, which I might do regardless!)
We’ve all been there — gathered around said table (for any holiday or none at all), telling Aunt Doris you're single … then quickly regretting it. But once you decide to be in a relationship (note that it’s a choice, not a given), there's a new, inevitable question that some fear: "How did you two meet?"
When the real response is Bumble or OkCupid, there's often some hesitation to give the answer. Maybe your parents' generation won't understand, or you fear someone may judge. Either way, it seems easy enough to reply, "Through a mutual friend," and quickly steer the conversation in another direction.
However, there's nothing to be ashamed of if you met your partner on a dating site (quite the opposite!). Who doesn't know at least one person who met their match online and now has a long-term, fulfilling relationship? It doesn't mean you need to hide behind a screen to make a good first impression. It just means you used a tool effectively and likely met someone you wouldn't have come across otherwise!
Plus, nothing good comes from lying. If your relationship turns into a marriage or lifelong partnership, the real way your paths crossed will emerge. Then what? Years later, everyone wonders why you fibbed... and you come out looking embarrassed rather than excited about your partner. Or there are the follow-up questions: "Who is your mutual friend?" or "Was it a setup or did you meet at a party?" Your parents and teachers weren't kidding about the snowball effect when it comes to lying — one fib turns into a web of fabrications that can be hard to keep straight in your mind.
The question is going to come up, especially around holidays. The best thing you can do is discuss it with your partner so neither of you is caught off-guard. Instead, simply say, "Should someone ask tonight, I plan to proudly say we met on Bumble. Just confirming you’ll do the same.”
Perhaps more importantly, remember that meeting online isn't your love story. Sure, you can mention how you liked your partner's profile and that you could both talk about "The Crown" or sushi for hours, then continue to explain how the relationship grew. Maybe chat about where you went for your first date... or add in how you knew this wasn't just another Tinder match when he texted you immediately after the date to make sure you got home safely.
The better question people should be asking is, “What do you like about each other?” or “What’s the best date you’ve been on?” But, as we all know, most want to know the origin story… likely because they want one of their own.
So, be that couple who is a shining and proud example of what online dating can turn into: happy, exciting, loving and lasting relationships.