Ah, your twenties. They’re supposed to be the most fabulous decade of your life, an incredible amalgam of Sex and the City and Friends. Older generations tell you that life is amazing, because you have the opportunity to find a career, and person, that you want to spend the rest of your life with. No pressure. Unfortunately, to find the life you actually want, you have to make an effort, or you could end up single, snuggling with your cats, and working a job you hate.
I hate to sound like Patti Stanger of the postgrad world, but when it comes to dating and job-hunting, you have to “put yourself out there.” Whether that means slutting it up at bars, joining beyond awkward networking groups, or looking for love on Tinder, you can’t assume your dream guy will show up at your apartment with roses while you’re on yet another Netflix binge. Same goes for finding a job—while lots of people fall into incredible positions (and you’re eternally jealous of them as you troll Monster), the majority of people have to work for it—whether that means visiting job websites when your boss isn’t looking, going to pointless informational interviews during your lunch hour, or reaching out to family friends you haven’t seen since you were in pigtails.
Uunlike college, you’re not going to meet a potential suitor just by walking outside, so you have to make some kind of effort. Unless you’re something super special, nothing’s going to fall into your lap in the real world, despite what your parents told you. That’s why it’s weird that online dating is deemed so sad — it’s not like online job postings are seen as strange. After all, if you need a new job you don’t just chill until someone offers you one, because you would be unemployed for all of eternity, and the same goes for dating.
Whether you’re about to be catfished by someone you met on OK Cupid, or meeting a set-up for the first time, you ultimately have no idea what to expect. After all, in dating and interviews, people lie to get what they want, whether it’s penetration or a salary.
You never know what you’re going to get on a blind date. You can Facebook stalk someone until you know their whole life story, or you can LinkedIn a potential boss until you know their résumé better than they do, but that doesn’t mean anything about the person you’re actually going to meet.
If you meet someone blackout, you might not remember exactly what they looked like (especially if moonshine was involved, whoops), and even if you Google your interviewee you might not recognize them. There’s always that awkward moment of, “Is it you I’m looking for?” Should you ask your interviewee to bring a red rose? Should you request the boy from the bar send a selfie (no nudes) so you don’t approach a stranger? Both ideas are awkward, but so is the visual sweep of the area to make sure you’re not ignoring your date, business or otherwise.
If there are follow-up interviews (or dates) you wonder how much you should get your hopes up. Should you buy a new outfit? Should you get waxed just in case (for the date, not the interview, obviously). You don’t want to put in too much effort if it’s not worth it, but you can’t give up hope entirely, which is difficult if you’ve had interviews, or dates, that have taken a turn for the worst. You never know for sure if the other person is on the same wave length as you. What you think is an interview for your dream job might actually be for an internship in NYC where you make $5 a day (this happened), and what you think is the start of a new relationship might be the other person looking for a fling, with the assumption you feel the same (false). While hope springs eternal, it can be difficult to remain an optimist if the real world has made you entirely pessimistic.
If you’re already an anxious person, dating and job hunting are the worst, and if you’re doing both at once your doctor should probably prescribe a bottle of Xanax to wash down with vodka. Not only are you stressing about whether there will be a round two, but everyone else is, too, and constant texts about what you’re already thinking might just kill you. While they’re worried about you and hoping for the best, constant questions from family, friends, and what seems like strangers on the street does nothing to alleviate your anxiety.
Luckily, job hunting and dating don’t last forever, which is why people take jobs they hate and marry people they don’t love. Kidding (kind of), but I’m dreaming of the day when I don’t have to field questions, or worry, about either. After all, the number one quality that job hunting and dating share is that they both suck.