Moving to a new city alone is always a bit scary, especially if you do not have a support group in place for when you arrive. When I moved to Los Angeles when I was 18, I moved in with a friend. When I moved to Las Vegas when I was 23, I moved in with a friend. When I moved to Orange County when I was 25, well…I think you get the picture 🙂 Now here I am at 28, not moving to a city within driving distance of my family and friends but instead I am moving to a whole different country! In a totally different hemisphere for goodness sakes!
Often when people move abroad they have friends, family, a job, school; some type of support there waiting for them. I, on the other hand, am doing this move more of the “Hot Mess Way”. I do not directly know anyone in Sydney, and am trying to be proactive on setting up connections for when I arrive to this beautiful city filled with hot douchebags, kangaroos and 90 dollar Converse Chucks!?! I am not afraid that I won’t be making friends once down there; all I keep hearing from everyone is how easy it is actually and to stop being such a worry wart. I would just feel a little more at ease about this move if I had connections already established, you know?It’s like when I go out to the bars with girlfriends, for example, its almost a given that someone will end up buying us drinks at some point in the night, but do I still bring my own mini bottles in my purse to be safe??? ummmmm, You betcha!!
Due to this lack of friends and family down under, I have had to resort to using 2 main avenues to get some dang friends. One is through friends, and the other, which is the motivation behind this post, is through an online dating site called OKCUPID.
Avenue 1. FRIENDS
I have been bugging the living crap out of everyone I know to help connect me with those they know in Australia. The response has been remarkable, and I feel so freaking blessed to have so many thoughtful friends willing to go out of their way for little ole me. I will forever be in debt to many of you, so thank you 🙂
Avenue 2. OKCUPID
Just in the past few days alone I have had so many different conversations about online dating sites with friends and co-workers. EVERYONE has their own opinion on online dating, I understand it is still a bit of a taboo subject for many… wait, no..no, I don’t!. I just want to say for all those who are stuck in 2001 and think online dating sites are just for rejects, losers and people who have no social skills. Please think again. It is now 2014, and statistics show that around 42 million Americans have tried some form of online dating; that’s about 40 percent of Americans who are single and ready to mingle via the internet. Pretty much everyone I know uses them (even though some wont ever admit, ya… I know who you are…I have seen your profiles mr.swags.com). Whether you admit to using them or are still scared in the closet, one thing is a fact…
“WE MET ONLINE” = the new “WE MET AT A BAR”
Due to having a demanding schedule between obtaining my degrees and working, I have been on online sites for many years off and on for the purpose of dating and finding new friends. NO SHAME HATERS 🙂 In my most recent move to Newport Beach, Okcupid was a huge variable in helping me make friends in a city where I didn’t really know anyone. FYI, Newport is a city where everyone gets too drunk to remember meeting you unless it is actually in some form of writing prior to the night out, so I knew I would need some online back up right of the bat. Anyways, after a very crazy psycho encounter with a guy I met through Plenty of Fish back in December (here comes an splendid run on sentence) – he threatened to sue me for emotional damage after hanging out three times because I stopped responding to his texts messages, and accused me of not caring about his personal well being because I made him take me on a late night Del Taco run when he doesn’t eat fast food (phew okay, run on = complete). So after this scare of being told to “Lawyer up,” I said goodbye online sites!!! You finally did it!!! Good job on finally finding someone who is even too crazy for me (which says A LOT). So I took some action and deleted that account and just laid low for awhile (oh yah, and moved and blocked my number, you know…. the usual thing one does after 3 dates ;)).
Now that I am pretty certain I have just FREAKED everyone out on the use of online dating sites, let me try and redeem them jusssstttt a bit.
- I am not here to talk about online dating sites for finding your soul mate, nope… staying off that topic for now.
- I am not here to tell you that it is the safest way of meeting people, cause its not.
I am here to talk about how it can be used as a useful resource in obtaining information on the location one is moving to.
With the move to Sydney on the rise and knowing I would need assistance once I arrived, I decided to give online sites another shot at helping me find friends. I found it very successful for my Newport Beach mov after all. I can’t hold that crazy guy against the sites forever (If that was the case, I would never enter a bar or club ever again, so argument invalid). I changed my location from Newport Beach to Sydney, and changed my reason for using the site from “dating” to strictly “making new friends.” I made it very clear I was only looking for new friends and in no way at all whatsoever wanting anything else. Even though I am sure guys don’t actually read that and instead see “Soooo… what you are telling me is, that there is still a chance?” 😉
After almost 3 months of messaging people in Sydney via Okcupid, it has once again proven to be very resourceful. I have gathered an immense amount of information, advice, tips, and warnings from people that I would have NEVER been able to get in any travel book. I am getting advice first hand from people who are or were in my current situation. The other half of guys I have responded to are from Australia, and have been able to assist in answering all the idiotic questions I have for them, and trust me, I have plenty. All around, this site has helped to open my eyes up to Sydney without even being in Australia. Am I going to meet up with all these people? NO! Some? Yes. But even if I don’t ever meet one, each and every one of these encounters has been helpful to me in someway or another.
I would like to now share some of the different types of messages I have received
In the order of: Normal to Creep
Examples of Excellent Opening Messages (Key – Don’t be creepy)
Examples of Pleasant First Messages (Once again – Non-creepy)
Examples of WTF!?! First Messages – (Ummm, A bit Creepy)
Examples of OMG OMG Run MICHELLE RUN First Messages
Now as you can see, there is a correct way on approaching me, and some wrong, very wrong ways of approaching me.
Little Disclaimer: This is just my opinion; some people might really like having some stranger want to kiss their hair a thousand times a day! Not knocking it, just… umm… not for me? And in general just not the correct approach for my blogging purposes today.
Hopefully the weird messages haven’t swayed your opinion completely to the negative. I hear weirder shit on the regular at the bars out here, seriously, what’s in the water? As a whole, these types of messages only take up a minute amount of the messages I receive, most of them are perfect okay. I do only reply to maybe 1 out of every 15 messages though, typically because they consist of just say “hi” or “you’re hot” or “hey”. If I wished to get hit up that way I would just stay here in Newport, and hang out at Sharkeez’s all day long.
In the end, this post was intended to show that good things can actually come from online sites for traveling purposes. It has been proven as a successful way for ME to get to know the future environment I will soon be living in. If I end up wanting to meet any of these guys I am very informed on all the different factors and precautions that one should take before doing so, as EVERYONE should be (please research how here). I have made some really good connections down in Australia through Okcupid already, and have learned so much about the culture and lifestyle down there without even being there yet. YES, there are horribly creepy guys on there that you should stay away from, absolutely. But, there are also some really cool people to be found online that I think is worth a shot of getting to know. Don’t end up meeting up with them if you’re scared! Just hear their opinion and tips on the area through messaging (every new view point can be put to use in my eyes). They could really help educate you on things you want to know. Music, current events, festivals, economy, weather, bad areas, – these are just a few things I have been able to get myself already familiar with. I now have a diverse group of friends from different countries, where all I am doing when messaging is LEARNING! So much culture in my life now, and I am not even out of Orange County yet!
I think people can get more out of what they think on these sites. Not just dating sites, but general online networking sites. Just like the popularity of every media company thinking they need to sell SEO, I predict these types of sites will continue right along with them. Online dating and network sites are not going anywhere people… so you might as well try and get something out it.
If you fancy to know a bit more on the statistics and messaging on Okcupid: