The Unusual Way I Found Happiness in my Post-College Years

There are very few “taboo” subjects anymore, but two of the biggest are probably online dating and depression. In this post, I’ll tackle both – so bear with me!  I hope it provides insight into how online dating can create more meaningful connections than simple hookups – and can actually help bring someone out of a funk.

The Unspoken Truth of Life Post-Undergrad…

I remember on my flight back to San Francisco after graduating from college thinking that I had it made. A great career in marketing starting, a return to my home town (Bay Area!) and a 1BR flat in San Francisco all to myself. Oh, and a four year degree from a good school was a perk too.

These are the best years of your life,” I was told by more mature people around me. And they were amazing! But what told me about are those nights you may end up going home and have nothing to do. No one reminds you that post-college, you may like to “think” you will reconnect with your High School friends, but that was a world away.

Alumni groups? Sure, they are great for networking, but even in a major city like San Francisco I found opportunities to meet people few and fleeting.

San Francisco in particular is unique because of the tech boom. I began my professional life working in packaged goods, an enviable job, but one that surrounded me with people at a different life-stage than me. Most were married, and many had kids already. As for why I didn’t just move to tech – it’s a very insulated culture that usually requires you to have either started at one of the “big firms” (e.g. Google, Facebook) or grow up in the finance community backing these startups.

So how does this lead to depression?

  • A single, straight guy in the Castro, marketing cat litter, walks into a bar…
Kitty Litter Team

My team working on Kitty Litter

Yes, all of these are truths relate to me. A single guy, living in the “Gay Mecca” neighborhood of San Francisco, marketing kitty litter.

Needless to say, not exactly the best setup for a social life. While I may be a slight outlier, I’m sure many recent-grads will back me up when I say: the “golden twenties” are filled with those nights where you may just want to stay in, curl up and binge-watch Netflix.

You can’t have a relationship with your Roku, though.

So I asked around – my friends, their friends, and one astute friend of mine suggested online dating. And then another. Soon enough, I had at least a handful of friends who made me feel there wasn’t much of a stigma associated with it at all.

I decided to give it a try. And what did I find? Tons of people in the same boat as me.

Most dates were very casual, and just involved the standard get-to-know you questions. But others made me think. A few opened me up to new experiences and hobbies – I’m looking at you, AcroYoga.

Sure, I had some interesting experiences. Showing up to a date only to learn it was a “polyamorous coven” that practiced Wicca took the cake for me. But I also met some really close friends, who ended up not being the “bagel of my dreams” but still a great partner for a morning coffee.

Since venturing beyond my comfort zone and exploring online dating, I have had plenty of experiences to learn and grow. Even the worst dates were insightful, in retrospect. And I have learned to listen more, talk a lot less, and see things from the other side of the screen.

So how’d that cure depression, you ask?

People who go through a depressing period may reply “it’s managed, not cured.” In my case, I have a great network of new friends, with new hobbies, and a new way to meet people in a more intimate one-on-one setting. And many of these friends I met through online dating. I’m a happier person because of the learning experiences I have had, and learned to meet new people in fun and interesting ways.

About Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB): CMB  is a free dating service that helps members make meaningful connections. It’s designed for busy singles who want to find something real with little or no effort.

Andrew is a marketing and business development professional in the San Francisco Bay Area, working with the Coffee Meets Bagel team as a consultant. He can be contacted via email here. If you want to see more of his work, visit or check out his professional CV at LinkedIn

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