Every day I set my alarm for precisely 8.37am. I wake up, wipe my eyes, and habitually head to Instagram for a casual morning scroll through my feed. There’s a picture-perfect blogger couple in Bali, an already flawless 16-year-old walking the runways in Paris, some chic yet seemingly unpretentious dude checking out an art show I haven’t been to, and my ex-boyfriend sitting on the beach (yes, I still follow my exes). Before I have done anything with my day, I have compared myself and my life to give-or-take thirty people. And while this comparison touches many facets of my existence, it often makes me ponder on one the most, my love life.

I live in New York City and like most of my 20-something girlfriends, I am single, not entirely desperate, but always open to love. In the complex and fleeting nature of the dating scene in New York, I find myself looking to technology to fuel things along. I check my Instagram every day, and as my thumb passes one seemingly perfect life after the next I wonder, where are these people IRL? Where’s my picture-perfect blogger man who has come to whisk me away to Bali?

My social-media fueled existential crisis leads me to post-work happy hour drinks. I meet a guy at the bar, he seems nice and normal, which are usually my two prerequisites. He heads to use the bathroom and I pick up my phone for another mindless scroll through the ‘gram. There he is again, the seemingly perfect dude at yet another under-the- radar art show. Oh no, here it comes, the cursed illusion of choice. This guy at the bar seems alright, but what if my artsy man is just around the corner? Is there someone better?

In the same way that we curate our Instagram feeds as a social presentation of ourselves, we have curated an exact and often unrealistic expectation of how our partner should fit into that. While we project a certain image that may not be entirely true to our reality, we forget that others are also doing the same thing. The people who look so perfect on our feeds, are also just people with their very own flaws. Just like the person at the bar who sits right in front of you. So give them a fair chance. You never know, you might just end up in Bali together.

*Written by Natalie Stoclet for Bumble.