Let's be honest, dating as a millennial is ... complicated. There seem to be so many conflicting opinions about how to meet someone new, who should or shouldn't make the first move, when to be intimate, how to best communicate and the list goes on and on. Finding Mr. or Mrs. right — or even just someone to spend time with — has become a daunting task, and all the more so during a pandemic.
Podcast host Lindsey Metselaar, 29, knows first-hand how choppy the proverbial dating pool can be. In 2017, after being dumped by an ex-boyfriend on her birthday, she recorded a candid conversation she had with a close guy friend about relationships. Little did she know at the time, this casual chat would go on to become the hit dating podcast "We Met At Acme."
"I decided to release it as a podcast because, at the time, there was only, like, crime and news podcasts. I really didn’t think anyone would listen," she told TMRW.
To the host's surprise, a lot of people did listen. The podcast now boasts nearly 2 million downloads to date.
Metselaar releases a new episode every Sunday exploring topics ranging from sexual compatibility with a partner to interracial dating and everything in between. She has guests of all ages, backgrounds and areas of expertise to discuss the good, bad and ugly of modern relationships.
"I was always really just so curious about dating, people's dating lives and why they broke up," said Metselaar. "Also, I was the person out of my friend group who everyone went to for texting advice and dating advice."
But even as the self-professed dating expert of her friends, Metselaar has learned her own lessons through the podcast.
"I remember one of my early episodes was with this guy Jared Mathew Wise, and I was like, 'So, how do you get a guy to define things, like, you just ask what are we, right?' and he was like, 'No, you never ask that,'" she said. "He said something like, 'Here’s what you can expect from me and here’s what I need from you.' Basically, changing the conversation around cornering someone into making it official. And that to me was huge because I felt like I could share that with my listeners and forever be a rule, like, don’t ask what are we. Just generally I learn these pockets of information as I go that have really helped me with my relationship."
As for her own status, Metselaar started a new relationship just before the coronavirus pandemic hit; the couple now plans to move in together.
While the podcast itself came out of the blue, Metselaar was already well versed in the power of social media and a good story.
"I kind of picked up on the fact that people loved talking about themselves and sharing what they were doing so I started to develop a real interest in social media and I started to work at different companies as a social media manager," said Metselaar, who also launched her own social media management company, Lindsey's Lunchbox.
The podcast host said recording an episode with her therapist was one of the most rewarding because of the impact it had on her listeners.
"My whole thing is normalizing mental health and normalizing therapy and how being self-aware actually makes you better at dating so I feel like that episode is a perfect example of all of my ideals put into one," said Metselaar.
Her best dating advice? "If you’re confused, they’re not interested."
But she's also not afraid to have on guests who disagree with her.
"There is this guy named Rob Kowalski and he came on my podcast and I aired the episode, but we disagreed the entire time. He was a very religious type of guy who believed in saving himself for marriage, which is totally fine, but then he kind of got into (comparing sexually active women to) a used car, you wouldn’t want to date them and things like that. He kind of crossed the line in my mind and I was like, OK, that’s not true. ... He was, like, slut-shaming and that was really not sitting well with me," she said.
As she continues to produce new episodes — and work on virtual events for fans in lieu of live panels she was participating in before COVID-19 — it's not lost on Metselaar how much of an impact she has on listeners.
"So many people don’t really have someone to look up to and someone to give them advice or guidance when they’re in college or even in high school," she said. "I hope people feel comfortable continuing to ask for my advice, as they already do, and I hope to have a platform, whether it’s just still the podcast or maybe like a show or some kind of column where people can ask real questions and get advice and where I can make a difference."