To say I’m an independent person is an understatement. If you know me you’d know I’m super self-sufficient and rarely depend on people for the big things in life. But with that being said, I’m a total people person and thrive on deep relationships.

My friends usually joke about how I know “everyone” I really don’t though, I swear.

I’ve never been the one to be on the latest dating app, that’s just really not my scene. I usually meet guys either through friends, at church, around campus, ya know -- always in person! I’d rather get to know someone over a wooden farm table with a good cup of coffee in my hand than over the latest app, dating service or iPhone that Apple has to offer.

Needless to say, I didn’t meet my current boyfriend in person.

So, I met a guy through some friends at a coffee shop in Midtown. Aka Instagram (the coffee shop’s just our cover story). I don’t know why, but in this generation, I feel like people get so judged for meeting their SO online but we all know they’re secretly on Tinder swiping left and right on the closest guys around secretly hoping something will come out of the messages they’re currently exchanging with the hottest guy. So, no, we didn’t use Tinder but thanks social media for bringing us together.

When he came into my life -- I mean slid into my dm’s -- I naturally put up some guards. I really wasn’t planning on meeting him face to face but after some convincing from friends and mom, of course, I agreed.

Don’t worry, I did all the things to prepare. I talked to him a bit to make sure he wasn’t a serial killer (update, he’s not), my best friend stalked all of his social media accounts for me (even his vsco) and she googled him -- Ladies, find a girlfriend that does that for you and keep her so close!

So after we talked for a bit -- I mean he couldn’t find his way out of my dm’s -- we figured out our 3 year age gap, talked good music and established our mutual love for concerts. We then planned a coffee date at Ponce City Market but really that turned into dinner on a Friday night followed by some March Madness games. I’m a sucker for a guy that knows more about sports than I do because at this rate, not most do, but that’s another article for another day. Anyway, dinner was great. We had good conversation, he was kind, treated other people well, paid and even blessed our meal. Walking away I basically was like “yeah, he’s nice. Probably would be a nice friend to keep around”. I laugh at my thought process because he had so many qualities and characteristics I look for in a boyfriend and of course my natural reaction is to stick those guys in the friend zone. I literally sat there saying I didn’t need him. I was fine on my own. I can do me, he can do him, it’ll be great.

After that dinner, I really didn’t even want him if I was being honest with you and myself. I really wanted to gain my independence back because I’d just come off of a pretty “wild phase” and was ready to really do me for a while. I had conditioned my heart, for the longest time, to not be vulnerable with guys. I had gotten what I wanted and picked up and left without them knowing anything past my name and how my day was going.

So, Saturday was met with a morning coffee date with a girlfriend followed by a day date with this “Instagram guy” I was excited, I was nervous and put a whole lot of thought into my leggings and V-neck with Adidas. But I’m so glad I went because I got to see more of his personality come out and it was so fun. We walked around Ponce, I got dinner with the girls that night and shortly after we were back together for a movie night; this time was different though.

I walked away not needing him but deciding that I wanted him. I wanted the fun that we had. I wanted the coffee hangs spent in ATL and movie nights snuggled up next to each other. I didn’t leave my independence at the door, instead I took up a choice that I get to cherish daily. I went from a season to where I wanted nothing to do with a relationship and being the farthest thing away from it to wanting every aspect of it and ready to fight against all the fear that came along with it. Despite the fact that it scared the crap out of me to open up to someone and break down those walls, I wanted every second of it with this guy.

I voluntarily choose the messiness of someone else’s life because I was not meant to live this life alone. I choose the craziness of a guy because he knows how to have fun and balances my crazy and my goodness we know I’ve got enough of that to go around. I’ll take his sass and stubbornness every day, but you best bet I’ll keep up with it (most of the time).

So, don’t leave your independence when you meet someone. Allow him to compliment it and be free to be you because you were made that way and it’s the most beautiful role you could ever play: you just as you are. And after that weekend I really just wanted to see my future with him in it and looking back I’m getting to live in that future with him now and you best bet I can’t wait to see what adventures we get next. I’m too lucky to have this “Instagram guy” that couldn’t find his way out of my dm’s turn into a boyfriend that I’m proud to do life with. Naturally, I’m learning all about relationships and how they thrive. If I’ve learned anything so far, I’ve learned that it takes 2 servants that know how to forgive well and love each other through every season.

So, no I didn’t use Tinder to find a man but never under estimate Instagram and always respond back to the boys that find their way into your dm’s. Who knows, you might end up dating them in the future!