Many of us have pined over missed connections, myself included. They occur when two single people happen to cross paths and notice each other but regretfully, nobody approaches the other, for reasons we’ll delve into in a minute.

Missed connections seem to be a regular occurrence among single millennials. It’s that moment of regret after he gets off the train, when the two of you had been making eyes at each other since the moment he got on, but neither of you had time to muster up the confidence needed to get up and introduce yourself.

Great, now he’s off the train and I may never see him again. The reason missed connections are so common is for several reasons, most of which lead back to our own insecurities that prohibit us from making that bold move, and stop us from marching over and making that initial key introduction.

I won’t deny that more often than not, I’m not bold enough to approach a cute stranger – even if he is flirting with his eyes from the other side of the coffee shop I’m working in. One time, I was at my skincare clinic and in the waiting room, a cute guy was making small talk with me for over 30 minutes. However, neither of us asked of the other’s phone number – and back then, there wasn’t an app like Happn to find him again.

It’s not just me who misses connections due to a lack of confidence. I hear complaints from my friends all the time about someone cute they flirted with at a bar or coffee shop, whose digits they never got because before they could muster up the confidence to ask, it was too late.

Our lack of confidence stems from a fear of the unknown. There’s the fear of rejection, of course. Or the fear that he might not be single. And then, there are those silly fears, like the awkwardness of the other strangers in your vicinity who might witness your feeble and uncomfortably attempt to flirt. Even sillier is the stubbornness many ladies have when they believe it should be him who should approach her and not the other way around.

Those aren’t the only reasons missed connections occur, though. Some women aren’t even sure they’re good at flirting, which in itself will make them hesitate when it comes to approaching a cute stranger. Nervous butterflies can paralyze us even when our head and heart are urging us to take action.

Our generation is lucky, though, because we have dating apps like Happn which take the concept of missed connections and turn them into romantic connections by squashing all those fears and giving us the confidence we needed in the first place.

The help we get from technology as millenials is getting better and better. Happn is a location-based app which matches you with people you’ve crossed paths with, so if the two of you took the same train and you both use the app, you will be matched. If someone is using the app, you know they’re single, so the fear of rejection is significantly decreased making a real connection much more plausible. This turns a missed connection into a real connection, followed by a first date and potentially a relationship. In short, we don’t need to use the missed connections section of craigslist anymore, which never really worked that well anyways.

The great thing about dating apps is that they put romance within reach and these apps make the first move for us, which is great for those of us who have trouble making that first move. Happn is unique in the sense that it will tell you how many times you’ve crossed paths with someone. If the app alerts you that you’ve crossed paths with someone 27 times, you know they’re likely your neighbour or they work in the same building as you. Talk about convenience.

A few years ago, before all of these new dating apps were available to make the first move for me, I had my fair share of awkward, hands-over-my-eyes embarrassing moments when I attempted to make a first move.

For example, 3 years ago I pulled into a gas station at the exact same time as a handsome young man pulled in. He got out of his truck at the same time as I got out of my car, and the two of us began refueling at the same time. While we were refueling at side-by-side pumps, he kept looking over at me and smiling. Damn, he’s cute, I thought. I smiled back and when we were both finished refueling, I knew I only had a matter of seconds to make a move before he’d get back in his car and drive away.

I knew this could easily become a missed connection if I didn’t do something. I wanted this to be a gas station meet-cute, not a gas station missed connection. Hey, gas stations can be a great place to meet someone – don’t deny it.

At this point, he had just finished refueling but he was still looking at me and smiling. Sure, the thought crossed my mind that maybe he was only smiling because there was something on my face or because a bird had just shat in my hair – but my instinct told me that it was flirtatious smiling, so I mustered up some courage and walked over to him.

I introduced myself, and found out his name was Nick. Nick and I chatted for a couple of minutes, and I told him that if he wanted to give me his number, I’d call him sometime so that we could grab a coffee. “Oh, man, I would absolutely love to give you my number”, said Nick. “I really, really wish I could – but I have a girlfriend.”

Could this be any more awkward? I thought, epitomizing the hands-over-eyes emoticon I so often use in texts. I felt a twinge of regret and wished I had just let it be a missed connection – I wished I had just left without saying anything to the smiling bastard. When I got in my car, however, I was smiling. I was smiling because I had been bold – I had been fearless.

I didn’t care that I had been rejected, because I had gotten rid of the fear of the unknown and gotten my answer – he wasn’t single. Knowing was better than not knowing, and I knew that. Don’t get me wrong, I still regretted embarrassing myself and hitting on a taken man, but back then my only option was to be bold and see what happened.

Nowadays, things are different. Now, we have technology that eliminates the fear of the unknown for us, and the fact that apps like Happn make the first move on our behalf doesn’t have to make our generation a bunch of lazy daters. We can use the dating apps we have at our fingertips as a catalyst to amazing connections and awesome relationships.

If we get a little bit of help meeting someone special, that will motivate us to continue making the relationship special, because from that point forward, it’s up to us to keep it going.

A dating app might make the introduction, but we’re the ones who have to keep the momentum going, so it’s not accurate to say that dating apps make us lazy. They give us momentum, they make that imperative first move, and they give us a precious dose of confidence to start things off which is key in any relationship.

Our generation is fortunate to have so much help from technology when it comes to dating. If we’re lucky, missed connections can become a problem of the past, and we’ll be seeing a ton more genuine and real connections in our futures.

Happn is free, and available for iPhone and Android.

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