Jun 21 2016

Does Online Dating Make You Mean?

Published by at 8:15 am under Dating,Online Dating,Technology

Hands on a keyboard

Never forget that there’s another person on the other side of the screen. Photo via Visual Hunt

If you’ve tried out online dating for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly been on the receiving end of what I’ll call, “the disappearing act.” Someone catches your eye. You message them, and bingo! they respond back. The two of you send a few messages back and forth, and you start to feel those first fluttery butterfly wings in your stomach. …And then nothing. Poof. Your Prince of Princess Charming is gone. He or she doesn’t respond to your next message or the one after that. Your new budding relationship is over before it started, leaving you feeling frustrated, angry, and self-conscious.

Internet dating, for all of its conveniences, also puts us at a distance from the people on the other side of the screen. When you’re messaging someone who is only a profile and a few pictures to you, it is much easier to walk away without a second thought. You would never stand up in the middle of a first date and walk out of the restaurant without a really good reason, but many of us do the equivalent all the time online. The thing to remember is that the person on the other end of the messages is a real human being with real feelings. I think it’s time that we buck the trend of the disappearing act and try to add a little more kindness to the realm of online dating.

Respectful First Message

The first step towards creating more civility online is to stop it with all the gross, objectifying come-ons. Every girl appreciates a compliment, but if every first message you send is something along the lines of, “Hey girl, when can I slap that fine booty?” you are going to reel in a lot of nothing. Worse, these types of pick-ups are just icky. A simple hello and a quick question related to that person’s stated interests from their profile is a great way to kick off a new message.

Don’t Disappear

It’s fine not to respond to a first message from someone you aren’t interested in, but if you start a conversation with another single, then you officially owe them an explanation if you decide to bail. You don’t have to give a long goodbye or even the whole truth. It can as simple as sending them a quick note that you have become too busy at work and can’t focus on dating right now or that you started seeing someone and want to give that relationship a try. This at least doesn’t leave the other person forever miffed at what went wrong.

Stick it Out Through the Date

Sometimes a person can come off as brilliant and suave online or over the phone, but the reality is something completely different. Even if a first date reveals that your hot new dating prospect is ten years older and 20 pounds heavier than he implied and that his great job is actually kind of a freelance thing he does after he gets home from his fast food shift…try to stick it out. Leaving in the middle of a date or cutting it short is a cruel thing to do to someone else. Consider this an opportunity to meet someone new, try out some icebreakers, and put one down to experience. Of course, if your date is a true monster, it’s okay to call it quits early.

Avoid the Slow Fade

A lot of people, especially my fellow millennials, have developed the habit of the slow fade. You aren’t really interested in someone, but instead of just ending the relationship, you answer their texts less and less often, find excuses to turn down dates, and finally stop responding altogether. Those who use the slow fade technique will claim that this saves the other person’s feelings. I call B.S. on this excuse. The slow fade is a cowardly and/or lazy move that allows the fader to avoid the difficult breakup conversation. Being on the other end of a slow fade is confusing and hurtful; much more so than a quick and polite breakup. Be a confident person and show your partner respect by letting them know up front that you don’t think a relationship will work between the two of you.

Handle Rejection Maturely

Rejection happens to us all, and it can be extremely painful, especially if you don’t see it coming. As hard as it is, try to accept rejection with maturity. If your ex tells you upfront instead of playing the ghosting or slow fade game, then they are doing you a solid. Don’t make the process more difficult by throwing a tantrum or lashing out. After all, the online dating world means you have more people than ever to choose from. Give yourself a couple of days to drown your sorrow with your favorite brew or ice cream flavor of choice, and then get back up on that dating horse!

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