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.::. Internet Dating Tips .::.

Internet Dating Tips

Internet dating presents a seemingly endless supply of possible dates. And there’s no intermediary checking to keep you honest, as might happen if a friend or relative set you up. Thus, a significant fraction of Internet daters behave quite rudely. For example, I and friends have experienced:

  • Potential dates setting plans to meet, but never showing up nor apologizing.
  • Potential dates announcing an intention to meet, then ignoring any follow-up about plans.
  • Potential dates ignoring e-mails sent them or even responses to their initial e-mails.

Much of this behavior is rude, and there’s little explanation other than lack of decency.
After all, it’s much easier to cordially say no by e-mail than to do it by phone.

So here are some rules—developed after discussion with other Internet daters—regarding what situations deserve a response.

After a first contact.
If someone contacts you, you don’t have to respond. Some dating sites do ask you to send a “decline contact” auto-reply. I think a response—whether simply an auto-reply or a brief note—is appropriate if the approach was sincere and the person reasonably in your ballpark. However, if the person who contacted you sent a form letter, or was clearly outside your stated parameters (age, geography, etc.), then a reply isn’t necessary.

It’s always good to stress the unpredictability of chemistry, rather than your analysis of their faults. So write “Thanks for your note, but I don’t think we’re a match,” rather than, “Thanks for your note, but you’re way too fat/bald/poor/materialistic for me.”

If you change your mind before meeting.
It’s possible that you might have exchanged an e-mail or two—even a phone call—but have changed your mind. Maybe you’ve learned some more about them and realize the potential has diminished. Or maybe you’ve met a better match.

Here you obviously have to be more careful, because earlier in the sequence you did entertain the possibility that a match was possible. Try something like “I’m sorry, but I now think we’re not as good a match as I hoped, so I’ll wish you luck.”

After a meeting.
It’s OK, after one date or even two, to simply let things lapse. Mutual silence speaks for itself. However, if one of you does follow up, it’s rude to just ignore it. Better to simply say something like, “I’m glad we made the effort to meet, but I don’t think we’re a match.”

What if someone violates these rules? Yes, it’s tempting to upbraid them. But they’ve already moved on, so why waste your energy on someone who clearly isn’t right for you? Try to focus on the next person, and assume the best, until proven otherwise.

Bad Internet manners feed on themselves. Once you’ve been treated rudely, you might think it’s OK to treat the next person badly. Don’t let that happen. A little courtesy goes a long way. And karma is a boomerang.


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