Wednesday, February 23, 2011
It's no secret that our friend Dr. Neil Clark Warren set James and me up....aka: through the portals of E-HARMONY. And when you're in the midst of online dating, it's kind of this weird, dirty little closet secret that no one's supposed to know - but you want to meet someone, and so here you are, secretly online chatting away with the world, trying to get to know this person through the portals of cyberspace. It's weird...but for some of us, it works. So today, upon writing back to a friend who's entering the online dating journey, she had some questions. Here follows some answers (to her questions...and then some) to this now-anonymous, amazing woman:
1. There might be a few different rounds of it [online dating], and that's okay! I think between eharm and match I probably did 5 or 6 different rounds over the course of like 5 or 6 years. (ie: once a year I'd realize that I needed to get out more and date because I wasn't meeting anyone through YL or teaching).
2. Just be yourself...simple, I know, but be yourself in your answers (and not in what you think they want to hear), and also be yourself in your initial response to these men, ie: am I actually attracted to THEM or simply to the idea of dating in general? Am I only writing back to them because I feel bad, or do I really want to talk to them? I think that's one of the best things about online dating: it almost gets rid of the first couple of dates for you because you're putting stuff out there, getting to know the other person. For me, if I couldn't imagine making out with him, DELETE! Classy, I know....but I had to be attracted to the person.
3. You're going to be attracted to people who aren't attracted to you. People are going to be attracted to you whom you're not attracted to....so, don't take it too seriously and just have fun! Dating is just getting to know someone, and if that someone isn't someone you could ultimately see yourself with, then just say good-bye!
4. BUT don't think that you have to decide whether or not you're going to marry this person on the first date. I think for a lot of us in Christendom at least who haven't dated in awhile, it's like, a rare gem to find an actual date - but if the whole point of dating is (again) getting to know someone, then simply focus on that and not on the crazy far-off future.
5. So...in answer to your questions: don't be "that" girl who keeps messaging them if they haven't responded. Play the game, though: if you've been communicating for awhile, feel a connection, but haven't heard back, then hit them up again. If you just liked their profile but really have no history, then don't be a stalker. They'll write you back when they're darn good and ready.
6. The balance of showing interest but not too much interest: here's what I think. If you're into a guy, then let him know that you're into him. That doesn't mean you have to write him an email saying, "hey, I'm into you - are you into me?" but you can show him you're interested by doing just what you'd do with a YL kid upon hanging out: get to know them. Ask questions. And see if there's something worth pursuing.
7. If you're asking whether or not the guy has to pursue, I think the online dating world erases all of that nonsense. Wink at him or pursue getting to know him (match or eharm - whatever your flavor is) - and unless in his profile he says "...and I am ultra-conservative and want to be the one establishing all first communication with the female species," then let him pursue. But do you really want to be with that guy anyway?
8. Men: Bottom line, if a guy's into you, he'll be into you. There's nothing that's going to stop him...I firmly believe that about men. He'll write you, he'll call you, he'll set up a date. he'll want to respond to your emails or however you're communicating. And if he's not into you, then he's not worth it, and you shouldn't be worrying your pretty little head over him anyway! (Read "He's Just Not That Into You" if you haven't already - I liked the book better than the movie, and personally found it SO empowering!)
9. Another thing: as you're communicating with a few or a bunch of different men, chances are he's communicating with a few or a bunch of different women. It might be slow at first (ie: weekly?), but then something will spark, and maybe you'll find yourself writing back and forth every day....and that's a good thing.
10. The story of James: James is a grown 42-year-old man. James knew what he wanted and wasn't scared to go after it (ie: me). Maybe that's the difference between men and boys....so strive for a man. As per us communicating, it started out small and rather sporatic (as I was communicating with a slew of other suitors, I'd like to imagine), but then he just kept coming back...and the emails kept getting better...and he emailed when he said he was going to email, and called when he said he was going to call, and well, also had good grammar skills (because I'd realized that I couldn't be with a guy who used "lets get 2gether" in the context of a sentence. That didn't work for me).
11. So, just be yourself. Be yourself, be yourself, be yourself. And figure out what you like and don't like because that's one of the best things about online dating. You might end up going out on a bunch of different dates this round, or you might not - and that too is okay. :)
Can't WAIT to hear how it goes!
What experiences have YOU had in the online dating world? What do you agree with or disagree with in the above writings? Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts!