As word of 30 Dates spread, I often find myself answering questions about dating. Not just from friends and acquaintances, but in emails and tweets from complete strangers.
The thing I’ve realised about the questions I get asked, is that often I’m asked the same things several times.
We all have the same problems when it comes to dating. We all have the same questions, and the same issues. No matter who we are, and where in the world we are!
So I figured rather than just answering the questions directly over email, I would answer some of the questions on the blog. Now, I’m no Dating Expert! But I have a fair bit of experience when it comes to dating, and people, so here goes!
Recently a friend of mine has been trialling online dating.
She emailed me to ask if she was getting in touch with the wrong guys. Because all the guys she was chatting to were to were proving hard to pin down. They’d chat for a bit, but then disappear. Or arrange a date, and then flake. She wanted to know if the problem was her, or if that was a general trend with internet dating.
Firstly, one thing I will say, is there are big differences between internet dating sites. These days there are sites which cater for every customer, and every interest or characteristic.
In my experience, in general, the paying websites attract men who are more serious about finding a longterm partner. Paying for a dating website is an investment, and with so many free dating sites and apps around, a guys is unlikely to pay between £30 and £50 a month just to find one night stands. However, I’ve also found that paid websites tend to have a lot more socially awkward men on. The kind of men who wouldn’t normally speak to women in the real world. That’s not to say all men on paid websites are losers, but I’ve personally found a lot more guys I would look twice at in a bar on the free sites.
However, with free dating sites, comes the sheer numbers game. Popular sites like POF, and apps like Tinder, have literally thousands of single members. And sending someone a quick ‘like’, or flicking your thumb to the right, is in no way comparable to approaching someone in a bar and striking up conversation.
In the real world, when someone approaches you, you know they’re only talking to you.
In the cyber world, someone chatting to you on a dating website could be chatting to tens of other women at the same time. A close male friend of mine showed me his Tinder last week, and he is in regular conversation with thirty-five different women.
So you can start to see why conversations peter out, and why someone you are chatting to might get distracted.
Unfortunately, this is the reality of internet dating, and one of the reasons I try to advise people to meet up as soon as possible. There is no point building up false impressions of someone, and false expectations – forging an inaccurate picture of someone based solely on his texts and profile photos. Yes, you might get on like a house on fire over text, and in person, but unfortunately, from the hundreds of dating stories I’ve heard in the last six months, that makes you the exception, and not the rule!
The safest thing to do is to not get too attached to someone, arrange to meet up relatively quickly after striking up conversation, and to keep the online banter to a minimum. Enough to know both of you are interested, but save the heart-to-hearts for the real world.
The other thing to remember, is that unfortunately it’s far easier to be rude to someone behind clinical, relative anonymity of a computer screen. As the vile phenomena of internet trolling and cyber bullying just go to show, people are far nastier to other people when they’re not face to face. And, unfortunately, as a result, it’s far easier to be rude, and ignore normal social etiquette, when you’ve only ever met someone online.
Don’t be surprised if an online date cancels late, or doesn’t show up. I know it can be gutting when someone flakes on you, but the worst thing you can do is take it personally. I’ll admit, I’ve cancelled online dates at pretty short notice before. If you’re not feeling 100%, it’s a lot easier to cancel on a stranger than on one of your friends, or someone you’ve dated before.
It’s not nice to be let down, but remember it’s nothing about you, and all about the person cancelling. Maybe they got nervous. Maybe they weren’t actually who they said they were. Maybe their photos were five years old.
I know it can be hard, especially when you’ve been single for some time, and get excited about attention from a guy you’re attracted to, but try your best not to get too invested. Protect yourself and your feelings as much as you can.
How? I hear you asking! My genuine answer? I’d play them at their own game! If you play the online field in the same way, keeping your options open, and chatting to lots of different guys, even if you have a couple of favourites, you’ll spread your time more thinly, not chat to the guys too much, and hopefully not get too hung up on someone before you meet.
Chatting to lots of people can also help you understand what you’re really looking for in a partner. What tick boxes are genuine requirements, and what characteristics are immaterial.
I wouldn’t go so far as saying you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a Prince. However I don’t think there’s any harm in chatting to lots of different frogs. Knowing how clueless some guys are at marketing themselves online, you never know – one of the guys you weren’t so excited about online might actually turn out to be a lot more compatible in real life.
I have a lot of coupled-up friends who are genuinely gutted they never got to be single in an age where internet dating has become not just socially acceptable, but the norm. So revel in the fact that you’re single in one of the most exciting technological eras, and don’t get too bogged down if you meet a couple of toads in amongst the frogs. There are genuinely a lot of princes out there too. You just have to hunt for them!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
PS – Those of you on Tinder might appreciate this little cartoon that Miss 32 showed me the other day! 🙂