Imagine being online, creating a profile that seems right for you and getting feedback that it is effective. Someone writes to you, saying they like you and your profile and you write back. Crickets. Okay, so they initiated it, then ghosted you. It happens. It is not a big investment.
Someone else says they cannot wait to meet you, after two exchanges, then stop writing back.
Someone else says that you did not act fast enough. As if they are entitled to your response and that you must go out with them. My perspective is that at this stage, people are still seeing if they are compatible. If they have not requested to call or meet in person, there is a reason. Go back to the “hell yeah” philosophy. Unless the person can emphatically say “hell, yeah” to wanting to go on a date, do you really want to date the person?
Imagine you trade a few emails and ask to meet in person. They say they’d love to meet. They can’t meet today or tomorrow, or all next week for whatever reason.
They also can’t talk and the communication is at a minimum via text/email etc. Is it over at this point? It was not a big investment of time. They were kinda interested, but not really if they are not follow through.
My take on this is that if they cannot match you with effort, then chances are they will not in the future.
If it is a one time thing, that is okay, but we are talking a pattern. Imagine asking someone out four times in a row.
You have never met in person. “If they really liked me, they would keep asking me out,” has been the reply. They don’t know you well enough to know if they like you because you have not met. I think it is unrealistic to ask someone to pursue that strongly at this stage.
I jokingly refer to this part as bare minimum. You want to see what you can get with the bare minimum. That is unlikely a conscious thought, but they are putting in just enough to warrant an email.
At this point, do you continue reaching out to them? Do you have “the talk”? Are they just letting you down gently? or do you take your ball and go play elsewhere? I have heard people refer to this as ghosting. That is not my perspective. If the person wanted to have a relationship, they would have done what is necessary to have a relationship. If they are too busy, simply saying that they are busy and cannot do it right now would suffice.
Most of us have really good intentions. Maybe it just is that the person is too busy. They cannot admit that to themselves and that is okay, but at some level that is their responsibility to know themselves well enough. If your prospective partner cannot see you, then it should probably be a deal breaker, right?
Dating is not a science. If it feels wrong and I override my intuition, bad things usually happen. It might feel great one day and then the lack of contact, the lack of matching makes itself known. They might want to connect and not have the time, or the ability. If they are on the fence, then it is their job to get off the fence.
Someone asked me how I would approach dating online in 2021 and here is my reply:
The best dating advice I ever read was the “Hell yeah or no” concept by Silver.
When I read someone’s online profile, this is the feeling that I’m looking for.
If i think it might be there, i text a bunch to get to that point.
The purpose of texting, for me, is to see if i still have the feelings that accompany “hell yeah.” If so, I call and indicate that I’m interested in a date. If it is not a “hell yeah,” then I owe it to both of us to bow out. That is self love. That takes courage and honesty and a degree of integrity to say no.
If I’m not excited to see you, then you’re better off with someone else, as am i. I owe it to you to be honest, with tact. I owe it to myself to know myself well enough, too.
My belief is that i owe it to you to know what relationship I want and look out for my best interests and yours in making that decision. If I know both what I’m looking for, and what does not work, I have done a good amount of screening.
That strategy is going to get us the highest possible win- win.
Yes, I’m highly analytical and I am a marriage counselor, so I can cite research. I know why I approach it this way, because I’ve studied what makes relationships work and what makes them fail.
In my experience, many people over-commit very early on and begin talking about sexual compatibility. If we do that, we’ve skipped a few stages that are necessary. That will not serve us well. Flirting is fun and being playful along the way helps.
For me, the purpose of date one is to feel the vibe of the person, to determine how their style of communication fits with mine and how attracted i am. If I’m very attracted but the other things are not in place, I can tell you it won’t work out and the pain of forcing it will have been a mistake.
In the past, my gut has said, “ this person is wonderful and deserving. They would be a great partner for the right person, and that is not you.” Can you imagine saying “Go ahead and make it work,” even though you know that the cards are stacked against you?
In dating, we are trying to determine if we fit.
We first exclude people that don’t fit us well. That is not selfish or defensive.
This minimizes the pain of rejection. Both parties would rather not be involved in a relationship that’s clearly not going to work.
If you know that it won’t work ahead of time, don’t get into it. Right?
It’s similar to trying on clothing or taking a test drive or buying a house. You know what you’re looking for, and in order to make a good decision, you have to be true to yourself (and be kind to the other person, if dating).
I know who I don’t work well with in relationships. Sometimes in the profile it jumps out.
Sometimes that information or feeling does not come until the texting or a phone call.
Despite all that, the in-person meeting might have information and a vibe that it is clearly not going to work. You know your dealbreakers and don’t have to defend those.
I can really like the person and be highly compatible on several levels and not be compatible on necessary further levels and I know it won’t work.
This is not a romantic, but a very pragmatic, approach.
This approach might not be your cup of tea, yet it works well for me. If it doesn’t work well for you, that is good information for your decision. Don’t date me, if I don’t work for you.
Someone told me that my Standards are too high. Could be true.
I think of it as responsible dating. If I know i need a certain style and you don’t have it, that’s clearly not going to work.
When someone starts fighting before we’ve met, that makes it clear for me.
You’re seeing if i fit you and I’m trying you on.
Afraid of committing to someone who won’t work out? You should feel that. Don’t commit so early. Go on more dates and have the difficult conversations.
Another option is to Go out with everyone. I don’t see the merits of that approach.
I’ve heard others insinuate that “You have to date me if you talk to, or text, me. “
I had someone say, “How dare you not want to date me?” As I listened more closely, they were telling me that I would be lucky to date them because they are better looking than i am.
Sometimes, people say, “What do you mean we’re not a fit?” What might be implied is “I am a good person and I feel rejected.”
Along those lines, if someone tells you “We are not a good fit,” they have just spared you time and hurt feelings. Say “ Thank you. Good luck out there. “
They are not actually rejecting you (they don’t know you well enough to reject you personally. If you take it personally, that’s probably a mistake). They are saying that your styles don’t play well together.
Please, don’t then try to persuade them or pressure them or insult them. It isn’t easy to say no to people (for most of us). It was hard to say no and please assume the motivation was to spare feelings, not hurt them. It will hurt now or hurt worse later after investing time and energy.
You can’t pressure me into dating you. I am allowed to make that decision without your input.
I’m allowed to say to myself, “this person doesn’t fit and I don’t have to date them.”
This approach won't work for everyone, but if I put myself in their shoes, this is how I would approach it.