I knew that venturing into the world of dating after a nine-year hiatus would be… well, interesting. So far, I’ve impressed myself with my willingness to meet new people. I’m instigating conversations, unafraid of rejection and feeling empowered by my newfound sense of exploration. I’ve also observed a lot of the same online dating woes as Hanssie; I want to reach through the computer and smack some of these men. Although I will add to her list: please, no photos of socks with sandals. That gets an instant disqualification from me. (I see it as a part of the weeding process.)
Something I am uncomfortable with is rejecting others. I encountered this for the first time Sunday night.
I have a steady group of guys I’ve been chatting with through a popular dating site. It’s a fun distraction, it boosts my ego, and I’m warming up my communication skills. Last week one of these guys shared that he goes to the church that I do – great! So, we arranged to say hi to each other after service.
Quickly upon meeting my online friend, I learned that I’m not a time waster; if I don’t feel an instant connection with someone, things won’t go much further. This was certainly the case Sunday night. To say this guy was awkward is an understatement. I am confident that the context of meeting for the first time was not what made this so difficult; it was that he was nothing like I expected, nor am looking for. He was so different from me relationally that I couldn’t even hold a conversation with him – and I’m the kind of girl who prides herself in being able to talk to anyone. After about ten minutes, I made up an excuse that I had to hurry home and high-tailed my butt out of there.
The difficulty with online dating is that a picture and emails only go so far – you don’t experience basic components of human interaction such as body language, vocal cues, and demeanor. I had a picture in my head of what this guy would act like based on our online chatting; the reality was vastly different. Later that evening, there was a message in my inbox asking to go to dinner. I politely told him that I am busy, but maybe I will see him around church – and haven’t heard back. Hopefully he got the hint, but I can’t help feeling like I’m probably now firmly planted on his list of girls he’s been rejected by (trust me, there must be a list.) In all fairness, it’s worse to string him along to spare his feelings than break it off now.
This experience has given me a new perspective as I continue my chatting with guys online, including not holding out too much hope. I have a feeling this whole dating thing is going to be much harder than I thought.