Online dating etiquette

So I’ve joined some dating websites and looked at some people’s profiles. There’s only one thing for it — I have to contact someone.

But how do you go about it? It’s difficult enough talking to people in real life. How on earth do you approach a stranger online?

I was buoyed somewhat by the first message I received from another person on OkCupid. The message simply read: “hello, its still cold.”

At least I knew my messages would definitely be better than this. Or would they?

Brick walls

Evidently, my messages were not that much better. I was disheartened at just how often my messages would go ignored. And that’s not only instances where I instigated the conversation.

There were plenty of times where another person would send me a message, but wouldn’t respond to my reply. Other times, a user would rate my profile four or five stars, which is presumably a good indication that they like my profile. But they wouldn’t reply to my message.

There were instances where I exchanged a number of messages with someone else. But invariably, arduously, these led to dead ends.

Clearly, I was doing it wrong. Precisely how I was doing it wrong, I haven’t managed to put my finger on.

It’s disturbing, because I have long felt that I am much better at writing than speaking. I have run a few reasonably successful blogs. So, in theory at least, writing a message over the internet is the bit I ought to do well at.

How do you sell a dull life?

It doesn’t help that making my life seem interesting is a major challenge. In many conversations I have been asked what my plans are for the weekend. Of course, everyone else always has masses of amazing fun planned out. But what can I say if my only plans are going to the supermarket and the tip?

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that, naturally, I mainly tend to look at these dating websites when I am bored and have no immediate plans. It’s a bit like asking a beggar what his job is.

Speaking of which, one time I was asked what my job was. I didn’t plan out my response — I just started typing, letting the description flow. I sent the message. When my sent message was presented to me in my outbox, to my horror I saw that I had written literally around 1,000 words.

I apologised for being a dreadful bore. Even though the other person said that was OK, I didn’t hear from her again after that. Can’t blame her really.

Red alert! I know that person

Having a stilted conversation about going to the tip, or going on way too much about work, pales into insignificance on the awkwardometer when you come across someone you might know in real life. Or is it someone I know? Maybe I’ll view their profile to check.

Ah, but once you click on their profile, they know you have visited. So now they know I’m stalking them. I am the creepy man from a past life coming to peek at their online dating activities. Or maybe it’s only polite that I message them… I always sort of fancied them anyway…

Wise idea?┬áMaybe not. I wasn’t brave enough to try it.

Anything but easier

All-in-all, my experiences of online dating have revealed that it’s anything but easier than trying to meet new peoplet in real life. As a serial failure at the real life approach, that’s saying something.


This will probably be the final post in this series, although I may post an epilogue following some comments people have made to me while these posts have been published. Thanks for reading.

1 comment

  1. My current boyfriend is someone I met once through friends, then saw him on a dating site. I messaged him, we IM’d for a few months, eventually met up and now we’ve been together for over a year! I say go for it, it’s only a wee message!