Today I spent around an hour discussing online dating with a friend whom I had introduced to okcupid. She was just telling me about the sort of message she receives, and about the dates she had lined up. Dates, plural.
I haven’t been doing this long, to be honest. And also, most of my recent dates have been with people I didn’t meet online. I have had, so far, only two dates with people I met online. How come she got into this after me and already has that many dates arranged (way more than two), and that many guys being flirty with her? I talk to a lot of guys, but I never get that many invitations.
I started going through my okcupid inbox, looking at the type of message I received and trying to find a common ground, something that would tell me what I was doing wrong. And I mean wrong because most of the guys I exchange messages with end up disappearing or never inviting me to anything. Was I scaring them away from a real, offline encounter? Was I that boring or unnatractive? Is it because I’m over 30 and she’s not?
Then, it dawned on me. I am friendzoning* them. Subconsciously on purpose.
What I noticed from my messages was:
- I always go for the shy type (that really doesn’t help in being asked out)
- I send long messages. Very long.
- I talk my head off in these messages, and just keep doing it, never steer the conversation into “real life”
It’s like I’m trying to find an online BFF. Or fill a form about their qualities as a possible mate, even before I consider if I even want to kiss the guy.
I discussed already how we should not use strategies in online dating that we wouldn’t adopt in offline dating. This is one of them. If you met someone randomly, you wouldn’t proceed to find out every single thing about them before analyzing if you have any sort of chemistry. First chemistry, then the rest.
In online dating, of course you look at the photo and make an assumption based on that. But until you don’t see the living breathing specimen in front of you, you can’t tell. Ok, sometimes you can tell, but let’s agree it’s the exception, shall we?
And why do I do this? Why do I go backwards and shoot myself in the foot?
Because I’m afraid.
I’m extremely afraid this very interesting guy I’ve been talking so much to but have never seen will not live up to expectations, leaving me in an awkward position. Now, if I friend zone him from the beginning, and am neutral about my intentions, then if it all becomes weird, I can feel like I did no harm. Never led the guy on. But the truism is true: no pain, no gain. I need to run the risk to reap the benefits. Maybe it’ll end up being an awkward date where I have to be explicit about “it was fun, but there’s no chemistry”. It’s a weird sentence I have never said.
So, yeah, it’s my fault. I’m just kicking them into the precipice before I run the risk of being disappointed.
Fear is a freaking powerful feeling. And this is not just fear, it’s fear + need for being liked by every single human being on the planet. Someone would say “what do I care if I disappoint a guy by telling him I don’t want to kiss him?”. I’d say “oh my god, if I disappoint a guy by telling him I don’t want to kiss him he’ll think I’m a bitch!” And truth be told, the bigger bitch is the one that tells you “it was wonderful, let’s do this again!” and then never answers your messages.
I thought I was over worrying about what others think of me. Apparently, I was wrong.
*If you’re not familiar with the friend zone, it’s because you’re in it and haven’t been through the tunnel yet. Or you’re Hugh Hefner. Here’s a cartoon to help you understand your situation: http://zona9.ro/tag/the-friend-zone/