What’s the first thing you think of when you hear those two words together?
I’m guessing that for some of you the answer is “Ugh” or “Hell, no. Never again.”
Not me, though. When I hear online dating I think of possibilities and potential. And disappointment — sure, that too. But mostly the potential. And the fact that I’ve met so many amazing men via online dating sites.
That’s right. Lots and lots of amazing men.
I’m not lying.
Really, I’m not.
And yet, to hear others speak about online dating, you’d think the only people out there online were pathetic losers with limited social skills.
So what gives? How do I account for my overall positive results (going back a decade), when so many others can’t seem to find a single nice thing to say about their online dating experience? It’s simple. I have great online dating karma. Wait, let me rephrase that. I’ve earned great online dating karma.
In my personal life, my professional life and now in my online life, I’ve always tried to live my life by a simple code: “be kind.” Kindness might not always be rewarded in the short term (in fact, it usually isn’t) but I have this nutty belief that a lifetime of treating others with kindness is still the right way to act. And that sometimes the universe repays us with kindness when we least expect it.
So I try to reply to almost all messages I receive, sending back thank you for contacting me but… notes. Many sites have prewritten quick reply notes, and so I use them when I can. I like to acknowledge the effort a guy makes, especially because I know how frustrating it can be for me to send out messages and get nothing in return.
And when I do make a date with a guy, if he shows up and looks different than I expected, I smile and make an effort at polite conversation. I’m never rude and never cut the date short unless the man is making me feel uncomfortable in some way. In other words, I’m careful with guys’ feelings.
I’ve heard people, both men and women, say proudly that they stood up after two minutes and said, “I don’t think this is going to work” and left. The very thought of that horrifies me. Yes, it’s honest, but it’s also aggressive and rude.
I guess what I’m saying, in a roundabout way, is that I try as hard as I can to treat every man I come into contact with during the online dating process as well as I can. And that I think that somehow accounts for my positive results.
Online dating is one of those situations where you get out of it what you put into it.
And so maybe all of those people with bad online dating track records should ask themselves what they put into it.