While I had a moderately successful love life in the US (at high school/university), now that I’ve moved to London and am working a full-time grown-up job, I’m finding it much harder to connect with people. I think most of this is UK/US cultural differences, as I’ve had at least three flirtatious meetings I was sure would turn into a number exchange end in the fellow dashing off, leaving me disappointed and a little confused. So, after a year, I’ve finally given up on meeting someone in person and have turned to The Internet.
(It’s also worth mentioning that I’ve made the conscious decision to seek out a semi-long-term relationship for the first time in my life.)
I’ve set up an OkCupid profile, which was the site recommended to me as having the best ratio of interesting people, and the best filter for weeding out ones I likely won’t be interested in.
Questions for people who’ve done this before:
What’s the polite way to respond to a message from someone whose profile doesn’t interest you? “Thanks, but you sound boring and I don’t want to talk to you any more” is probably not the right etiquette.
Once you have found someone interesting/fanciable, what’s the general MO for moving from “so, you like Vonnegut too?” to meeting? I’ve just never done this before, so general tips/advice/great stories/horror stories would be appreciated.
I’m not sure if profiles are public, but if they are, mine’s here if anyone wants to take a look and offer comments. Thanks!
“Sorry, I don’t think we’re a good fit – good luck to you in your adventures.”
“I’ve been enjoying emailing/IMing with you – why don’t we meet for coffee and see how the conversation goes in person?”
My only comment on your profile is on your having checked “often” for drinks – I don’t drink at all, so to me that means “probably an alcoholic.” You might want to consider checking “socially,” unless you regularly drink alone, in which case you very well might actually be an alcoholic.
That’s a very diplomatic way of putting it, thanks! I’ve already had a few messages from people who seem nice but not my type, and I want to tell them that without crushing their spirits.
In my experience, the drinking issue is definitely a UK/US thing — that is, “socially” and “often” are pretty much the same thing, as pretty much everybody ends up at the pub after work, and when out with friends on weekends. I do make it through about 3-4 pints/day, and I wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression to someone who was looking for a tea and biscuits partner! I’m not sure how to better phrase that in the drop-down options.
I’m not sure how OkCupid is in London but here in Columbus, Ohio - not so good. Other than that, you have a very interesting profile and you’re quite a cutie!
On the drinking hijack - For a 22 year old woman living in the UK, I don’t think “often” is much of an issue. Pub culture and youth being what they are. Now if you were a late 30’s woman living in Columbus, it might put a question in my mind. A question like… “When we grabbing that pint?”
People tend to drink more, and more often, in Europe. In the UK, a LOT more. My husband’s German relatives were absolutely astounded they couldn’t get a beer at McDonald’s here. It’s perfectly normal and expected to be able to have a lager with your Big Mac over there. You can even get beer from vending machines.
Tracy your profile sounds really interesting. Twickster’s suggestions regarding what to say in the situations you listed are spot on.
I think that’s perfect. Be polite, but don’t worry about crushing anyone’s spirit. This is the point at which you have no attachment, so you can both afford to be straightforward.
I would say if someone emails back, email them again with some other commentary. I wouldn’t rush into the personal meeting until you can have a comfortable conversation online. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve met guys who are attractive but real boring conversationalists in the past, and somehow the looks end up carrying more weight than they should once you have them sitting across from you…
Oh- and GOOD LUCK! I myself met the hubby online and moved to Chicago, where I knew not a soul.
If it’s just a “Woo” then no response. If the person is clearly outside your parameters, then also no response. But if they sent a nice message, then a “Thanks but I dont think we’re a match” is good.
As follows: A few messages back and forth, then exchange of “real” emails, then phone numbers, then “meet date”. Generally, let the guy suggest the last, but certainly the other two are better coming from the woman.
Good advice so far, just chiming in to say good luck. I met my boyfriend through OKCupid almost 3 years ago, so hang in there.
I never even bothered with replies to folks that were way outside of ‘real’ possibility, a very low match percentage or 500 miles away or a message composed entirely in leet speak, for instance. For regular guys that I simply wasn’t interested in, a polite “thanks, but no thanks, and good luck in your search” sufficed.
I’m as puzzled as you are! I mean, that sounds very vain, but I’ve been having serious problems with UK dating — the first few months I was over here, I assumed I had just completely lost my mojo and would never date again, because all my (to me) completely obvious date-parleys ended in the fellow saying, “Well, nice to meet you!” and walking off into the night. I still have no idea what I’m doing wrong, but maybe I’ll find out if the OkCupid boys start peeling off, too.
JoeSki — wow, thanks! Most of that was very helpful. I admit to being a bit about “Oh, and you’re not going to ask her out. Tell her to go out with you.” I don’t think that would work very well on me — if someone thinks they can order me around before we’ve even met, what will a relationship be like? But obviously it works on some women, so I’ll just look at it as a flag for someone I might not want to get to know better.
Okay, a fellow caught my eye and I messaged him, and we’ve had an enthusiastic conversation about Tom Waits. Now I’m falling into the “ack, he hasn’t messaged in 36 hours! WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME I AM A FAILURE AS A WOMAN” loop, which is no good for anybody but probably an inevitable part of the game. Also, is getting dozens of messages normal? I’ve been using the “thanks, but I don’t think we’re a good match” line, but I had no idea the volume would be so high.
First- don’t concentrate all your hopes on one guy.
Next, yes as a cute young girl, with a moderately interesting profile that doesn’t mention anything about depression or therapy, you will get a LOT of replies. Keep your options open, reply to any guy that looks even a little promising- some guys could be really great but not that good at making profiles or sending messages.
Simply ceasing to return messages after becoming disinterested is very common. In this guy’s case, I’d wait a few days, and then send a message that says something like, “Haven’t heard from you in a while, how’s it going?” and if that also goes ignored then you can assume he’s done, and don’t worry over it one bit. That’s just how it happens online.
Getting a lot of messages when you have a new profile is normal. Your profile will go out on a lot of “new people in your area” emails, and it will come up at the top of people who have logged in recently. The more active you are on the site the more people will find you.
If someone was definitely not my type, I didn’t answer their first message, not even with a “Sorry, we don’t fit” message. What I found that responding at all caused them to make a return message, perhaps to argue with your judgment even.
I reached out to my top local match on OK Cupid, even though he seemed like the type who would never like my type. It turns out he did! We’ve been together 2.5 years now, living together for 1.5, and I adore him.
The “tell her out” bit isn’t so much supposed to be barked out as an order so much as said with a smile (or smiley rather). In salespersons terms this is called “assuming the sale” and can greatly increase the money you make. It doesn’t necessarily have to be done this way either. A common alternative is for (and I’m going to use a sales example here) you to make a sales pitch, and after hearing a customers positive feedback asking him “Ok, would you like the product in red or black?”. By asking the customer a question which doesn’t have “no” as an answer, you can sort of lead them into saying “Red”! and then making your sale. Likewise, if you’re dating you can get someone talking about restuarants they would like to eat at, and then once it’s established you and the other person would like to eat out you ask “So, do want to grab some The Cheesecake Factory or Kobe’s Steakhouse with me?”. This gets the person you’re asking out thinking about what restuarant she wants to eat out at. If you were to ask the same person “Wanna go out?”, they will consider yes, but they will also think:
“Should I? Do I like this person enough?”
“Is this really safe?”
“Is it too soon?”
“Do I have the money to go out and eat?”
And so on. But when you “assume the sale”, none of this even enters the equation.
Whether you use this in your dating life or not, it’s a very good thing to know and has endless applications.
Also, while it’s very polite that you return messages to people whom you’re not interested in, it’s really not neccesary. While dating online most girls who weren’t interested in me never sent me anything back and I grew used to that soon enough. I suspect sending out “Thank but no thanks” messages will have a good number of men trying to turn your idea of them around.
I just generally ignored most initial messages that I wasn’t interested in.
I was on OkCupid for a few months and went on three dates. All of them were varying degrees of okay. Actually the first one was boring but decent, the second was fun at the time but slightly creepy later on, and the third was actually pretty good - we met twice before circumstances made it difficult for us to continue.
I wouldn’t worry too much about a short dry spell concerning dates and such. With the third guy both of us expressed surprise that the other had resorted to online dating - seriously, the guy was so decent I was afraid he’d turn out to be a serial killer or something.
Since you note that you correct grammar for a living, you should probably correct all the errors in your own profile. As a grammar Nazi, I notice that kind of thing, and so might a potential mate of yours who doesn’t respond to you because of the dichotomy.