Dating has its ups and downs, online and off. Here, handling the inevitable “thanks, but no thanks” moments.
By Evan Marc Katz
If you’ve dated, you’re probably more familiar with rejection than you’d care to be. And that holds true online, too. Think about it: When millions of people search for millions of people, there are bound to be a few missed connections. Then why does it hurt so much? Why do we take it so personally? It may be human nature, but it s sure not healthy. So if baseball players don t lose sleep that they re going to miss 7 out of 10 pitches, how can you, as a single person, make peace with the process of being rejected? Keep reading for a whole new perspective.
The issue: The paradox of choice
Match.com may well be the world s biggest meeting place for single people. I can t think of anywhere else that offers more opportunities to find love. So you search and browse and make your favorites list and see that there are 45 people in your area who interest you. And those 45 people are trying to narrow down thousands of people to form their own favorite lists. So while you ve got a terrific pool of people to choose among, you have to recognize that everyone else is doing some choosing, too.
Your new view: The first thing you need to do is adjust your expectations. Due to sheer volume, you ve got some competition, but it s not insurmountable. Hundreds of thousands of people find love on Match.com every year. Here s how to boost your chances for success: Take online dating seriously. As a dating coach, I can tell you firsthand that most people don t do so. Those who do get the best results. So get yourself a new, close-up, smiling digital photo. Work on your profile as hard as you d work on your resume. Read people s essays and respond directly to what they wrote to break through the “Hey, check out my profile” clutter. Log on regularly. You ll be on your way to success.
The issue: Going after only the most popular people
Think about it this way: if you think someone is super-attractive, everyone else does as well. When I m coaching my male clients, I m constantly reminding them that a gorgeous 29-year-old woman literally has every single guy from 25 to 60 within 100 miles of her zip code contacting her. These women can choose whomever they want most likely a guy who is very attractive, very successful, very close to her age, and very nearby. Why? Because she can.
Your new view: Instead of investing your time writing to people who are not looking to date you, focus your energies on the people who are. Match.com has a Reverse Match function which shows all the people who are open to meeting you. Writing email after email to strangers who ignore you is both exhausting and demoralizing. Why put yourself through that when you can see whether you offer what the other person is looking for? Put your time into charming the right folks, and your dating success will take a quantum leap.
The issue: People who pull a disappearing act
Because everyone on Match.com has so many choices, you may experience people dropping out of touch sometimes in the middle of an email conversation. It s not nice, but it happens. It s similar to that experience of having someone ask for your phone number and then never calling or going out for what you thought was a great night only to never hear from your date again. Too many experiences like this can make a dater feel jaded and quit. But being negative and giving up doesn’t put you any closer to your goal. You have to keep on going!
Your new view: Let’s cut through the hypocrisy. Have you ever stopped talking to someone when another love interest captured your fancy? Well, if you can drop someone like a hot potato without an explanation, you shouldn’t be too shocked or hurt when it happens to you. It s truly nothing personal. And the same holds true online. Because we re sitting behind computers, juggling anywhere from 1 to 20 correspondences at once, there s bound to be collateral damage. Recognize that good people can be overwhelmed with choices and forgive them for not handling things in an ideal fashion. It happens to many if not all of us, so don t take it personally. Don’t feel you must have closure; just get over it and move on to next.
The issue: Recognizing long-term vs. short-term investing
I think we can all agree that love is pretty rare and special. If you re 40 years old, you may only have found it a couple of times in your whole life, if at all. So is there any logical reason to expect an online-dating site to deliver the goods instantly? Of course not. Yet we get on Match.com, experience a few setbacks and rejections, and call it quits. And quitting isn t a long term strategy it s a one-way ticket to failure.
Your new view: Don t be discouraged by a rejection or two. Incorporate online dating into your life. Like joining a gym for a year, rather than a month, this is a door that needs to constantly be kept open. You can still go to bars and parties, get set up, sign up for classes, volunteer and talk to strangers. This is just a supplement to expand your universe to people you wouldn’t meet every day. Match.com gives you opportunities that your real-life routine can t provide. And who knows? Maybe Mr. or Ms. Right will be signing up for the first time tomorrow. You ll never know if you quit today.
Dating coach Evan Marc Katz is the author of Why You’re Still Single: Things Your Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not To Get Mad. You can reach him at www.evanmarckatz.com.