The match you really hoped would send you a message does and you decide the reply can wait. You resume swiping as if you never received a message from anyone. You put off chatting because you know once it commences you are “required” to investigate every possible “forget it”, known as your online dating yardstick. Here’s a few examples of the topics you may target based on the 4 existing photos on his profile; “if he’s 5 foot nothing, I can’t even wear heels”, “if he’s into wearing cardigans”, or, “if he’s into taking selfies”. Each “forget it” can build an idealised version of someone you would like to think exists. If you think this way, you could be accused of being fussy yet this kind of thinking also serves to protect you from the reality of dating in an imperfect world. When there is no communication it’s easy to romanticise about who potential dates might be but once the lines of communication open up, it’s time to get “real” about who you may potentially meet. The following are three simple suggestions to try when online dating:
1. Reply to messages, chat to people, propose dates sooner rather than later. Meet for coffee, don’t build meetings up to be something more than what they are. It’s a coffee, it’s two people meeting for coffee. How many people have you drank coffee with in your life? Don’t make a date bigger than what it is and call it something other than a date if that reduces your anxiety.
2. Instead of approaching online dating as some sort of selection process to find the ideal partner, use it to explore how you feel in the company of whole people. Not bits and pieces and parts of people. For example, someone’s dress sense has no bearing on how kind, attentive or intelligent they may be.
3. Try to approach dating with curiosity and wonder instead of a list of requirements. Be interested to see how open you are in the company of a new person. Focus on you and how you feel. Be honest, are you someone you would like to go on a date with? On the date try to be as playful and open as you can. Remember this is supposed to be fun and most people have an interesting story to tell even if you only meet them the once.