The biggest mistake people make when they start online dating

12:00 PM

Although I have left online dating for the rest of Charlotte singles to peruse, I still want to share takeaways, whatever. Just bypass this post if you too are no longer feeling the fish. But I have to show some of you where you might be failing when it comes to striking up a convo, be it on the site's email page or even your Facebook inbox. 

But first, lemme tell you about a small side gig I'm doing for a good friend. He has asked me to take his friend's (very senior, probably pushing 90!) collection of addresses and phone numbers and create a spreadsheet. I hate Excel, but I can handle a few columns: Name, Address, City, ST, Zip (and phone, for good measure). Anyway, I'm going through the collection; dude jotted down the info anywhere he possibly could - index cards, old phone book, torn sheet of paper, newspaper clippings, and other random spaces where his jotting would fit. He carefully wrote the name of the person and their spouse, whenever there was a spouse to name, and remembered to collect titles, like Dr. or Rev. I would imagine these people are more than important to him, because he made sure he had updated phone numbers, too. Like, he would draw a line through the old numbers and squeeze in the new ones. 

Whenever he knew the nickname or the "for short", he would include that, too. In parenthesis. But, he made damn sure he had the correct government names, as well. Full names, first, last and a middle initial if it was provided. His dedication to keeping in touch with what might be 200 people -- in handwritten style -- amazes me. 

Now, I'm not that young. I remember the days before cell phones, email and Excel. I remember having an actual address book for my friends' contact info. And I remember saving their info and that book with my life! Back then, I wanted to know where they were, how they were and more. 

I did not take their addresses and numbers down just to say "hey". Well, maybe I did bid them a hearty "sup" - and still say hello to some of them via social media today! But, it was nothing for me to share my thoughts of the day, get into their lives by hearing about their days, laugh, cry, whatever. If I didn't care about connecting and staying connected with someone, their info never made it into my book. 

This brings me back to what you might be doing wrong when it comes to online dating. Are you actually getting to know people? Or are you just sending messages? Are you being asked out on a REAL date? Are you chatting about your work life? Your kids? Your likes and dislikes? Or are you randomly asking "how r u" or shouting "nice pics!", and typing nothing more? 

If your answers are like "well, I could do and/or I should expect more after three weeks of emails" then you are doing online dating wrong. Do you even want to meet the person. Do you care half as much as the old man did? At least 1/4th??? Look, we ain't teenagers. Let them do that random, pointless typing. You are online to get offline, with the right one. And in order to know if he or she is the right one you have to get to know them. You've spotted their profile page and sent a hello, a kiss, flirt, whatever. But, that's just a start. A very, small start. 

If you're serious, get a phone number. I'm not even suggesting to record an address, title, etc. I mean you would need to know if they have a spouse though, but other than that, you just need to get the digits. And go off the site to contact them. Get to know someone -- I mean say more than "hey"! -- and get asked out on a live date. Rinse and repeat if the date goes left. Meet online, go offline and get on a real date. 

Do more by getting the number. Be more than a penpal. Do more. Be more. And that's it. 

Bonus points if you actually use the number to talk more and text less. 

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