Not Sure About Online Dating? Keep it to Yourself!

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onlinedatingstigma

If you’re new to online dating, you might have wrestled with the decision to join a site before you actually got up the nerve to post a profile. You might have wondered whether it would help you meet quality people. Even if you’re already chatting with matches, you still might be feeling ambivalent about whether online dating is for you.

However, you don’t need to broadcast your uncertainty. Here are some common disclaimers that often pop up in the first few sentences of doubters’ profiles.

I’m just checking this out.”

I don’t have any expectations, but I thought I’d give it a try.”

I haven’t had any luck with online dating in the past, but I decided to sign up one last time.”

My friend told me to try online dating, so I guess I thought I should.”

Or this is my favorite:

What will we tell our friends about how we met?”

Um, why don’t you tell them that you met through a dating website? According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the stigma of online dating is fast disappearing. Nearly 60 percent of Americans think the medium is a good way to meet people.

Now, imagine how you might feel reading this profile opener:

This year, I decided to make my love life a priority. I can’t wait to meet a wonderful new partner to cherish and share my caramel corn with. Could this be you?”

Which person would you rather go out with?

Here’s why your timid ‘tude undermines your success:

1) It doesn’t really reflect your intentions.

I recently listened to an episode of the radio show “This American Life” that exposed the car sales tactics at a Jeep dealership in Long Island. One supervisor instructed a salesman that there is no such thing as a browser. Even if a visitor claims he is “just looking,” the salesman should treat him as a potential sale. Why? The shopper took the time to drive to the dealership to look at cars. He clearly wants to buy a car.

The same logic applies to online dating. If you’ve taken the time to create a profile and purchase a membership, the odds are that you want to find a relationship. It doesn’t make sense that you’re “kinda maybe just checking this whole thing out.” This is especially the case for a site like eHarmony that has a reputation for attracting members who are interested in long-term relationships. If you’re a member, you’ve filled out a long questionnaire and committed to a communications process that is more thorough than those of other sites. You’ve had to put in some effort. So why not own that fact?

2) It makes matches doubt your commitment to dating.

If you’re not excited about the concept of online dating, matches can’t help but wonder if you’ll be committed to the process. Do you have enough enthusiasm to follow through with texting, calling, and setting up dates? It’s likely that matches will respond more to people who make it clear they want to meet someone rather than those who seem as if they’ll go “poof” at any minute.

Advertising your dating doubts generates about as much romantic interest as showing up to a 20-minute coffee date at the Starbucks at the interstate rest stop at which you announce: “This is probably not going to work, however I thought I should meet you anyway.”

3) Wishy-washiness is a turn off.

Confidence is sexy. It’s no accident that many profiles contain the phrase: “I’m looking for someone who knows what they want.” Be decisive. You don’t have to be clear about your feelings for your matches right away. But at the very least you should be able to communicate certainty that you want to be in the game.

About the Author:

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate, and Salon.


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