Recently I was chatting with a circle of women I met at a charity event when the conversation inevitably turned to relationships and dating. When the topic of online dating came up, a contest broke out among several women about who could be the most apathetic dater. “I don’t really feel like dealing with it right now,” said one. Another offered this: “I know it’s terrible, but sometimes I forget to check my email.” That was followed by: “I don’t want to do the work. I guess I’m just lazy.”
Maybe they were legitimately tired, busy or burnt out. I suspect that the “I’m not really into it” approach is the perfect defense mechanism to avoid rejection. If you never really put yourself out there, you never have to face the fact that someone might not find you attractive or want to go on another date. You can always blame your half-assed approach. It’s not about you! It’s because you couldn’t get around to answering an email.
Also, many people don’t want to give up the fantasy that love will just happen to them. Over the years I’ve heard complaints from women that they don’t want to take a methodical approach to something that should happen magically and organically. It was hard enough to put together a profile, they say. They don’t want to have to do the work to communicate with people and make the effort to meet them. “My profile is up,” a friend once told me. “Now they can come find me.” Once again, it was a convenient way to dodge the pain of rejection.
The frustrating aspect was that these women had active online profiles (that they were paying for!), yet their lackadaisical attitudes were sabotaging their chances at romance.
1) You’re wasting that match
Of course, there are plenty of people out there to meet. But if you’re on a site like eHarmony, you’re passing over someone that the matching system thought would be a good fit for you. If you keep ignoring your messages, over time you’ve lost the chance to meet a pool of potentially great sweeties.
2) People want others to want them
It’s a fact: People fall in love with others who are interested in them. Want to know the best way to kill a burgeoning romance … or even get a spark going? Wait three days to return an email or phone call. You’re clearly communicating to your matches that they’re low on your priority list. If you’re not really interested, it’s better to cut that person loose rather than hang on while you shrug your shoulders.
3) You’re disappointing yourself
Yes, your laziness might be convenient in the moment, but keeping yourself in a constant state of “kinda, but not really” isn’t fair to you. Indecision feels terrible, and you’re letting yourself down by not going after what you really want. You need to treat yourself better!
If you’re truly tired, busy or burnt out, then take a break from dating and pick it back up when you’re ready to take it seriously.
Otherwise, make a clear decision that you’re going for it and stand proudly behind your profile. Then do the work. Who knows? If you’re committed to the process, you might even find “this whole dating thing” kind of fun.
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.