There was one more gift under the tree. It was wrapped in shiny red paper with a bright green bow surrounding a small rectangular box. She wondered inwardly: a spa certificate? Tickets to a concert? Aunt Suzie always gave the best gifts!
With enthusiasm and anticipation she opened the box and peered inside. To her great horror, in front of 15 cousins, 2 sets of grandparents and many chiding brothers she opened up a gift certificate for three months of Eharmony. How could this be? Was she being publicly cast into “we’re-worried-you-might-become-the-cat-lady” scrutiny? Did Aunt Suzie think she was unhappy?
Her throat started to close up like she’d swallowed too much dry peanut butter. What was she going to say!? How could she get through these next moments? Christmas felt like it was ruined. Well meaning, yet all the while demeaning, her love life became the focus of the family discussion that Christmas.
“What’s in the box?!,” her cousin Jim roared.
With glee in her eyes Aunt Suzie answered for the girl. She said, “the key to finding her soulmate! That’s what the man on TV says. I gave Jenny a soulmate for Christmas! Now all she has to do is log on and pick one out. Would you like us to help you set up your profile?”
This week, a few thoughts on the whole online dating thing:
Is my soulmate really online? Am I missing him if I don’t log on?
1 in 5 people meet their significant other online. Remember, these are the same guys you’ll meet at a bar, church, gym, work, and the grocery store. There aren’t a special class of “soulmate” men online…it’s a mixture. You have to sort through the frogs to find your prince either way. 20% find him online. 80% do not. It’s just a question of practicality; don’t buy the hype of a marketing team who wants you to believe they have the secrets. It’s just like real life…sometimes it happens online, sometimes it doesn’t.
How open minded do I really need to be?
Seek out the answer to this question from trusted friends and mentors. Invite their honesty. They can be the ones to help you discern if you’re being realistic or if you’re settling for far too many fixer-uppers who don’t match you. The way I see it, if you’re going to pay to be on a dating service, go ahead and be picky. When I was doing the online dating thing, I was also living a very full life. I didn’t have time in my day to go on a zillion horrible dates, and believe me, they will happen even if you think you are being discerning. Open minded is good…but if he can’t run spell check on his profile and he likes to pose without his shirt off in his bathroom mirror making his sexy face…move on.
Am I desperate if I sign up for online dating?
No. No. You’re only desperate if you’re desperate. Online dating is just another way to put yourself out there to meet other single people. Don’t over think it too much. Online dating shouldn’t define you. Sure, it can feel silly and vulnerable to market yourself on a profile page, but you should be used to it by now…after all, we’re all on Facebook, right? It’s not something I liked about it either…I hated filling out those profile pages too.
If you aren’t meeting people and you want to be, then it might be a great way to get out there, go on a few dates and meet some nice guys. We’ve all seen it before…several friends have met their husbands in the first month they were online. I did not have this experience. I had a long line of colorful stories sprinkled with a few great dates.
Here are a few tips from my experiences with online dating:
- Don’t share too much too soon. Keep your responses warm, friendly, brief. You shouldn’t show all your cards at once. If he does, you can wonder about his emotional health too. Take your time. Intimacy is intimacy is intimacy and you want to save that for those who deserve it.
- “No thank you.” Don’t be afraid to evaluate and change your mind. Be kind, but protect your heart. You are not obligated to date everyone on Eharmony.
- Public Coffee or Meal Dates Only. You want your first date to be coffee. Maybe a meal. Don’t go to Disneyland with his best friend and his wife. That’s weird and is getting too intimate too fast.
- Look for: Shirts on, authentic eyes, articulate profiles, light hearted and nice, avoid superhero costumes and read between the lines. Go ahead. That’s the point. Be a little judgmental…this is not someone you have to sit with on a bus, it’s someone you are going on a date with and you are valuable.
The girl realized that Aunt Suzie was not inviting her to the Old Spinster Society, but just trying to help out. It was a clumsy attempt, but Suzie didn’t think online dating was all that bad… she was jealous of the possibilities the girl had before her and kind of intrigued. Politely the girl thanked Suzie but said, “uh, no thanks, I’m not interested in this becoming our family activity for the day. Let’s watch a movie instead.”
By New Years the girl had a coffee date with a very nice guy, there wasn’t a spark, he wasn’t her soulmate, but it was nice to go on a date with a cute guy either way.
What are some of the other questions you have about online dating?
Photo credit: Kathryn Macnaughton