July 25, 2011

Online dating - hers

"I recently got onto an online dating site. I saw a profile that seemed promising and it looks like he and I have a lot in common. I did not give any personal information at all. All we know about each other at this point is that we live about 45 minutes apart from each other. I sent a smile and a message and I hope that by doing that I am not coming on too strong or seeming creepy. What should I do to let him know I am interested but not desperate?"

This question represents many women’s dilemma. On one hand many women today feel comfortable taking initiative and approaching guys. On the other hand most women still want and feel a need to be pursued and courted into a relationship. So how does this work when it comes to online dating, where dating opportunities are offered to men and women in exactly the same way? 

My advice:

On-line dating is not like real life dating. In real life you meet someone and smile at him, and he can smile back and ask how you are, and you can develop a conversation, and he can then offer to meet with you again (take you out on a date). Everything happens spontaneously. You see body language, you exchange real words. You get to really feel if there is chemistry, interest, and potential.

Another important aspect of real life dating is that spontaneous interaction between guys and gals, happens the way it happens in nature, or in other words – in the most constructive way, that yields results. In nature a male and a female who like each other, who are attracted to each other, seek each other’s company. The male responds to a female who shows interest, and courts her. She in turn responds to his courtship moves, and encourages further interaction. As long as the principle of male-female energy is kept, there is a great chance for a natural sequence of events to follow where the guy courts the woman and she responds, then they start dating in order to get to know each other and build a relationship. For men and women, looking for a mate, the most effective way is to meet in real life, in spontaneous situations. But this is advice for another question -- where to meet (you can forward your dating question through my web site).

Modern life has somehow disrupted this fine balance between the genders, and brought upon a stalemate, where neither the woman nor the man know what they are expected to do. This is best expressed in communication through the Internet, on online dating web sites. Even if both profiles have photos, the sense of chemistry cannot be achieved until you meet face to face. People think they like each other, while all they like is who and what they think the other person is! So my advice to my clients is to always meet their match as soon as possible (obviously while keeping all the safe date rules).

Now you're asking if it's OK for the girl to initiate contact with the guy. And my answer is YES, but bearing in mind these guiding tips:

  • Sending a smile is good. It is equivalent to meeting a guy in real life, say at a party, and smiling at him. Would that feel desperate for you? Probably not. A smile is a wonderful way for a woman to signal to a guy that she is interested, and invite him to pursue. Or sometimes even only reviewing his profile is enough, since he gets to see who looks at his profile, and many guys will use it as an excuse to email you and say: “I saw you looked at my profile; I think we have some things in common, let’s chat”. So when you send a flirt/smile or check someone’s profile, it's an invite to pursue. This is important, because guys feel successful when they initiate a conversation and you respond positively. Success builds confidence. And women love a confident man. So you see, this strategy (which is really just the way males and females  interact in nature) works perfectly for both sexes.
  • Now if you send a message to the guy, it interferes with this process. In real life this would be like you actually going to the guy and starting the conversation. Would that feel comfortable for you to do? While some women could do it, you need to look at the end results – does it work? Taking the man’s role and leading the interaction will render him passive. Most often guys approached by women will wait for the woman to also initiate the date. This can work when a woman is inclined to be more aggressive, and the man more passive, but not when a woman actually enjoys being courted and pursued and/or wants to meet a man who takes initiative and action. Would you like a passive man in your life? If you do go ahead and write to the guy. But if you don’t, flirt with him to invite him to pursue you.  
  • If you send a message to the guy, how will you know he is interested in you, since you prevented him from expressing his interest in you as well as  his masculine side (important for both of you!)? And how will you know he has confidence, and personal authority (which most women are looking for in a mate)? Women need to know they are desired by their man, and men need to know they are perceived as men.
  • You have sent him a smile and a message so you already let him know you are interested. If he hasn't replied, you can't do anything anymore. Just accept it. There are many reasons why someone will not respond, from simple impoliteness not relating to your message at all (when there’s no interest), to not being able to reply (when he’s not a member – there are more non-paying members on any online dating service than paying members), to not liking your message (but again, a polite reply should be sent back in any case).  
  • The fact that he lives 45 min from you is a good reason to meet at least for the first time and check if there is chemistry, and it IS a good and practical consideration, but for this to happen, the guy needs to respond and offer to meet; it's not your job! Ideally, you smile to invite him, he sends you a message, you start talking, and then he initiates the date. If you smiled/flirted AND sent a message, you must stop there, and if he replies, you should let him initiate the date.

Unfortunately at this point you have exhausted your options, so just forget about him and check other profiles.  There are lots of profiles out there, and while you are a novice and are hoping to connect with someone just based on each other's profiles, most people on dating sites have lost that freshness and authenticity, and are busy looking for someone so special (that doesn't exist). They have now made the search itself their immediate task, and have become very superficial and nonchalant in their approach to dating online, getting further and further away from genuinely connecting with someone. 

Remember, sending a flirt is enough. Leave him space to pursue, or else you come across as too aggressive. Guys look for feminine qualities in women, which means they look for the smile, but not for a concrete move. Guys want to be the pursuers, they want to show you their masculine traits, so you will desire them, and if you make the first move on their behalf you leave them no choice but to remain passive (although some guys will respond simply because they may be flattered that you have initiated, or they don’t mind getting out on dates if there's no work for them). 

One last remark: make sure your profile represents you in the best way possible, as this is where you leave your First Impression. Many people don't get replies simply because their profiles do not attract the opposite gender. This can be corrected!

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