Yesterday we discussed how to put together an eye-catching and sincere online dating profile designed to put you on a successful path to finding a quality love partner. Now that you have profile masterpiece, it is time to peruse the other side of the aisle and see how much time, thought, and effort others have put into theirs. You are making important decisions about with whom to spend your time and get a glimpse into his/her world. You need to be intrigued and eager to learn more. You also need to be wise and careful.
I have wished many times for a profile decoder ring. A magical instrument that would untangle and translate words from a dating profile. A profile that supposedly was designed to entice and thrill, oftentimes just confuses and dismays. It’s ironic to me how in an attempt to put their best foot forward, so many people end up putting it somewhere else and truthfully reveal things they never intended.
I believe there are some distinct patterns and red flags sprinkled throughout certain profiles; and by being careful, we can avoid wasting time. I do not suggest that these are absolutes, or that anyone who may say one or more of these things is wrong for you. These are just my observations and experiences. I would simply request caution until you can determine for yourself.
“Looking for Fun”
Most of the time this does not mean going to the movies or playing miniature golf. Simply put, they want sex. It just sounds less abrasive to say they are looking for fun. Most of us are looking for fun or we wouldn’t be online in the first place, so we can easily get pulled into their play on words. Just know when this appears first in the profile where the direction of the conversation may be heading.
This is closely tied to “Looking for Fun.” Being open-minded or looking for someone open-minded, again, sounds like a good thing. Keeping options open. Not stuck in a routine. Thinking outside the box. However, most of the time, this phrase is used to describe some sort of sexual freedom. Either they are in a relationship and want to play on the side, or they are okay if YOU are in a relationship and want to play on the side. Or, they simply want to play on the kinkier side. I will submit no judgments, just ask the right questions before proceeding too far.
“Wanted: Good Hearted Man/Woman”
These individuals have been hurt. I am not suggesting they are not ready to try again, but the wounds are fresh and it is clear right up front that they need someone gentle and easy on the heart and ego; a tender and patient partner. They may be a great person, just know there might still be healing involved.
Unless you are on an arranged marriage site, no sane person expects the first date to end in a relationship. However, the idea IS to date, not find a walking buddy. These people are probably not looking for a commitment and are shoring up their position to just hang out and coast along. There are so many people out there ready to run full-speed ahead that they feel it necessary to put the brakes on before starting the engine. I had a conversation with a guy friend of mine who actually has this statement in his profile and we discussed it. He very strongly believes that a solid friendship should be established before beginning a romantic one. This is hard to argue with, and I agree in theory. I also hold to my belief that many times this phrase is used to avoid the “what are we” conversation that some have way too soon after meeting. If you see this in a profile, just know the road to a serious relationship may take a long time.
“Takes Care of Himself/Herself”
This means more than eating more fruits and vegetables and working out. This is all about appearance. I know looks are important to everyone. We all have the right to our preferences and tastes, but these have a specific look they like, spend a lot of time on their looks, and want their partners to do the same. This is perfectly fine, just know going in what is expected of you.
The people who mention drama probably have had their fair share of it over time. They may have been manipulated or dealt with an abusive or difficult person. It does not make them unsuitable, just weary and possibly edgy. They want life stress-free with chill happy moments. If you like to keep things stirred up, these people are not for you. As far as baggage goes, everyone our age has some type of baggage. It may be a cute carry-on that can fit under the seat or a large trunk with reinforced steel, but we never leave a relationship without some emotional sediment clinging to our heart. We cannot hand our baggage to the next person and expect him/her to carry it around for us. We must handle it ourselves. Just understand these folks may be dealing with unresolved hurt or anxiety.
“Never Married/No Kids”
If they have reached the age of fifty and have never gotten married or raised kids, then there are certain personality traits that could be missing from their emotional repertoire. Marriage, even the bad ones, teaches compromise and flexibility. Raising children teaches sacrifice and priorities. If all they have ever had to worry about is themselves that is all they will probably ever truly worry about.
If they don’t take the time to write anything at all, they simply are not serious. Some of the free dating sites take only minutes from sign up to posting a profile. They could be bored or just fishing to see what falls on their hooks. Do not waste your time. A sincere and available person will take the time to do it right. You did and you should expect nothing less from the person with whom you spend valuable time talking. Trust your gut. Do not see things that aren’t there, no matter how much you want them to be.
Their Message to You
Ninety-four percent of people expect a response within twenty-four hours. Not everyone checks their messages that often, but I tend to agree with that timeframe. If I do not receive a reply within a day, I assume they are not interested. It has been rare, although it has happened, for someone to come back and provide a vacation or family issue as the cause for the delay.
If you are not interested, then it is my suggestion to simply not reply. I know there are many who will say (some even in their profiles) that it is rude not to answer an email. I disagree. The sole purpose of online dating is to find a compatible partner. If by reading their profile you determine they are not a good match for you, I see no reason to respond just to say no. If I send an email to a guy and see he has replied, I become hopeful. I take it as a good sign. To then open it up only to read he is not interested, is a disappointment. I would prefer not to have multiple rejection emails in my box. I would rather the silence speak for itself. If you send an “I’m sorry, I do not believe we are a match,” you open yourself up for the questions of “why not?” and “what’s wrong with me?” or “you’re just too picky.” Trust me, those are actual responses. Spare yourself the aggravation and choose not to reply. If you feel that strongly about this and wish to reply, please be clear and concise in your answer to discourage them from trying again.
You will receive many one-word emails like “Hey,” “Nice,” or even just simply “Sexy.” A few times I have responded to just a “Hello,” even though I would prefer a little more substance; however, I do not respond if the best they can muster is “Sexy.” It is obvious what they are looking for. Just like your thoughtful messages, you can determine who took the time to read your profile and express a sincere interest. Try to focus your attention on them. There will be a steady flow into your inbox. Take your time and be mindful and sincere. Pretty soon you will connect with someone.
Congratulations! You can now move on to a dialogue of finding common interests, sharing stories, and learning about each other. This can be a fun, fun time.
As I stated at the beginning of Part 1 yesterday, today (the first Sunday after New Years) ranks as the highest for online dating traffic. There will be millions of people out there today looking, and someone is looking for you! If you have taken the time to create an honest and sincere profile and are wise in your conversations and responses, then I am confident you can achieve your goal. Will it be today? Maybe, but maybe not. It is a process with a certain about of weeding out those who are not right for you, or just simply playing games. Good luck my Hopefuls! Let me know how it goes for you!
Stay the course. Be true to yourself. Don’t lower your ideals or standards.
And, of course, always, always…
Hope With Abandon