Pardon Your Manners: First Impressions of Online Dating

Guest Post by Jae Walton

Online dating is a valuable resource in the dating world. You can scope out potentials without wasting time and/or money on bad dates/meetups. You log on, read profiles, exchange messages, weed out unappealing profiles, leaving you to only engage with those that tickle your fancy.

In theory, this sounds awesome. Save time, money, AND some potential boo thangs?! Who would turn that down, right? As good as this sounds, in execution, this theory has a tendency to fail.

Let’s discuss the frustrating side of online dating: the lack of basic mannerisms. Since communication is keyboard-based, some users feel that manners don’t apply to the Internet. I see it all the time, but you would think if you’re using a website with the hopes of getting a date, you would do better.

Not so much. Common sense isn’t common nor does it make sense. Case in point the following:

May I lick your lips?

Ur not (enter age here).

You look like you.

Another angry black woman mad at men.

Hey sexxi/sexy/sexxxy.

*Blinks slowly*

How you choose to react to the message(s) is crucial.

Option 1: You can choose to ignore the messages, but that may warrant a subsequent message (or messages) asking why you failed to respond to them. Now, if you haven’t already done so, feel free to block this person from contacting you again on the website.

*Rolls eyes*

The thirst is SO real out here folks that it’s on the cusp of dehydration. If you don’t want to ignore the messages, you have two more options.

Option 2 (Part I): You can advise them that their message(s) lack decorum. If they are willing to receive and process your message, a lack of manners will be a thing of the past.

Option 2 (Part II): You can advise them that their message(s) lack decorum and they revert to middle school antics (e.g. name calling, hurling insults, etc). Feel free to block them at this point.

Why do adults continue to feel that it’s okay to type this to someone and hit SEND?

There’s no need to correct a behavior that you may (or may not) know is wrong if people continue to accept the behavior? If you don’t block me and/or call me out on my foul, but instead strike up a conversation, there’s no need to adjust my approach. Remember, you set the standards for how you want to be treated. Just because you get a disrespectful message, doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

If you feel compelled to switch up the approach, keep it simple. Think along the lines of this:

Hi. I enjoyed reading your profile. I would love to hear more about (insert whatever it was about the profile that you found intriguing).

Would you be more likely to actually respond to this message? I definitely would. The absolute WORST part of online dating isn’t rejection. That’s a part of life. Not getting any response whatsoever is the absolute worst part. Give yourself a head start and pardon your manners. You’ll be surprised how far that will get you.


Jae Walton is a sarcastic pessimist slowly embracing optimism in Richmond, Virginia. She loves music, honey whiskey, the Pittsburgh Steelers, milkshakes, and people watching. For more Jae, find her on Twitter and on her blog, The Recovering Pessimist.

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