Guest Post by Sarah May
In online dating, we expect a lot based on gender. It doesn’t really make much sense and it’s much more difficult for both parties. People should begin to focus less on the unspoken rules of dating and more time TALKING to people (shock/horror).
Something as simple as sending the first message shouldn’t be determined by your gender. If you see someone who catches your eye, take the risk and message him or her. This goes for the playful ‘swipe if you like’ apps and online dating sites. But it’s not that easy, right? So many of us back ourselves up into a corner before we’ve even given it a go. No one messages you, so you give up, but if everyone’s thinking that — then there’s a bunch of single, bored people sitting around waiting for a message. If you get in there first, both parties will most likely be pleasantly surprised!
It does seem the general consensus is that the guy should send the first message. I think many of us are guilty of viewing and chickening out of messaging someone to avoid disappointment. It’s much easier when you mutually match with someone — you feel safe in the knowledge that you’ll get a reply and the world won’t end. Even then, people just don’t seem to talk to each other. So many times I have heard girls getting excited that they’ve matched with someone only to wait for the guy to make the first move. Why? If you’re so excited, then go for it! If it’s already a mutual match, then you KNOW they are interested! Guys can be just as bad, too. Many of my male friends have this preconception that “she must be getting loads of messages,” again, if we’re all thinking that – then is anyone really getting THAT many messages?
I have to say, we girls have got it good…in some ways. We can almost guarantee if we sign up to anything dating-related, we will get messages. Sometimes our inbox will even be flooded with messages, which is all well and good until you start building a collection of penis pictures. It’s like Christmas has come early…
After sifting through the creepers who live in the depths of the online dating world, for most ladies, the messages slow down from there. So gentlemen, if you see someone you like, you might as well go for it. Many, I can imagine, will be relived to talk to someone ‘normal’.
I do think this creep-factor is part of the reason many girls back down, though we can’t assume everyone’s creepy and too full-on. The worst contenders can often be those who will protest they are “the good guy.” They’ll be as nice as pie, offer to take you out, and suddenly go off on you when you don’t want to send a topless picture. I mean, if that’s your intention, a little honesty early on can’t hurt, but it certainty makes girls more wary.
On the other hand, there are plenty of genuinely nice guys looking for romance or just a little company – you can’t paint them all with the same brush. I do think the creepy and downright weird men out there ruin it for the ‘average’ guy, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. The same goes for single women as it does for guys. Even if you can’t think of something interesting to say in your first message, asking “How are you?” won’t hurt. If someone doesn’t message you back, at the end of the day, you’ll live. You can’t take it too personally and make assumptions about why they haven’t messaged you. Yeah, you might not be their type, but they could have also met someone else first – just a case of bad timing.
All in all, there are no real rules. Online dating is there to make it easier for us to meet people. It’s not meant to be a nerve-wracking experience. If you don’t put in any effort, you can’t expect to get anything out of it. Male or female, at the end of the day, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!