Saturday, April 16, 2011

Young People Support Status Quo in Online Dating

I was recently alerted to a CNN article by Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz, wherein they wrote things like:

“not responding is an acceptable move in online dating”


“You should not, under any circumstances, continue to message someone who's stopped responding to you. Persistence doesn't pay off in the game of online shopping for strangers. It just makes you seem like a creeper, reinforcing said person's unexplained decision to cut you off.

Like it or not, ghosting on someone you're messaging with is completely acceptable in the digital realm. (And let's face it, an out-of-left-field ‘You're just not quite what I'm looking for’ missive would be sorta weird.)”

Basically, it appears as though the authors are embracing the shallow and insensitive behavior that occurs in online dating rather than trying to remedy it. The idea that if you get rejected the thing to do is immediately try another person seems to preclude self-reflection or introspection. Why did I get rejected? What can I learn from this? Obviously sometimes there is no explanation and dwelling on something meaningless probably won’t help matters. But in general, racing ahead to the next rejection is probably not the best next move.

That it’s okay to just ignore or walk away from an online conversation without giving a reason and that it’s not okay for the recipient of this discourteous behavior to expect one seems wrong headed. Of course, sometimes it is best to just walk away from any rejection or even vanishing act. But this doesn’t excuse the perpetrator of the insensitive act. Perhaps it would be “weird” to tell someone why you’re moving on, but it would also be the right thing to do. In my experience, I end up having to write a lot of these notes to people, explaining why I cannot continue messaging. Usually the response one of relief and acceptance. By taking this extra effort to write these “weird” “missives” I do not dishonor myself. In addition, the other person has some kind of closure, one hopes.

Treating others well is nothing to be ashamed of. There is no such thing as being a good person “IRL” and a bad person online. The authors state that a massive “overhaul” of the rules is unfeasible. Of course they are right. There can be no top-down overhaul of anything on the internet. It must happen organically over time. Who knows what the online dating rules will be in ten or twenty years? But they may look very different than what they are today. As society becomes more and more accustomed to online dating, rules may slowly come into being which account for some of the above concerns, mainly that one cannot have two personalities for real life and online without consequence to one’s own psyche. Check your superego at the door? I don’t think so. I suspect the willingness to embrace rather than apprehend and deal with the destructive or harmful elements of online dating stems from a larger notion that the virtual world can somehow offer an escape from the basic rules of cause and effect. There are some things we as a society have not quite grasped about the internet. Hopefully in time we will.


Anonymous said...

hopefully, in time, you can get over yourself. and okc. but you won't see anyone holding her breath.

Anonymous said...


Cold Bacon said...


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