I get frustrated by people alot. Especially dates, and potential dates. I get annoyed when women flake out on dates, or put no effort into them, or simply have little enthusiasm. Sometimes, I get in to an exchange with someone online who clearly has a chip on her shoulder. I keep it respectful and light, but always with the goal of setting a bona fide date because, well, that is why we're here, right? Sometimes, people don't get it.
Here's a recent exchange with a woman we'll call DGL from OKCupid. I started with a question about something in her profile (a cartoon she enjoys). Honestly, I couldn't care less about her favorite cartoon, brand of mustard, or preference for Honda vs. Toyota. These things are not important—I'm just making online small talk. I've edited the exchange for brevity and clarity.
Goodness, dgl, it seems whenever I'm wasting time on here, you are too. (OKC distracts me with pop-up notifications.) Could that be a coincidence?
Who is this lumpy space princess?
DGLI come on this site off and on to check messages. Lumpy Space Princess is from the show "Adventure Time"...totally bizarre and pretty great. Here is a link to some of her finer moments (I promise it's not spam).
I watched the cartoon. I thought it was dumb. But that's not important.
Bizarre, indeed. I'm more of a Ren & Stimpy fan. How would you feel about skipping the online messaging business and meeting for a coffee on Monday eve?
I have two baseball games for my kids Monday night. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I read your profile and I get that you're not into the email/chatting thing. I am very busy...therefore I have very few evenings to myself without my kids...and I value time with my friends as well. SO...I reserve evenings apart from good friends and family for individuals who care enough to want to get to know me at least a little bit. Why would I be looking forward to meeting to someone I know nothing about? Ridiculous.
API don't believe you can get to know someone on the internet. To get to know you a little bit, there is no substitute for face-to-face. Text conversation is terrible at conveying emotion or subtlety. Do your eyebrows go up when you talk? Do you like double entendres? Are you more attuned to audio, visuals, or kinesthetics? Do you like coffee or tea?
I believe in serendipity, so I look forward to meeting people I don't know on a regular basis—you never know what connection you might make.
Good luck with that on OKCupid, AP.
I discussed this exchange with a friend. He said that anyone unable to meet face to face wasn't worth my time, and I tend to agree. I appreciate people have busy schedules, and maybe they've had their share of lousy dates. Still, I'm perplexed at DGL's idea that it would make more sense to get to know her on the internet, when we live about 15 minutes apart. If this philosophy fit on a bumper sticker, it would look like this:
Which brings me to the point:
Hold your tongue, edit your words, always be kind. DGL's relatively gentle dismissal of my idea was just one. We all face rejection, indifference, foolishness or even hostility from time to time. And yet, sometimes the best thing to do is say nothing. Even when you want to. Even when the other person really, really merits some frank language. Even when you're right. Especially when you're right. I've lost count of the times I've just let people go. People who aren't right for me, who can't engage like adults, who act like they're in middle school, who arrive very late without acknowledgement or apology. People oblivious to their own mistakes.
Sometimes there is no benefit to saying something, and every benefit to just letting it go. You can say it to yourself, you can share it with a friend, but just let it go. The faster you do this, the more energy you'll have left for engaging with people you do connect with.