Dear Anon-O-Box: I Like Stand-Up Comedy, Not Stand-Up Tragedy

Dear Anon-O-Box,

I’m a straight geek girl who is starting to lose hope with online dating. I’m smart, friendly, and relatively good-looking, and I think my profile is pretty solid.

The problem: none of the exchanges I’ve had have turned into dates. Every time a conversation gets to the “let’s get coffee” part, the guy fails to respond when I suggest a place to meet – or worse! – I get stood up. I don’t think it’s a timing thing – I’m not suggesting coffee after just one message, and I’m also not dragging things out for weeks.

I’m not sure why this keeps happening; the conversations leading up to that point are usually engaging and fun, and the blow-off seems to come out of nowhere. It’s almost like these guys would rather exchange emails, but never meet me in person. Any ideas?

Signed,

Likes Stand-Up Comedy, Not Stand-Up Tragedies

e answers:

Dear LS-UCNS-UT,

D’oh! This is certainly a stand-up tragedy! I’m sorry that your experience has been so bad. Clearly, these guys missed the lecture from Mom about respecting women. And the lecture in high school about respecting other people’s time (you know, the one you get when you’re in detention for being tardy to class too many days in a row?). Sheesh.

You’ve cleared up a couple of my initial questions in your email. You’re exchanging a few emails before suggesting meeting up. You’re not dragging things on for weeks on end before suggesting a date. The emails seem to be going well up until the point of no return.

Based on that information, here are a few possibilities:

He’s Not Really Single

There are guys on online dating sites that are currently in relationships. They feel that the spark of excitement that fuels the initial fire of a relationship has gone out and they’re looking to relive that with someone new. But a little flirting online is as far as he wants to take it. He’s not going to actually cheat on his girl in the flesh. Just a little cyber-dallying.

He’s Painfully Shy

If you read the last couple Anon-O-Box articles, you’ve noticed there are some really shy guys out there. Maybe the guy who poofed felt you were moving too quickly and he didn’t have the testicular fortitude to stand up and tell you that he wanted you to slow it down, that he wasn’t ready for a date yet. It was easier for him to pull an ostrich.

He’s Got You On A Back Burner

Part of online dating involves occasionally having more than one possibility simultaneously. If this guy sent 10 emails last week and two women replied, he is probably trying to get a first date with each woman so he can see which one is more compatible with him. If the other girl was first and he felt a strong spark with her, he may want to see where that goes, so he poofs out of your inbox.

He’s Just An Asshole

It happens. No rhyme, no reason, just a jackass who had no intention of meeting you.

What’s A Girl To Do?

When a guy poofs, send him a follow-up email.

If he poofs at the email stage, give him a week before following up.  Send him a note that plays up your concern about his welfare. “I really hope you’re okay – I haven’t heard from you in a week and I’m worried that something happened to you.”  (Don’t trust the dating site’s “Last Online” date – they’re often inaccurate.) Don’t mention anything about you being worried that he doesn’t like you or anything like that. Make this all about him.  Because if his grandma died and he had to jump a flight to Nebraska for the funeral, you don’t want to make him feel worse about the situation. Give him the benefit of the doubt because you’re a good person.

If he poofs for a first date, send the follow-up email when you get home. Again, benefit of the doubt. “I’m sorry our meeting at Caribou Coffee didn’t go off as planned – did you have an emergency? Our conversations have been going well, so if you’d like to reschedule our meeting for another time, let me know.

If after your very nice and non-accusatory follow-up email, he’s still MIA, block him and move on. He’s clearly not worth your time.

Before a first date…

You haven’t mentioned if you’ve been having any IM, text, or phone conversations before your first date. I can’t tell you how many rotten eggs I sniffed out before the first date through IM and phone conversations.

  • If you’re dealing with a guy who is not single, he’ll probably balk at the idea of phone (or insist on it only at specific times).
  • If you’re talking to a shy guy, IMs and text are still in his comfort zone, but a step closer to real conversation. He’s less likely to freak out at the idea of going from email to IM, IM to text, text to phone, phone to in person. Baby steps!
  • If you’re on his back burner, he’ll probably insist on keeping it on email. Then you know you’re not his top priority.
  • If he’s an asshole, you’ll find out faster when you’re chatting in real time on IMs or on the phone. (People self-censor a lot better via email than they do in IMs or on the phone.)

Again, I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad experience so far. I really hope you’ll be able to use my advice to weed out the poofers and keep the real men!

Happy dating, geek friend.

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