Rejection and Online Dating

I got a really great question from one of you folks about rejection.

I don’t like rejection, either receiving or dishing it out, but the latter a lot more so. If a woman winks and you’re not interested how should you deal with it?  Click “not interested”, send a message or just ignore it?

What about if you get to date level and you’re not interested?  Do you tell them there and then? Message them later? You were talking about doing 2-3 dates a week if you can, but that’s a lot of dishing out rejections.  How do you do that without just hurting a lot of people?  I’ve had one date of match and having to tell her not interested afterwards made me avoid the site for a while afterwards!

First of all, I don’t know if anyone likes rejecting people – or being rejected for that matter, but it’s a fact of life. Here’s a few guidelines.

  • Online, just ignore. In my experience, it’s perfectly acceptable on to just ignore the winks and messages of those you aren’t interested in. In my many years using the site, I’ve only gotten the “not interested” a couple of times – but I’ve been ignored plenty of times! Keep in mind that there are tons of reasons why someone may not respond; and if it’s because they aren’t interested, don’t fret, you weren’t compatible anyway. Some people are more comfortable sending the “not interested,” and that’s perfectly acceptable too – if you’re comfortable with it.
  • Manage expectations. Make it very clear that you are really actively dating, and that you’re determined to find just what you’re looking for. You don’t have to say this explicitly, though. I like to bring up the topic of our experiences with the site, trading stories a bit. This can make them less likely to assume that you’ll be interested. And if you are interested, it will make you more desirable to show that you’re active. This works better in the larger cities, where there is a larger pool, and it’s fairly obvious that there won’t be a second date unless there’s a pretty strong spark.
  • Open a dialogue. Sometimes, even when I am interested, I like to say something like “hmm…so, what do you think of this?” to open up a dialogue so we can openly share with each other our observations. Be open about what you see as good, and what has you wondering. If you’re lighthearted about it, it can actually make the date more comfortable.
  • Don’t look at it as rejection. Usually, it’s pretty obvious to both parties early on if it isn’t going to work out. Sometimes, “it’s not me or you – it’s us.” You should never feel bad about yourself if someone isn’t interested in you. Ultimately, you want someone who excites you, and who is excited about you – and you should never settle for less than that.

Honestly, if someone doesn’t have a grasp of what I think is usually fairly obvious, I have given, and received, the notorious “I’ll call you.” Everyone hates this, but these days everyone gets the picture. I personally think this, or simply not returning calls, is okay if things haven’t progressed…um…physically (when dating online). Beyond that, you do need to be open and honest: if you’ve gotten that far, then hopefully you have clear communication.

So, there’s my take on it, but I know opinions will differ. I’m really interested to hear what you guys think?

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