What do you do when someone doesn’t message you back? v2.0

The last post on this subject  gets the single most traffic on this blog, but it’s a bit long, so here’s a more concise and more practical version.

Here’s the situation: you’re on Tinder, and one of these two situations has happened:

  • You’ve been chatting with a girl for a while, and you send a message ‘Yeah that’s funny haha. Do you want to get coffee this weekend?’ And boom – you don’t hear any thing back from her.
  • You’ve just matched with her on Tinder and you send an original message like ‘Oooh hey I like your dog! I have a dog too. He’s a Jack Russel named Calvin’; you get no response.

If the situation is that you’re just sending a message like ‘Sup?’, ‘Hey, how are you?’ and not getting responses to those, then you need to take a step back and appreciate that girls on internet dating sites and inundated with messages like that, and yours does nothing to stand out from all the others.

So you’re sending creative, interesting messages – and you don’t get a response – what do you do now?

The most important thing is to preserve your own mental and emotional state.

Dating, especially the early stages of dating, should be fun.  If you’re a creative and interesting guy, and you genuinely like yourself – that’s a good thing; that’s what all us should be seeking to be in life – and what we are typically seeking in a partner. So if you genuinely like yourself, then don’t change those things that you like about yourself because you’re not getting a response; it’s better to be alone and liking yourself than to be with someone and feeling like you’ve sold yourself short.

If there are things that you don’t like about yourself – then work on fixing those things.

I suggest the following steps for dealing with no-replies:

Don’t fixate.

In the scenario where you don’t know this person particularly well (eg. You matched on Tinder), then don’t assume that this is on the one person for you. Remember that it’s a wide world with lots of opportunities[1].

Maintain social and mental state.

If you’re frustrated, then go do whatever you need to do feel better. Go for a walk, have a shower, talk to a friend, play a video game. The frustration will pass.

Calibrate

Flirting is a balancing act between being bold and being respectful. Too forward and you appear inconsiderate and disrespectful. Too reserved and you’re boring.

If you don’t get a reply, chances are your message falls too far on either end of this spectrum. So calibrate, try new things.

Should you send a second message?

This is something I’ve gone back forth on. On one hand the argument for sending a second message is that it’s a pragmatic acceptance your message might have been lost amongst all the others, and that it needs to be you who reinitiates the conversation. On the other hand – it’s back to that main thing – maintaining your own social and emotional wellbeing. Sending a second message might make you feel worse and erode your sense of dignity.

I’m currently of the opinion that, generally you shouldn’t send a second message. Dating should be a two way street, and at least in my experience, I’m going to hold some resentment if it feels like I’m investing more effort into the relationship.

Instead, let it go, for at least a couple of weeks – and then perhaps, if you are still interested then, try pick things up again then. In that time you might be chatting someone else.

[1] If you happen to live in a small town with few opportunities – then do consider moving. One’s success with dating does depending on their available dating pool.

Why you shouldn’t take Facebook unfriending too seriously.

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Facebook ‘Friend’ status is a funny thing. Because it’s so black and white – either you have friend status, or you don’t, it can’t accurately reflect the nuances of a relationship between two people.

For example, ‘I’m a little annoyed at Suzy, I think I’ll spend less time with her for while’ can’t be accurately captured by a simple Friends/Not-Friends on Facebook.

On the face of it, moving from Friends, to Not-Friends on Facebook (ie. Unfriending someone) – can be taken to mean ‘I don’t want to be [real life] friends with you at all’, or otherwise cause great offense.

I argue this response draws too much meaning from what’s a very limited interaction on social media.

But the fear of causing offense does exist, and I think it can prevent people from unfriending people they are otherwise sick of, for fear of permanently burning a bridge.

I think it’s good to take a break from people on social media, for one’s own mental health – and that shouldn’t cause great offense.

The rise of social media means that in our social interactions have more, very clear, data points, Friend status on Facebook, whether they like your posts on Instagram, how soon they reply to your messages, etc. We use these additional data points to assess the feelings people have for each other. Perhaps we can make the argument that social relationships are simply more complex and nuanced than they used to be, or if not more nuanced, then at least more explicitly nuanced.

Someone unfriending you does suggest that they’ve made a conscious decision to do so – so it is an insight into something they’re thinking – and perhaps it’s just one social signal we can use to calibrate our social interactions. An unfriend could be an as simple signal as ‘We haven’t talked in a while, so next time we do talk, we’ll have to make an effort if we want to be friends.’.

I would encourage unfriending – in line with my philosophy of quit-what’s-bothering-you  – unfriending actually allows us to be a bit more communicative about our relationships, so long as an unfriend isn’t taken to mean ‘I don’t want to have anything do with you ever.’.

 

Building a positive dating culture

Last night a friend went on a first date with a guy she’d met on Tinder.

She said the conversation was good enough, but he was a smoker, and the date was marred by that he’d drunk to much to be safe to drive her home. She had to catch a taxi home, and her being a student, this was an unnecessarily painful strain on her finances, and she ended up walking part of the way.

Today, he’s sent her a follow up ‘Thanks for the date, how are you today’ type message.

My friend has decided that she’s not interested in seeing him again, and now the question is how she decides to reply.

I’m of the opinion that she should let him know that she wasn’t happy about having to catch a taxi home. This feedback could be coupled with the feedback that she enjoyed the conversation and felt comfortable.

This would give him the feedback about what makes a good date, and generally improve the local dating culture, one person at a time.

On the other hand one could argue ‘Well why should I? What’s in it for me to provide this feedback, if I’m not going to see them again anyway?’

This is where my idealism comes out, participating in a dating culture shouldn’t be just about coming to a mutually beneficial arrangement between yourself and another party, but also generally improving the world as a whole while you do it.

By providing feedback you may not be contributing to the improvement to the person you  eventually date, but you do contribute to making the dating experience more pleasant for others.

The exact way to word some feedback such that it’s not mean, or doesn’t invite abuse is a different story, but acknowledging that giving dating feedback is possibly a great idea is a good starting point.

Why, if you’re going to sext, you should use Snapchat

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Snapchat is a popular mobile application that allows users to send each other photos that delete themselves and are unviewable after 10 seconds.

When I first heard about snapchat about two and half years ago, I, like many people who aren’t already using it, assumed that it was an application that’s primary purpose is for sexting.

The research shows that this isn’t true. A University of Washington poll of 127 users shows that their primary uses of Snapchat are sending photos of themselves, ‘they they’re up to’, or funny things, and that 15% have used it for sexting before.

This mirrors my own use and experience of Snapchat.

At the same time, research shows that about around 15% of teenagers, and 20% of 20-30 year olds have sext before, though these statistics vary from study to study.

Common advice given is that one shouldn’t trust photos sent via snapchat to be deleted forever, pointing out that there are plenty of applications soneone can use to capture Snapchat images without notifying the person of the screenshot. This is true, there are many such apps. There is also the possibility that your, or the person you are sending your photos to, phone could be compromised by a hacker or malware, and snaps be captured that way.

However, I would still argue that if one is going to send nude photographs, then Snapchat is the safest medium for doing it. While Snapchat can’t protect you from people who have the intention of capturing your snaps, it can protect you from someone sharing your snaps retroactively.

That is – if the sexting is occuring in the context of a romance where you both like and trust each other, and implicit in the use of snapchat is that neither of you are using screen capturing software, then the photos are not going to be captured. This relies on your own judgement of a person and their integrity as to whether you are correct about them not using a screen capturing software afterwards. Sexting a charming person you’ve just met on Tinder probably isn’t a sensible idea if you’re concerned about your images being shared, but sexting your boyfriend/girlfriend of 3 months who you trust in other regards has a much lower risk.

If the relationship later goes sour, the snaps that were sent at the time before the relationship soured can not be captured retroactively, and thus can’t be shared out of malice or spite.
This is in contrast to sexting via other methods where the image is persisted, such as MMS, email, Facebook messenger, Whatsapp etc, where the images can be retrieved at will by an aggrieved party and shared.

Bottom line: No, of course Snapchat isn’t 100% safe if you’re concerned about compromising photos of yourself being leaked. One shouldn’t discount a phone being compromised by hackers or malware, or your sexting partner using a Snapchat screen capturing software. If you can accept those  risks, Snapchat prevents the malicous or spiteful sharing of photos in the event that the feelings in the relationship change. If you can’t trust the person you’re dating not to be using a screen capturing software, then perhaps you’re dating an asshole and you should be considering whether you should be dating them at all.