Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lack of patience or low threshold for pain

I hadn't heard from my friend for a few days. Usually i don't when she works a few consecutive days. After being up all night tending to patients, I'd imagine, the last thing I'd want to do is gab it up on the phone. I'd imagine I'd want to crawl into the comfort of my bed and drift off to sleep. Monday, she must have felt like talking. I didn't want to ask (but I had to), if she met the guy she has been having nice conversations with over the past two weeks. Or, at least if she has heard from him. She said that he was supposed to call her Monday night but didn't. Now she is hoping he never calls again.

"Why do you hope that?" I asked.

"Well," she hesitated, "he put up another picture of himself and now I'm thinking all the other pictures were really old because this new picture looks nothing like him."


So, we ended the conversation with best wishes that he stayed away and never called.

Last night, I was waiting for Dancing With the Stars to come one and my phone rang. It was my friend. Of course my first question was, "so, has he called?" She said he hadn't and she was glad but added, 'Ya know, we had a few nice conversations. What if i was into him, I would be so bummed right now. I'm not, but I would be."

Sometimes you're damned if do and you're damned if you don't.

Here's where I'd like to address "the drop off." It's the biggest risk with online dating. Actually, you encounter it in the dating world period but it's more prevalent in the online "scene." You have a couple of good phone conversations with someone and *foomp* they drop off the face of the earth. In some cases, you'll still see their profiles online or in some cases they will remove them or change the names. Or, you can have a good date or two with someone and they vanish into the air. I remember I went out with a guy on two dates (the second date was 90 times better than the first). He wrote me the following day to tell me what a great time he had and could he call me on Monday at about 8. I said "ok." I wasn't really feeling this guy but he seemed normal enough to at least continue to get to know if he would become the inevitable - abnormal. Monday comes, 8 p.m. comes, 9 p.m. comes, 10 p.m. comes. NOTHING. NOTHING EVER AGAIN. It's fine. You come to expect it. But why bother setting up a time to call when you have NO intention of calling?

It happens to both sexes, I know. And everybody who talks to anyone online says it's one thing they hate the most. In fact, when my friend told me this yahoo expressed his dislike for this behavior in one of their earlier conversations, I still believed, eventho he spent a few days calling when he said he would, that he still had the potential to do this. Everyone has the potential to do this because the online world always offers the potential for a "trade up." A Trade Up is when you're already talking to someone and someone else comes along and gets your attention and you find this person more interesting/funnier/prettier/closer than the current person. You either vanish or stall to see what happens with the "trade up" before you decide to "trade in". What made me leery about this guy my friend was talking to was that he actually mentioned the "trade up" in prior conversations with her. Ugh! Why not just show the table your hand, pal!

However, today I heard from my friend and she said the guy called her last night after she hung up with me. She let it go to voicemail - rightfully so. She said she wanted to call him back and confront him eventho she knows she shouldn't because doing that makes him think that he is worth the time and he's not.

The botched "Trade Up" now becomes the "Rejection Election" where a girl polls her friends to see what she should do. Should she call? Write an E-mail? Just let it go? Here is where there becomes potential for a face-off. See, in my time in online dating, I experienced A LOT of rejection and a lot of "dropping off." I had to even do it myself a few times but it seems to be harder for girls than guys because girls tend to have a guilty conscience about it and believe in a "do unto others" universe. A lot of guys, don't. Before you all get your boxers in a bunch, there are some men who do, but the majority of them don't.

I used to be a dropper offer until it happened to me so many times that I started feeling too guilty about doing it to others. But honestly, I know why most people do it because it is way easier than writing that email or making that phonecall. The first time I did it, it didn't go that well. I got several snotty emails directed to me and after explaining my actions a dozen or so times, I just dropped out knowing i gave it a good college try. The second time, I dated the guy for a little over a month so I figured I had to do it in a phonecall. This was after a week or so of avoiding his calls but he baited me one day by calling me from his family's fax machine line, a line I wasn't familiar with. I told him it wasn't working out (it wasn't) and that we didn't seem to want the same things in life (we didn't) and that I had met someone else (I did). He went away for a little while but then I started getting these random emails first seeing how I was, then "can we go out for coffee?", then "can we just have a sexual relationship"? Ummm . . . Sometimes he would call every couple of weeks, then couple of months, then like half a year would pass and he would call and not leave a message. It took a good year for him to completely go away.

So, was the "right thing to do" really the right thing to do? There were some instances where the guys were understanding but it was like two in eight.

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