One of the questions people ask me most about online dating is how to get over the nagging feeling of guilt when you must ignore someone’s enthusiastic message.
Most of the time, it’s easy. The guy has a 50 percent enemy match against your profile. The guy’s profile picture is his headless bare chest. But now and again, you find it’s not as clear cut, and you sit there, struggling, staring at the screen, trying to think of an excuse, or a more polite way out. “Thanks! But also no thanks” doesn’t cut it. This is the internet. Everything nice you mean to say winds up sounding rude and you know it. So does the person who is about to get rejected. Sometimes they react bitterly, and the only upside of that is you know you made a good decision. (If you’re easily offended on the whole, boys and girls, you’re asking for a daily kick in the #&@! from life).
The misnomer “online dating” is the culprit, when it is not so easy. Perusing the profiles of strangers is not dating, it’s online shopping. You’re shopping online for guys and gals to date at some future-possible point. That is what you’re doing. And you feel bad, because you’re not accustomed to treating people the way you treated your last Amazon.com purchase — not like objects. But the thing is, you also kinda are.