Today’s post is an excerpt from page 20 of my eBook. It’s about not using your computer as a shield or a weapon while dating online.
Kindness…With Men: Dating Commandment #3
Online dating is still dating. If you’re dating online – or as my friend calls it “meeting online” – all the rules of kindness still apply. Just because you are sitting behind a computer, or you have men queued up, it’s no reason to forgo the niceties.
Take this story recently shared by my friend Jan, who has been doing online dating for quite some time. (Jan, btw, could benefit from making some shifts before she can be a successful dater.) A man emailed her recently and the content of the email was merely a copy-and-paste of his profile. Jan instantly took offense, thinking he was being lazy and should have taken the time to send a personalized email. So she shot back an email asking him if he “even knew what the hell he was doing?” I know where she was coming from: she was burnt out and frustrated that she hadn’t met a special man yet. But that was unkind, and lacked empathy. She knew that after she clicked “send” – but it was too late. When she re-read his profile, she found that it was his second day online. Ouch! Imagine how he felt after receiving her brusque email. Do you think her lack of kindness affected this man’s confidence going forward? I think it absolutely did.
And maybe, just maybe he was a nice guy she would have had some fun with. Maybe she could have learned something from him, or he would have been the perfect guy to introduce to another single friend. She’ll never know.
Just like in other areas of your life, when you jump to what I call “bad behavior” out of fear, frustration, or disappointment, you risk missing an opportunity or losing something you already have. Ask anyone that has known me more than a few years, and they’ll tell you that I know this story oh too well. My fears and insecurities expressed themselves as sarcasm and impatience. Not quite the attributes of a successful dater. (Or successful friend for that matter.) I had to learn to pay attention to the signs, which for me meant feeling hurt, disappointed, or unappreciated. And once I recognized the feeling, I practiced the “count to 10” method. It goes like this:
1. Feel bad.
2. Put a name on the feeling.
3. Count to 10 while assessing the situation.
4. Take action (if necessary)
By forgoing quick reaction, more times than not I avoided bad behavior. I usually realized that the ickyness was about my feelings of being less-than; that the person in front of me meant absolutely no harm. Not only does this help me avoid hurting someone’s feelings, it most often eliminates my bad feelings.
Learn to step back and count to 10 before you click that send key — and in all aspects of your life.
My eBook is filled with exercises, personal reflections, and action items. These are designed to help you as you continue to learn and make personal shifts that lead you closer to finding your good man (and help you have fun along the way!).
Action: Devise a way to spot your bad behavior and avoid it. For instance: if sarcasm is often your defense, commit to paying special attention when telling a “joke” or trying to elicit a laugh. That should hoist a red flag and raise your consciousness of what you are saying and why. Once you recognize it, decide how you will avoid negative reaction.
If you’d like to read the entire Kindness with Men series of posts, they are here.