Online Dating and The Lost Art of Kindness - Part 1 of 2

I was reviewing some dating blogs recently and came across a blog written by an older woman. She had just signed up for a bunch of dating sites with the hopes of increasing her chances of meeting a man. What she experienced was a rather depressing rate of return and responses. Not only the quantity of responses, but the impolite personal interactions left something to be desired.

Seniors dating online

I hear this lament from older men and women who are in the process of looking for someone or who have just plain given up their search for a mate altogether. A lot of this negative attitude stems from the fact that people are just not considerate in how they treat others anymore. Nowadays it seems that rejecting a prospective love interest is a bit faster, colder and more insensitive than in the past.

Etiquette Takes a Holiday

Does it seem that we have lost our manners?  A lot of this may be the result of living during a time when information passes too quickly. We can only connect with others on a superficial level. Also, particularly in the online dating universe, relationships afford us not only safety but anonymity.  We can do and say whatever we want without fear of reprisal in person.

Yet it’s really important that your online identity be an extension of who you are in real life. We need to remember that each social interaction we have is a new connection with a person with a history, a family, hopes, dreams, fears.

Although we can be overwhelmed with the unending stream of profile pictures and personal summarizes, we need to respect each individual. This starts from the first email to the first of many engagements.

If you are indeed looking for something special, take the time to get to the know the real person. If you’re not looking for a more serious companionship, you can still be respectful. This is the same for men and women. Respect goes a long way. State exactly what you’re looking for and ask for the same. If it does turn out that there is no chemistry or your values are out of sync, you can tell a date that this is probably not a very good match for either of you without being an emotional assassin.

Tips on how to reject someone kindly:

  1. No one likes to be rejected or played a fool. Let someone down easy.  Say you are flattered and enjoy spending time together, but you cannot return their feelings.

  2. Be thoughtful but also be firm. You may feel bad that you cannot return their feelings, but don’t let your guilt allow you to be over apologetic or lead them on.

  3. Don’t take advantage of someone’s loneliness for your own benefit.  This will cause more pain for them later on. Be honest and let them know exactly where you stand.

  4. Don’t let the anonymity of the internet or telephone be a cover for dishonourable behaviour. Be considerate even though you’re not talking to them face to face.

  5. If they get angry or emotional, remember that is a normal reaction to rejection and a self defence mechanism. Stay calm and polite.

We all want to be treated with respect and kindness. Integrity, honour, good character…these are not old fashioned traits that get tossed out the window. Kindness is an important quality to possess and it is appreciated when you have the upper hand in letting someone down.  Treat others as you would like to be treated because, what goes around, comes around.

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How do you let someone down kindly? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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