Q: Dear Meredith,
I have been feeling very frustrated with the dating scene as of late. I'm 25 and after taking about a year off from dating, I decided to join an online dating site in March. I had used this particular site in the past, and while I didn't end up with a long-term relationship, I did meet a few nice guys along with one guy who I really seemed to click with. Unfortunately, after a few dates, I got the whole "I'm just not ready to be dating" speech, so that was the end of that. That was really what spurred my year-long break from dating, during which I decided to focus on myself and have fun being single.
This time around, I have communicated with a couple of guys who seemed interesting and had a lot in common with me. However, I seem to keep coming across the same issue with all of the guys I have been in touch with online. Initially, these guys come off in their messages as intelligent, confident, and interesting. With all of them, it has progressed to the point where they ask me out on a date, and then ask to text prior to the date. I don't know what it is, but it's like the second we switch to texting, they are completely different people. I'm not just talking about them texting like tweens, but more specifically, their behavior comes across as odd.
For example, one guy I was planning on going out with didn't call me to finalize a date/time to meet (which he specifically said he would do), but instead made a bizarre excuse about a plumber being at work, followed by two texts contradicting themselves about him being confused as to what time he was supposed to call. This was just one of example of a series of bizarre texts and excuses. Needless to say, I did not end up going out with him. More recently, I had made plans to go out with a different guy this past Saturday. On Thursday of last week, I asked him to let me know where and when we would be meeting as soon as his plans were finalized (he is from out of state and was planning on being in town for the weekend and staying with a friend). I didn't hear anything from him until 5 p.m. Saturday night, and even then, his text to me was basically just a "Hey you."
I guess my questions are: Do most guys wait until the last minute to set up date plans? I don't mind not hearing a confirmation until right before the date, but when there is no time/place agreed upon, I think it's rude to make plans at the last minute. Are my expectations unrealistic? Does this all boil down to these guys being afraid to take things offline? Should I just give up online dating? Since I have had some success with online dating in the past, I feel like I should stick with it, but it frustrates me that this time around it's just been one disappointment after another.
– Over the Dating Scene, MA
A: There's a lot of nonsense in the online dating world, OTDS. There's also a lot of nonsense in the off-line dating world, so it's difficult to avoid. Some people are rude. Some people don't know how to communicate. And yes, some people would rather send a bunch of weird text messages than actually see you in person. But there are good catches out there, which is why you have to keep at it.
You can benefit from your negative experiences by setting some rules for yourself. You now know that you should avoid texting before a first date. Don't give anyone your phone number until you've already agreed on the specifics of a plan (time, date, place, etc.). Some of these people will flake out no matter what, but hopefully you'll cut out some of the ridiculousness by confirming the details of a date before there's any off-line communication.
For the record, your expectations are fair. It's rude to make last-minute plans, especially for a first date. Just keep working at it and balancing your dating life with friends and good television. If you don't take time off from the hunt, you're bound to lose your cool.
Readers? Have people stopped making plans? Does texting complicate the process? When do you give someone your number? Should she continue online dating or try something else? Help.
Recent blog posts
Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.