Not feeling it
March 30, 2011 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Online dating!

I am new to online dating.

Recently I started conversing with a girl, and the conversation was very interesting for a quite a few emails. But then my interest started to wane a bit. We had already exchanged numbers at this point, and she suggested that I call her. Since the email conversation had been fairly interesting at first, I went through with the call. Despite the call also being interesting and philosophical, I just felt no spark, or what have you. So I realized after the call that I was not interested... but then she followed the call up with an email with pictures and a text saying she wants to meet in person. I feel like it is too late to just drop off contact - what should I say? Or should I just drop off?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Just going silent is extremely common in online dating, even after a few exchanges. See previous questions on the subject. So you're not pushing the envelope of propriety by just dropping off. You can do that.

Now, the usual human considerations apply. If this girl is into you and thinks things are going exciting places, she could be pretty disappointed when you drop off. You're free to take that into consideration or not.
posted by grobstein at 6:50 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Unless you actively dislike her, I would just go. You never know what could happen.
posted by empath at 6:51 PM on March 30, 2011 [10 favorites]

Send her an email: "You seem awesome and all kinds of great, but I'm just not feeling it. Good luck as you continue your search!" This is what I would like to hear. Honest, to the point, doesn't leave her hanging.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 6:52 PM on March 30, 2011 [8 favorites]

I've done a fair bit of online dating, and I've never, ever sent or received an explicit "sorry, not feeling it" from someone I haven't met with in person. And precious few after just one date, in fact. Ending communication without explanation is standard practice.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:59 PM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

Not all romances are balls to the wall awsome from the get go. Conversely, when I was dating, the folks who couldn't hold my interest with their prose, generally failed to hold my interest in person.

When I was dating and ended things early, I always let people off the hook and told them that it wasn't working out. Having also been on the other end, it helps the other person move on and quickly redirect their efforts to other opportunities.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:00 PM on March 30, 2011

Personally I'd meet them in person unless the picture was a big turn-off. Some people just aren't that great on-line. Would you really expect a spark with someone you have never met?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:01 PM on March 30, 2011

Somewhere between a miserable time and the love of your life lies an interesting experience and maybe a little make-out session. Go on a date with Lady.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:06 PM on March 30, 2011

While dropping contact may be normal, I still think it's not-very-nice, especially as she's expressed interest in you. Tell her you're pursuing other options and you wish her well. If she contacts you with BUT WHYYYYY then delete and don't reply.
posted by desjardins at 7:08 PM on March 30, 2011 [5 favorites]

There are so many non-verbal cues in a face to face meeting that you are missing out upon by not going, at least for coffee or a beer... there may be instant chemistry. Why not give it one evening of your week for something that may turn out to be completely unexpected? Additionally, if you two don't work out, you may know of another lonely heart that would be great for them, and vice-versa. Good Luck!
posted by ~Sushma~ at 7:23 PM on March 30, 2011

People face-to-face can be very, very different from the way they come across in e-mail, or over the phone. This is true in all cases, not just online dating.

It's a good idea to move to the face-to-face part quickly in online dating so that you don't build up a mistaken impression of the person, and don't get hooked in by people who are really looking for pen-pals (unless that's what you want).

Meet her and be honest if you're still not feeling the spark. A lot of people would go silent, but I'd rather have a clean break myself. Try not to have too many preconceived notions, and just enjoy the date as a chance to get to meet someone.
posted by adamrice at 7:25 PM on March 30, 2011

Just dropping her without explanation seems kind of unnecessarily cruel. She'll probably wonder for a long time if she did something to precipitate the cold shoulder.

If you're really not feeling it, just send her a polite email and let that be that.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:25 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Man, what if you went out with her, felt nothing, became awesome friends and fell in love with her sister/roommate/cousin/best friend?

Dates are like job interviews. You look good on paper, you get nervous during the phone interview and almost blow it OR have a good, natural conversation but sense you're not right for the position... but...

then, for some reason, they hire you. Or you get a second interview, and this time, you don't blow it - you blow them away instead.

isn't that how friendships begin? don't friends fall in love with each other, too? I can't feel another person's pheromones wafting through the phone.

Meet for coffee before work or tell her to meet you at Informal Thing You're Already Doing (gallery opening, lecture, book-signing event, etc.) and make sure to be there, even if y'all don't agree that it's a date or mention that or whatever, because she might show up. And even if it's STILL nothing, she might bring a cute friend.

Life moves fast - but if yours moves even faster and you're too busy/feel icky about it, then yeah, radio silence is standard. (Though it is easy to do, it hurts when you're the receiver.)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:26 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think it's a jerk move to just go silent. A simple, concise well-wish to tie it off allows them to have some resolution. It's selfish, cruel, and lazy in my opinion to just leave them hanging and wondering.
posted by Askr at 7:37 PM on March 30, 2011

Although rejection-by-ignoring is common, it's still quite rude. You are basically leaving the person in limbo for at least a day wondering if you are going to get back to them or not. The decent thing is acknowledging them and informing them you're no longer interested.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 7:40 PM on March 30, 2011

Meet for coffee, not dinner or drinks. Set an expectation that it's going to be short (30m...have an appointment or some such). If there's chemistry, have a real date. If there's not, just send a short email to the effect "Hey, you're a great person, but not right for me. Hope you find the man of your dreams.". Now you can ignore her without being, frankly, a dick.
posted by kjs3 at 7:47 PM on March 30, 2011

I say go on the date. Worst case scenario, its practice. Best case scenario...Congratulations!
posted by hal_c_on at 7:48 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I always just block/ignore the person when I'm no longer interested.
And that's what people have done to me.
I talked with LOTS of guys via online dating sites for about 10 years and it's just what happens.
Obviously some people may find this rude... but I mean, it really shouldn't be unexpected.

I've never received a "It was nice chatting with you but I don't think this will work out"
and If I did, I would feel 10 times shittier than if the person just ignored me.
Thats just my opinion.

If you don't feel comfortable doing that, then just say you've thought about it and "not ready" to meet with people right now.

Or, hey, be honest like some others are saying: "I realized I don't like you. I am now going to end contact."

And, of course, if you're the type of person who is outgoing - go ahead and meet up with her. Maybe you could preface by saying "I'm not ready for an actual 'date' but if you want to hang out, that's cool."
Maybe you'll make a friend or something.
posted by KogeLiz at 7:53 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can't necessarily judge "spark" from a phone call and a few emails.
posted by John Cohen at 8:18 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, you just can't tell until you meet in person. I mean, unless there's something actively objectionable in the emails, I could never tell what the person would be like. I was blown away by emails and totally turned off in person, and my last relationship was with someone who couldn't spell (so I would have pre-judged him in emails) and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been into him on the phone. Even meeting the same person more than once might not trigger chemistry. I have talked to a guy a few times in person before something clicked and then it was unbelievable chemistry after that. But somebody else can be great on paper, but there's just no spark there. (Do not date somebody solely because they're great on paper.)

If you haven't met anybody from online dating sites in person yet, this is a great chance to do that without all the pressure that would be there if you had your hopes up and were expecting somebody fantastic. But my standards were pretty low for meeting in person simply because I could never tell what they'd be like until we met, so I tried to meet as early as possible. I wouldn't even consider the first meeting a date, actually. I'd keep it to 30 minutes, either coffee or a drink, and I'd know in 30 seconds if this is someone I wanted to see again.

If you're not willing to take the opportunity and you just want to drop the conversation, I agree that the expected method online is to just stop emailing with no explanation. That is routine. And I think it's weird to write or expect a breakup email from someone you haven't met in person, honestly. If you have met, an email to explain your lack of interest is nice; a simple "we just have no chemistry" is straightforward and leaves no one at fault. You can't help chemistry, and chemistry is weird.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:29 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

i'm with kogeliz.

ignore ignore ignore. i would be so much more upset to see a "not feeling it" than to be ignored outright. the former dents self esteem for no reason at all. the latter creates plausible deniability.

seriously, though, ignoring people is common AND way more humane.
posted by timory at 2:15 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

The easy answer would be to ignore if you hadn't yet chatted on the phone, but now that you have, I think it adds a more human level to your relationship, as it were. At this point, I couldn't live with myself by just dropping her like that. A compromise might be to just slowly let her down, say you have scheduling conflicts or uncertainty, or what have you.

Unless one is fine with being direct, there doesn't seem to be a kind, diplomatic solution. Other than to actually meet her of course, but that may just be delaying the same predicament anyway.

Even if it were a potentially platonic thing, I'm sure you would've felt like you guys had stuff in common you could still talk about, but it doesn't sound like that's the case either.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:51 AM on March 31, 2011

Say you met someone else. It's a lie, but in a broad sense it conveys the message "I can and will do better than you" without you actually having to come out and say you don't like her. I find it's very difficult to say "I don't like you anymore" in any kind of polite or sugarcoated way. Eventually, you really will meet someone else, probably pretty soon if you're having any luck at all with online dating, so it's a good excuse.
posted by Nixy at 3:26 AM on March 31, 2011

Yes, it's very common for people to go silent. I've had this happen lots of times when people have agreed, in principle, to go out with me then never replied to follow-ups along the lines of "Great, how does next week work for you?"

That said, in my experience one date isn't always enough time for a spark to develop, let alone one phone call. Why not go out with her anyways? Your expectations are already low, which makes it all that more likely that you'll end up pleasantly surprised, and worst comes to worst, it'll be a slightly dull hour or so.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 6:37 AM on March 31, 2011

Personally, if I've only been having online contact with someone, I'll just stop emailing if my interest fades. I don't really do pre-date phone chats so I'm not sure what I'd do in that case; that's a little tricky. If, after a first date, I don't feel interest, I either tell the person at the end of the date or later in an email that while they're great, etc, I was just feeling more of a friend vibe, which lots of times is actually true. I think people have appreciated that clean break. But after a phone chat...yeah, maybe the white lie that you met someone else would be kindest. Good luck.
posted by tacoma1 at 7:01 AM on March 31, 2011

Just dropping her without explanation seems kind of unnecessarily cruel. She'll probably wonder for a long time if she did something to precipitate the cold shoulder.

This is what I would have said (and did say) before I got into online dating, but it's so common that unless this was her only online dating experience it's very unlikely that it will bother her for a long time. As others have said I never received a "Sorry I don't like you enough to keep talking to you" during any of the time I was on online dating sites, and personally at least I never really wanted to know exactly why people stopped contacting me.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:30 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would much rather be ignored than to be told, "We just aren't a good match," or anything similar. If she persists in contacting you after you have stopped contact, then I would reply with, "I just don't feel like I am over my ex yet and I don't want to waste your time." It doesn't matter if you really have an ex you aren't over. If I had to be let down by someone, I would prefer it not to have anything to do with me as a person.
posted by parakeetdog at 1:10 PM on March 31, 2011

I vote to go on a date. Since you were interested in her at first, I'd give the in-person meeting one chance.

Go for my sake. I hate talking on the phone, almost to the point of phobia, and I get so much tech usage at work that I'm no ball of fire in recreational email communication either, but I really do enjoy getting out of the house and meeting people in the flesh. I'm sure there's a lot of people out there like me and this girl could be one.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:25 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

So, are you going on many face:face 1st dates? Are you meeting lots of interesting people, or very few? If your dance card is full up, do a kind ending. If you have time, have coffee. The 1 thing you have to do when dating is get out and meet people.
posted by theora55 at 3:58 PM on March 31, 2011

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