I don't click with anyone EVER...Is this normal?
November 1, 2011 7:59 AM   Subscribe

I don't click with anyone EVER...Is this normal?

I am a 28-yr old chronically single woman, and I never 'click' with anyone I meet. Is this a typical experience, or is something wrong with me? I recall reading an article one time that estimated we 'click' with roughly 4% of the eligible people we meet/date. After years of dating, I can't help but think they grossly overestimated that figure.

I've met maybe three guys in my entire life with whom I have clicked. Two of them turned out to be very dysfunctional, and one of them was unavailable so nothing ever happened there at all. And don't get me wrong--I've also given it a chance with MANY guys that I didn't click with, and while some of them grew on me and we ended up having a great time together for a while, those relationships obviously fell apart eventually. The most recent time this happened, we saw each other for around 4 months and while I liked him more and more, turned out he wasn't so into me.

I have now met someone who appears to be a really nice guy. We haven't actually gone on a real date but we have been talking, and the conversation just feels soooo forced, which is usually the case for me when it comes to guys. And even if it's not totally forced and awkward, it's almost never easy and free-flowing like it was with the three clickers.

I feel so lost and frustrated. Is it normal not to click or be truly compatible with anyone ever? Have my past relationships failed partly because they weren't built on a solid foundation of clickage? How important is it really in the long-term? Some people say if that you should hold out for someone you click with, but I'm not sure. I think that if I do that, I'll be waiting forever. And like I said, I've tried dating two of the three guys I clicked with. The rest, I didn't click with at first. It has never worked either way, so I'm at a loss.

Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks :)
posted by mhm407 to Human Relations (28 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I'm wondering if you have this problem with everyone or just the potential dates.
posted by lizbunny at 8:01 AM on November 1, 2011

And by everyone I mean women, ineligible men, etc. Are all your conversations forced-feeling, all the time?
posted by lizbunny at 8:03 AM on November 1, 2011

Do you "click" with friends, when you're in the beginning stage of a friendship, which can be a lot like dating?
posted by rtha at 8:03 AM on November 1, 2011

If anything, that 4% is probably an average and you may be on the low side of the bell curve.

Are you on dating sites? If we click with only 1:25 then you need to meet as many people as possible. Speed dating, OKCupid, Match, PoF, etc.

Also: How much work do you put into developing yourself? What's the old phrase... "Do what you love and you will find Mr. Right waiting there."
posted by unixrat at 8:04 AM on November 1, 2011

How do your friendships come together? Do you ever meet people and think "wow, I really click with this person and would like to be her friend," or do you tend to warm up to people over time and grow closer with them. Your relationships will likely develop in the same way as your friendships, so if you're not a "clicky" person, you may just need to suffer through the initial awkwardness until you find your groove with people.
posted by decathecting at 8:04 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

It would be long winded for me to describe my dating experiences, but the quick answer is yes, it's normal.

I was awkward socially. Actually, I'm still awkward socially.

I found myself many times wondering the same thing as you, why don't I click with anyone or why do I like this person and he's totally not into me? Simple answer...you just haven't found the right guy yet.

Just try to have fun, the right person will come along. You're still young!
posted by Yellow at 8:09 AM on November 1, 2011

Best answer: Maybe your standards for "clicking" are too high. I have friends who I "click" with in terms of humor or the food we like to eat or politics or activities we like to do or our outlook on life. But I don't know anyone who I jive with on all those things. One of my best friends, who I guarantee will make my stomach hurt with laughter every time we get together, is the complete opposite of me politically, and we do not have any common ground there at all. Would I say we don't click? Nope. I still call her my best friend, we just don't discuss politics. It wasn't any different for boyfriends. Try looking at what you do have in common with people you meet rather than what you don't. You will never find a carbon copy of yourself - and frankly, you wouldn't want to.
posted by unannihilated at 8:15 AM on November 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

Best answer: At least in how you're writing here, you come off as really down on yourself. Perhaps the thing that's keeping you from clicking is the fact that you're not putting a whole lot of stock in your ability to go out and have a nice time with a nice person without comparing it to the few (and admittedly dysfunctional) times it "worked."

Assume that, yeah, sure, it is possible to be never compatible with someone. Because it is. Is that going to make you stop dating? No more than the realization that you might get hit by a bus while crossing the street is going to make you avoid ever crossing the street again.

You have to paths here. One is to accept your fate as someone who will never click with anyone, who will never be compatible with anyone, who will never find anyone, give up, and, in turn, prove yourself right. The other is to keep trying. Both of these are pretty miserable -- seriously, find me five people in relationships who say "boy I sure do miss dating" -- but unless you're the sort of person who can be totally fine saying "I might never be in a relationship," only one of them has a chance to not be permanently miserable.
posted by griphus at 8:18 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm weird in the other way (easy for me to have that excitement), and almost everyone I know ranges from excitable to picky. I think there is a ton of variation in this particular trait.

What do you want to do with this information about yourself? I think that's the more important question.

(Also, if you have a dysfunctional parent, you might only "click" with people who remind you of that parent and that dysfunction...in which case you might want to keep going the slow and steady route.)
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:19 AM on November 1, 2011

Make sure you are approaching these conversations and dates in the right way.

When I approach a situation like this with a mindset of "I have to do whatever I can to make sure I attract this guy, so have to really censor myself so I don't say anything that will turn this guy off," I fail almost %100 of the time.

The correct way, as far as I can tell, is to go in there thinking "My goal here is to have a good conversation with someone I am meeting for the first time."

And it is true, you'll have better luck when you are 'being yourself.' But it's not as easy as just saying it you will be yourself. You have to be vigilant about it.

Forget about trying not to turn this person off. Really. Focusing on that is a surefire way to turn them off.

They don't hold all the cards in the encounter. I tend to tell myself that "This date is up to ME to screw up." But that is bullshit, the guy you're dating is just as likely to be not to your taste and just as likely to make a faux pas as you.

The more you try and censor yourself or hold yourself in such a manner as to appease this person you are on a date with, the more likely you are to not 'click.'

And EVERYONE is more attractive when they are being themselves. The smoke screen does not cover all we think it does, and presenting oneself falsely (no matter how slight the distortion) is not something anyone finds attractive. Not anyone worth dating, anyway.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:25 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Well, I can think of some random reasons why this might happen to you. Only you can tell whether any of them are relevant!

1. Maybe you're boring.
2. Maybe you're short on social skills, so you're not very good at maintaining conversations with people you don't know well.
3. Maybe you're looking in the wrong places. Try finding communities of like-minded people, who meet regularly to do something that's interesting but that doesn't preclude conversation.
4. Maybe you're going on high pressure date activities like going for a drink, or having dinner. Try going on dates doing some activity that will provide plenty to talk about, and something to do besides talking all the time.
5. Maybe you have really high expectations of people you don't really know yet. Try getting to know people and hanging out with them in groups, before deciding whether you click with them or not.
posted by emilyw at 8:26 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I've met maybe three guys in my entire life with whom I have clicked.

Technically, in your question, you answered your own question.

You've clicked with guys in the past...how does that translate into "I don't click with anyone EVER?" Or painting yourself a doomed picture of the future?

Of course, meeting people you click with is hard. Making it work with those people is hard. And there are never any guarantees. But think about it: you're 28, which is very young, and you've already found three people you clicked with! Even if it didn't work out, there's awesome evidence there! And you've got plenty of time to meet more people in the future who will also be awesome and, hey, you've got time to work things out with them.

I think you should be asking yourself about what is going on right now you make you freak out about this right now, considering even you contradicted your own assessment of the situation.
posted by vivid postcard at 8:27 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

FWIW, I used eHarmony about 10 years ago and I thought it was pretty good at matching me up with women that had similar interests as me. I don't know if it counts as clicking, but all of the first dates were always nice 2- to 3-hour long conversations. (Having said that, one of my female friends didn't have much luck on eHarmony--she didn't think the men on there were very appealing.)
posted by theNeutral at 8:29 AM on November 1, 2011

Response by poster: Great answers so far...thanks guys :)

I'll try to clarify a bit really quickly.

It's true that I don't 'click' with a lot of people in general, including just potential friends and people who actually do become my friends later (although that *has* happened once or twice too).

I don't consider myself a *great* conversationalist in general but I don't think I'm terrible either. I would definitely say I have much, MUCH more trouble with dates than in any other situation.

Yes, I know, I contradicted myself by saying I've clicked with three people, and at the same time saying I *never* click. I should say, I never click with anyone *anymore*. I met those guys a long time ago, and the older I get the harder this seems to get.

'Maybe I'm boring'....Yes, that's certainly a possibility. I'm not sure what is meant by boring though--not enough interests to talk about with people, or not good at conversation, or what. Aren't there other boring people out there I might hit it off with? :\

I guess what I really want to know is....do we really need to click? I mean, how important is it? Anyone I can think of who is in a happy LTR tells me that things were just 'easy' between them and their partner from the start. *That's* what I'm not finding with anyone, and I'm just wondering if I should just write people off when things feel forced, or what? That's pretty much what I think these people are telling me, but again, it's a little discouraging at this point to think that I have to click or there's no point pursuing anything.
posted by mhm407 at 8:41 AM on November 1, 2011

Best answer: A lot of us here on Metafilter can empathasize....perusal of the dating questions will show you that.

I think Metafilter attracts deeper thinkers (if I may say so) and people who are a little on the outside of society. It will always be harder for this type of person to "click" (deeply) with the majority of folks.

You have clicked with others in the past, as you have said (and I think you have probably also clicked with people in a friendship sense as well). Therefore chances are good that it will happen again. It just might not happen tomorrow or the next day, or maybe it will happen but that person will be in a relationship or not be interested in you romantically.

BUT. You ca't give up hope. And also rememeber that being a relationship with someone you don't click with is just not worth it.
posted by bearette at 8:44 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Just as a comment - I have clicked with a few people in my life - both significant others and friends.

My current boyfriend was not one of them. Things were not "easy". When I think about it, the initial attraction / drive in the relationship could have been more that he was older and quite good looking rather than any 'click' or personality traits or anything we had in common. Conversations were strained and awkward. The first 6 months we were dating we never officially referred to it as "dating". He introduced me to his parents as his "friend".

Flash forward 7 years, and now it is SO easy, and SO wonderful. But looking back on the awkwardness that was our first 6-12 months together I often marvel at how we managed to get here.

So, yes, clicks are awesome when they happen, but don't give up on relationships just because they aren't there. As you said yourself, you've grown into love (like?) in relationships that didn't start with a click - one of these days the guy will grow with you.
posted by CharlieSue at 9:00 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

To be clear, I should couch that entire comment in the fact that I am not, nor ever will be, a hopeless romantic. I like to think of myself as a romantic pragmatist. Which is not to say I'm settling - it's just to say that I've never been happier in my life, and I think that my partner and I are great together, but I certainly did not see this coming when the relationship started.
posted by CharlieSue at 9:02 AM on November 1, 2011

Best answer: Yes, I know, I contradicted myself by saying I've clicked with three people, and at the same time saying I *never* click. I should say, I never click with anyone *anymore*. I met those guys a long time ago, and the older I get the harder this seems to get.

Okay, yes. But, still: what is going on now that is making you feel this way?

I am not trying to be glib. And I totally feel you!* But let's think about this: in ten years (I am not going to count any HS romances, because, well, you know...) you've met a number of men: some you've not liked, some you were meh about, some who slowly grew on you, and three you clicked with. It hasn't really worked out, and it seems to be getting harder. But, you know, it's interesting that this seems to be framed as a doomed situation, when you could also frame it as:

- Now that you are getting older, you have a better idea of who you really want to be with, and you're finding that not everyone is that person. OR

- Now that you are getting older, you aren't willing to put up with the dumb/dysfunctional/boring (non)relationships that you were okay with in your youth, now that you know better. OR

- Now that you are not in HS/College/living with roommates, you realize that you aren't in a setting where you are meeting gobs of new people every day, and are wondering how you might go about finding someone awesometown and compatible with you. OR

- You get the idea.

As I see it, you are still very young, you are still meeting guys, the numbers you gave above were pretty good, and if you were my friend, I wouldn't be tsk tsking and fearing for your spinsterhood yet (not that I would do that, since there's nothing wrong with being single). A lot of the advice above may be great, but I still think you might want to consider if you are really having problems meeting awesome people, or if you are being hard on yourself because of other external factors.

*Is it possible you're entering your late-twenties and are feeling that whole cultural pressure about how you should be married by 30 and OH SHIT, TIME IS RUNNING OUT and EVEN WORSE, I'LL HAVE TO SETTLE WITH SOMEONE LAME? That sounds like a possibility. You're not alone, but: the moment I recognized that, remembered that I am young and awesome, and just stopped thinking about it (and, in fact, stopped dating entirely) so I could go out, live life, and hang with my friends, was pretty much the best thing I could have done, ever.
posted by vivid postcard at 9:11 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

How important is 'clicking'? I think you maybe could benefit from looking a little deeper into how you define that word. I think I know what you mean, as in I know what it means to me, but maybe write out your definition. Does it mean ease of conversation? Having things in common? Once you know what it means to you maybe you can get to the root of what is missing in these interactions. I know that working on myself always helps my interactions with others. Not to sound cliche, but someone once told me to write down everything I want in a partner and work to become those things myself. I think that is great advice. Of course personality and 'clicking' are important to me, but high up there too are honesty, intelligence etc. Once I was secure in who I was and knew myself and what I wanted, my friendships in all areas including romance became easier.
posted by heatherly at 9:11 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Keep in mind that clicking with someone is not a guarantee of a healthy, fun, and/or good relationship. I've clicked with a couple of people and the relationships with them were...not good.
posted by rtha at 9:27 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

You mentioned that 2 of the 3 guys you've clicked with were deeply dysfunctional. I think that may be a key to what's going on here.

I have noticed that the people I click with most are people whose dysfunctions and emotional history are similar to mine in certain ways. I have also noticed a tendency for these "immediate click" relationships to fall into similar dysfunctional patterns. The relationships that have worked out have been ones where the person was aware of their dysfunctions and their patterns, and was willing to work on them together.

When I feel that sense that someone really "gets" me on a deep level, I tread with caution. That can be hard because of the excitement of making a new friend that I really like. (I don't click with people very often either.)

One example: I used to be a rescuer, and I'd make friends with people who wanted to be rescued or fixed in some way. (Though they usually would not be aware of that.) I had one close friend who recognized this pattern in our friendship, but when it came down to it, wouldn't do any of the work to change the way we interacted. That friendship ended on a sour note.

I read somewhere a long time ago that we resonate with people who are at a similar level of mental & emotional health to ourselves. That has stuck with me and rings true in my experience. If 2/3 of the people you've clicked with have been very dysfunctional, it may be that there aren't a lot of people out there with a set of dysfunctions that mesh with your own.

If that's true, one approach you could take would be to work on your mental and emotional health, and maybe you will find that you click with more people. Maybe if you find some kind of group therapy or self-improvement group, you could make friends with people who are actively working on the same issues you are. Those people may have friends who are similar to them, and maybe you could date one of their friends, or someone else who is on a similar path. (I don't recommend dating someone you met in your therapy group.)
posted by free hugs at 9:38 AM on November 1, 2011 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Another vote for "clicking is optional". Some people are just slow to open up to others but after you get to know them, it's all fine and easy and unforced. If you're not a "clicker" in situations where friendship isn't the main point (i.e., at work), you won't click when the stakes are higher (i.e., dating).

I'm also socially awkward and I go into an absolute tailspin when I'm under the microscope. Conflicting impulses ("Be witty and say something!" "Keep your damnfool mouth shut or you'll stick your foot in it!") result in panicky near-paralysis. For me, traditional dates were miserable disasters, but I can manage to make friends with people I see repeatedly for other purposes. Like coworkers, classmates, etc.

I met then-future Hubby through a roundabout path that didn't include conventional dates. We did stuff together and because the focus was on the project, not on "getting to know you", we could relax and actually get to know each other. Ironically enough. (Tailspin Me isn't the real me, I swear!)

On preview, Free Hugs makes an interesting point about compatible dysfunctions leading to clicking. Maybe a click is actually a warning sign for you, but in any event, don't worry about its absence. You can find friendships that might grow into romantic relationships without an initial click. Good luck!
posted by Quietgal at 9:46 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding everything that freehugs said.

Also, I do not think that clicking is always a sign of compatibility. Or at least, the kind of compatibility I am looking for. I don't usually want to date people I click with really well because of the whole compatible dysfunction thing.

I don't click with most people. I get along with and like most people, but I think the number of people you really click with is always going to be small. I have a fairly dysfunctional background and find that I click the most with people who are similar. I am also a rescuer. I find myself attracted to people I can try to help, and that can be mistaken for clicking with them. It's a slippery slope and I am trying to break free of past dysfunctions, so at this point, clicking is a bit of a red flag for me.
posted by fromageball at 11:55 AM on November 1, 2011

Assuming you've been dating since 16: twelve years, three "clicks"? That doesn't seem at all out of line, and for that to be 4% of your total, you'd have to have gone on 75 dates (roughly 6-7 per year.) Remember that "clicking" doesn't mean they're a good fit; that one was unavailable and two were ultimately not good for you doesn't change the fact that you've clicked with three.

So, if you're going on 6-7 dates per year, on average, are you being choosy about your dates, or taking anyone who asks you out? Presumably, you should be going on dates with people whom, in some basic way, you feel interested in; the likelihood that you'll "click" with them is higher, presumably because your initial interest is based on some mutual interest, or attraction, or having had a terrific conversation (ie clicked already.) If you wait until you're on the date to see if you "click", you probably aren't being choosy enough.

The point, then, isn't that there is something wrong with you, or that the 4% number is off (although, frankly, it is reasonably meaningless) -- it is that your definition of "click" determines whether it happens, and how often, as does your choice of people to attempt to "click" with.

And hey, datum: I have been dating since I was 14, and am 40 now. 26 years, more than twice as long as you. I'm not particularly shy, I can talk to people easily, and I've had a lot of relationships, but I have only met four people in my life I truly feel I've "clicked" with (by my definition.) Don't sweat the numbers; just live the moments, and if you feel like you're forcing conversation, then you're with the wrong person.
posted by davejay at 12:02 PM on November 1, 2011

Best answer: No one will admit that they thought their current partner was meh, boring, so-so, whatever when they first met them.

I have textual evidence in the form of a livejournal entry that I was extremely MEH about my current partner.

Another boyfriend who I ended up deeply in love (and lust) with, I initially wrote in a journal that there was "no chemistry at all".

A friend told me his now-wife was "wierd" before they started dating. I'm sure he'd deny it now.

posted by the young rope-rider at 12:06 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

This from an old guy who is not in the game but can report from experience as a guy:

Men are much more attracted to women who smile readily. Why? They seem much more approachable. Note that professional models never smile because the viewer is to focus
on the model's outfit and not the model.
posted by Postroad at 1:00 PM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

You may just be the sort of person who is really uncomfortable with initial dating because, you know, it's a totally artificial construct and really weird for some people. It's OK to take a long time to get comfortable with someone. This is not an unusual thing; I mean, it's pretty common with, for example, shy people and anxious people.

Having said that, I dated LOTS before I met my husband, actually really enjoyed dating, and still don't know what clicking is. I have been instantly attracted to someone but I don't think I've ever experienced this clicking of which you speak. I have, however, had some great relationships with awesome people that were kind of hard going at the start until we stumbled into our communication groove. Does that help?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:38 PM on November 1, 2011

You're not alone. By age 28, I had "clicked" (intellectual compatibility + ease of conversation + similar priorities in life) with two guys. The first was unavailable. The second turned out to be severely dysfunctional. In my 30s, I clicked with three guys. One became my spouse. The other two I met after I'd married. In terms of emotional maturity, they were all over the map.

I agree with above opinions that clicking doesn't necessarily equal long-term healthy relationship potential, and that sometimes, clicking with somebody who does have that potential can take a few conversations to develop. Some people hold themselves back until they feel they know you better, and then they let you in. Some people don't know how to open up at all, and since that's a dealbreaker for me, I tried out precisely one person like this for a couple of weeks (thinking, "Well maybe things will click...sometime...?") before realizing, "Hey, he really doesn't know how to open up. I will not sign up to coax him along" and vowing never again. Knowing your own dealbreakers means being able to write people off without second-guessing yourself.

I know several people whose 20s were relationship droughts, who met the loves of their lives in their 30s and 40s. 50s too in a few cases. You're perfectly normal.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:04 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

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