You've critiqued my profile. Critique my messages!
March 9, 2014 8:16 PM   Subscribe

I haven't had a boyfriend since I was 16 years old. I've complained about that here, there, everywhere. I truly want to change that, or at least go on meaningful, fun dates. You've critiqued my OKC profile (I thank you for this! It's improved the messages I've received.) Now I'd like you to tell me why no one will respond to me.

I'm 21 (turning 22 tomorrow!). I want to date guys in their mid-to-late twenties--it's whom I'm attracted to the most physically, mentally, sexually.

I have been messaging guys a lot more frequently than I used to, as many had referred me to do so. I've probably sent out more than 10 messages over the last month.

Here are some sample messages:

To attractive dude in mid-twenties:

"Hi! Why does my being a vegetarian put me in the red (in your qs)?

:) Nice to meet ya, 93% match. "

To dude with wonderful smile and great sense of humor:

"I loved your profile, it made me laugh!

What a great smile =). How's your weekend going?"

To dude who asked messagers to state things they like to do in their message:

"I like to make delicious new snacks, walk around funny parts of the city and read. : P

I'm attempting to foster in myself a love for physical sport, but it really isn't working. I do like to run though!

What do you like to do? "

I'm overthinking this. I don't know what to say. No one's responding to me. It's quite frustrating! Obviously it's possible I'm none of the dudes' type, but I want to send messages that people will want to respond. I want to get dudes to want to go out with me based off my profile, messages.

This is my profileProfile Link

I'd just like some single-lady online dating advice, I guess. I don't know how to do this and the older I get, the more scared I am to make eye contact with dudes, to let guys know I like them, to show interest because I feel I'm constantly rejected -- IRL AND online. At least with online, I can ask your help.

Thanks so much.
posted by rhythm_queen to Human Relations (61 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'd just suggest you are over thinking, kind of painfully eager. If someone sends me an email with a lot of smiles and !!!s and I don't know them, I roll my eyes. But I'm tired and bitter, so that's me. Other than that, might take down pics with obvious cleavage in tight dress. Not that your style is bad, but any obvious sexuality in pics for all and sundry to see could alarm some viewers. They could be not answering for reasons that have nothing to do with you, as well.
posted by amodelcitizen at 8:27 PM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

First question about being anti-vegetarian comes off as weirdly confrontational. Second two questions are so generic and open ended that a guy could give you one answer and then not feel like he has any more to offer in a conversation. These things could be off putting to a lot guys, especially if you are trying to put a positive spin on something that you think someone else might find negative (being vegetarian, not being super athletic, etc). Instead, just focus on the true positives and what you have in common and go for something other than the basics sometimes. You may have more luck that way.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:28 PM on March 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

Well - for me at least, I like a little more substantive messages. (I'm female, 30s FWIW) Your messages though clearly targeted appear to be off the cuff messages fired off speedily. If I received one of those messages I wouldn't think you were particularly interested in me.

I'd go for a little more lengthy messages when you're reaching out. And realize that particularly with OKC you're going to have a bad signal to noise ratio. Or, as my mother would say "You're going to have to kiss a lot of frogs".

Don't lose heart - and if OKC isn't working out, how about some other dating websites or checking out some Meetups and meeting some potential interests in person?
posted by arnicae at 8:30 PM on March 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

What qualifies as a "funny"part of the city? Either way, Brian Donovan's book Not A Match has an entire chapter about the perfect online dating message and might help with your question.
posted by salvia at 8:35 PM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Um, you're really good looking and have a normal sounding profile. Keep hanging around there and you will get dates with people. Those people who didn't reply to you didn't reply because they weren't going to reply for whatever reason. Maybe they were tired or married or something. You don't need to engineer the perfect thing to say. If someone is somewhat interested normally they just reply. Standard formula is short, friendly, ask some sort of a question, don't be weird. You are very young, use your youthful energy to better purposes than splitting hairs over all of this.

Good luck :-)

Also, I'm seconding the people who are gently suggesting that you might end up attracting guys who want you for your hot bod. Which is fine and good as long as you are okay with that kind of attention.
posted by mermily at 8:36 PM on March 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

Your messages are too generic (aside from the one about being a vegetarian). You could be cut and pasting those exact same messages to 100 different guys for all these people know. There is no proof in these generic messages that you even read their profile or have any idea who they are.

What's more, you didn't say anything substantive about yourself (again, this applies to the non-vegetarian related messages, but you should mention being a vegetarian in a message to someone else who is a vegetarian, not someone who specifically isn't interested in vegetarians, which I'm assuming is what your allusion means).

Everyone likes snacks, and the majority of everyone likes walking places sometimes and reading sometimes. If you want to get a response, say or ask something that inspires a little bit more of an interesting and specific answer.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:36 PM on March 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

Keep your messages brief (10 words or less) and to the point ("I like walking too. Do you want to meet up?"

Some of the words you use are kind of... I don't know... "unsexy"? For example:

I'm attempting to foster in myself a love for physical sport

Just say: "I am really into learning new sports. Do you want to meet up?"

More than 10 words, but you get the point.

If someone is a 93% match but is put off by vegetarians, don't challenge them on it. That's a deal killer. You have to earn the right to challenge someone on something like that.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:40 PM on March 9, 2014 [9 favorites]

I agree that the message with the vegetarian question is a little bit confrontational and that it might help to be a little more specific and/or substantive (also some guys might not like having their physical appearance commented on?, even though saying "great smile" is pretty mild). Overall though I don't think your messages are bad or anything, it's probably partly just bad luck.

Also, I think some guys in their mid or late 20s might not want to date someone quite so young. Even being 22 instead of 21 might make a little difference with that.
posted by treese at 8:46 PM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yes, talking about trying to foster a love for physical sport sounds like you're writing an essay question for school. Be more natural.

I don't agree about 10 words or less though, especially if half of the words have to be asking the person if they want to meet. I'd find that a bit too forward in most cases unless the other 5 words were incredibly insightful. What about an option like:

"I'm really interested in learning new sports, and I noticed you enjoy playing racquetball. If you'd like to teach me a little bit about the game, drop me a line!"

- Says something about the type of person you are, shows that you read their profile, suggests a potential date activity.

I would also avoid messages commenting on the appearance of the other person. This might be a gender thing but messages about how hot I am or how pretty I am would turn me off. Imagine saying this to someone you met in real life: "Hi there, you have a great smile, want to get to know each other?" - it sounds like a cheesy pickup line, no?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:53 PM on March 9, 2014 [9 favorites]

First off, are you a full-time student? (I can't see your profile, so I don't know if this is addressed there, but in your last question you mentioned being a student.) If so, that may have a lot to do with why guys in their late twenties aren't biting. People generally want partners who are at roughly the same point in their lives, and some guys might be wondering why you aren't looking on campus.

I agree that your messages sound way too generic. "How's your weekend going?" is the kind of question I've been asked a thousand times by family members, coworkers, grocery store cashiers, etc., and one that can usually be answered with a monosyllabic "fine." And things like "I loved your profile" and "what a great smile" and "93% match" tell the other person nothing about you or why you're interested. If there's something specific that caught your eye, mention it, bring a bit of your perspective, and maybe ask a related question. For instance: "Your story about baking pies cracked me up. Every time I bake a pie, something different goes wrong! Do you often cook for fun?"

I'd also cut the emoticons. Not everyone cares, but I find they don't really add anything to written conversation.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:57 PM on March 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

Whenever someone with hot pics in their profile sends me messages like that, I assume they are a bot. Maybe I've been missing out! Seriously, though, 5/7 of your messages read like they are automated. I'm not sure what to recommend, because clearly they are sincere and in normal reality should not be terrible openers. They just really are phrased the same way as messages coming from scam accounts. I actually sort of hope I didn't just fall for a weird cross-site meta scam.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 8:57 PM on March 9, 2014 [21 favorites]

Your profile isn't visible to non-OKC members right now.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:58 PM on March 9, 2014

21 is pretty young to date men in their mid to late 20s. I have no particular problem with it, but a lot of guys in that age range aren't looking for someone so much younger, especially if you're still in school.

I think your messages are OK, though I think it's a little weird to pick out one thing you DON'T have in common to message someone about in a confrontational way. "Why does my being a vegetarian put me in the red?" is basically asking, "What's your problem with vegetarians?" It's better to stay positive and ask about something you agree with or think is interesting rather than going negative right off the bat. Especially if it's to highlight an aspect of yourself you already know is a dealbreaker for the other person.

I think it's great for women to send messages to men, but I think you'll have better luck if you start by choosing people who are likely to be interested in you, and start your messages from a positive place.

What kinds of messages do you tend to get? Is it feasible to just go out with guys who send you messages?

Also, I don't want to tell you not to ever mention family in your dating profile, but between mentioning spending your typical Friday night with your parents and brother to the references to still being in college, you sound waaaayyyyy young for anyone in their late 20s to date. If you're dead set on older guys, you might want to try to get your profile to read a little more "out of the nest".
posted by Sara C. at 9:05 PM on March 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

@ J. Wilson, I've fixed that now. Sorry about that.

I am a full-time student but I'm graduating in a month. I'm also moving out and starting a really cool full-time job soon at the Toronto downtown core! I'm no student anymore, and I feel like my university (which was 85% a commuter school) was just not a good environment for me to meet guys I like.

I knew my questions would sound so freakin' boring to you. But I don't want to scare guys, and I worry about sounding desperate...I guess I feel uncomfortable with putting actual emotional effort into a message and it ending in a non-response, as it always seems to do ._.

Thanks @mermilly for the compliment! And well, the way I dress in my photos is the way I feel comfortable dressing. I don't go around showing cleavage at school, but when I'm out with a boy I don't want to hide my curves! But I do see your point that 'flaunting' my body online would attract the wrong kinds of dudes.

Thanks for your answers so far, everyone! Btw, @ Sara. C...What an astonishingly accurate point, that my profile sounds SO much like I'm still at home with my parents ..I sound so young in it! Thank you for pointing it out, I honestly never saw it that way
posted by rhythm_queen at 9:05 PM on March 9, 2014

Speaking as a tired and bitter person, I don't mind smilies or enthusiastic messages. It's definitely a balancing act and you'll never please everyone, which is kind of liberating actually.

OKC's matchmaking system and many of their questions are flawed so even someone with similar interests may not always jive with me. If you find someone with similar interests, great! If you find a good topic for discussion, great! But I've overthought many messages too and reached my peace with OKC by keeping a certain distance. This doesn't require being cold or insincere - humor can cross the bridge.

I get the fear of appearing desperate, but remember you're on an online dating site and so are they - there's a certain mutual vulnerability already there. If a dude's profile makes you laugh, try making them laugh too! As a mid-twenties dude I'm vain enough to like getting complimented on my profile or my appearance, but I prefer a message to have a joke or unique spark for conversation. Flattery certainly doesn't hurt and makes your intentions clear, but more is needed.
posted by gorbweaver at 9:16 PM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, your profile and your messages sound young, and you're already going to be (borderline) too young for a lot of the men you're attracted to. Sorry, but it is true. Hotness will help initially but most people want to date someone who's at a similar stage of life, and most 21 year olds are at WILDLY different life stages from most, say, 28-29 year olds. (Mid 20s, well, that is a more variable field.)

The kind of men in their late 20s who ARE looking for a young-sounding 21 year old who's scared to even post a specific or interesting OKC question for fear of disapproval are ... NOT the kind of men you actually want to get involved with, trust me.
posted by like_a_friend at 9:21 PM on March 9, 2014 [11 favorites]

Your messages don't really leave room for an easy response. It doesn't have to be a question, but you want to give them something to resond to.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:24 PM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't really have applicable experience, but to me, it feels like your messages sort of presume a conversation that doesn't exist yet.

The vegetarian one is a challenge right off the bat. The next one goes from too vague to too specific (people who ask how my weekend is going usually know more about the rest of my life, and maybe I'm not even reading your message until Monday, etc.). And the last one could be confusing if the guy doesn't remember what he asked you to include in your introduction.

I don't know if it would be successful, and it might be too long for the medium, but what I would suggest is having one introductory but specific or complimentary comment ("Hi, I read your profile and really liked that you were into X and Y"), one comment that sort of offers something relevant about yourself ("I've enjoyed X for years, especially ..."), and one open-ended invitation to a conversation ("Anyway, message me if you'd like to ...").

I'm also not sure your username gives the best first impression. I mean, it could mean those are problematic qualities you actually possess, or it could mean you're self-deprecating to such a degree that you're willing to identify with negative traits.

That said, I don't think the foregoing explain why you're not getting messages back, and I wonder if you've just had bad luck.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:25 PM on March 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

You are incredibly beautiful and I frankly think that's just intimidating to a lot of guys your age (to me everyone under 30 is basically the same age). Not the worst problem to have I would imagine, but a problem nonetheless. I don't know what you should do honestly. This must feel really hard and I'm sorry, but I bet you anything there Are 400 guys who want to date you but assume you're out of their league/taken.
posted by tristeza at 9:29 PM on March 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

so sorry to threadsit -

I'm learning a lot. Thank you so much for the super kind, wonderful compliment, tristeza. I should be honest that Toronto has a disproportionate amount of gorgeous, stunning, tall, thin ladies. Especially the downtown core. Not sure if I'm a standout in this demographic :) But you are right in that...well, that'd be a wonderful problem to have!

I sent out 3 messages just now to guys using your specific advice so far: refer to our common interests, give a compliment, and an invitation for coffee, Monsieur Caution. I will PM you if I get any good results. :)
posted by rhythm_queen at 9:43 PM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Too many generic questions, a bit too focused on selling yourself (your profile does that already), and I guess yes, you sound a bit eager to please, but I think that's youth and feeling like you've got a lot on the line. Maybe mention one specific like/dislike/interest that you share (not differences, maybe), and then just ask if they'd like to meet. Two sentences, I agree, and fewer exclamation points.

So instead of "I loved your profile, it made me laugh! What a great smile =). How's your weekend going?" maybe "Completely agree about [book]. Care to discuss it in person?"

I think your job will open up lots of opportunities to meet new people, though. For single-lady IRL dating advice: be out and about, enjoy what you're doing, and talk to people with no expectations around an outcome. Just have conversations. Spend at least as much time listening as talking.

on preview: Toronto? Music. Go dancing and see some shows.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:48 PM on March 9, 2014

I just rate guys and let them message me. I've never messaged anybody really---only once when I was tipsy and that was two words , and that turned into a date that lasted hours and that turned into a summer relationship. It was fun.

And now I'm seeing someone new who is pretty awesome and he messaged me first. Just rate guys and let them take the first step contacting you. That's how you weed out the lazy guys from the ones who are actually not socially bizarre/unable to hold conversations with women.

Also, don't be so eager. Get other things going on in your life.
posted by discopolo at 9:50 PM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

First off, happy (early?) birthday! You are lovely and you seem like you'd be very fun to hang out with. I'm seconding the suggestion above that your OKC username might be a turnoff--I'm not your target demographic, but I'm imagining that late-20s guys might read "InsanityVanity" as "Drama queen" and as we all know from these sites, all of the guys profess to be into "no drama." The username reads young, for anyone who might already be a bit wary because they see you as a uni student still.

If there's a way to change your username--and in addition to the more specific messages--I think you'd get a better response from the age range you're targeting.
posted by TwoStride at 9:58 PM on March 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

Example 1 seems weirdly confrontational (your profile says strictly vegetarian - that's a limiting factor; if you're OK with other people eating meat, you might mention it) and 2 and 3 are really generic and focused on you, which makes them seem like a bot or a generic message fired off to dozens of people. Too many emoticons and slang combined with short messages seem really ditzy if you're going after slightly more mature guys. And your profile is pretty lean on details about where you're going or what you and someone else might do together (other than dancing) on the way there.
posted by Candleman at 10:14 PM on March 9, 2014

Okay, just straight from the hip. I think you are a cool person, by the way, so nothing here should be taken as a criticism. It's more like advice on fine-tuning a resume.

There are things in your profile that may not be helping, if a guy is coming to the table who is perhaps concerned that a woman not be high maintenance, judgmental, socially manipulative, or the center of attention. (All these are good things to avoid for any gender, by the way.) There is a subset of guys who won't care about these things at all, but once you get past college and get burned a couple of times, certain things become red flags for men.

I'm just going to list a few things. Just to be clear, I don't think these things necessarily say anything bad about you (at all)! However, you should note that there are some guys who really don't want someone who is out to be noticed, or thinks a lot about superficial beauty, or who has opinions in ways that come off as "ranting and raving."

I'm small, but you'll notice me.
I'm pretty damn adventurous and I often inspire spontaneous activity in others.
Gettin' good and ready and caffeinated
Ranting and raving
I spend a lot of time thinking about attractive people and why
I probably won't respond to you if you have a really awful username ("greatguy97"? Yeah, not reading your message) :(
You should message me if you can deal with very ambitious streaks in people.

Also, as TwoStride noted, your username suggests insanity and vanity. Many guys have learned to run from partners who might be labeled as insane or overly vane.

So, these things (at face value) might raise some flags.

I think what might be happening is that you have some seriously great virtues that could be sold a little bit better, without setting off warnings. For example, being open to fun and new things is pretty awesome. I wouldn't want to feel as if you might make me do something, however. I think having a lot of fun at a party is great. I think trying to be noticed is not a virtue to some men. I think it's okay to have very strong opinions about important things. However, if I think you are going to "rant" at me, it suggests a unilateral discussion at me, not with me. Picking on a possible username before we even meet probably wouldn't do much to alleviate this impression.

So, if any of this has to do with your profile, part might be legitimate personality differences that are not appealing to people who are more homebodies and such (like me, I got tired reading that you might just try to make me do something adventurous). However, a few things might be universally problematic, if taken the wrong way. I think you should take a few of these things that are genuine virtues, and recast them in a way that avoids some of these concerns. Let people know that you are adventurous, fun (yet humble), even concerned with important issues and fashion, yet open to people with different opinions in ways that are affirming and respectful to who they are as people, and you will be hitting all of the right notes.

Anyway, I hope none of this is hurtful to you, as I don't think you are necessarily "high maintenance, judgmental, socially manipulative, or wanting to be the center of attention." I do think, though, that you don't want to broadcast things in ways to people that might suggest this is the case. Because honestly, for each of these possible relational pitfalls, these are the things that most men have learned to avoid.

Will this help at all? I'm not sure. Sometimes dating is just hard, and it might not be your profile. But if I was a single guy, I do not think that I wouldn't have messaged you based on the possible issues raised above, but I would have if I had known you better first (as I've seen from the posts here that you seem to be a pretty cool person).

Good luck!
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:15 PM on March 9, 2014 [17 favorites]

Happy almost birthday! I'm a woman who dates dudes, but I would never answer someone who just messaged me "I loved your profile, it made me laugh! What a great smile =). How's your weekend going?" because it's super generic. Ask the person a specific question about something in their profile -- you have to give them something to actually respond to and you want to seem like you've actually READ their profile. I get emails like that one I quoted ALL THE TIME and I just ignore them because they seem almost seem like spam, and I bet that's what's happening to you too.

So try to be a little specific! You're really cute and enthusiastic -- you'll be fine!
posted by Countess Sandwich at 10:30 PM on March 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Think of what you would like to hear in a message. Something welcoming and that shows an interest in you specifically, right?

Some things that I've seen and heard work pretty well - if you note a common interest, make your message an in-joke about that interest. (I once asked a guy who listed Hitchiker's Guide as a favorite book if he was a froody dude who knew where his towel was.) If someone asks that messages make a suggestion of something you like to do, find that common interest again and put that in the message. (Have similar taste in books? Then a message "I was going to check out x new book store and then grab a coffee, want to join?" Both like food? "I was planning on checking out x new local foodie spot this weekend. I'm always looking for new places to go, tried anything good lately?")

Good luck!!
posted by susiswimmer at 10:33 PM on March 9, 2014

OK, I have never online dated, and likely never will, but a small tip conversation wise. When opening a conversation, either by talking or by messaging, ask questions that show you have interest in the person you're talking to. So I assume reading a dating profile will give you some decent topics to broach when making contact... ASK them about it. "hey I was reading your profile and it said you like xzy, I've never xyz'ed but it sounds pretty cool/interesting I'd love it if you could explain it/tell me why you like it so much/..." .. something like that. Most people say they don't like talking about themselves... but... most people like talking about themselves.

(and if you are trying to go after folks slightly more mature I'd drop the emoticons with strangers. Time for that later.)
posted by edgeways at 10:39 PM on March 9, 2014

I have a lot of success starting conversations by asking guys the stories behind specific photos or for opinions/recommendations based on their taste in books/movies/music.

Asking about photos says "Oh, I see you have experiences. Tell me about those memorable moments."

Asking about media says "Oh, I like the way your brain works. Tell me about it in more detail."

Saying "How was your weekend?" is technically open ended, but when the person has not had an interesting weekend, you put them in a tough spot. Give them a platform to tell you what's exciting about them.
posted by itesser at 10:46 PM on March 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ask questions about their photos. I do that a lot (and i get answers), and I also get that a lot. (I've purposely chosen photos that invite questions, though.) You don't need to get too in depth (i agree that it's a waste of time for a first message), but you want to show that you've read their profile and that you have something interesting to say.

Looking at YOUR profile, some potential first-date questions could be "Hi! Hope you're having a good weekend! I'm wondering - what is that cool looking tiled and yellow castle thing? It's beautiful!" or "How was ireland? your pic looks awesome. I've always wanted to visit!" or "what have you found online lately that's gotten you feeling indignant lately?? Personally, lately i'm getting all annoyed about that beyonce emoji video!"

Or whatever. Basically something about their profile in the form of a question.
posted by Kololo at 10:55 PM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whenever someone with hot pics in their profile sends me messages like that, I assume they are a bot.

Haha, yes.

"I loved your profile, it made me laugh!
What a great smile =). How's your weekend going?"

So generic. If you sent me this I would think you sent the same message to 100 other people.

The vegetarian one is the only guy who could be certain you read his profile, but you're just pointing out what he considers an incompatibility, so you shouldn't be surprised if he doesn't go for it.
posted by RobotHero at 11:28 PM on March 9, 2014

You seem great--I'm sure you're going to figure this out in no time.

The one thing I feel compelled to reiterate is one of the things SpacemanStix mentioned:

I think that the username insanityvanity sends the wrong message ("boo-eep! boo-rep! drama up ahead!").
posted by umbĂș at 12:55 AM on March 10, 2014 [6 favorites]

For the love of God, please use complete sentences, no smiley faces or other emoticons, and ration your exclaimation points. Regardless of the content of your messages, these characteristics make your communication seem vapid and immature.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:16 AM on March 10, 2014 [18 favorites]

I think that the username insanityvanity sends the wrong message ("boo-eep! boo-rep! drama up ahead!").

I didn't think this was a problem till you wrote that you won't message guys who have stupid usernames. Your profile along with this question makes me think you'd rather be arguing than dating.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:50 AM on March 10, 2014 [9 favorites]

I was going to be a little nicer about it, but yeah. I like smileys! I use a fair number... in IMing with my friends. Not in talking to strangers. There's something kind of... aggressively perky about this? It comes off as a bit fake.

On the whole, I think, taking with a grain of salt that it's been a couple years since I was on OKcupid, but--avoid people with high match scores who also have serious mismatch questions that have to do with major parts of your lifestyle or viewpoints. Views on smoking, drinking, diet, kids, politics, religion. It's fine if you disagree, it's not fine if you disagree and one or the other of you thinks it's a big deal. I have, for example, nothing against vegetarianism in theory, but after having dated vegetarians, I could not picture spending my life either as a vegetarian or preparing separate meals forever, so that's a firm no. Letting people talk me out of that firm no in the past has just led to uncomfortable breakups.

Better a person with 80% match and 0% enemy than somebody who is 95% match and 5% enemy.

Things that have been a big thing for me in the past: Specific details that aren't already in your profile. "I like to make delicious new snacks" -> "Last week I made my own ice cream for the first time and it turned out totally amazing. Just plain vanilla, but next time I'm considering ginger or green tea."
posted by Sequence at 1:59 AM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think the comment by SpacemanStix is the most insightful one so far; carefully consider his advice. I agree that you have a lot going for you and you could get a better response if you made some fairly minor tweaks to sell yourself better. Challenging meat-eaters on their views about vegetarians isn't putting your best foot forward. (I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years.) Your username is really unfortunate; change it by paying for an account or getting a new account. Some men who have actually experienced a relationship with someone who's mentally ill might not find "insanity" charming. Ignore those who advise you to deliberately look less attractive than you really are in your photos. The idea that only the "wrong" type of men are attracted to attractive women is simply ridiculous, and I find some of the comments about your photos to be puritanical. (When I read those comments before looking at your profile, I was expecting your photos to be much racier; they're actually quite tame.) There's no need for you to artificially downplay your good qualities. Keep sending short, casual messages but focus a little more on giving specific conversational hooks. If you don't find a good opportunity for a conversational hook, move on to another profile that offers more specific, engaging material. After all, you can certainly afford to be choosy.
posted by John Cohen at 2:25 AM on March 10, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'm dating someone from OKCupid whose first message to me was something in Dutch that I didn't understand. I replied with something like "sorry I don't speak Dutch! Anyway what's up?" We just chatted super casually over a couple of days, then decided to go have a beer, 'cause a beer is always nice. We didn't even have a good score (who knows what that means anyway).

Maybe I'm an outlier, but I think an initial OKC message is like the first thing you say to someone in a bar. So unless you're into "pickup lines," basically anything will do, just a casual hi. Something to get a casual conversation going. If someone came up to me and said "what do you like to do?" I would probably feel like they were putting me on the spot a little bit.

This might all depend on what kind of dating you're going for. As a casual dater, I'm not really worried about long-term compatibility yada yada. I just want to hang out with some new people and maybe find someone to have a fling with. Dating can be (as your very post implies) exhausting. My point is basically that some guys are easily intimidated.

You're already in the same city, and both obviously single. How about just finding someone with a sane-seeming profile and writing "hey, you seem cool, wanna grab a beer sometime this week?"
posted by mbrock at 3:45 AM on March 10, 2014

I love how so many responders are saying "but I'm old and bitter". So, since I fit into that category too, I will say that BabetheBlueOx said what I was thinking- you are very pretty and with short messages like that, seriously, people may think it's a fake account. Definitely ask people specific things- "Scuba diving looks fun, I'd love to try it sometime, where was that picture taken? etc".
Secondly, the second pic doesn't really go with the other ones, but that's fine, be you.
Thirdly, why not just respond to people messaging you. I'm sure you get messages, why not go with someone who has already expressed an interest? In a young student looking to meet someone a bit older? Then half of your work is already done for you:) Fourthly, internet dating gets everyone down at times. Maybe OKC isn't that big in TO, I don't know. Why not try other sites too (sorry if that's obvious and you've already done it). Or volunteering, or student's abroad or other types of things? You are at an excellent stage in your life to meet "real life" people, maybe that's why some of the older (and possibly already bitter!) twenties working people aren't responding! (and yes, on preview your user name may be provoking some negative tropes from the get go). You are very young, don't sweat it so much. Just be you, go out and have fun.
posted by bquarters at 4:28 AM on March 10, 2014

Okay, now that I can read your profile: it looks sparse, like your messages. I know there is substance there - nobody vapid would mention getting worked up by Tolstoy! - but there's so little to use as a hook. Every "similar user" that comes up for me has written more than you have, except for one, and even the one who wrote less used complete sentences. Don't be long-winded, but write enough so people can get a sense of how you think.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:43 AM on March 10, 2014

refer to our common interests, give a compliment, and an invitation for coffee

With the enormous caveat that I'm older than your target group and not single, this sounds like excellent advice to me. It's personal, you indicate you've looked at their profile, it gives them something to respond to, and hopefully gets you past the emailing/messaging stage quickly.

I agree with the people above who have pointed out that you are beautiful and sound like a lot of fun to hang out with, and that the profile needs only minor tweaks (I agree with the name thing, for example) rather than whole-scale revision. Good luck with the search.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:21 AM on March 10, 2014

The thing that stood out to me most about your post was "I don't know how to do this and the older I get, the more scared I am to make eye contact with dudes, to let guys know I like them, to show interest because I feel I'm constantly rejected"

Calm down! :) Breathe. Relax a little. You are far from the only one who is nervous and anxious about dating. Dating really is a weird game, and sometimes, the odds simply aren't in your favor. Personal story- I did casual dating/online dating till I was 28, pretty much gave up on online dating, and miraculously found a great match out of the blue. Just.... Don't Panic. You have good things going for you. You are still young, it is not too late. Maybe even take a little time off from date hunting while you transition from school to the adult world. It will be ok :)
posted by Jacen at 6:33 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

You seem awesome but there are a few things in both your profile and messages that could be turning people away. First, your communication style is very informal and young, for example many smilies :) :) and exclamations !!! Granted I am much older then you, but most people in my geographic area prefer more formal grammar and punctuation and look down on adults who communicate so informally.

Second, agree with other posters your profile name alone is a big turn off. The fact that you are leading with insanity and vanity is a huge red light for many.

Last, here a few things that people may be interpreting differently than you intended:
"Ranting and raving" = melodramatic, overly emotional, immature;
"attractive people and why" = again vanity and shallowness (a guy may think he will never measure up to what you really want);
"watching some trash tv to numb my mind from the week" = shallow, most people do this some times, but not something you want to lead with;
"searchin' the web for things to get indignant at" = judgmental, not open new ideas, confrontational, histrionic;
"I probably won't respond to you if you have a really awful username ("greatguy97"? Yeah, not reading your message) :(" Again confrontational and judgmental, yours is really not so great either;
"you can deal with very ambitious streaks in people" = 'you can deal with' is pretty much a guarantee of high drama to follow.
posted by seesom at 7:05 AM on March 10, 2014 [7 favorites]

One more thing, whenever I see these types of posts, I wonder if you are only going after people who are extremely attractive/out of your league? As other posters have mentioned, you are very attractive, young, and seem to have a lot going on, so there is definitely plenty of opportunity! Consider messaging people who seem interesting even if they are not super hot.

Finally, as terrible as it sounds, one thing my friends and I have found it that there seems to be a better chance if the guy messages the woman first. I am sure there will be tons of posters who disagree and met their love when the woman reached out first; however, consider carefully responding more to those who message you first. All the best, you seem great, and I am sure that you will meet some fun people soon.
posted by seesom at 7:16 AM on March 10, 2014

Agreed on the name change if possible, and inserting more meaningful things into your profile that reflect your interests and hobbies. Tone down the confrontation (and smileys/exclamations, definitely a turn-off if you're trying to date older guys), just present yourself in an open and fun way. I think noting that you are working in downtown TO could open you up to a lot of lunch/coffee invitations from other guys who are downtown too.

Questions can actually shut down conversation, particularly if there's nothing else between you and someone else. I would say something like "Hi there, I find X about you/your hobby/your knowledge really interesting and would love to learn more about it, would you like to go out for coffee?" or "I am a big fan of X type of music/band/thing, would you like to go to X event with me?". Opening with a question seems like it should be a great idea but in practice often isn't, just show that you share some interest in the other person and want to connect.

You are super attractive, I'm having a hard time believing that if you go out to coffee shops and events and even clubs with a friend or two that you wouldn't be getting a lot of attention from men in your desired demographic. I'm from Toronto too and it can be hard to connect because there are just so many (busy) people, it can be hard to find down to earth guys who want a relationship at your age but it's not impossible. A lot of my friends met their boyfriends through friends or going out with a group and hitting it off or from a special interest group (like a poetry club or something). Now that you have super cool job downtown start going out for lunch, going to events that are happening after work or in the evening, and you might notice some cute regulars in those locales and be able to go from there. I think online dating is great but you are at the perfect time in your life to be out making connections too. And again because you are super attractive you may have to get more comfortable making a first pass at a guy, it just takes some eye contact and open body language and unless a guy is prohibitively shy (or taken) he'll take the hint and say hello if he's interested.
posted by lafemma at 7:23 AM on March 10, 2014

Out of my league? I am working under beliefs that there are no leagues, only matches and mismatches :-) i am not so picky with looks, truly, and modelesque dudes make me feel rather insecure - we wouldnt be a good match.

Many answerers wonder why I dont just date dudes that ask ME out. Well... I do!!! Because it isnt leading to any great connections so far, Im trying to do the reaching out. Will change my username ASAP. And my username is just for fun, but'greatguy97' is way too unimaginative! Thats what I meant.

Why are you all so wise and insightful? The green is truly amazing.
posted by rhythm_queen at 7:25 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Even after you change your username, I would advise cutting the line about awful usernames. The only purpose it served when I was reading your profile was to a) make me go back and notice your username for the first time, and no matter what you change it to there will certainly be people who think it isn't great, and b) make me feel uneasy about my own username. I'm not in your target demographic, but I suspect I'm not the only one who would shy away from you as possibly too judgey or too "cool" for me based on the username line.

I would probably just cut the username thing out entirely, but if you do want to keep it in some form, I think it helps to reframe things in the positive rather than the negative. Rather than telling us you won't respond to unimaginative user names, how about saying that a creative username will/could catch your eye?
posted by DingoMutt at 7:34 AM on March 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I mean, I want to give you a lot of advice here, but most of the advice is going to boil down to things like "Don't be 21." We can help change the outside, but the problem is, the inside is still the person who thinks things like putting a ton of smiles on or having wicked cool usernames or slanging it up for funsies. That is the person that most late-twenties people have no interest in dating. This isn't really something you can fake.

That said, tangible advice.

1. Cut out the "don't message me if." You can always find out later from talking/ignore the messages, and all it's going to do is create people who want to confront you about it. When I was roughly your age, doing online dating, I had a "No skeezy old dudes" type message. It actually did not cut down on skeezy older dudes looking for someone brainless, it just had my mailbox filling with insulted and offended older dudes wanting to convince me I was wrong.

2. Use correct grammar and conversational tone. Your messages sounded a little bit like an overeager puppy. When I would get messages like that, I would instantly delete or ignore them.

3. Talk about substance, ask an insightful question. Don't talk about your match percentage - they can see it when they open the message. Don't say anything bland. Bland is death here.
posted by corb at 7:44 AM on March 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yeah again this is just a read on your profile, so please don't take it personally, but I'd agree with the vibe of "high maintenance, judgmental, socially manipulative, or wanting to be the center of attention" and also your profile is just ... not really that unique or positive?

That you think about "gay and trans rights" is a bit interesting, but you can't do without "fresh air" / "Comfortable bedding" / "My lil brother", you think about "how to get past better and to best" / "attractive people and why" / "the nature of relationships within societal bounds" ... like, I don't know what to do with any of this. What would we connect on or talk about on a date?

A lot of it is just very bland, like you could be anyone. I would really recommend just sitting down and trying to think, who am I, what is interesting and unique about me that I care about and like to talk about and do?

What are you studying and why? What do you want to do with that and why? Give some little anecdotes or synthesized snippets of your life of fun/cool shit you get up to with friends. Your books/movies/etc section is better just because it has specific not completely mainstream stuff.

Ditch the negativity, "searchin' the web for things to get indignant at"/"greatguy97", and seriously n'thing ditch the username.

You're attractive but I would be on the fence about messaging you. I also think the cleavage shot ought to go - I get turned off by girls showing off their body on OKC the same way you probably would by a six-pack selfie
posted by crayz at 7:45 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

As far as the smileys go, I would agree with the folks suggesting that you get rid of them, but thinking about what they're meant to convey might help you figure out what to actually say (or not say!) instead:

Hi! Why does my being a vegetarian put me in the red (in your qs)? :)

This one seems to be saying "I know what I just asked sounds confrontational but I want you to think I'm just playing." Smileys of this nature seem like they're trying to give you a pass to say something that you recognize might otherwise not be okay. This could be fine with someone you're already close to, but with a stranger it's probably a signal that you should go back and find a different way of approaching that person.

What a great smile =).

Does this one say anything at all? I guess maybe something like, "Your smile made me smile" ... ? I don't think any meaning is lost by cutting out this smiley, but if there was something else you wanted to convey, try to do so verbally.

I like to make delicious new snacks, walk around funny parts of the city and read. : P

I honestly didn't know how to interpret the tongue-sticky-out smiley here ... maybe "Haha, I know these aren't very specific but I had to put something down" or just "mmmyep ... that's what I like."? If that's the case, again it might signal that you KNOW your message is kind of generic and should be reworked; if I'm completely off-base and you had something else in mind, it would be good if you could figure out a way of writing it out verbally.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:59 AM on March 10, 2014

I think "avoid negativity" is a good rule of thumb for both profiles and messages. That doesn't mean you should be super bubbly, but that your negative preferences can generally go unstated, and you should instead focus on the positive ones. For instance, the fact that you won't respond to someone who has an unimaginative username just doesn't need to be said -- you can simply not respond to them without announcing it.

Even if the person reading your profile is inclined to agree with you, it risks putting them in a negative frame of mind and making you seem judgmental. The bit about vegetarianism in the message basically falls under the same umbrella. Seek areas of mutual interest, not conflict.

That being said, I wouldn't worry about being too intimidating by mentioning that you think about attractive people or something. It doesn't help to make yourself seem non-threatening as possible. And having photos that show your body is a good thing.

In general with the messages, I would lose the smileys, tone down the exclamations, mention something specific from their profile, say/ask something that gives them an opportunity to reply, and avoid negativity/confrontation. And you could ask for a date on the 1st message, but 2nd or 3rd is a better idea.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:01 AM on March 10, 2014

Couple edits:

Roald Dahl always makes me feel just right :)

I may be alone in this, but I always take emoticons to mean that the writer is attempting to express some additional sentiment not present in the text. Like, you say this, and then the smiley, which means that you are saying this with a smile. Which is fine, but what does it mean in this case? Is it related to feeling just right? Cut this to just, "Roald Dahl."

I did NOT think Bridesmaids was a good movie.

Nobody cares. Cut this.

attractive people and why

Cut it. Adds nothing, makes no sense.

you can deal with very ambitious streaks in people.

Cut this and put something more inviting in there. What you're saying is that I should message you if I can deal with a particular kind of person. Well, I wouldn't be dating so I can find someone to deal with, I'd be looking for someone to like, someone to get excited about, et cetera. Don't spoil a first impression by saying things like, "Boy, I sure hope you can tolerate me!"

Okay, now on to your messages:

Cut the emoticons. Try to come across as warm and friendly in your actual words, and don't rely on shortcuts. Think like a writer: waste nothing. No cruft.

When writing to someone, pop off maybe three or four sentences:

1. Greeting
2. Benign, friendly observation about something in their profile (as observed, the thing about the other person's questions reads a little confrontational)
3. A little info about you, related to what you just said
4. A question, to keep the conversational ball rolling

Then sign off with your first name, so's to create rapport.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:13 AM on March 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Try the "Locals" feature, which is basically Tinder. (You don't have to enable your specific location, either- it will just say your city if you don't). My guess is that guys might be intimidated by your good looks and high-octane personality (which are both great things, but maybe a bit intimidating in an impersonal medium), and if that's the case, then messaging them first doesn't solve that problem. So the "Locals" thing gives them an "in" in that you chose them first, and makes them feel in control by messaging you first.

I think the best strategy is to just swipe-right (ie "accept") any person who seems promising- accept lots of people, and don't overthink it. A few of them will message you. Then you can look at their profiles and see who you'd like to respond to. Good luck!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:08 AM on March 10, 2014

I'm not your demographic, but I just happened to have three handsome and really sweet mid-20s straight guys around* and threw this at them.

Before I write more, I think it is important to say that they were not being malicious at any point in their criticism; this may help how you process what they are saying.

Here is the result:

Your username: One of them thought you may be trying to make some kind of clever comment on vanity, the other two said something like: "Nope". Right off the bat they saw themselves waiting and fuming while that username primped, sighed, demanded constant attention, and oozed drama.

Your pictures: Variations on "Wow", but my guess is you already knew that. None of them had anything outright negative to say about any of them except the one where you were in a booth. They felt like that one made you look like you were still in high school.

About your messages: The same thing others here have said. The vegetarian question seems a little argumentative - "She is kinda setting me up to tell her that vegetarians are a pain in the ass if I already answered the question that way on OKC. Why do I want to ague about it?" (this led to wondering if all of their messages were going to be slightly veiled passive-agressive arguments), the the use of "foster" is stilted - "who says that?" (the consensus was that it felt like a high school kid trying to seem older by shifting what they thought was "adult" language), and the other one is vague - "she sent that out to every dude showing teeth in a picture". They all said the tipping point in them responding was the username and tone of the profile. None of them would have responded, but two of them were up in the air about it. The one who said he wouldn't have responded even though you are really attractive said "Ok, the username, but I kinda feel like she may have a wedding dress in the closet and will be the girl who gets mad all the time because I'm looking around at other girls."

The two who were up in the air said they wouldn't have responded because the overall tone of the profile, :) =) &c. were just too much. Before I mentioned this question to them they were talking about how they were just starting to grow out of that high school/college thing with friends and dating and when we were talking about your question that tied in pretty well. It is something they seemed especially sensitive about.

About your username qualification: All three of them said drop it. The four of us had a conversation about usernames on dating sites and they felt like they couldn't win: So Rippedjosh is gross, RPGladiator is too dudebro, greatguy97 is lame, and so on... "she's gonna judge me for a normal username when her username is THAT?"

Those are the highlights. I actually had a good time listening to them talk about it, as it isn't part of the normal range of our conversations.

I think I should add that all three of them said that they would totally have given a date with you a shot if they would have just randomly met you out and about without having the profile to reference. Reading between the lines and just looking at your side column you have a lot of interesting stuff going on.

As a 39 year old gay man, if I could give you a word or two of advice: Yes, you can change what you say and how you say it. You can change your profile and alter, alter, alter things... but at the end of the day YOU are still YOU. You are still feeling around and figuring things out across the board and at some point you have to be your authentic self. If that means smiley faces or drama or high energy or whatever, so be it. There is a fine line between making your authentic self appear more attractive to someone by putting your best foot forward and making changes that you really don't want to make to get a date.

Just make sure that the changes you make in how you are coming across really reflect who you are. It is no good to make yourself into a digitally demure lady or anything else if you are really a cheery blazing fireball of opinion with buckets full of emoticons. You still have to be yourself.

*What can I say? Some folks collect Hummel figurines or vinyl LPs...
posted by Tchad at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2014 [15 favorites]

Another bit of advice, more about dating older guys generally, but it might be useful for you.

I dated a lot of older men when I was exactly your age, and I found that it was a lot easier to do that when I met the guys in question out and about in my regular life, rather than online. I don't know if it was because in person meetings broadcast my maturity level better, or shared interests made it seem like we had more in common, but in my opinion you will have better luck if you go out and meet people rather than looking for this kind of thing online.

Places I met said older dudes:

- An art collective I was a part of, and general creative/artistic/scene type activities related to that

- Going to parties and events related to my specific interests (at the time, the art community, but whatever you're into will likely work as well).

- Hanging out in very specific sorts of bars that tend to attract mid-to-late-20s people. Avoid college bars. Living in a neighborhood that has lots of other young single people also really helps. Where do people go to hear casual live music in your neck of the woods?
posted by Sara C. at 10:02 AM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't have time to read through all of the answers, but I think your messages to men have to be longer and more personal. I am a woman in my 30s and never reply to messages that are less than a sentence in length. I also never reply to messages that use smilely faces.

Short messages come across as though you are indiscriminate in who you are messaging. When I see a very short message, I assume that person is sending messages to hundreds of people at a time, just copying and pasting the same message.

When I send an initial message, it tends to be about 3-4 sentences that relate somehow to the person's profile. This has worked for me. Even so, not everyone replies. There are also times I have not replied to a well written message for a variety of reason, often not having anything to do with the sender.
posted by parakeetdog at 11:44 AM on March 10, 2014

Hello, I'm in your demographic. I completely agree that you have to be yourself, first and foremost.

rhythm_queen: "I guess I feel uncomfortable with putting actual emotional effort into a message and it ending in a non-response, as it always seems to do"

This is basically the root of your problems. I have little patience for this kind of online dating coyness and admire someone that is brave enough to speak honestly about themselves. And I say this as someone that spent a year in college trying to write the perfect profile while also avoiding rejection by being really vague and unoffensive. I think a lot of people have tried that approach and can empathize.
posted by yaymukund at 12:17 PM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I haven't dated in at least 5 years, owing to the fact of having been married for 3 years and dating her for 2 years before that.

Before I met my wife (on LiveJournal, not a personal ad site), I did a LOT of online dating. But since I'm 35 now, that puts me at 29 or 30 when I last did the online dating thing. Maybe that's reaching the end of your range of ages.

#1. For the record, I had some really, REALLY bad experiences with OKC, as well as PlentyOfFish. I had much better luck with match and eHarmony. I suggest you move to one of the paid personal ad sites, if you can afford it. It seems that having to pay a monthly fee seemed to weed out A LOT of the chaff.

#2. At 29, I wasn't considering dating anyone younger than 24, regardless of how "compatible" OKC thought I was with her. YMMV.

#3. Your responses above are somewhat generic. I liked it better when potential dates asked me questions proving they read further into my profile than "Male" and "93% match," particularly when I've spent so much time and effort writing lots of details about myself there. (Admittedly, most guys may not have spent that much time on it.) Ask a question about something he seems passionate about. "How's your weekend going?" is something I could conceivably ask Jane Random Woman who's filling up her gas tank on the other side of the pump from me, and I know I'll never see her again so I really don't care how she answers.

#3a. "Your profile made me laugh." should be expanded to (for example) "The story in your profile about how you once wrestled a dead raccoon to get an animal's tooth for a scavenger hunt made me laugh. Tell me about some other things you had to find on that hunt."

#4. Being confrontational about someone being anti-vegetarian (or any other long-held belief or view) is unfortunately not going to win you any friends. In his late 20's, he's unlikely to change his mind about that. If that's a deal-breaker for you (and it should be), then please don't waste your time or his by starting that conversation.
posted by tckma at 1:23 PM on March 10, 2014

Just a tiny comment: your photos are beautiful EXCEPT the one where you're sipping the drink through the straw--that one felt immediately off-putting (too little-girly, a bit of Lolita, and emphasizing drinking alcohol, which can be a party-girl red flag). Stick with coffee as your beverage of choice.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:49 PM on March 10, 2014

Agreed. The emoticons and !!!!!! gotta go.

Here's a sample message with commentary that might help --

Hi, [Insert OkCupid Name] --

Noticed that you're into X, Y, and Z. [Insert sincere question about Y.] [Make statement about your interest in Y.]

Hope you're surviving the polar apocalypse. If winter lasts much longer, we might have a zombie situation on our hands.

yay weekend/[insert day of the week]--
[Insert Your Real First Name]


Using a greeting is an excellent way to the set the tone and be direct. You're not texting; you're sending a message.

First paragraph: both shows you read their profile, and are able to pick out information from their profile that is compatible with your interests.

Talking about the weather is a neutral subject for everyone. Zombie apocalypses are part of our cultural zeitgeist. People love'm.

"Yay day-of-the-week" indicates enthusiasm without the less appealing connotations of !!! and ;) ;) :p

Using your real first name shows you are a real human being who is looking for real connection.

Good luck!
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:30 PM on March 10, 2014

"Hi! Why does my being a vegetarian put me in the red (in your qs)?"

I just want to talk about this. If someone you are interested in says on their profile they do not want to date vegetarians there are a couple of reasons this might be the case.

1. They really love meat and can't imagine limiting their restaurant options for dates.
2. They have found some strict vegetarians to have a very ethically charged personality and are worried about being looked down on for their eating preferences.

A more reasonable way to approach this might be to say something along the lines of:

"I'm a vegetarian. At the same time, I have lived with plenty of meat eaters before"
"I'm a vegetarian, it has been a great way for me to eat healthier."
"I'm a vegetarian, but I love going to all sorts of restaurants with my friends. I'm fairly low-maintenance when it comes to food."

This allows the person you are messaging to learn more about who you are rather than having to make a judgment right away. Of course if you are a vegetarian who really feels the rest of the world should be vegetarian, that's perfectly fine too, as long as you are honest about that to the people you are messaging.
posted by donut_princess at 6:18 PM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Re: donut_princess's answer: If I had to guess, it's probably #2 above.

I'm an omnivore. I like meat, but it's not a requirement. My wife is a strict vegetarian and leans vegan at times. While this is limiting in terms of the places we can eat together, it's not so much of a big deal, because I don't have to have meat and potatoes for every meal. Sometimes we make separate meals. Sometimes we make different variations on the same meal; like a taco night where I'll make ground beef for my tacos and she'll use one of the soy-based brands of ground "meat." There's been fantastic vegetarian or vegan places where we've eaten that I have quite enjoyed, and might never have considered had I married a fellow omnivore.

My take: If you (generic "you" here) want to be vegetarian or vegan, that's your choice and right, and I won't criticize you for it. (In fact, I have a lot of respect for vegetarians/vegans because I know how difficult it is in general society to keep to that.) However, I expect the same respect from others. Don't force your view on me. I'm not going to shove a burger down your throat.

I've found some strict vegetarians (and vegans in particular) to be VERY preachy. I get it, that's your view, and it's a strong one. I'm fine with taking whatever information in and making a decision for myself, but don't force it. It would be difficult to me to live with/date someone like that unless I made drastic changes to my eating habits, which I'm not going to do.

Some people are very much "I've got to have a steak and mashed potatoes every night for dinner." Personally, I find that lack of variety to be very boring, but a lot of people are like that, and for that person to be with a vegetarian/vegan would be too much of a challenge for them.

I've gone off-topic, so I'll bring it back.

I like the responses proposed. They're not preachy, and not judgmental. Your response is a bit confrontational, and I don't think that's at all what you are going for.
posted by tckma at 7:19 AM on March 11, 2014

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