So just recently, I joined one of the more popular internet dating websites, Match.com. After doing so, it became pretty clear to me why I haven’t had a lot of success with similar dating sites in the past – after reading through dozens of profiles, I seem to share virtually nothing in common with anyone, even the people the site seems to think are ideal matches with me.
See, I’m an introvert, and a geek, and those two things are huge parts of my personality. I tend to have a hard time getting to know people – I’ve talked about it extensively in the past. Even after being at my current job for almost a year and a half, it still feels difficult striking up a conversation with my co-workers, even the ones I know share similar interests. I’m kind of conversationally awkward, and I don’t really parse silences and breaks in the conversation very well. But once I get to know somebody, I’m extremely loyal, even if I haven’t talked to them in a long time, even years. And I have a lot of passion for the topics I find important – RPGs, things like comic-related properties, mental health, and a variety of generally kind of nerdy things. I could go on about them for a long time, and I can often have difficulty telling when someone is getting tired of listening.
And with a lot of the people I get paired up with presumptively on these dating websites, I see the same things keep popping up – enjoying long walks, romantic dinners, travel, looking for someone who makes them laugh, willing to try new things, is well-educated… I could go on, but – at least from where I’m sitting – all of these things are frustratingly vague. There are no specifics to help start a conversation – no favorite movies, specific travel destinations they’ve liked, what kinds of things make them laugh. And without something like that, I have no idea where to even begin, and so I hit the ‘Like’ button and hope maybe they’ll ask me something that can help start a conversation. I try to include some favorite movies and books and such in my own profile, to try to differentiate myself, but I know that letting my geek flag fly right off the bat might not be the best idea. So I’m stuck in kind of a weird area.
There are places that say that online dating is ideal for introverts, and I can see why – as this article in Psychology Today notes, it can be far easier to send out an IM or e-mail than try to communicate immediately via phone, or in person. And there are other sites, like this one, that try to help introverts create an attractive user profile for online dating. There are even some online niche dating sites, though I’ve never had any luck there – the user community tends to be exceptionally small, and they tend to be very heavily populated by other guys, and despite living in a pretty big city there never seem to be many viable matches within a reasonable distance.
I wonder sometimes if my lack of experience with relationships makes even something like online dating harder. While I’ve had strong feelings for two women before, neither ended particularly well for me, and I’ve only been on one date. Since I tend to overthink things – especially when I’m not sure what went wrong – I’m not quite sure if things going wrong was because of something I did, or because of where she was in her life, or we just didn’t match up as well as I thought we did, and not having the answers makes my thoughts on the matter go kinda wacky. I wish I could ask, but the questions I want answered are probably way too personal for someone who no longer wants to be a part of my life, or I’m no longer the same person that I used to be and so wouldn’t find the answers very helpful. It feels, in a lot of ways, that while I live on my own, have a job and am going to graduate school, that my prospective romantic life is still very much stuck in a teenage mindset. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, or to what extent other people feel that way, but it feels weird.
But I’m hopeful – even if I don’t find anyone who is interested in me romantically on a dating site like Match.com, I think I can at least find someone to talk to, hopefully about some of the things that really interest me, and about the things that interest her, as well.
I feel kinda weird being optimistic about something – guess I’m still not used to it yet.