This is a tough one.  Let me start with a little story from my own past that has nothing to do with dating.  Or does it…?

I met a man who had been a longtime – telephone only – business acquaintance.  The first time I visited him in his office, he was typing furiously on his computer, but he asked me to join him for a late dinner and said he’d come get me from the seminar I was auditing a block away.  3 hours later, he was a no-show.  BUT, not to be deterred, I walked back to his office and he was still typing!  Well, I was very impressed.  What a hard worker!  What a smart businessman who could type his own…whatevers!

I eventually became his office manager.  It took me a while, but I finally realized that all the time he spent on that damned computer was his way of hiding out.  He really was not such a great businessman; he was a talented artiste.  But he was afraid of REJECTION.  So, instead of risking that by phoning people who were in a position to hire him, which he desperately wanted, he just kept blasting away on the computer.  Anything to avoid facing reality, whatever that reality might have been.

This brings me to a behavior I observe in many people, male and female, on dating sites.  Instead of forging ahead and actually talking to someone, and/or arranging to (gasp!) meet that person in the flesh, so to speak, they hide behind emails, texts and chats for unaccountably lengthy periods of time.

I recently asked a close friend why he was doing that.  He’d been “chatting up” several women over the previous few months, almost all exclusively via written communications, without ever making an attempt to meet them.  “What,” I prodded, “are you afraid of?”.

He ran his fingers through his hair, thought for a few minutes, and said quietly, “I really don’t know.  I think it’s several things…”  And he mentioned a couple of very real and reasonable hesitations on his part.  They’re too personal to write about here, but they all boil down to one thing:  Fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of getting too close to a “stranger” too quickly.  Fear of having to let someone down if it isn’t feeling right.  Fear of being the one let down.  Fear of another rejection.


Another friend of mine has this to say about how fed up she is with the incessant back-and-forth emails that prevent actually meeting someone.  She has a plan:  Tell the man, right away, that she only wants to exchange two emails each, followed by a couple of phone conversations.  “At that point,” she says, “We either arrange to meet for coffee or a glass of wine, agreeing to spend a half  hour together, with no strings attached…or we stop wasting each others’ time!”  That may seem a little harsh for some of you, or it may be the perfect plan for moving things along.  You decide.  But do try to make a plan and stick to it, if at all possible.  Sure, it can be a bit scary, but that’s why we include safety tips.

How do YOU overcome debilitating fear?  Everyone has his or her own way of handling it, of course, but in the case of hiding behind emails and chats instead of meeting someone who might change the course of your life, I say put down the laptop and arrange a date!

Worried about giving the wrong person your phone number, or not feeling safe wherever you meet?


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