Digital Manners: All My Internet Dates Text Lame Excuses To Cancel (Transcript)

Navigating the intersection of etiquette and technology.
Feb. 14 2012 11:51 AM

Doubting Dater (Transcript)

What should I do when my Internet dates text lame excuses to cancel?

(Continued from Page 1)

I was going to say I’m going to put on my Prudie hat, but you did it very well, Farhad. This guy needs to do some serious self-examination. He’s either pressing too hard; he’s too desperate; maybe he’s picking women who are, “Hey! She’s my ideal.” But if he looks in the mirror, he may not be their ideal.

He needs to actually talk to some friends and say, “This keeps happening to me over and over. I want you to be brutally honest. What am I doing wrong? How should I change my dating strategy?” This is a single man in his early 50s who’s presumably employed. That means women should be beating each other off with sticks to go on a date with him. Something is awry here with him.

I also agree with you. Once you’ve gotten a very rude, lame excuse, you don’t pursue it. You just say, “Sorry to hear that.” Boom. Over.

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Farhad:  He does mention he’s in his early 50s. He also says that the women he’s going after are grown women, but he doesn’t say how old they are. I get the sense that because they’re corresponding with him mainly by text messaging that he might be trying to go after younger women, I suspect.

Emily: One of them says, “I have to drive my teenager to the mall.”

Farhad:  True.

Emily:  I read “grown” as his way of saying these are fellow adults; these are not college students.

Farhad:  I don’t get the sense that someone in their early 50s would use text messaging as the primary way to conduct a relationship.

Emily:  Unless you wanted to blow someone off.

Farhad:  Right. Whatever age you are, it’s the best way to blow someone off.

Emily:  But you’re right. This is a new technology. The genius of it, there’s no pause and gulp on the other end. It’s just “I’m sending you the text. Kaboom. Over. I’m moving on with my life.”

Farhad:  In all forms of online relationships … I have tried to give away free stuff on Craigslist multiple times. You would think this would be totally easy, but you arrange with someone to take your free stuff and they just don’t come by. There are just flakes all over the Internet. It’s easy to promise something on the Internet, and if you don’t live up to your promise, there’s no punishment. In the digital world, there’s no repercussions for your actions here.

Emily:  Cyber stalking, Farhad. You didn’t come get my stuff. Your life is going to be worthless.

Farhad:  I will go after you.

Emily:  My bottom line is this is a very rude way to blow someone off. Nonetheless, if you’ve been blown off this way, that’s the end. Move on. And this guy also needs to do some self-examination as to why this is happening so often.

Farhad:  I would second that. I say if you want to reject someone, do it on the phone, do it in person – don’t do it by text message.

Emily: Send us your questions about shifting etiquette in the online age. Our address is digitalmanners@slate.com

Farhad:  You can also join our Facebook page where we carry on the conversation throughout the week.  Go to www.Facebook.com/digitalmanners.

Emily:  And we’ll talk to you next time on Manners for the Digital Age.

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