Ghosting

It’s come, that moment you were dreading, the one you always hope will never come again. Maybe you were chatting online, maybe you had gone out a few times, maybe you were even in a full blown relationship. Then it happened – you just stopped hearing from the other person. No warning given, no obvious changes in behavior to tip you off, nothing. They are just gone, and you are left wondering.

There is an endless stream of questions that come up when a person is ghosted. Usually it starts with concern “Did something happen to them?”, “Are they laying in a ditch somewhere?”, or “Did they have to leave the country suddenly for some reason?”. Then you realize that you aren’t the lead character in a romantic comedy and that it isn’t anything that reasonable.  They have just decided that you are no longer worth their time, and that you weren’t even worth a goodbye. The next round of questioning is usually a little angrier “How could they do this to me?”, “Did they ever really care at all?”, or “What kind of person does that to someone?”. You can rant and rave and ask all you want but you will probably never get an answer. Finally, you will get to the worst type of questioning – the self-doubt round. “What did I do to push them away?”, “How come I couldn’t see it coming?”, and “What’s wrong with me that this was so easy for them?”.

Ghosting is one of the most common types of social rejection out there. It hurts, and it’s not the kind of hurt you can take a pain killer for. It is absence, rejection, loss, disrespect, disappointment, insult, and a gut punch that you can never really fully prepare yourself for. It is the silent treatment taken to the extreme, and some people wield it as easily as you or I do a pencil or a fork.

What makes a person ghost someone? There are as many answers to this as there are people who do it. For some it’s just the easy way out, no harm and no foul, in their minds at least. They genuinely don’t see how it can hurt someone, particularly in the early stages of getting to know each other. For others it’s the coward’s way out, a way for them to not have to deal with the emotional fallout of ending something. There are even a few who do it for the impact it will have, knowing full well how it will make you feel, either out of revenge for times it has happened to them or just because they like the feeling of knowing they have that power over you.  

So what can you do about it?

When it comes to your ghoster? Nothing. Sure, you could keep messaging them hoping for a response, constantly check and see if they are online talking to anyone else, or stop by places you know they go hoping to ‘accidentally’ run into them. But what does this really accomplish? It isn’t going to change anything. Even if they do eventually respond, what have you gained? Another empty interaction from someone you can’t really trust anymore. You won’t get any real answers as to why they disappeared on you, and even if you somehow do it isn’t going to make you feel any better.

When it comes to you? Everything. What happens after you are ghosted is all about changing your internal narrative. Stay away from that last round of questioning. You didn’t do anything, you aren’t blind or naive, and there isn’t anything wrong with you. This is all about them. Instead of beating yourself up, or staying angry, ask yourself this one really important question, “Is a person who can do this to someone a person I really want to be with?”. Hopefully the answer to that is no, and you can grieve the end of the relationship and move on.

The Dick Pic

Let’s face it, it is going to happen. Whatever dating platform you use, however strict you make your communication settings, no matter what you say in your profile about not wanting one, eventually you will receive a dick pic. Most likely more than one.

Some of them will be works of art, done in specific poses, with decorations and special lighting. They may even be in black and white for that extra hint of class. Treasure these, they are the special ones, possibly even worth meeting in person one day. The sad reality is that most of the ones you get will be desperately clutched in a fist, hanging free and loose over a dirty toilet seat, lying despondently over his partially sucked in gut, or if he really isn’t putting in any effort, still mostly flaccid.

Once you get past that initial moment of violation you will likely find yourself asking “Why? Why would he send me this? What is he hoping it will accomplish?” Let’s not be silly here, we all know what the answer to that is. He is hoping that the unsolicited image of his magnificent member will catch you off guard, and in that moment of weakness, as you swoon over the beauty of his bulge, you will not be able to help yourself from doing one of two things; 1) rushing over there to climb on that radiant rod, or 2) doing everything in your power to send an equally dirty yet delicious image in return.

Most men you will meet online are opportunists. There’s nothing wrong with that, particularity if all you are looking for is opportunity. If that is the case then by all means, go enjoy that taught tool, ride it for all it is worth. Have fun with it.

If what you are looking for is a little more than just organ meat you now have a more challenging road ahead of you.  How do you respond to this image? In the great chess game that is dating, what is your counter move? Are you done with him because he crossed a line, or are you still willing to see if there is something there, despite already knowing exactly what you will be getting later on? Sure, the mystery is gone, and maybe the end reward isn’t particularly useful looking, but that doesn’t mean all your efforts so far have to be a waste. There could still be value in getting to know him, and there’s always the chance that it’s more impressive in person. Good photography skills are not a prerequisite to good sex.

I’ve received many dick pics over the years, and as a result have developed a well-tested response system. Here are the steps if you’d like to use it;

  1. Ignore it. Pretend you’ve never received it, like it never existed. Sure, he can probably see that you did, but don’t acknowledge it in any way. Message him about something completely unrelated to the picture and see what he does with that.
  2. If he doesn’t get the hint and asks you what you think of it have fun with your answer. Let him know that you really couldn’t believe he had sent that on purpose, so you were being polite and ignoring his little technical issue. Then carry on with your regular conversation.
  3. If he still doesn’t get the hint and continues to request a review of his offerings, give it to him, no holds barred. At this point he is probably a lost cause anyway, anyone that insistent is definitely only looking for one thing. Let him know what you think of it. Or, if you really want to save some time and end the conversation, take a screenshot of a dick pic you have received from someone else and send it to him. Then ask him what he thinks of yours!

How To Write A Dating Profile

If you type this question into any internet search bar you will be bombarded by hundreds of articles, with sources ranging from self-help gurus to clinical therapists to professional dating services. They all have different advice to offer, depending on their experiences and what type of outcome they believe you should be looking for. Most of them will lead you to a certain point, then have a ‘pay for more personalized help’ option. Fair enough, we all need to eat, but in most cases that extra monetary step really isn’t necessary.

I have been online dating off and on for over 4 years. When I am online I am generally very active, I enjoy meeting people. To date I have physically met about 55 potential partners, messaged with around 700, and have viewed approximately 2000 dating profiles. Actually read the profiles mind you, not just looked at the pictures. My primary apps are POF and Tinder as those are the most used in my area, but over the years I have also used Facebook, eHarmony, Ok Cupid, Match, Single Parent Meet, and probably one or two others I can’t remember anymore. They all have their perks and pitfalls, depending on what you are looking for.

Now that we have established my absolutely unprofessional credentials, here are my completely free tips, tricks, and opinions on what should and should not be in a dating profile.

Your Username

If you are on a site that asks for a username try and be creative, fun, and upbeat. Things like ‘canadaguy87’ or ‘outdoorsman53’ or ‘looking4love’ are so dull that I forgot them as soon as I typed them. Your username is one of the first things people will see, it is how they will refer to you when speaking to others, and it may even be the name they address you by. It should reflect who you are in a memorable way. Try and stay away from random or suggestive numbers, names that include demands, or anything that sounds angry or depressed. Bust out a thesaurus, play with alliterations, or even pick your favorite gaming or TV show character’s name. If nothing else, it may help to start a conversation.

Your Headline

Most sites that require a headline also show that headline in any search a user may run. This means that along with your photo and username it will be one of the 1st things a potential partner will see, so it better be good. Think of it as the slogan or catchphrase you are going to use to sell your product. No one is going to want to buy something advertised as ‘single and bored out of my mind’, ‘just checking things out’, or ‘not sure what to expect here’. It’s also not your greeting, so stay away from variations of ‘hi’, ‘text me if you want’, or ‘just looking to talk’. Be clever, positive, and most of all, unique. There are thousands of suggestions for things you can use on the internet. Make an effort, find a few you like, and adjust one so it fits your personality.

Pictures

This is a big one. A lot of users won’t even read your profile unless your pictures attract them first. It’s shallow, but true. This doesn’t mean you have to look like [insert celebrity name here] in order to get any action, most of us don’t and we still do ok. What it does mean is that you need to put some serious thought and effort into what you put up and how you want to be seen.

My biggest piece of advice on this is also the easiest – smile. Mouth open, closed, goofy, playful, sultry, serious, it doesn’t matter. A smile lights up your face, lifts your cheeks, and brightens your eyes, all things that people find attractive. It also shows that you can smile, which is hugely important. Post multiple pictures, showing different parts of your face and body (no nudes please). Maybe it’s not all great, but it is all you, and it’s you that they are considering meeting. Post pictures having fun, whether it’s out doing something, in a costume, or just ridiculous selfies. The most commented on picture I have ever used was just my face and a giant red clown nose. Pictures can be a conversation starter, so make it easy, give them something to ask about. Post as many pictures as the site will allow, and remember to update your pictures often. You will change over time and your profile should reflect that.

There are a lot of ‘do not’s when it comes to online dating pictures. Do not use old pictures. Yes, I’m sure you looked fantastic in that one beach picture from your trip to Cabo in the late 2000’s, and I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that is not the way you look now. Your past is not what you are selling. Do not use filters that make you look like an animal. Unless you are trying to attract a furry all this does is hide your actual features. In fact, try to stay away from using filters at all, most of them just hide things that will be obvious as soon as you meet. The idea of profile pics isn’t to trick people into thinking you are someone you aren’t, it’s to show them the best of who you are. Do not post pictures with your kids. Being a parent is a huge part of your life, and important, but in most cases posting pictures of your kids will automatically dry up any sexual interest a prospective partner may have been feeling towards you. Do not post group pictures, particularly if you are not the most attractive person on the pic, or if they can’t even tell which one you are. It’s confusing and distracting. Do not post only selfies, they limit what you can show and they tell the world ‘I’m always alone’. Find a friend, or a professional, or a random weirdo off the street, and ask them to take a couple pictures for you. Do not post pictures of your truck, boat, pet, quad, fire pit, or sex room. These may be important parts of your life, but they are not you. Do not post memes, we can all get them off the internet.

Content

If your prospective partner has made it through those first three layers of who you are and is still interested in you then you are doing well. Don’t fuck it up now. When it comes to the write up about who you are there is one very important rule to follow – STAY POSITIVE. I don’t care if you are actually a positive person or not, just like the rest of your profile your ‘about me’ section should reflect the best parts of you, and we are all at our best when we are feeling hopeful and excited. If you can be funny, be funny. A profile that makes someone smile or even laugh is always a winner. If you can’t be funny, give them something to ask you questions about. Talk about hobbies you love, trips you would like to go on, musicians you can’t live without, or art you have seen or created. If you are into something unusual that you need in a partner let them know, but in an encouraging and playful way. Do not create long lists of things you are looking for, or write angry rants about things you do not want ‘again’. These are huge turn offs. Don’t make ridiculously obvious statements like ‘my kids are my life’. Of course they are, and anyone who is considering dating a parent will know that. Feel free to have fun here and let your energy shine through.

So there it is, my advice. Stay positive, look happy, be creative, and update frequently. It’s not as difficult as it seems, I promise, and you will probably learn a lot about yourself along the way.