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Archive for October, 2008

New reader Amy sent me a story of woe:

Tell me what you think: Date a guy on JDate for 2 months–meet his sister two days before he dumps me by e-mail because he says I’m too similar to his sister. Douchebag? I don’t know what planet I am living on sometimes!

Yep, douchebag. Here’s why:

1. You’d think he’d know his sister well enough to realize, upon meeting you, that you’re a lot like her. He had approximately two seconds in which to use this as a remotely acceptable excuse, and he blew it.
2. To that end, so what? You know how they say women tend to marry guys like their own fathers, and men tend to marry women like their mothers? Mother, sister…whatever. It’s a female relative. If your sister is cool, what’s wrong with dating a woman who’s kind of like her in a non-creepy way? At least you know your girlfriend and sister would get along if you get married.
3. He dumped you by email after two months and introducing you to family?! Fail. You deserved a phone call.

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The day after I decided to keep a business card handy, who do I run into while getting off the train? Elevator Guy. We chatted as we walked to the office, and when he asked me out for coffee, I whipped out my card.

In retrospect, that might have looked a bit weird, but whatever.

I wish this story was more interesting than it actually is, but we went out for coffee and there wasn’t much of a spark. I still run into him in the elevator sometimes, and we say hi and talk. It never hurts to have an office building buddy. Anyway, my advice is still the same: Always be prepared to meet someone!

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After how many dates do you need to actually break things off with someone, versus just distancing yourself until they get the idea? Having been on both sides of this issue, I’ll say that it’s never easy. If you realize you’re not interested in someone, you want to get that out in the open while hurting them as little as possible. If you’re the one getting dumped? That always sucks.

Let’s look at this issue on a continuum:

Be passive-aggressive <————-> Tearful, in-person discussion

Phase One: Run and hide!
You’ve gone out once, maybe twice. Perhaps three times. You’re still in legitimate “disappearance” territory. While it is much nicer to honestly say the chemistry’s not there, if you don’t return calls or stop asking the person out, they usually get it. If they don’t get it…that’s a problem. People, if you call and you get no response, don’t call again. Believe me, they got your message. If they liked you, they’d return it.

Phase Two: A phone call would be nice.
You’ve gone out a number of times over a month-long period or longer, but you never had the “we’re official” discussion. You IM while bored at work. You’ve met a few of each other’s friends. You might even have plans to see a concert a month from now (but haven’t bought tickets yet). There should be a call. By now the other person have begun to form (horrors!) expectations of you. The potential for a relationship was there. If you disappear at this stage, you’re a douchebag. I once got really mad at a guy for dumping me by e-mail after three dates until I was completely ignored by a guy I dated for two months. A message by carrier pigeon would have been better than what I got. Douchebag.

Phase Three: Break out the tissues and change your Facebook status.
You had an official, titled relationship. Suck it up and dump them in person. Sit there awkwardly as they cry. The phone is sometimes acceptable (especially for long-distance relationships) but an e-mail or text is not. They suffer, you suffer. Consider it the toll you pay for exiting the relationship. Leaving might be the best decision you ever made, but you are hurting the feelings of someone you cared about, so have the decency to talk it out with them.

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