Category Archives: dating

The all-too-commmon ill communications of online dating

There’s one thing that tops every little caveat you can find ion someone’s profile on a dating site. Communications can top all, though it won’t lead to dating or a romantic relationship in some cases (all those caveats do play in to things that way), but it can be a positive and fulfilling experience for people participating in the shot-in-the-dark known as online dating.

It’s socializing, and it’s a necessity in life as well as trying to make headway with a stranger.

It’s not supposed to be a rare feat or a ungodly challenge, but it seems to be getting that way. In my experience, at least. While I’ve been on a multitude of dating sites oer the years, what has turned into a rarity is actually a back-and-forth message exchange. In fact, right now, I’m on Match.com (the top of the dating site pops… or at least the business leader of the game) and while I’ve been on it since October, I have not had a woman reply to a message I send them. While I’ve had women reach out to me on dating attempts in the past, none have attempted such in yyears.

It’s noteworthy the women who did reach out to me are still in my life (well, all sans one who I had a bad date with). All are friends. That’s an aspect of these dating attempts (or socializing attempts) that people ought to accept: The fact just talking to someone might earn you a friendship with someone who you hadn’t known before.

Yet socializing is a no-no, I guess. Are guys now supposed to come off like horny jerks and just go “Hey, babycakes! I like your smile and your profile piques me! Let’s get together and see how hot we  can make it”? It sure as shit should be more than “Hi, how are you?” which keeps a person blank in the simple socializing attempt.

What would be nice, I not negative, is simply a “No thanks” or reply of some sorts that indicates there is no chatter going to happen after sendcing a message. Is it rude? Not when I compare it to the silence that rules the roost. It’s still socializing, it’s also shutting the door that you’re just trying to crack open.

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Plenty of Fish and the Upgrade scam

When I was on Plenty of Fish in 2016, I “Upgraded” my account. That upgrade was just affording me a little more access to the site with profiles and this-and-that.

Between the lack of responses to social attempts and other judgments against POF, I cancelled my account in early fall. Done and over with. I move on.

Except in the payment area.  POF has charged me – twice – since cancellation to continue the “Upgrade” subscription (despite the fact I no longer have an account with them).Every 3 months I will be charged $38.75.

I emailed POF’s highlighted Customer Service email address (cs@plentyoffish.com) and lo-and-behold these two key areas of the email:

If you are an upgraded user, or have question about one of your payments, please send us a new email from the email address registered to your Upgraded POF account.

Replies to this email will be automatically deleted.

 

So, in essence, a customer service line that vows to ignore you? Pleasant, no?

Calling POF or your pay line (be it your bank, PayPal, or credit card company) may or may not get this resolved. In my case, I’m hearing impaired – while I can hear, I’m horrible with the phone.

Update 1: I contacted support again from another email address, this time I got no auto-response so someone may actually respond. The fact they weren’t clear about how my email wasn’t registered with their DB (when contacting from my original address) is an eye-rolling frustration-.

Update 2: Never a word back from POF after two emails sent over the past week. Great Customer Service, eh?

Update 3 [final update]: It’s 2:30 PM on Friday, Feb. 17 and I just received a refund notification and a payment suspension via PayPal.com. No direct response from POF. While this brings back th emoney taken by POF and stops the auto-rebill, it’s still a degree of cold social on their part. Never the less, mission accomplished.

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Online dating starts with socializing

With online dating, it’s making a connection socially (or things clicking) that ideally starts the ball rolling. Is this a foreign concept in 2016 or just a testament of how people get older and stop chatting?

It’s one thing for a dating site to present to you someone’s picture (and them being appealing) in that area. Image is just one aspect of a person; that’s the book cover to a story. You find out more direct contact. Direct contact too many won’t participate in because they’re sold first on image.

Is dating, in an Internet age where social media is a primary means of social contact with friends and colleagues, anti-social? In my experience, yes.

I’m a guy talking here and yet it is guys whose shtick I most often see women complaining about on online dating sites. Too many are just out for a hook-up and up front with that degree of social contact with women: Playing up image, playing up a date, and then one-and-done. There’s an avenue in living where two people can enjoy life like that, with multiple sexual partners and generally independent living / non ongoing contact. That’s not what people are generally after though, so coming off like an asshole and going that route is garbage.  Yeah, you get laid in the end but people looking for a relationship aren’t looking for a singular relationship encounter.

Women are guilty too, and that comes by way of judgment prior to actually interacting with someone. Judging a profile of someone who contacts you makes sense (it’s part of what profiles are for) but to dismiss contact? Especially contact that isn’t a guy being a scumbag? I’m not trying to glorify those who keep it too simple for their own good (PSA gentlemen: “Hi, how are you?” is not the message to send to a dating site contact), but someone who engages you? Someone who asks about this-or-that from your profile? Heck, someone who points out how they know you / live near you and who brought up day-to-day life? Yes, that kind of conversation is not romance or wooing, it just turns into it if people click…. And having a conversational connection can lead to that.

I didn’t notice such limited responsiveness in the distant past. In fact, being contacted by others and online interaction led to dates and more or less. Having made connections online that actually drew me away from online dating; interaction and social investment made it unnecessary to be on a dating site to try to find someone to be interested in.

It starts with making friends, though, or at least it should. If you start with a warm, positive contact – you at least have a new friend in your life. That alone is a positive, even if it does not develop into a mutual romantic interest.  And if things go south outright? If you don’t get along in online communication with someone? Then too bad, so sad… You move on without having found out in-person that you and your date don’t click / can’t get along.

It starts with communicating. Stop ignoring it

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The “interests” failings of Plenty of Fish

Months ago, I went after some online dating sites because of shortcomings of the platform. Years ago, I took shots at Plenty of Fish for shortcomings of some of the participants of the site. Plenty of Fish, for those who don’t know online dating sites, is a bare-bones service that’s just a mite more involved than Craigslist… Well, write ups can be shorter than Craigslist but the point is that it’s a minimalist dating service (now owned by Match.com).



One of what should be a nice guide for the site is an interest listing that’s able to be used with the service by its members. It’s sort of like keywords or topics, but applied to life. Of course this does lead to shortcomings by a segment of the user base on POF who don’t use detailed terms or words to describe what interests them.  Others will make the error of using phrases and sentences like it’s a continuing conversation arm… But there is a segment that is just fine with showing thins that truly interest them or entertain them.

This is where Plenty of Fish screws up.

It’s not the aspect of having the tool that makes it fall short, to say the least, it’s how it doesn’t work easily or properly that is the problem. See, just to click on the topic of interest on a profile will give you a very generalized list of users on the site. I don’t mean linked to the interest, I mean you get a generalized list of users in a certain timeframe and nothing more.

Now, hold on there! What about Google searches and finding an actual page that shows users on POF who do use the tag? That’s got to work, right?  Indeed, it does!!… and the list is of every gender and age group in the site DB who uses said tag, making it just a bit more difficult to find those who cater to your romantic wants, meaning the proper gender that matches your wants, the proper age range too. Oh and there is the silly little aspect of profiles being ancient in some cases.

Let me give you an example page here: I’m a Tampa Bay Lightning fan. Hell, I’m a known Tampa Bay Lightning blogger. Using the team and the sport as an interest to meet people would be wise, no? S, here you go! Interest page Tampa Bay Lightning gives you thousands of results (marked as “700+”) from the network with all genders using the term.  That’s one hell of a tough pile to sort through. Especially because the profiles aren’t just unsorted by gender but also by profile age… A neglected or unused profile created years ago comes up in the search results and can show up in a primary position on search results pages.

But wait! There’s a search field at the very top of that page! Let’s try sorting through ages and genders to get it so a guy like me can find a woman. That’s where the next aspect of futility rises in Plenty of Fish; to use the sort field to search through the interest list brings inconsistent results and gives you general listings of the age group within the distance you sought. You also get hit, again, in that profile results may be ancient results from days gone by… Meaning those who didn’t delete their profile can come up as a search result despite the fact they no longer use the service.  Yeah, that’s an aspect that can happen on just about any dating site… The thing is that Plenty of Fish gives you the recent-users option on other searches on the site. Just not within interest searches.

To list interests is just an attempt to show you a bit about the person listed on a dating site. It can spark curiosity or interest, or it can shy you away from a person if they’re keen on things you can’t stand. It’s useful subject matter that should be better utilized on that dating network. It’d just be better if the damn thing could actually produce a quality and detailed search result like it can with other aspects on the site.

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OK Stupid and the joys of social interaction via online dating sites

I’ve done dating sites before. I had remarked on an old-old post here about how much I disliked where I was going with Plenty of Fish (the types of profiles I was exposed to and how there was no positive contact). I’ve made friends and romantic interests through old sites now gone, Match.com and even Plenty of Fish. It’s not all bad out there but the platform for Plenty of Fish keeps me away from it.

With few contacts of recent who have led to a wider social world or romantic promise, I’ve tried two platforms in recent months and both have been dreadful for very different reasons.

Lavalife

An arcane platform out of the late-90’s/early 00’s (at least that’s the way it was in my experience in 2015), Lavalife didn’t feel secure (password size limitations, for example) and being contacted almost outright by spammers/scammers. Pair the clunky, arcane aspect and security issues with the base of the site users being in Canada (that’s not a security flaw, that’s just a distance from each other that prevents actual want to reach out / make contact). All together it just didn’t work. Neither did the brief free trial and then forced paid-subscriber switch to continue.

I do have friends who end up getting married after meeting through the platform and it did remind me of American Singles where I was reached out to and met a friend off the network waaaay in the past. Lavalife trying to stick with that template so-many years after the fact is flawed though. It’s too limited in profile information for it’s users, giving them little reason to stick around before forcing them to pay to continue. I didn’t last on there. My friends who met and forged a relationship did it long before the switch-to-subscriber standard was put into effect.

OK Cupid

This is the dating site I wanted to vent about the most when I started writing this out, as I spent a good length of time on that powerful platform that led to contact from two women total in more than a year of use. Two total contacts after how-many messages sent on my part? Friendly conversation attempts to get things started, not Mr. Pervert antics that are far too common on dating site messages to women (from what I’ve been told by friends). And after investing time in reading profiles, seeking people with high match ratings (more on that in a jiff), no one had responded to a conversation I attempted to start while only one of those two women who contacted me led to a friendly and sustained conversation. It didn’t lead to anything besides some casual and friendly chats, but that’s better than the immediate-social-meeting-because-me-and-my-girlfriend-are-new-to-town antics from the other woman who contacted me.

OK Cupid is a powerhouse platform, as I said, free of charge with solid technology, but it’s flawed deeply. While some users use laptops or PCs to write their profiles and interact on the site, too many others are doing their work (and searches) mobile and won’t make much of an effort to build a profile, let alone communicate. The site tries to extort you into paying a monthly fee to see those who “like” your profile/picture (and a few other bells and whistles), but that’s just an ultra-easy, lazy and stupid means of interaction with someone you take interest in or are aroused by. That “like” system is playing off social media and catering to impulse by mobile users but leaves out the complication of accountability. You like a profile or a photo? Great, congrats, now send a message and break the ice. That’s why a person is on that platform to begin with – to be social. Might as do your part and actually socialize.

OK Cupid also employs a survey/question and answer system that is also a huge flaw. Many, many questions are asked for the topics of ethics, religion, dating, sex, lifestyle and other general shit. They’re all available for you to help set a “match percentage” with other site members. The whole thing is a time occupying sham that defies the basic concept of getting to know someone, let alone finding out things in common or adjusting your habits to suit someone else. It’s possible to click with someone who has different wants / needs / craves that we see as polarizing negatives. The fact that match percentages might be thrown off by the most useless, unimportant differences in opinion (or bolstered by mundane things you don’t care about in a potential friend/date/romantic interest). With that and how so many  members don’t even review that stuff adds to the throw-off aspect of the system.

There’s also the aspect the questions – which are all elective to answer, by the way – have a very wide gray area in reality but are presented as black-or-white, yes-or-no in OK Cupid.  “It Depends” is a truth with certain questions, let alone with how you’d react to certain people you forged a personal connection with regarding their habits, desires or beliefs and what not.

I’ll note here that Match.com owns OK Cupid and now Plenty of Fish. Between how common spam is from people with affiliations to Match, with how bare-bones and weak Plenty of Fish can be, and with how closed off OK Cupid is by way of laziness and anti-social habits from it’s members, I’ve got to search for a better site if I want to try that form of socializing again. At this rate, I have a better chance of meeting someone though Twitter than on an up-front dating site.

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A social reaction to an aloof social-media status response

I tend to be a wise ass when I set a status message on Facebook, or I’ll play around with pop culture, or music, or share small, small things in a very unclear way. It part of it is me trying to draw attention and yet also have positive interaction with friends. Talking about private issues in truth and honesty, as a guy, is going to just lead to complaints / mockery from guy friends.

It can also piss you off as hypocrites participate in comments.

Monday morning I dropped on to Facebook and one of the top status messages currently going on my timeline was a female friend telling a personal story tied to….bathroom stall graffiti. My friend is divorced, still trying to move on in life after the divorce (the marriage ended abusively). Between that status, written at sometime around 2 AM, and other thoughts dangling in my mind in recent days, I put up a very personalized status of my own – a little generalized and grandiose but the message was honest:

“Why is it the most mundane and yet immense social destination of life, love, is a journey that fails so completely for me? It’s an adventure with someone that just never materializes into the joint trip.”

A private status just went public, why?  Because of the response I got. See, with a status like that you’d think to either be hands off or encouraging. That’s private and personal. What I got was a dense, reactionary reply from someone who had been who I had a very stunted journey with when it comes to love. Someone who was alienated by life, had long interest in me, and who threw it all away.  We’ll put it that way. Someone who’s twice married and who slept around before, during, and after marriage:

“Love is elusive. You won’t find it if you are looking for it.”

That’d be a profound remark if the responder did not have ties to my statement, as someone I failed the journey with. And I’d willingly open up a conversation on the point – that I had some great leads when I was least looking for romance – if she wasn’t an example; an example of one, who wasn’t elusive but who dropped the entire idea when it was least convenient.

Love isn’t elusive. It’s too easy for some to find to be considered that way. The fact I hear of marriage and babies from so many friends of both genders I’ve known (some of whom I’ve been attached to) is counter to the notion of elusiveness. Even dating that lasts more than a single or few nights, or lustful romances that come and go… That’s something more than what I’m experiencing.

The only thing elusive is what path I have to take to actually find myself in a mutual romantic involvement without being taken for granted or used for the moment. Someone who wants to take the trip in life with me and someone I want right by my side for the trip.

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The Definition of Insanity

A common saying is that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing, over and over again, and expect a different result.

My heart is insane, my head is not. My heart hoped (hopes?) that a relationship that has turned long(er) distant will last, and my head knows exactly what was and is in store. In fact, it’s playing out in front of me right now and it hurts — being forgotten about and having my own actions overlooked and treated like less than they’re worth. Seeign someone being exceedingly self absorbed and feeling like I was only a egg-timer until this moment had arrived for her.

I need to let go. My heart is waiting for a sign of dedication from the girl / woman I’ve fallen for, but I know beter. I know better because I’ve been here before. I’ve done all I could, and now I have to wait for the pain to subside so I can move on… Because God knows I don’t get a rebound.

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Waiting for Her Word

It’s been months since I posted anything on my personal blog here.  Where am I? Is this sitei site dead?

I’m busy more often than not, and no – the Stonegauge is not dead.  Just dormant.  When I have been writing lately, it’s been personal and it’s been in the mail (didn’t I once say that it’s great getting letters in the mail?)…  That or I am doing hockey stuff.

This off-season has afforded me more time for myself (which has been a good and bad thing).  I’ve found escape in writing, an ability to immerse myself in a thought or idea, or a feeling and a story.  It’s like a release, as it used to be when I would write a real good poem that conveyed something creatively.

Oh, I’m still doing poetry too.  Just not much of it, thanks.  That’s what this post is – a poem.  Something I wrote a few months ago for an absent face.

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bringing out the worst in me

It’s funny how some thigns come to you and inspire you to write or at least get the thoughts out someplace or another. In my case, it’s here on the Blog where the world can read, dissect, and make fun of whatever is bugging me.

In this case, it’s thoughts of the malignancies from this summer. Nothing new or fresh happened: the closest thing to news would be the fact I got a Christmas card from said malignance after the holiday. I didn’t even open it — because of the anger it brings out in me.

That’s the whole point of this post: It’s not healthy to brood about something that went wrong or something that happened in the past. It’s not healthy to sit on it and bubble over with thoughts that are just negative toward what happened. Negative and brooding.

A half hearted attempt in a card to thaw the ice didn’t exactly play well with me – not after five months of nothing. Nor would showing up in one form or another now and trying to play friendly. Thawing the ice isn’t going to happen when I have gotten to sit on the malignancies seven months.

But that’s not even supposed to be the point of this post. The stubbornness on display? The fact I am still angry after all this time? That’s the point — it’s bringing out the worst in me. Good friendships or other relationships are supposed to help you highlight your best thoughts and actions. The best of your character.

Chalk this up as another thing I’ve learned.

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Stimulating an inferiority complex

I’ve got a friend who likes to highlight his frustrations and sometimes show off a perpetual defeatist attitude: One where he goes into a situation worried and “a wreck” and comes out worse off with no confidence at all. Usually these are either social situations where he’s trying to make inroads with a virtual stranger / romantic interest or job interviews where he feels like he has to sell himself.

Well, he has to do that in both… Or he’s certain of it. Sell who he is and what he stands for and demonstrate it.

In comparison, my worry is attaining these situations. I’m not fearful, going into it, of screwing up a job interview or a social meeting but I know that afterward I will worry that I did just that. Be it a job interview or a date. I don’t sell myself but I try to be myself.

But like I said, it’s attaining these things that worries me. That challenges me. That makes me a wreck and makes me frustrated. I scan over job listings and I see jobs I could do but then there is one, two, three, maybe a few other details that I know I couldn’t handle or things I cannot fill in because I lack those credentials. On dating sites, it’s seeing someone’s image and knowing that’s just what you want and then not getting a reciprocation of interest when you reach out to them. Or worse, “Thanks but no thanks.” Some dating sites are worse because you find out how “compatible” you are with someone and see you are not nearly their ideal… Or lack one or two key intangibles time and again on every single listing you read and requirements of what the other person wants.

You start doubting yourself and everything about yourself. Do you have skills? Absolutely. Do you have talent? Unquestionably. Do you have something to offer in a relationship? Undoubtedly…

…they just don’t seem to apply to anything you are applying for, though.

It feels like there is a phantom job that is out there just for you. There’s a phantom person that is waiting for you to drop into their lives. I’m not even talking about ideals here, but I am talking about something above bottom-of-the-barrel. I’ve been in both jobs and relationships that I ended up feeling were beneath me. The job didn’t make me feel so bad because I was being productive and I gave my all for my paycheck. You don’t get a “paycheck” in a relationship, so to speak, so you better damn well feel productive and happy with who you are with.

But in the hunt for either a job or a relationship, I end up feeling torn down before I even get a chance to make an attempt. That’s a repeatedly poor situation that just keeps popping up.

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