No one wants to waste time on someone who isn't interested in them, and you'd think that people you're talking to on a dating app or site are eager to meet and go on a date, but it's not always the case even though they're the same site as you are. It seems like with the growing popularity of dating apps and sites, people's behavior toward potential matches/partners/hookups has only gotten stranger. Take ghosting, for instance. The idea that you could magically disappear on someone without ever having to deal with the repercussions of your actions was relatively unheard of before we started looking for people on our smartphones. You think that would fly back in the day when most people lived in small communities where everyone knew each other's business? Absolutely not. Ghosts would have been taken by a village mob, calling for a witch trial.
That's how history worked, right?
Now, unfortunately, such is the way of life. But even more confusing than your average ghost is the virtual pen pal. You may have encountered them out in the wild: You seem to hit it off, you're talking pretty consistently, and the next logical step would be to plan a date. And yet, that never seems to be addressed, no matter how many hints you drop or plans you've tried to make. Don't feel bad about it. People are on dating sites for all sorts of reasons, one being that they're just looking for someone to talk to. So here are the best ways to tell the person you're talking with has no intention of taking it to the next level.
1. You've Been Talking On An App/Site For Weeks
I've been told before that if the person you're talking to doesn't invite you for a drink within three exchanges, they aren't cutting to the chase quick enough. While I'm not one to get things moving that quickly — I'd like to speak with you a bit first to make sure we have some things in common, and going out with you won't be completely awkward — there is some truth to not spending too much time talking online. Like I said, for your own piece of mind it's nice to get to know someone a bit first, and be somewhat sure you feel comfortable meeting them. But once you've established that you're interested (maybe after a few days of talking, or so), it's time to finally do something about it. Someone who is content to talk to you on the site and makes no moves to ask you out or pick up on your signals to do so isn't looking to go out with you for whatever reason. Serious pen pal red flag.
2. If You Progress To Text, There's Still No Talk Of Hanging Out
It's usually a good sign when you finally move off of the site and you start texting each other. That's usually the way I let someone know I'm seriously considering meeting them (or else, why bother?). But if you're finding that even texting them doesn't yield any discussions about meeting up, they've pen pal-zoned you.
Is that even a thing? If not, I'm making it a thing right now. Pen that one down, and please include my bad pun.
3. They're Quick To Make Excuses
I had this happen with me a while back with a guy I was talking to on Tnder. He was fine to text me, and even Snapchat me cute pictures of his dog, but every time I tried to hang out he'd make excuses. Yes, he was in law school, but I'm a firm believer that if someone wants to see you, they'll make time for you. And for whatever reason, this guy just really didn't want to meet in person, no matter how many hours we spent chatting it up.
4. They Live No Where Near You
This is a huge red flag. If you get messaged by a person on OKCupid or even Tinder, and they live no where near you, chances are they want a pen pal, and usually of the sexting variety. It could be true that he/she is excited about the prospect of getting to know someone from a different place, but the point of most dating sites is to foster real-life connections. You know, in person. And if that's not really a possibility, what's the point of even starting something with someone?
5. They're Upfront About How They're Looking For A Friend
You know how on some people's profiles, it'll say they're interested in friendship and that's about it? While sometimes you end up meeting friends along the way, there are some people on dating sites who are truly in search of buddies over lovers. And if they're upfront from the get-go that all they want is someone to talk to, it's likely you won't change their mind, as unconventional as it is.
6. They Confide In You Pretty Deeply Very Soon
This is not always the case, but I've learned to be very cautious with someone who gets very serious very soon. If a person is already telling you their deepest, darkest secrets and you've only been chatting for a week, you guys either have some serious chemistry, or they're looking for a stranger to confide in. There's something about the prospect of sharing feelings with someone you don't know that's extremely inviting; because they're a stranger, they're less likely to take any other side over yours because they don't know the full story. On top of that, you don't actually have to be vulnerable with someone you know. Just be careful of this. If you feel like you're becoming their soundboard but are receiving nothing back, you've probably been pen pal-ed.
7. Or They Respond Pretty Sporadically
The key to keeping someone on the hook is to give that person attention just before they've completely given up on talking with you. That way, that person will be given hope, however fleeting, that the other person is still interested. Some pen pals are insanely good at this. You may have one really good conversation here or there, and then they disappear for a time. But just when you think all hope is lost, they pop back up. A person who doesn't give you enough of their time has little thought of actually meeting up, and taking the next step. You're better off moving on, unless that's what you want, too.
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