To Volley or Not

blog pix to volley

What does it mean when a match you are communicating with on a dating site or app doesn’t volley with you? You drive the conversation and end up wondering if the guy is uninterested, only mildly interested, deficient in communication skills, or simply narcissistic.

Have some of Analida’s Ethnic Spoon gluten-free Authentic Brazilian Cheese Bread while we explore this topic.

My dance card is filled with “bad volleying” experiences including Mr. M, a Tinder match from a few months ago. He opened with “Hey there” and let me ask all of the questions. I called him out when I got fed up with his one sided approach.  As expected, he unmatched me after I blew off some steam:

blox pix opener

And as it sometimes happens, I matched with Mr. M again on Tinder a couple of weeks ago. At first, I didn’t realize it was the same man. After you have been doing this awhile, you get profile overload syndrome and start to lose track of virtual encounters. However, a few texts in I realized I was dealing with Mr. M (he obviously forgot he unmatched me) and found our original conversation in my screenshot diary.

His opening for round 2 was similar to round 1 with an added creative bonus of “How is your day going?” At least he asked me something – even if it was formulaic. Perhaps I had an influence on his behavior. As our chatting progressed, he appeared interested and asked questions about me that related to the topics we were discussing. We were having fun and flirty banter!

When I suggested to Mr. M that one of our topics might warrant a verbal discussion, he sent his phone number. However, instead of a phone call, we continued via text. From what I could tell, he worked extraordinary hours. This might have broken our not yet realized deal. However, I wanted a chance for an in person meeting. That was not to be, however, since he suddenly stopped responding. You have heard this before.

I wondered if I had somehow offended him (always a danger when engaging in banter that can veer toward sarcasm). When I realized it had been 5 days since his last text, I unmatched him on Tinder. Of course Mr. M still had my number and he could have reached out and asked for an explanation. But he didn’t.

I then revisited all of our communications to reevaluate the flirtation and what may have been weirdness and not flirty banter. Case in point: When I asked him for his age and height, he sent me every conceivable measurement a tailor might need, extraneous details such as the fact that he had no piercings, and other unusual facts. Judge for yourself:

blox pix sizing detail

blog pix sizing detail 2

At first I thought this was weird, then I wondered if he was being funny. Now, I’ll never know. Yes, I may be too lenient…but I try to give people a chance.

In another “volley” situation, I initiated a conversation with a guy on Match; he wrote back but didn’t ask anything about me. Not wanting to waste time, I pointed out that sometimes it’s hard to tell after one online dating exchange whether someone is really interested in communicating or is just being polite (yes, I know – most people don’t bother responding if they’re not interested…but some do). He wrote back to say he was interested and hoped to meet in person at some point. He expanded on his profile…but he didn’t ask me anything.

I replied. He hasn’t responded though he’s been online (a very common and frustrating aspect to online dating). Men are online and read your message but don’t respond promptly or ever.) App-less April may come a month earlier for me since I am losing patience with the online dating business.  I’m not losing hope yet: I have a meet-cute IRL opportunity coming up.  Stay tuned for details.

What has been your experience with “matches” who don’t volley initially or ever? Are there some people who can carry on a conversation in person but lose this skill when online? Who else is ready for an early App-less April?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Does Online Dating Conversation Track with Real Life Talk?

blog pix jan 21 2018

Have you noticed the different trajectories of conversation with online matches? With some men, you might have instant flirting and witty banter. With others, the written conversation is methodical, as far from flirty banter as one could get.

I’m wondering if online conversation always tracks to what you experience when (if) you meet in real life.

Sit yourself down for some slow roasted salmon in parchment paper while we explore this topic.

I’m in a fairly methodical exchange right now. Do you remember Mr. K of “piña colada song” fame? Well, a week later, we haven’t progressed that far in our conversation. Summary: A little discussion about the song, favorite vacation spots, Mr. K’s bike ride with coffee and breakfast afterward (yes, indeed), and our respective music playlists.

The problem? I seem to be driving this conversation (think the call and response of the blues but no reciprocal call). I’m asking most of the questions. I decided to address this issue with Mr. K and give him an easy out. I didn’t want to waste my time and energy on something that seemed to be going nowhere.

Here’s our exchange  when I asked him what’s on his music playlist but he didn’t ask me what’s on mine. To my surprise, he wanted to stay in the game.

exchange with Mr K

Unfortunately, we’ve been emailing more than .5 minute. Mr. K gets a little slack because of working crazy hours as a government contractor and he acknowledged that’s the reason for a recent delayed response. However I have limited tolerance for a man my age who works like crazy and cannot balance work and a life.

Work aside; stay tuned for whether Mr. K and I actually meet and what our real life conversation might be like. I’m not too hopeful that we’ll have instant conversational chemistry but it’s not impossible either, since he appears to have a sense of humor.

What about the guys I have met in person? Has an exciting online conversation always been duplicated in person? Absolutely not. I recall one very flirty and fun exchange with a radio broadcaster. Sadly, when we met I felt zero attraction. Without chemistry, flirty banter is impossible.

If a guy goes right to the invite, we don’t have much of a written exchange. In some ways, this seems more “real” as if you met a man at a party and didn’t have the experience of exchanging emails or texts beforehand. In a “real life meeting” scenario, chemistry, personality, and perhaps luck determine a good conversation.

The opposite side of that is the guy who never goes for the invite – despite decent written exchanges. I had a recent online encounter with Mr. S who forgot that we had exchanged messages awhile back before he stopped responding. He reached out anew and we carried on for several days before he dropped out once again. No great loss since I did some sleuthing and found that his pictures were quite old and so was he.

I’m trying to think of a situation where the online or phone conversation was lackluster but the in person chatting was good or great. There was a musician and music teacher who didn’t wow with me witty written banter but in person he had some fascinating stories. It was interesting but not a two-way exchange.

And now, totally unrelated to actual conversation, I’ll leave you with an award winning (for narcissism) Tinder opening. Because women are feeling angry and fed up with men lately, I hope you get a vicarious satisfaction from my response to Mr. Narcissism.

Tinder blog pix jan 21

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Running Off at the Mouth, Dating Style

man and woman with laptops for blog

It’s our second date and we’re sitting outside at a lobster shack on a sunny August morning. Mr. N continues to talk about his job, his family, his ex- girlfriends, his childhood friends, and his dog. I’m nodding and listening, wondering if he’ll take a breath so I can comment, let alone interject, something – anything — about my life.

Now Mr. N is chatting up the waiter, telling him about the way HE prepares lobster at home. I can tell the waiter wants to get to his other customers. But I chill for the moment because the day is beautiful and the lobster is good…so good that I take a too big chew and start to choke.

Mr. N is so wrapped up in the details of his cooking story that he doesn’t notice my dilemma. I start to have trouble breathing. I’m struggling, kicking the legs of Mr. N’s chair. It’s so noisy midst the din of the busy restaurant, and Mr. N is so intent on his conversation, that he doesn’t notice the kicking. I start to lose consciousness as I hear, “Only then do you add melted butter.”

Gasping for breath, I suddenly sit up – in bed – and realize I just had a nightmare. The cause: an endless stream of dates with conversational narcissists. The cure: To Be Determined.

I can’t claim ownership of this apt term. Sociologist Charles Derber described the condition in which a self-oriented person repeatedly seeks to turn attention to himself in The Pursuit of Attention: Power and Ego in Everyday Life. I just downloaded the kindle version of Derber’s book and a quick scan already produced some relevant research.

Derber’s studies of dinner conversations found that “drawing others out is a special skill associated with nurturance and mothering.” He writes, “It is also part of a feminine style which holds and attracts men. Most conversational studies suggest that listening is an essentially female skill.”

Speaking of dinner conversation, I’m reminded we haven’t had lunch. Let’s have an October treat: pumpkin risotto.

I think many women would agree that members of their own sex are better than men at both listening and drawing others out. I’d like to know if there are more recent studies that address this. (Derber’s book was first published in 1983 with a second edition in 2000.)

What has been your experience in conversations with the opposite sex? Have you been subjected to conversational narcissistic behavior in your dating life?

Of course, conversational narcissists are everywhere, not just in romantic encounters. They’re in the workplace, in your posse of girlfriends, in your latest Meetup group. They’re the people – men AND women — who don’t breathe between sentences. There’s no break between thoughts/words…just a constant stream of…. not consciousness but perhaps obliviousness – to other people’s needs. And they don’t seem to want to get to know you. Or why wouldn’t they ask some questions and give you an opportunity to talk?

As I review my dating history, it is clear that I have gone out with more than my fair share of members of this charming group. Most recently, I went out with Mr. B, a tall IT guy. During our pre-meeting phone chat, Mr. B told me about his family history, career trajectory, food allergies, and some medical issues.

During our first meeting, Mr. B revisited many of these topics. A menu review led to an in-depth discussion of his food allergies. On the second and last date, he provided excruciating detail about his former girlfriend’s mental instability. When he eventually diverged into a recap of his career and noted an interest in technical writing, I attempted to talk about my own writing. At that moment, Mr. B chose to check his phone. When his gaze returned to me, his eyes were glazed over. That was all I needed to confirm my first impression. Check please.

Perhaps the most egregious example of conversational narcissism that I encountered was with Mr. J, a budding or perhaps full-fledged alcoholic. I did not realize this was his problem at first. I thought he was just thirsty. For water. The afternoon of the day after binge drinking.

After a promising although lopsided phone conversation (75% about him), we met for a Sunday afternoon date. The venue: a cute indoor shopping complex (not a mall) in a historic Maryland town. Chemistry assessment: 100%. We strolled through the antique and tchotchke shops with Mr. J stealing kisses throughout the afternoon. When we sat down for an afternoon snack (and he gulped down tons of water – see above), we talked about our lives, but again the conversation was lopsided: 75% about him. Still, there was that chemistry/connection to counter it and the date lasted a good 5 hours.

A bizarre ‘monologue’ conversation late the next night turned ugly. It was clear Mr. J had been drinking. I spoke up about my concerns regarding the skewed conversation and he took immediate offense, went on a harangue, and ended up hanging up on me.

Over the next two days, there was a bizarre exchange of emails with Mr. J angrily demonstrating arrogance, meanness, and a whopping dose of narcissism. I noticed a correlation between his long-winded conversations and long-winded emails. All this after 1 date!

Since that extreme, unpleasant, and unusual episode almost a year ago, I have briefly dated a number of conversational narcissists. I haven’t said, “Look I can’t date you because you talk too much about yourself” but I am tempted. I’m searching for the right language to tell these guys about their problem. I wonder if they would be shocked. Would they believe my assessment? Would they change?

My brother told me one hopeful story of a woman who said to her date, “I like you but I don’t want to date someone who doesn’t seem to be interested in me.” He replied, “ I don’t want to be that guy,” and took her words to heart. They’re married now.

Maybe the answer is, if you really like a man and what he stands for, and you have good chemistry, speak up about his conversational narcissism. Unless he has a drinking problem, there’s a chance your words might be heard.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia