Written for Soulmatch

Dating Q&A #18:

Internet Dating Etiquette: How to Send Signals

After meeting someone and realizing they are not for you, what is a good way to let them know? – Tish M., 32, Media, Pa.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: This is always uncomfortable, isn’t it? It’s hard to be the one to disappoint someone, I know. But, keep in mind that it’s much kinder to let him know than to string him along. The best thing to do is to tell him what his good qualities are, and (if you know) gently tell him what doesn’t work for you. For example, you could say “Bill, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, you’re a very kind man, and fun to talk to. But, I’m afraid there’s not much chemistry here for me, and I don’t want to waste your time.” If he wants a relationship with you, he won’t want to hear that it’s not going to happen, but he’ll have to realize that it’s over.

David Wygant answers: The best way is to email them or call them after the date and tell them that you do not think the chemistry is there.

So many people leave another person hanging in doubt, I feel that if you are up front and honest the person can move on and they will respect you in the long run. I have heard some great stories about people using this method and getting some great referral dates from the person that they did not connect with. Always keep in mind when dating, the more respect you show others the better impression they will have of you and be more inclined to introduce you to their friends when you run back into them again. Keep me posted and have fun.

The Insightful Dater answers: Be honest. Be prompt (don’t let a lot of time pass because you are worried about hurting their feelings). It’s much easier to take the news that sparks aren’t mutual before too much time passes or actions happen that can be misleading. If you really have trouble, you can always try the phone or e-mail. As hard as it is to say this in person, looking in a person’s eyes and being honest is a very respectful thing to do when it comes to delivering this information. Consider a casual coffee meeting and some straight-talk – you’ll earn a place in their mind as an honest person who respected them enough to be up-front. And, you’ll feel better about yourself that you handled things with class and grace.

To call or not to call?

Recently two different men gave me their phone numbers and asked me to call them. I’m a bit old-fashioned. I’d prefer the man call me. What’s really going on here? Are they afraid of rejection, so they are putting the ball in my court? Or does this give them the upper hand to say no once I call? Or, does this mean they’d like an aggressive woman? Should I call them? I really liked them both. – Jill G., 44, Jupiter, Fla.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: By all means, call if you liked them. It’s not a bad sign that they gave you their numbers instead of taking yours. Many men realize that women may not want to give their phone number to a virtual stranger, so they give the women the power to call or not to call. This leaves the power in your hands. If you aren’t comfortable calling, then you shouldn’t accept the phone numbers. Instead, say “I’d rather give you my number, if you don’t mind.” If you print up some business-size “calling” cards that contain only your number and your name, then you don’t have to give out too much information along with your number, and it’s easier than having a pen and paper to write it down. Before everyone had phones, cards like these contained only your name, and were a social necessity. The polite way to let someone know you called was to visit and leave a card, so these cards are just an update of the traditional ones.

David Wygant answers: I am so sick of wimpy men that expect woman to call them. Guys listen up always get her phone number even if you give her yours. Never ever expect a woman to call you first, she may call you but why sit back and play the waiting game?

I would suggest that you call both of them and see what happens, but the next time a man hands you his number you need to look at him and tell him that you would like to give him your number as well. He will get the hint.

Good luck and have fun.

The Insightful Dater answers: Jill, times have changed – you should call them if you like them. You should say when you call that it wasn’t easy for you. Communicate that typically, you prefer the man to call you, but you thought they were worth giving it a whirl (nothing better for a man’s ego than to hear such things). Once you take that step, just see what happens from there and don’t pressure yourself. If those opportunities don’t work out, at least you’ll be ready when the next phone number comes your way.

Non-committal guy?

I have met this guy who I truly adore and we have connected in more ways than one. We are in a committed relationship and everything was going fine. However, I recently noticed that he updated one of his pictures on his profile and it has given me doubts about his feelings for me (of course, he tells me that he loves me all the time). I don’t want it to appear that I am insecure about our relationship or jealous, but I am not certain if I should question him. What should I do? – Jousilyn C., 35, Houston, Texas

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. answers: I don’t know how long you two have been together, but I’d be concerned, too, if my committed partner updated the photo on his dating profile. I’m also curious how you noticed it – were you searching, too? Or did you have suspicions? If you’re going to have a real relationship, you have to be able to talk about these things, so I recommend just asking him. “Hon, I noticed that there’s a new picture on your profile. What’s that about?” If he answers easily, and you’re satisfied with his answer, you have solved the problem. If he won’t answer, or you think he’s not telling the truth, you have a relationship problem. Better to know now than later.

David Wygant answers: What made you get back on the site and check out his profile? Are you still looking or did you have a moment of doubt and looked on the site to see if he is still looking? I would ask him why he updated his picture, but be prepared to explain why you were on the site checking out his profile. He will automatically assume that you were on the site looking at men.

I feel that honesty is the best policy, ask the tough questions and you will live your life without any doubt on where you stand with your partner. If you sit back and allow your mind to play games with yourself then you will be wasting valuable time that you should be spending on other, more positive things in your life. Keep me posted.

The Insightful Dater answers: Come right out and ask what’s up. While the parameters are fuzzy in this new era of dating and online flirting, etc., keeping an updated profile translates to keeping your options open. That’s not what I would call a “committed relationship.” I think it’s time for a little heart-to-heart with this man you say you adore. Can you adore someone who is acting like such a player? You deserve someone who is ready to end the search if he’s saying “I love you.” Posting his latest photo is not a good sign. It doesn’t signal that he’s into this as much as one would think based on what he is saying. When actions and words aren’t congruent – look out. That’s the red flag you need to see, acknowledge and act on so you don’t kick yourself down the road.