“Flaky” with what I assume was a “peace out” sign. These are the entire contents of one of the messages I received last night in my dating profile inbox.

Inspired by that, I start this post with a PSA:

Men: If a woman hasn’t responded to you, it’s not necessarily because she is “flaky,” that she doesn’t like you or that she is “playing games.”

Women: If a man doesn’t send you a thoughtfully crafted initial message, cut him some slack. Initial outreach online should only have to be to gauge interest in getting to know each other further. It shouldn’t have to be a sonnet professing love or a case study on his superiority to other men.

Now…the long drawn out reason I feel the need to draw attention to the above. šŸ™‚

I have been back in the online dating world for about 18 months now, and for most of us, it is the primary source for dates. Where else can you have access to what is essentially a catalog of potential dates? Pictures, bios, the ability to read what they consider to be relevant information and the ability to scan for “red flags”…it seems like the ideal way to find a companion, whether it be for short-term or long-term purposes.

Except that sometimes, it’s not. While I have had much success dating online, it is a minefield. Like many females, when I put up a new profile, I am buried in messages. This isn’t because I’m particularly special. It’s because I’m female, I’m a trained marketing writer, which translates well to writing dating profiles, and I know how to “promote my brand” online. Yes, that is probably politically incorrect to say, but that is what we are all doing.

Wow! That sounds great! So many options, right? Maybe.

We always hear we should select quality over quantity. Online dating is the antithesis. For many women, it’s like trying to drink out of a fire hose, but most of the messages are copy and paste or men looking for a hook up. There are tons of quality men on line, but filtering through the not-so-great is time consuming, and at times, you just give up. Then you get the “hey” messages. Women love to complain about all these online dating problems, but what about the poor guys in all this?

There are plenty of great guys out there sending message after message to women online and rarely getting responses. They follow all the rules of “crafting thoughtful opening messages” only to have those messages never get read. So some revert to the aforementioned “copy and paste” tactic or the dreaded “hey” message. Honestly though, can you blame them?

As women, we like to be offended that were weren’t “special” enough for them to send us a fantastic opening message, but they are dealing with different circumstances than we are. I won’t even go on Bumble because I don’t want to have to send one message. I can’t imagine having to send dozens that never even get read.

But back to my “flaky” message. I am the first to admit that sometimes I get too busy to focus on dating. I own 3 businesses, am trying to ensure the 2 small humans I’ve been entrusted with grow into phenomenal full-size humans, and then I use up lots of my free time traveling. Summer is my crazy time of year. I try and respond to messages I receive, but sometimes my response is that I’m out of town right now with information on when I will be back, so we can touch base then. This is totally not acceptable for most ongoing relationships, but I’m not in one of those, and to me, it is acceptable for someone you have never been on a date with. I understand, however, everyone has different expectations, which is fine. We should strive to date those that can align with our personal expectations. When expectations don’t align, I wish them well, and we go our separate ways. Last night, however, after being out of town for weeks, and not having heard from this person since I told him I was out of town, I was branded by him as “flaky.”

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not mad about this. I know I’m not flaky, but I am sorry that he has used this situation as probably another case in the “flaky online female” files.

I’m busy, and dating is something I do for fun right now when time allows. My dating profile is very clear about this, so as not to mislead anyone. I returned to town yesterday ready to date again, and once again am buried in messages. No…this isn’t a “poor me” post. I understand I’m lucky to have options. The whole point of this post is to address what seems to be a huge misunderstanding between men and women dating online. Women are buried in messages and many don’t have the time to filter through them like it’s our job. Men are tired of sending messages that don’t get responses or having women disappear after initiating conversation. We both need to try and see the other side of the equation.

I know there are awesome guys at there, just like there are awesome women out there. But we need to cut each other some slack during that pre-first date time period. The online dating world would be a nicer place.

Disclaimer: I write on dating relations between men and women, because I am a woman dating men. All content is the result of my life experiences and the information shared with me by the men in my life. If you have dating perspectives for other relationship types, we would be happy to include those in the Compass Date blog as well.

Author Ela Kaye is a marketing writer and brand consultant who specializes in using her skills to connect people. In addition to serving as Lead Consultant at Compass Date, she chronicles her ramblings on modern dating, self-discovery and finding your like-minded human(s) on the blog “True North.”

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