I am not the type to compose and publish outbursts of indignant outrage on the Internet (not that it’s a bad thing), but the caliber of high ranking online dating etiquette articles is a joke.
The very prospect of dating (something I view to be 10 times scarier, 50 times more dangerous, and 100 times more unpleasant than jumping out of a plane) is horrendous enough to me. The fact that the going “advice” presented by so-called “experts” online is so abysmal only makes matters worse.
What follows are five (of many more) reasons why the current mainstream dating advice is not even remotely helpful to the socially inept individuals (like myself) who need it most.
5 Inadequacies of Dating Advice Online
Here are some reasons why online dating advice can be bad.
1. It Is Obvious
Many of the major tips (Don't be a jerk. Look your best. Be on time.) are obvious. Maybe some of the profoundly socially inept don’t know about these things, but... please. Most of us have common sense. Please do not insult what little dignity we retain (we are searching online for dating advice. We know we are stooping pretty low).
2. It Is Conflicting
The modern dating world is confusing enough as it is. Advice regarding dating etiquette only makes matters worse via its innumerable inconsistencies. Many of the socially inept yearn for days when social protocol was more strict- when there were very explicit ways to express your intentions to someone, and things weren’t so darned fuzzy. What we need is a neat, but modernized, set of steps to follow, not a sea of different approaches urging us to do wildly different things.
3. It Is Outright Wrong
All individuals taking advice from random websites on the Internet are suspending a little disbelief, attempting to pretend that the sources they refer to are actually trustworthy. It is, however, impossibly difficult to pretend to trust online sources when so many prove themselves to be blatantly wrong.
I came across one article (from an actual print publication) preaching against the use of high fives and fist bumps on dates. Let me make it clear that high fives and fist bumps are awesome (if you’re that type of person, dating a suitable match, who, if also cool like you, ought to gain real satisfaction from such gestures). If even somewhat trustworthy sources are giving bad advice, how on earth can the socially inept trust anything they read??
4. It Over-Simplifies
Though I understand it would be impossible for dating experts to consider every possible situation a socially inept dater may encounter, they could certainly be a little more creative when imagining potential problems.
Dating experts might even do a little research to find out what difficulties people face. Consider the very complicated issue of dealing with software bugs. When user manuals fail, folks often open up forum threads and work out the problem from there, leaving behind a trail of problem solving for others to find. It is true that people also turn to forum threads seeking dating advice... But the people hanging around and answering their queries are often just as clueless as those in the present quandary. Can we not have a happy medium?
5. It Doesn't Cover All the Unspoken Rules and Expectations
The biggest danger the socially inept face when dating is the minefield of unspoken rules and understandings of which they are unaware. Though many norms and expectations surrounding dating are regional and different across social groups and various cultures, online dating experts can still do more to address these. It is better to be aware of unspoken dating norms from one culture than to know of none at all!
Do you think dating is scary?
Room for Improvement
My apologies for the rant, but after encountering so many problems and hearing of various ignorance-related disasters from my buddies, I really wanted to give the so-called dating experts online a stern talking-to. Though they may never read this, I want them to know that YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS!
I now open the floor to you. Have you ever stumbled across an unspoken dating rule that nobody had explicitly told you about from the outset? What do you think the more naive among us miss out on when it comes to dating? Shares your lessons, tips, and tricks in the comments below. I think I shall start a collection and share them with society at large... And my socially inept self!