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5 Reasons Why Dating Advice on the Internet Sucks

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.

The socially inept are socially inept- not stupid. Dating Experts, I serve you a facepalm.

The socially inept are socially inept- not stupid. Dating Experts, I serve you a facepalm.

5 Inadequacies of Dating Advice Online

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).

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.

Fist bumps are awesome. And yet some so-called "dating experts" are against their deployment in dating scenarios! GASP!

Fist bumps are awesome. And yet some so-called "dating experts" are against their deployment in dating scenarios! GASP!

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??

Weigh in!

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?

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!


DearJeeves on March 06, 2015:

Well said, Simone. I couldn't agree more! Online relationship advice is often arbitrary, inherently biased, and way too general. That's why I'm trying out a new approach on my new relationship advice column, which I'm calling a notadvice column. I know what you're thinking, I'm just adding to the masses, but I'm really trying to set a new standard of (online) relationship advice-giving. Don't believe me? Come by and check me out at dearjeeves.wordpress.com. If you have any thoughts or feedback, I would love to hear them! You can also email me at jeevestellall@gmail.com.

Thanks, Simone!


Neema 6 on October 20, 2014:

I agree with you Sebastian, while attraction is important, it's not the root of who a person is. Lowering your expectations is not a good thing to do because you'll always end up regretting it. Trust me, I've been there before but sticking to what your criteria is is good. Especially when it comes to certain traits. Hold out there, I'm sure God has someone out there for you. It can be discouraging at times, just trust and believe that he has who and knows when and where you two will meet. :)

Sebastian on October 20, 2014:

I wish something like this could be found right now in 2014, right now when I am looking for it.

Dating sucks:

- I have barely time to date ofline and there are amost no girls responding positively to it.

- Online dates also turnout very weird. I started even trying out dates with women who have less than what I would like them to be. It does not work. It just does not help.

- I think it is a lot about looks. It does not help if you are not some model looking type to contemplate it. But no girl on a party will respoend to your approach unless you are one of the top looking guys on the floor. It has been like that for a while and I cannot break the cycle.

Chuck Bluestein from Morristown, AZ, USA on May 27, 2013:

Here is my advice about dating. If you are eating dinner with your date, do not masturbate. It is considered impolite. Also do not vomit on your date. Also after dinner do not squat behind a bush to have a bowel movement.

You can learn more of what not to do by watching the movie Borat. I can say from my own experience that it is possible to meet people online that you have totally amazing experiences with. Also instead of trying to follow rules, just be yourself. You do not want to be dating someone that you are fooling into liking you. You want to date someone that likes you and there is no one else like you.

Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on February 28, 2012:

Ah, yes. Honesty. It really is the best policy, Neema! Sure can be painful though @_@

Love the advice :D

Neema 6 on February 22, 2012:

I think that friendship is a good way to lead to something serious because alot of people don't take the time to get to know someone before they do and yes, I know like you I've read many articles in dating and for me the best thing that works is being honest. You can't be squeamish about your expectations. Be bold and tell the truth and if the guy don't like it, then go on about your day. Advice columns do give stupid advice, like don't talk religion or politics on a first date. I think the list is too long and trivial because they act like you're saddling yourself up to the person as soon as you meet them. Yes, you want to dress appropriate but if you guys are upfront and you're not ready for anything serious then why go to a seriously romantic atmosphere. The rules on the internet make dating like going to the gallows, when in reality, it should be done because you want to have fun and socialize with people. You shouldn't have to get serious if you aren't ready for that and why prepare for what you are not ready for. Have fun and enjoy yourself. You don't have to marry the person tomorrow. So, I'm just saying, telling them the truth up front and don't hate yourself for doing it.

Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on January 11, 2012:

That is SUCH GOOD ADVICE stricktlydating. Dating really should be fun, and in my opinion, it ought to be funny too, though I suppose that's just personal preference.

But as for singles events and parties... those are the most horrific gatherings of all! I think I'll stick to one on one things. I'm better with those :D

Americababy, I love the Hub. I'm totally going to develop a crazy ego now and freak a bunch of folks out. WATCH OUT, WORLD!!! BAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!

Oh wait... I already have a crazy ego. Crap.

americababy on January 06, 2012:

I wrote a response to this hub called "dating advice simone smith would like".

StrictlyQuotes from Australia on January 03, 2012:

My advice about dating would be - don't take it seriously. It's meant to be fun. Spending time with someone you may find attractive, it's not a job interview just something nice to do in your free time when you're single. I've met men from online dating, we have a popular dating site here in Sydney and almost everyone you know knows someone who met their partner from this site. Not all dating sites are the same, if you're looking to meet someone online your best bet is to chose a website which is abundent with singles in your local area, a lot of other sites would be a waste of time. If you're really afraid of dating I'd suggest going to big singles events and parties where everyone there is single and free to mingle with, without being on an actual date. But I'm someone who loves socializing so I guess that's why I really enjoy dating.

Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on December 27, 2011:

Having fun on dates, eh Mr. Happy? That.... that... might work! I'm glad you've added this extremely important bit of common sense to the comment thread. Count me in as another one of your fans :D

You're so right about the "don't be a jerk" tip, LiamBean. Jerks don't get that they're being jerks because they typically aren't aware of what being a jerk entails!

Good point relationshipinfo, though I've met a lot of folks via online channels who have become really close real-life friends! There are always exceptions :D

Stuart Goddard from Bradford on December 26, 2011:

Can't live with them can't live without them "Genital warts" Which is what you will get with all this internet dating malarkey.!!!!

Suzie from Carson City on December 25, 2011:

Same here, Mr. Happy.....Enjoy the Holidays!!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on December 25, 2011:

I'm just having a little fun, Mrs. Fpherj48 ... All the very best to You! : )

Suzie from Carson City on December 25, 2011:

OMG! Mr. Happy! You're weird, celibate....AND you are compelled to correct "errors" made by other hubbers....those spelling and grammar gaffes drive me right up the wall!!! I absolutely LOVE you!!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on December 24, 2011:

Mrs. Fprherj48, thank You for the fun conversation! : ) Have a wonderful Holiday yourself. Cheers!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on December 24, 2011:

Really, Mr. Relationshipinfo? I am too immature? How positive are you about that, or what makes you so certain in judging that all men under thirty-five are too immature? Too immature in relation to what? Thirty-six year old guys? ("Too" and not "two", by the way. And "they're" - not "there".)

And you're a marriage counselor ... lol

relationshipinfo on December 23, 2011:

Don't date anyone you meet on line, the guys just want to get laid. Don't date men under 35 there two immature. Get involved in something you like to do, meet someone that way,or meet someone through a friend. This information is coming from a guy, that has been married for 20 years and is a marriage counselor. I have seen it all.

Suzie from Carson City on December 23, 2011:

Mr. Happy, You were not around? Have you recently landed from another galaxy? Good! You're celibate AND weird. My kinda guy!! Have a beautiful Holiday!

LiamBean from Los Angeles, Calilfornia on December 23, 2011:

I think the advice "don't be a jerk" isn't specific enough. I know some guys that need minute detail on what is and is not being a jerk.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on December 23, 2011:

Mrs. Fpherj48, for most of your life I was not around. Why, were you looking for me? (LOL)

Thank You for the kind words, I appreciate it. All the best!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on December 23, 2011:

I am glad it all makes sense Mr. Stugod. Cheers! : )

Suzie from Carson City on December 23, 2011:

Mr. Happy.....I'm speechless. I mean, I simply don't know what to say.......Congratulations for being a rare and interesting sort of guy.....I mean, you've been practicing celibacy and abstinence for over a decade and your name is MR. HAPPY??!! Where have you been all my life?

Stuart Goddard from Bradford on December 23, 2011:

Now it all makes sense Mr Happy..

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on December 23, 2011:

I ended-up here because I saw Mr. Wesman comment (and I like Mr. Wesman rofl - he is certainly not a "loud mouth opinionated sob").

I am not exactly the best person to comment on this piece of writing either because I have been practicing celibacy and abstinence for over a decade now but what I did want to say is that perhaps if you can just have fun with your dates ... would that be any good of an advice?

Enjoy, have fun and who cares? Life goes on anyway.

That's my two cents lol All the very best and good luck! :)

Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on December 23, 2011:

Lucky you, randomcreative!! Well... at least modern dating makes for hilarious horror stories.

Robin, you would actually kick ass!

And daaaaang, stugod!

You're the nicest, Alastar Packer. Though I think I may give online dating a proper try at some point just so that I can collect some horror stories.

Now that I think about it, Wesman Todd Shaw, patience and distance can go a long way.

OMG! Melbel, you totally get it! Hahaa, it *is* always "Do you want to hang out?", isn't it?? But then... it ISN'T always... and... yikes. And I have been in that same awkward position when it comes to post-date kisses. I'll begin collecting intel immediately. Because SOMETHING MUST BE DONE to address this issue. I'm glad you brought it up.

I've dealt with dipping my toes into online dating by making it very clear on all online dating profiles that I DO NOT DATE, and then putting up weird/humorous photos. It takes that terrible pressure off, though I'm not sure what I'll do when I feel like I'm ready to (perhaps just very temporarily) take things seriously.

Wesman my man, online flirting is one thing- but then there's the potential REAL WORLD interaction issue! HORRORS!!!

And great point, TravelinAsia. It's kind of sad how often this happens.

Oh, BTW melbel, that guy was totally flirting with you. Oh course, flirting might just be flirting and flirters might just be having a bit of fun though... what I always wonder about is how to tell when someone is extending an invitation via flirting and when they're just... flirting. Also, I saw you in that hangout. You are definitely good looking and stuff. Jus sayin!

I both love and hate how every situation and person is unique, Slightly Bonkers. It makes for a lot of stress... but also a lot of fun and hilarious stories.

AND PLEASE LET THAT BE WHAT DATING IS, fpherj48!!! I shall do those things, too. And NOT the other thing. At least not for a good long while.

Suzie from Carson City on December 23, 2011:

Dating? Is that when you label all the stuff in your cupboards and refrigerator with the month and year so you don't eat stale or spoiled food? Huh? Or.. Is it when you pull out your wardrobe to determine what's in-style and what's out? Then again, maybe it's sorting your sky-high pile of bills according to when you need to pay each one. I mean, "Dating," is kind of a multi-purpose activity, don't you think? This hub is really great though, because you've reminded me to do all three of these things!!! Thanks, Simone!

Slightly Bonkers from Ireland on December 23, 2011:

Any dating advice really is BS because every person & every situation is unique. Come time, comes partner and if not... make the best of it. This is how I looked at it and I had found my prince eventually ;)

Melanie Palen from Midwest, USA on December 22, 2011:

A question related to dating/flirting. About a year and a half ago when I was a cashier, a really good looking guy/customer asked me how my night was and I replied, "could be better, could be worse." I think he could tell I wasn't having the best night of my life.

Anyway, he left the store and came back like five minutes later (the store was dead.. not really any customers) and said, "Hey, come outside, the sky is REALLY awesome!" So I just like did... I locked out the register and went outside and the sun was setting and the pollution from Chicago made the sky look so beautiful. Then he said, "I just thought it would cheer you up."

Was that flirting? I totally didn't do anything like give him my number. This hub is, haha, making me think about my social awkwardness and run-ins with the opposite gender.

I get hit on a lot online. I'm not saying I'm popular or anything. And people say I'm good looking and stuff. OF COURSE I'm going to use my best picture as my avatar. Who wouldn't? I'm not going to pick some of the many mediocre pictures that prove I'm not very photogenic!

TravelinAsia from Thailand/Southeast Asia on December 22, 2011:

There is also the risk that your internet sweetheart doesn't really look like she does in her profile photo, in fact she may be a middle aged greasy hairy fat guy.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on December 22, 2011:

....not claiming to be Mr. Charming here or anything....but spending a lot of time discussing things on public forums such as Facebook....seems to draw women to me.

I dunno...I've had women tell me, "you're popular!" Yeah great. ...No, I'm a loud mouth opinionated sob...is what I am, also, a guy who can't turn down a debate - because I will win....

Social networking...Facebook - go for it, participate, argue, comment - folks will hit on you. You can filter that out when it's not wanted.

Go for it.

Melanie Palen from Midwest, USA on December 22, 2011:

OMG! Dating is so scary! I don't get why, either. Everyone else seems to be so like... they get it. I don't. At all. It's baffling to me when I do end up in a relationship, like... how did that happen?

The only time I've dated is when I've become friends first and then we would just hang out more and more. And it was always like, "Do you want to hang out?" Not at all like, "Want to go on a date?"

I went on only one like dinner/movie date and it was so awkward. And then afterward, he leaned in for a kiss. I didn't want to kiss, so it was this awkward thing with me pretending to not notice he was leaning in and so I turned around. A guide on "how to turn down a first date kiss" would be fantastic.

I don't drink so advice from friends was like, "Go to the tennis court and tell guys you would love to play tennis, but don't know how.. could you show me?"

First of all, I think it's rude to just randomly say, "oh hey, I know you're probably busy with your entire life and things you're doing just today, but I want to learn tennis."

Second, if it DID work out, I'd have to eventually tell him that the whole reason I was at the tennis court was to look for a date. He would also find that I have no interest in tennis.

I think looking for guys at a tennis court is kind of like lying.

For me, the scary thing is just the social pressure put into dating. I always have to be friends with the guy first. Online dating is an impossibility for me because there's this sort of requirement that you're actually dating and not getting to know each other on a 'friend' level. And that means the dinner/movie thing which I don't want to do again. How about a nice game of C&C, no strings attached? Haha!

I tried online dating plentyoffish or something, but it didn't work out. I didn't go on any dates. I felt like I was looking on Craigslist for a husband and I just didn't care for the idea.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on December 22, 2011:

I used to be the most fearful prospective lover in the entire Western World...NO MORE!

It's easy....just don't get into a hurry...

Like I mentioned an another hub - there's nothing like a thousand mile buffer zone, and some good old social networking...to keep everyone safe.

Listen, by the time you're willing to drive a thousand miles to meet someone, gosh darn if you haven't got to know them!


Okay, not so practical....but I'm also a prospective gypsy.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 22, 2011:

Simone just keep on being the delightful woman we see in your videos and you won't have to bother with any on-line dating advice. Really.:)

Stuart Goddard from Bradford on December 22, 2011:

My internet dating years were very short. I was dating a married woman for a couple of weeks. On the third week she told me her husband had found out. !!! I asked her how the hell he had found out. I told him about us was the reply. The current Mrs Goddard. No bull should of seen that one coming. HmmmmmmmmpH

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on December 22, 2011:

Love your video, Simone. I agree, there are so many conflicting guides now. I don't think I would do to well in the dating scene.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 22, 2011:

I am very thankful that I got married at 23 and did not have to spend post-college years on awkward dates. I do not envy my friends who are in this position!

Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on December 21, 2011:

I thank you for taking one for the team, Attikos!!

LOL, we're totally of the same mind, cclitgirl! Glad to know I'm not alone here. Though, I do have a confession to make. My OKCupid profile name is a Star Wars reference. HEHEHEEE!!!

You're lucky, Ardie! And props on being in Team High Five.

Love the approach, Haunty. I know some folks who have done just that, and they're MUCH happier with their love life, to be sure!

Thank you, daisynicolas! And that's a great way of putting it! Though perhaps just figuring out how to play the game is the one way to potentially get through it all.

Agreed, Jeannieinabottle. Your dating advice is ACTUALLY useful! If only there were more folks like you sharing tips.

Yeah, things sure are confusing Jean Bakula. And I guess they were just as confusing in the '60s... though in different ways...?

It seems most people prefer it that way, baby-strollers!

Lucky you, 50! Thanks for the support :D

That's really, really sound advice, Alecia Murphy. I'm glad you made that comment.

So true, alphagirl! That's what makes things so screwed up. Or rather... that's ONE of many things making dating screwed up.

Good point about context, JennDin! And good advice, too! Thanks for commenting :D

JennDin on December 21, 2011:

I've been on a few different sites and have met some men who have become good friends and some who I never want to see again. Being married for 31 years and then divorced, dating scared me. I didn't know what to write in a profile and read what the sites advised and went with what I felt comfortable. A fist bump or high five depends on the event and the man involved. I would at a sporting event, but not at the ballet. Sometimes the obvious is forgotten in the excitement of a date. I can honestly say that lookng in the mirror before going out the door, I need to tell myself to be confident, true to who I am, don't do anything that I would regret later, make sure I have enough money if he is a jerk and leaves me at the table alone. On a first date, I ask someone to call to check on me to see if I am alright or need a reason to leave the date.

Mae Williams from USA on December 21, 2011:

words get mis-contrued and emotions can be hidden in language unseen on the internet. I hink sometimes people are so confused. Then you get those who are not relationship experts doling out advice. No one out there monitors the advice. So anything can be said as advice..LOL

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on December 21, 2011:

Common sense does go a long way but I think people just want to be reassured in some way. I do like to read cosmo for laughs but sometimes their advice is okay. However, I think you have to know yourself before you date anyway so you won't feel overwhelmed. Great hub!

50 Caliber from Arizona on December 21, 2011:

Great and funny hub! Me? I'm too old to worry with such things, but emailing back and forth tossing in a few things I find a deal maker or breaker to see the response strikes me as a way to thin the branches, just try to catch them in real time responses not rehearsed replies to some online survey.

Not much help here but it was a fun hub, good luck, "high five", 50

baby-strollers on December 21, 2011:

Online dating is pretty tough. I like to pick up girls in bars or milk my friends for contacts the old fashioned way.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on December 21, 2011:

I sympathize with your plight. Although I have been married forever (at least it feels that way) we have a son in his twenties. I cannot understand the lack of etiquette, or the so called dating rules now. It's really weird and confusing. He says you don't call it a "date" when you go out. So what is it? Friends with benefits? I don't think the benefits should go that far, doesn't it get emotionally confusing? It did back in the 60's when everyone was a tad loose about sleeping around as it was quaintly called. Fist bump? Maybe. A hug would be nicer if he or she is a "possible." I think if you click mentally, that's the first clue, and it can take you far with somebody. If you aren't on the same page there, no hope for a relationship. And I hate Uggs.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on December 21, 2011:

Most the advice I read online about dating is ridiculous (except, of course, any advice I've written!) and it is best just to use common sense. I remember reading an article recently about how a woman should never wear Uggs on a date because guys hate them. So I decided to take that advice and the last couple of guys I've dated said they love Uggs and wish I wore them. Just goes to show everyone is different. Of course, one guy told me he was just happy I did not show up wearing pajamas since he has seen that before when he meets a girl from the internet. It is a scary world out there!

daisynicolas from Alaska on December 21, 2011:

I'm with you on the dating limbo scene. Reality is, the advent of fast-pace technology paves the way for EVERY human being to put their "worthy" ten cents in... whether it's idiotic, makes sense or generic-ally deficient. Dating is an arena of games and guesses subject to winning and losing. I took myself out of this game because life is already cluttered wtih other issues.

I like your video that shows you as a REAL down-to-earth person. More girl power!

Haunty from Hungary on December 21, 2011:

I have to agree with Ardie. It's impossible to find a good date online. (I've tried everything.) The best you can do is getting married early and then you don't have to date ever again. Problem solved.

Sondra from Neverland on December 21, 2011:

I LOVE to high five and fist-bump on a date...it almost always gets me a call back :D I am so glad Im married so I dont have to date ever ever again. Even if my marriage falls apart I wont date. Funny, thanks!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on December 21, 2011:

Hehehe. Before meeting my husband by being "set up", I had tried meeting people online. I was scared off (Star Wars names, anyone?), relentlessly called on my cell,(it's NOT ok to call someone more than once a day when you don't know them!), and otherwise unsure of the 'etiquette': go dutch or let him pay? What exactly to talk about? Where to meet? How long do you talk online before meeting? Eeek. You're right. A hub about internet dating that is well-researched and well-thought out would be great! :)

Attikos from East Cackalacky on December 21, 2011:

Absolutely! It'll take a lot of field research, but I'm game.

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