It’s not always easy to get to know someone when you’re online dating. Between dating anxiety and the basic limitations of message-based communication, conversations can be tricky to start.
But one-sided conversations make online dating communication much worse.
“One thing that I encounter occasionally in online dating is one-sided conversations in which I seem to be asking all the questions and don’t get any responses,” a single Catholic observed.
What do one sided conversations look like? According to one single Catholic, it might go something like this:
Me: I see that you said you liked traveling? Where have you been? I’ve been to X and Y, and am going to Z next year.
Her: I went to A last summer and am going to B.
Me: That’s pretty cool. Someday I’d love to go to A because the scenery looks so beautiful. What were you there for?
Her: I was visiting family for a wedding.
You don’t have to be in on that conversation to realize how frustrating one-sided communication is.
Why do one-sided message conversations like this happen?
Is there anything we can do to avoid this awkward situation when messaging someone?
If you do find yourself here, what should you do about it?
Here’s some good advice if you’re navigating the murky waters of online dating communication.
Why isn’t the conversation flowing?
If you’re struggling with dead-end dating conversations, there could be a few reasons that this is your experience.
It could be that the person you’re talking with isn’t interested you. But the reasons behind this frustrating conversation could be much deeper than that.
“She may have social anxiety. Or she may just not have very well developed conversation skills or be inarticulate,” one Reddit user suggested.
“She might be following some bad dating advice and is trying to play it mysterious. She may have been bashed in the past by someone she was interested in before who said she talked too much.”
What’s the recipe for a two-sided message conversation?
When you’re examining a one-sided conversation, it’s good to take a look at what messages you’re sending, too. Sometimes the culprit to a one-sided conversation is a lack of unoriginal questions from the conversation instigator.
“She’s not interested because literally every guy she matches with asks the same boring questions,” one Reddit user said. “It’s irritating and gets old quick and makes checking your messages feel like a chore instead of an exciting opportunity. Be interesting and different!”
What does interesting and different conversation look like concretely?
“I always start off by asking guys if they like olives on pizza,” the same Reddit user continued. “It’s random, quirky, and stands out. I get better conversations than when I say something generic or asking about something on their profile.”
Maybe you’re indifferent to olives on pizza yourself. But you can definitely pick something else that you have a strong preference about and ask the person about their preference. It’s a unique conversation starter!
It’s important to remember that these interesting ice breakers will not always ensure a heart, two-sided conversation. Sometimes there just isn’t any chemistry between the two of you.
But beginning a conversation with a particularly unique question can definitely help the conversation along.
When and how to throw in the towel
Some Reddit users were actually a little harsh in their blunt assessment of the situation: “They likely aren’t interested if it’s one sided and you should respond by moving on.”
“If it’s like pulling teeth now, it’s not going to get better,” others suggested. “Even if it’s not that she’s uninterested, you can’t get to know somebody that way.”
Throwing in the towel and cutting communication with a person who isn’t responding openly is a natural response in a situation like this.
But a couple of people suggest investigating further.
After all, a one-sided conversation still means that the person did respond to you. They must have had at least a little interest, or they probably would have ignored your message.
“Honestly, I’d say be up front about it, explain how you feel and be polite, but direct,” one user advised.
“The best course of action here (and this is with ANYONE in your life you have communication issues with!) is to just be direct,” someone else agreed. “Let her know you feel like her responses feel as if she’s uninterested in continuing the conversation and you want to know whether or not she actually is interested.”
The original poster admitted that stopping the conversation completely feels a bit like ghosting someone. He agreed that this advice to directly ask the person about their interest is probably best.
“I wound up sending a frank message to this person asking if perhaps the brief responses meant she wasn’t interested,” he said in an updated post.
“She confirmed that my suspicions were correct, and we were able to achieve closure, wish each other well, and move on.”
When all else fails, in trying to decipher meanings and feelings in online communication, it might be worth a try to go with some good old-fashioned frankness.