Dr. Jim discusses writing messages, responding to messages, and the expectations involved – when using online dating sites.
DEAR JIM: WHY DOES NO ONE WRITE?
You have gotten up your courage to finally reach out to make friends. With excitement, you view the numerous people that you see on the Cafe and find several whom you feel an attraction to for one reason or another. You think and think and think and then finally compose some words of greeting to one or more of these and slowly hit the ‘SEND EMAIL’ button.
Now you’re done! You are out there and you feel excited, scared and your mind begins to race as you wonder about the reply.
No response to your email?
Waiting… Waiting… Waiting… but no response! What is wrong? Why can’t they be courteous or thoughtful and say something? Are you so bad that they cannot even write back one note? You mind begins to wonder and you feel hurt, rejected, AND anger begins to rise up within you.
Okay – so I was single once and used the Internet to meet others. I also receive a LOT of emails from singles with words similar to the above scenario. What is wrong?
Responding is common courtesy
Yes, it would be common courtesy if others would at least acknowledge the emails that they receive. I would even suggest that each of you should think about how you will respond to the emails you receive – those to whom you are interested in pursuing getting to know – and those you are not.
What are your expectations when you write to someone?
You and I cannot control what others do. I suggest that it would be equally beneficial if some thought were to what your expectations are when you write the email? I do know that there is a lot at play when one joins an online dating service including lots of hope and yes – expectation.
Let me ask you a question. When you walk into a grocery store, do you expect everyone you see to greet you or respond to you? This may be a stretch for some to see, but I see similarities. In both the store and ‘on line’ there is ‘shopping’ going on. As a single, I often went to the store in hopes of finding human contact. Many singles are so lonely that they go to shopping malls just so they can be around humans.
Yes, life is often not fair and it can really be magnified when we are single. Allow me to share a course of thinking that I believe will be helpful to all who are using the Internet to meet others.
Respond to all emails sent to you
Please make every effort possible to respond to every email that you receive. Think of it as a ministry that God is giving you to ‘genuinely’ have with others.
If you are not interested in pursuing a friendship with them, develop a thoughtful and warm response, thanking the person for their email. (Note that I did not say relationship because I do not believe anyone knows enough about another at this stage to think it could be a relationship!) Tell them (in your own words!) that you are not being prompted to do more than acknowledge their email and that you are praying that God will guide and provide for them. We are Brothers and Sisters in Christ and can share care for another family member.
Put expectations on God
I know that it will be difficult, but instead of placing your expectations on the person you are sending the email to, put your expectations on God! Every email should be sent out with a prayer to God asking Him to guide the words that you have shared in the email. HE knows what is best for you. Trust God to be the deliverer AND the responder. If you do not receive a response from the other person, then consider it a response from God not only in what is best for you, but perhaps saving you from more pain.
No, really – respond to your email
With great compassion, I know that there will be a number of men and women who write emails to which they never receive a response. On a secular site, this would be acceptable behavior. I suggest that this is not acceptable when God calls us to minister to one another.
Pray the next time you receive an email from someone that you are not attracted to. Ask God to guide you in your consideration (sometimes we place too much emphasis on looks?) and in your response. You have a chance to minister in a way that few others have.
May God guide you in your interactions with His children.
1John 4:21 – And this commandment have we from him, that he who loves God loves his brother also.