A man my friend was crazy for just broke up with her. I kind of saw the breakup coming, as I thought they were too different, but she thinks he just falsely advertised who he really is. They met online, and he made himself out to be this guy who loves art and culture, which to her means going to museums, shows and lectures and to him means staying home and making things. She now insists that the only way to meet people is in the activity you want them to be doing. For example, if you want a guy who likes art museums and going to cultural events (which she does), you’d better hang out in an art museum to find a date. I think it’s a mistake for her not to keep online dating, because I think she’ll meet a lot more men. –Friend Of Stubborn Woman
People try to put their best foot forward on dating sites, and rather often, it turns out it’s not actually their foot.
Of course, deceptive self-marketing is not exclusive to online dating, and online dating does offer certain efficiencies that trying to meet a man at an art museum or cultural event does not. For example, people join a dating site specifically because they are looking for a partner. Some man you spot in a museum may also be looking for a partner – his wife, who was right behind him just a room ago.
It sounds like your friend is blaming the Internet because a guy she liked didn’t like her back. They maybe both projected what they wanted on each other and needed to dig deeper to find out who the person they were dating really was. This is what dating is for. It’s supposed to be a process of finding out about a person, not “I baited the hook; I caught the fish; now let’s decide what’s for dinner at the wedding!”
We often don’t need anybody to go to the trouble of deceiving us. We do that really well on our own, like by telling ourselves we’ve found the “perfect person” and ignoring any evidence to the contrary. Instead, there needs to be a vetting process, whether you meet a man online or at an artwalk. It involves asking questions and looking to see who he is and being willing to find out that he isn’t right for you. This vetting is essential because, wherever you meet men, there’s one thing many will have in common: insisting they’re interested in whatever you are if they think you’re hot. Try to help your friend see that holing up in the art museum isn’t the answer. Sure, it might be kismet that Mr. Dreamypants is standing in the lobby right next to her favorite sculpture, or he might just be waiting to enjoy the work of Sir John Harrington, the guy who invented the flush toilet found in the free public bathroom.
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