Juuuuuust in case there were any question marks about messaging while online dating, know this: you should send the first message. Yes, YOU.
I have a philosophy regarding connecting with people that you’re interested in online: whoever gets there first says “hello.“
Fairly simple and game free. It’s clear that getting to know people in today’s instant gratification culture is unique and unlike any other time. The traditional expectation that the man should contact the woman first, for some people in certain generations, is a real struggle. I’ve had multiple conversations with folks on this very topic. Some women are afraid of being perceived as “too forward” and some men irritable at having to ask, “Why should I have to make the first contact?”
Of course, these antiquated ideals were born of a time when there was no public acknowledgement, acceptance, or understanding of homosexuality or transgenderism. What is true about the old dynamic is that every relationship has an alpha persona, but not necessarily gender related. So, feel free to be who you are! If you’re the one who knows what you want? Go after it!
When you make the connection first, you’re creating an opportunity for the two of you to get to know one another, to establish boundaries, and to recognize your potential partner’s natural temperament. You are not taking any of those things away. Now, let’s take a look at what happens when you do reach out.
Make Someone Happy
Reaching out first shows you are genuinely interested in your potential partner. Who doesn’t want to know or feel that the person they are contemplating making a time investment in, is genuine in their interest? Beginning your relationship with good will certainly brings good fortune.
One day, I had a conversation with a gentleman on this very subject. He must have gone on a 20-minute rant about why men were expected to always reach out first. He went on to say it made him so angry when a woman reached out, but then just said “Hi.” “I mean, why couldn’t she just ask me a question, why am I the one expected to ask all the questions?” He was none too happy when I questioned him further on his thoughts. The good news here? He’s definitely not the one I wanted to date. A person whose sole focus is the meeting ritual and not the person at hand, I suspect, has much more important things to be focusing on than dating. It’s best to know this upfront, wouldn’t you say?
Reduce the Power Struggle
Every relationship, at least in the beginning, goes through a time of establishing boundaries. Many people experience this as a power struggle. If you’re serious about dating and a long term relationship, this phase has got to be approached with an open heart and a mature mind on the boundaries and battles you’ll choose. If it creates conflict for you or your partner to be the one to say hello first, you’ll never make it to the values that actually count in an enduring human connection. Really, don’t sweat the small stuff.
If the real issue is you fear rejection, face it. Frankly, if this is you, online dating may not be your format. Dating online is all about the numbers. The more people you connect with, the more opportunity you’ll have to meet someone and embrace a meaningful connection. Somebody’s going to have to hear “no.” It’s also a great way to let go of or work through any issues you may have with sensitivity or attachment. If someone isn’t that into you, it’s best to know it as soon as possible.
All in all, dating is supposed to be the fun part—relaxed, fun, free. So let that be your guide.
Focus on being yourself, authentically. If you’d like to reach out, do it. Take the actions and say the things you’d say to your best friend. Somewhere in that pile of meet-ups is the person who needs exactly who you are today, right now. They need for you to feel safe, secure, and loved by yourself, first. They need for you to embrace and accept yourself. Take a deep breath, write “hello,” and hit send.