Saturday, March 10, 2012

Using eHarmony: Why Hasn’t My Match Responded To Me?

By Dan Collins for eHarmony

It happens all the time, but it never gets any easier—you meet someonenice, start up a conversation, and everything seems to be going well …

But suddenly it’s three days later, and your match, the cool new personwho loves Arabica coffee and thinks your hair looks cute, hasn’treplied back to your last message! What’s going on? Are they notinterested? When is it appropriate to panic if you feel you’ve beenleft hanging?

We hear from customers with this issue on their minds every day. Andsometimes, when they’ve reacted in haste, mistakes are made that can’teasily be taken back (such as closing a match, or writing a panickyfollow-up message). So before you do something rash, take a breatherand think for a moment about all the reasons you might not be hearingback from someone. Here are some tips to help you cope when you’rewondering what’s what from a wayward match:

Tip #1: Remember, this person has an entire life outside of eHarmony

.When we’re waiting on replies from someone, it’s easy to fret whenthings don’t seem to add up. “We’ve been writing to each other aboutevery other day, and now it’s been four days! He’s two days late! Whereis he?”

What that equation misses, though, is that even for the most dedicatedeHarmony member, eHarmony is only one small part of their entire life.And sometimes they will need to be away from the service. Life’sinterruptions sometimes attack quickly, without leaving the otherperson time to let you know what’s going on with them. Minoremergencies, such as a sick child, a sick computer, or a sick car, canmake getting back to a match virtually impossible in the short term!And we haven’t even talked yet about how much time and energy can betaken up by work.

Tip #2: Not everyone has the same expectations about what’s “normal.”

Remember the olden days? Well, probably not, but you’ve seen them inmovies: there was once a time when the rituals of dating were codified.Boys were expected to call girls two days after a date if it went well,and after three dates, they’d be going steady, and he let her wear hisvarsity jacket. Stomachs still had butterflies in those days, andhearts still got broken, but you knew where you stood, and whose turnit was to do what.

But even before online dating and the internet, dating rituals hadalready become more complex than they were for Wally and the Beav. Andnow we’ve added a layer of complexity that everyone is stillnavigating: how do we act confident but not disinterested, polite butnot clingy, civil but still romantic, in an era when we’re meetingpeople for the first time online?

We wish we could give you an answer, but we’re still figuring it outourselves. Nobody knows! And one of the things people don’t haveconsensus on is on what is appropriate and what is not. In your mind, aprompt reply might be the only polite and rational thing to do, butfrom the other person’s perspective, writing back to you too oftenmight be impolite. They may even worry about how they seem to you,whether they’re being too pushy or “eager,” which brings us to the nexttip…

Tip #3: Your matches may be just as exited, or nervous, as you are.

Dating humbles us all. Nurses and mountain climbers, CEOs andbikers—even people who have nerves of steel can get tongue-tied when itcomes to meeting someone they may be romantically interested in. Thatgoes double if it’s their first time using eHarmony or their first timedating in a while.

The chances are good that the person on the other side of yourconversation has a whole host of feelings about talking to you. Andthey may need a moment to weigh how they feel, not just about you butabout themselves and where they are in their emotional lives. Ouradvice is, let them have that moment! Often, a person who needs a shortbreak from communicating will come back even more invested in theconversation. On the other hand, it’s true that sometimes people dodecide they are not ready to date, which brings us to our final, leastfun point to hear (but it’s true)…

Tip #4: All conversations have to end sometime.

Every day, conversations that began right here on eHarmony, just likethe ones you’re having with your matches, go on to become excited phonecalls, budding relationships, and even marriages!
However, whetherconversations on eHarmony lead to exchanging phone numbers (or vows!)or not, eventually the communication has to end. And for every onecommunication that goes well and leads to meeting outside of eHarmony,several communications conclude with a decision, made mutually orindividually, that the conversation needs to end.

When this happens, sometimes a match will decide to send a final emailexplaining that they have decided not to talk, for whatever reason. Andsometimes you’ll log on and find the match is closed, indicating thatperson has moved on. But it’s also true that sometimes—not every time,but sometimes—people who have decided not to keep communicating willsometimes simply not reply back. And the more matches you talk to, themore likely it is that at least some communications will end this way.So…what can you do while you’re waiting? Hopefully we’ve convinced youthat there are many reasons why a match won’t communicate, and that youshould never panic or expect the worst!  But how long is long enough towait, and what can you do not to feel powerless while you’re waitingfor a response?

Tip #5: It’s okay to follow up. But give it some time, and just do it once.

Though you can send a thousand follow-up emails to a person in eHarmonyMail, we recommend sticking to one follow-up email if you’ve beenwaiting on a reply from someone. A rough rule of thumb is to wait oneweek before sending a follow-up message. And when you do send thefollow up, be brief, and never pushy: “Hi there! I’ve really enjoyedour conversation so far. Let me know if you’re free to talk some more!”

Notice how the above language avoids putting any burden or onus on theother person. When writing to a wayward match, avoid using the word“you,” as in “where have you been?” Instead, use “I” or “me” to talkabout how you would like to hear back from them.

Tip #6: Give yourself a time cushion. And then let yourself let go.

There is no one rule for how long to wait for a communication, justlike there is not just one type of man or one type of woman. But here’sour general guideline: if you haven’t heard back from an importantmatch in a while, set yourself a timeframe—a day, a week, or whateverseems best. And if that day comes without a communication you shouldconsider the match “over” and move on.

Giving yourself a timeline doesn’t mean you have to close out thematch; it’s okay to leave a door open to future communication. But setan expiration date on how long you’ll care about hearing back! Thiswill give you a stronger sense of control, and that will bring definitepiece of mind. You might even set other goals on that day, such ascommunicating with five new people on eHarmony, or playing yourself alittle fight song to remind you to “move on!”

In conclusion, we know it’s hard to wait for a match to communicate,and even harder to decide you’ve waited long enough. But it’s a naturalpart of the dating process to go without hearing from people from timeto time. Stay calm, give yourself and the other person space tocommunicate, and remember: whether a match gets back to you promptly ornot, you are still in control of your dating experience. Make sure tostay positive and take charge, and you’re sure to have many greatcommunications!

Dating For Love



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