The “don’t talk to strangers” theory:
Think about this. You’re driving along in your car and you get into a fender bender. Someone hit you. You immediately get pissed off and stomp out of your car to let the other motorist really have it. You walk over there only to realize that the motorist who hit you is no stranger. He is actually your backdoor neighbor with whom you have a great relationship. What are you thinking now? Since he is someone you know and like, you might reach for understanding and forgiveness more quickly than if he’d been a stranger. Isn’t it interesting to consider that our minds and bodies may have evolved with a defense mechanism that makes us weary of strangers? I mean, “don’t talk to strangers” was pretty much ingrained in our brains as children. What if this mechanism gets subconsciously triggered when you first meet someone from an online dating site? They are strangers after all. Hmm interesting, no?
Now, think about this. You are with a friend and they mistakenly fart in public, or snotty-sneaze, or wear different colored socks unintentionally. What are you thinking? I can tell you that the average person would not care about these trivial things and would show support if it was needed. But would you give your first-time date the same regard. If your first-time date does something slightly off-putting to you, would you brush it off or would you condemn them? If you find yourself making comments like, “oh my god, I just can’t date a guy who orders a salad,” or “she had too much mascara goop in the corner of her eye,” or “I just couldn’t stand the way he chewed his food,” you are irrationally sweating the small stuff and might very well be sabotaging a potential relationship.
If this behavior sounds like what you do, consider that this is an anxious reaction to meeting a stranger. However, there is internal conflict because you want this person to feel familiar – you want to have a successful first date. But, cut it out! Your first-time date from your online dating site is a stranger and you can’t expect your body to be 100% welcoming.
Based on the “don’t talk to strangers” theory, you will definitely scrutinize the littlest of things on your first date. The mistake we make is thinking that the scrutiny and harsh judgement we feel for our date is a sign that we can never be romantically interested in them. Truth is, that icky feeling you might get at first is your body’s normal defense mechanism, protecting you from strangers. You can’t expect to have any feelings of familiarity on the first-online-dating-site date. You do not know them at all and your body might have a built in mechanism to immediately reject them. A traditional date usually happens after meeting someone and having some sense of familiarity. You therefore cannot compare the feelings you get from a dating site date and a traditional date and expect them to be at par. Instead, date #1 of a traditional date might be at par with date #3 from an online dating site.
So what do you do if you often feel icky after dates from online dating sites?
Let me start by saying that if you truly have zero attraction for this person, of course you should move on. However, if the person is interesting and “normal” and there is technically nothing off about your interactions, go on another date. As a matter of fact, go on 3 dates. I’m using a particular number (in this case 3) as a general guideline because sometimes we need a very specific rule to follow in order to override our bad default behavior. …so I’m saying 3. Once you have gone on 3 dates, go back and evaluate how your heart feels. I’m not saying that you’ll find a boyfriend or girlfriend the first time you try this, but I am saying that this tactic might yield more quality interactions with the dates you have in the future.