January 18, 2013 - submitted by Dani, United Kingdom

I'm finding the dating scene difficult. I joined an online dating site and have been on a few dates and I don't know what the etiquette is. If I don't like a guy, I don't know how to leave it when saying goodbye. That said, when I DO like a guy I don't know what to say either in case they don't feel the same! I met someone and we had a brilliant time but I haven't heard from him at all since. I sent one text and he didn't reply. I think that's rude but then... maybe he is also not knowing how to politely say he doesn't want to see me again. Help?!

The Oracle replies:

Tricky. Some say there should be a 3 day rule. It looks like you're too keen if you contact someone sooner than that. I say, if you like someone, who cares?
If you like a guy, at the end of the date, say something like "I had a really great time, hopefully we can meet up again".
I'm not going to go into mind games but with dating I feel it's important to act with some decorum and not pester. If someone wants to see you, they will make time to so if they're giving you excuses or not replying to texts it probably means they're not interested.
The first and most important thing about to remember about dating is to be yourself; don't try to be someone you think they may like.
Also, if you then stick to being yourself, maybe you should say just respond however feels right for you.
Some people are happy to think that silence speaks volumes but obviously you're not one of them. You're not obviously going to like every single person you date (or they you) and letting them down gently is definitely a more respectful response. If you got on well but there was no spark, maybe you could say that you'd like to see them again as friends but don't feel it would lead to anything romantic - then they can decide whether that's good for them.
If you just don't want to see someone again, politely say "it was nice to meet you" when you leave, perhaps that might speak volumes.
If not, I'm not a fan of making excuses and fobbing folk off so either be direct and honest but if you can't face that, tell them you'll be in touch and contact them via the site or text/email with a tactful brush off.
Try not to take it personally if a guy doesn't reply and you never see him again even after a great date. He's obviously not the man for you. Next!

I think you know when you know - if that makes sense.
Over to you.

Dating is a very tricky thing for most of us. I think if you don't like a guy, simply thank him for the evening and don't respond to any of his further attempts to contact you. You don't owe him anything, nothing else is necessary. When a guy doesn't respond to your text, or doesn't text/call you after three days, delete his number and move on. If he was into you, he would have communicated. But most of us would rather not admit we don't like someone, for fear of hurting their feelings. So the general rule is, take silence as someone not being into you. If you like a guy, then reach out to him soon after the date, if he hasn't contacted you already. Don't text him too much. If he likes you, you shouldn't have to work very hard to get him to talk to you. Don't let people lead you on, and don't let guys allow you to do all the work - planning dates, initiating communication, all that stuff. You are more valuable than that. If a guy likes you, for real, he will make himself available to you and probably even pester you to hang out with him all the time. I hope this helped. Love, Amber.

Internet is an open house of coming and going and things to be left there for a long time. It is a help for those who are shy, but it is also an attraction pole for the dishonest ones and it can be a trap for the overcredulous.
For saying goodbye you could begin friendly, you think he is a nice guy, but you are sorry, you don’t seem to have a great deal in common or you both are too different. You are anonymous, so what should you be afraid of? To draw someone’s interest tell him why you are interested, be responsive to him.
The other thing, someone doesn’t answer and you never will know the reasons. I just can tell you not to give your heart to someone unreachable or something that you have created in your mind because of a few written lines. Watch the time you are spending with your computer, during the same time you could meet a boy from “next-door” and you would know much more about him. For meeting a chatting friend for the first time in reality take part on the decision where and when, and never go there completely alone. All the best! L.Q.

I believe the best etiquette is to be friendly and open minded with your date. And of course, be yourself! If you don't like a guy, tell him when the date is over. Explain you enjoyed the date, but that you are looking for something else. It's as simple as that. When you do like a guy, tell him you had a brilliant time and ask him about going out again. This lets him know straight away that you are interested, and you can make plans together face to face. This way, you can avoid the frustration of texting. If this guy doesn't text back, try calling him. You have nothing to lose by doing this, and everything to gain! In addition, there can be a number of reasons of why he isn't responding via text. You may discover he wasn't responding because he really likes you and remained quiet to keep from saying anything foolish. Some guys are shy like this, so give him a chance! Best of luck, Blake.

It's a minefield! There seem to be so many dos and don'ts. I can see why it's hard to tell someone you don't want to meet again if they do and to be ignored when you like someone who doesn't feel the same but... don't let your pride get in the way. Try not to be disappointed. See it as practice. At least you're out there and that's great. Your confidence may take a dip at times but it's better than sitting home alone. Congratulate yourself for dating and keep trying 'til you find your Prince! Sally, Ireland.

I suppose it depends what you're looking for - love, a long term relationship, a fling, company, someone to go out with... If you're looking for "the one", don't worry, it won't be with a guy who doesn't reply to your texts so you can cross him off your list. I think that the best way to take this is at face value. All you need to do is respect the response - or lack of - of another and move on. It doesn't really matter who does what or why / how they do it, it's your reaction to it and your feelings that count. Do what feels right and don't worry too much if it's outside your comfort zone. It's not unusual in the online dating world to have loads of contact from someone one week and nothing the next. Don't take it to heart. Keep trying and I'm sure you'll find what works best for you. Dee.

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