Don’t Let Assumptions About ‘Type’ Narrow Your Dating Pool

By Erika Ettin
Tribune News Service.

We all hear stories of people who have met, either online or “in real life,” and they say, “(S)he isn’t my type at all, but it works!” Or, “I definitely didn’t up with the person I thought I wanted, but it’s so much better than I could have imagined.”

For that reason, when it comes to online dating, it’s best to err on the side of being inclusive because you just never know if that diamond in the rough is the person you didn’t know you were looking for. Here are a few specific questions on the topic from current and former clients:

Q: If you were me, would you have gone out with some of the guys who I decided not to contact?
-Debbi, 35, Washington, DC

A: It really depends on the reason you didn’t want to contact them. No attraction whatsoever? No need to email them (or email back). One thing in the profile that potentially seemed iffy? Go for it since there’s nothing to lose. My philosophy is to open all the doors at the outset. You can always close them later if you want to (after a few emails or a date), but you might as well give yourself the chance.

Q: Is it worth it to go out with someone you’re just “meh” about from the profile? Is it encouraging or discouraging?
-Randi, 52, New York, NY

A: It’s both. Sometimes you walk into the bar/coffee shop/restaurant, and you know immediately that there’s just no chance in a million years that this is going to work. That’s discouraging, of course. But even the bad dates make for great stories sometimes. (I know I’ve told my story about accidentally going out with the same person twice… six years apart!) Remember that you never know if you’ll have chemistry with someone until you meet in person.

Q: I just want to make sure there’s some potential there before we jump into a date. I don’t think she is my type. You probably hear this a lot. Maybe you will be able to teach me to expand my perspectives and I can go with the flow a little more.
-Larry, 46, Charlotte, NC

A: My philosophy is to open many possible doors (go on many dates) before you decide whether or not to close them rather than closing doors before giving people a chance and getting to know them. You just never know “type” until you meet in person, and in my opinion, more dates are better than fewer.

I actually liken it to clothes shopping for myself. I’m only 5 foot 1, so it’s hard for me to find pants that are the correct length. Rather than finding a pair I like and then being disappointed if it’s not in my size (only emailing women you like and then being disappointed if they don’t respond), I search all of the clothes just to find my size and then decide if I like the pants (email and go out with more women and then decide if she’s for you). It makes the pool larger, and it’s all a numbers game.

Q: I did not at all like the sound of him from his profile. For one main reason, he admits he’s had two significant relationships, yet he can offer no lessons learned. Nor can he delineate what he’s looking for in a partner. To me, those show a lack of introspection. Either he’s unreflective (which is definitely a nonnegotiable for me), or he’s emotionally closed off. I think my assumptions in this case are reasonable. But if something seems glaringly unfair, welcome your feedback. Thank you!
-Larissa, 39, Washington, DC

A: I think some of your assessments are fair, yet I also think you’re reading into things too much. You can really only make these assessments after meeting someone. For example, while I personally may write in a pretty casual manner and talk about my obsession with puns and the color pink, that doesn’t mean I don’t have an introspective side. It simply means my profile didn’t show that side. I’m not saying you have to like this guy, but I wouldn’t put too much thought into analyzing every single word of the profile. Just because he didn’t write it doesn’t mean it’s not present.
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(Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating)

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