One of my favorite lines in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is about the bowl of petunias falling through the sky. It’s only thought as it fell was, “Oh no, not again.”
I signed up again for online dating a few months ago. Mostly it’s just been discouraging and depressing. Yesterday I had a much more negative experience than usual, though.
I was tired. I didn’t sleep well at all the night before, and I have been troubled all week by what’s going on right now in America. My emotional resources were running low.
There was a guy on the website who had exchanged several of the multiple choice questions with me. . . the ones ranging from relevant to a dating relationship (“What do you prefer doing on a Saturday night?”) to silly hypotheticals that would maybe be good open-ended conversation starters, but don’t go very far as a multi-choice question (“If you had a time machine that could travel into the past, what era would you visit?”).
After a bunch of those, I sent a typed message, saying that recent events were weighing heavy on my heart, and asking his opinion of a political leader. (I had actually sent a similar question to another guy the previous day.)
After lunch, I got a notification that he responded, so I took a look. Immediately, I got that cold, stomach-dropping feeling.
I had done it again.
I said the wrong thing.
I upset someone.
I broke some rule I didn’t know existed.
I failed at human interaction.
I pushed someone away before they had a chance to get to know me and understand me.
He had answered my question, but followed it with a second paragraph, which took a reprimanding tone – “I also feel the question was completely inappropriate for the context of what this service is used for . . .”
I tried to explain why I asked the question. Part of his response to that included, “There is a time and a place to ask that type of question.”
Needless to say, he decided we aren’t a good match.
Before I had responded to the other guy that morning, I got this “EnneaThought for the Day” from The Enneagram Institute. I thought it was really appropriate for the topic I was going to be addressing.
Once I read the offended guy’s messages, I texted my sibling about it, who responded, “Dude. That’s a totally legit question to ask.” That made me feel better, like maybe I don’t TOTALLY suck at this human interaction thing. And like the EnneaThought reminded me, my personal convictions are important, especially in regards to the dignity of my fellow humans. But the latest online dating interactions have left me feeling drained and somewhat defeated. It’s just hard to imagine that there’s actually a guy out there who can deal with my unique combination of quirks and brokenness and strengths and awkwardness.