A recent 20/20 episode caught my attention because it was basically about online dating bullies. The report did not call them bullies, although that is exactly what they are. I have never actually experienced this, but then, I would not give these men a minute of my time anyway.
Apparently, there are men on dating sites that will call women names, demean them and basically bully them if they do not reply fast enough or positively to their comments and messages. I find this to be a bit ridiculous since I cannot imagine being available for an immediate reply on a regular basis, I keep communication on these sites so there is a record of it there, to keep my identity private, and so I can reply when it is convenient for me. I certainly don’t sit on these sites looking to respond immediately to all communication. As a matter of fact, most communications get the delete button.
I see men sitting on these sites for what seems like 24/7. Do they not have lives? Do they not have jobs? It really is quite sad. I, for one, really don’t have the time for guys who can’t think of something intelligent to say to me. And even if you do, I more than likely will reply in a day or two. Do people seriously expect immediate responses? Apparently so.
The 20/20 report was about how men will call women names, bully them, and basically demean them if they don’t reply right away or in a positive way to their online advances. First off, who are these men who think they should be able to demand immediate attention? I guarantee you they are not special and not even a catch at all if this is how they act. Do they really think this behavior is anything that would ever attract someone? I sure hope not. Women are people – not objects and possessions. Men have no right to demand anything of a woman he does not know. And he certainly has no right to verbally abuse her by calling her names, putting her down, or anything else that would be demeaning. This behavior is not only wrong but it is considered verbal abuse. It is bullying.
It takes TWO to want to date when meeting online. Just because you see someone you THINK you would like to meet, does not mean you will. The other person has the right to not want to meet you. This should not come with any negativity on the rejected party’s part. It simply means this person is not for you. Move on!!
I found this report to be disturbing on several levels. First, many women tend to be insecure, and this type of behavior can make them doubt themselves even more and destroy their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Second, this type of behavior tends to be threatening. And third, this is cyber-bullying. None of these are acceptable. Online dating sites should be safe places to communicate. Both parties should feel they are safe there and ALL parties should respect the other people there – just as when people meet in person.
Where did the mean factor come in and why? Online dating sites are set up to keep your identity private, but you should also be able to communicate on the sites and not feel threatened. There is no excuse for this bad behavior. Remember, people are busy. They reply when they are able to not when you want them to or how you want them to. There is always a chance someone you are interested in will not be interested in you. Most importantly, ALWAYS respect others, whether you know them or not. Online dating can be stressful, but it can also be fun. Communicating in a positive way will get you farther than being disrespectful, which will get you nowhere. Putting others down does not build you up. Being courteous and friendly will make you more attractive to others, no matter what you look like.