Once again I turned to Instagram to guide me in my next blog venture. The results showed that people wanted to know how to set boundaries within an online and real life dating experience. As always, this is a completely informal and opinion led ‘how to’ based off of my own experiences and new tactics I am trying out. I think it’s important to be able to avoid any awkward situations on dates, especially if you’re too shy/anxious to stand up and tell them that you aren’t comfortable. So prepare yourself for another biased and cynical look at online dating which made one guy on Tinder want to ‘jump off the Wills memorial onto a bike with no seat’.
**This week I will strictly be using Drag Race GIFs to express my disdain**
Intentions on the Site:
The best place to begin would be with setting your intentions. Now, this can be within your bio or during a conversation within the app. It’s always good to know whether you are both on the same page. The last thing you want is to arrange a date with someone who is 100% set on finding ‘the one’ when you’re merely testing the waters and looking for fun. Similarly, it can also be incredibly off-putting when a guy is straight up looking for NSA meet ups and is using his Tinder as a craigslist personals ad.
How can we best approach the subject matter?
If their modus operandi isn’t noticeably clear in the first instance, then you can tackle the issue head on in conversation. I often find men will ask me how I’m finding the site, or how much luck I’ve had. This almost always leads to a ‘depends what you’re looking for’ message in which the topic is discussed. Most of the time you get a vague answer of ‘see what happens I guess’ or ‘I’m not looking for anything serious’. Now, my issue with the latter is that when a woman says ‘nothing serious’ then men almost see it as a golden ticket when it most certainly is not. Neither you, nor Grandpa Joe will be touring this chocolate factory I’m afraid. I am also aware it can be just as discouraging as well; no one likes the idea of dating someone who isn’t ready to commit and who might possibly be dabbling in involuntary polyamory.
My best advice for this would actually be to follow suit and ask how they are finding the site and if they are having much luck finding what they are looking for. This way you can get a vague indication of what they want and potentially how successful they might be at getting it. Essentially if you want to avoid fuckboys who aren’t immediately apparent, then avoid all guys who use the 💦 emoji.
This seems so vague, but it’s actually super important to be clear with someone when you feel uncomfortable with what they’ve said. At the end of the day they are a stranger behind a screen and you should not feel threatened or scared to call them out on being a gross pig. You can take a look at a small amount of the disgusting messages I have received here.
How do I let someone know I’m not okay with what they are saying?
Now first messages I usually ignore and unmatch the offending party, however, if it is mid conversation I tend to act differently. More and more frequently I find myself being taken aback with seemingly random bursts of sexual content from men mid-conversation. I guess in a weird way it’s a blessing for a guy to openly express his true desires whilst we are still on tinder. It saves me wasting time building a false connection for them to reveal themselves as a twat later on down the line.
As mentioned, I usually immediately unmatch any guy who starts sending explicit and unsolicited messages about sex. If I replied to every single person who sent me an unsought crude message I would spend hours coming up with suitable responses. I know that calling a guy out will unlikely change their actions or attitude towards women. This is why instead I screenshot it and save it for the blog so other men can read it and perhaps reconsider their messages. Despite how I may come across on the blog, I would much rather pour my energy into something worthwhile. I gain absolutely nothing from telling some twat on Tinder that he’s disgusting and needs to learn how to speak to women. If I unmatch them they should soon get the hint.
Unfortunately for some, these messages pop up when we have already started to connect to someone. That is one of the most disheartening things to be honest. When you’re talking to an attractive and funny guy who seems ideal, and then he asks you if you like giving head *eye roll and sigh* or sends you a saucy photo, why you gotta ruin it? If you are really invested in someone and want to give them a second chance then you can always ignore the question and respond with something unrelated to gauge their reaction. If they keep pushing for an answer then you know they are a bellend. Alternatively, you could be as upfront as they are and straight up tell them they are being inappropriate. I often find calling them a ‘fuckboi’ suitably winds them up and makes them pipe down. In terms of responding to unsolicited pictures, well, just read my blog on the etiquette of sending and receiving nudes. Remember, you are under NO obligation to retaliate with your own.
My BEST advice for this situation, regardless of how much you think you may start to like someone, is to just ignore them and unmatch them. If they truly make you feel uncomfortable then don’t give them the time of day. Don’t waste your energy trying to put them in their place because they clearly don’t respect you and having a go at them sure as hell won’t make them change their mind. If you can see past the remarks then call them out and say ‘nah I’m not like that’. Remember, what guys say to you is essentially a warning sign of things to come. I have read over conversations with guys who have been physically inappropriate with me and I had ignored so many signs that they were going to be like that – now, no one gets away with it.
If you find a suitable man to spend your time with then it’s always good to make sure they know exactly where they stand. You also need to ensure you don’t put yourself in any awkward or dangerous situations. Yes, it’s just a date, but you need to be aware that you only know this person as an online persona. You don’t know what they are truly like and you should be aware at all times. Picking up on certain types of body language and remarks could be what saves you from an awful end to a date.
Keeping yourself safe
If you aren’t okay with physical contact then make it evident. You don’t owe your date anything. If you want to give a little shy wave from 3ft away then you do that, whatever makes you feel comfortable. If he gets too close, tell him to back off. If you don’t want to come across as aggressive then make a joke ‘I’m sorry, are you trying to drink my drink?’ (Actually used on a date of mine). Guys are simple and rarely read between the lines. If you meet up and he thinks he’s going to get laid and you don’t dismiss his advances then chances are he’s going to try something – even just a kiss that may not be reciprocated. It can be damn near impossible to politely tell someone to stop touching you. I’ve been guilty of letting people do it, not even in a sexual way. My go to is to joke, or make it so dramatically obvious that I’m not happy. For instance, if a guy puts his hand on my knee and I don’t want it there I usually stop what I’m doing and really obviously look down at their hand and at them with a ‘you wanna fucking remove your hand before I break it’ face and the retreat pretty quickly. However, reactions are completely situational so there is no solid answer.
Ways to avoid awkward and unwanted attention are:
- Meet up on mutual ground – don’t go to your house or their house for a first meet. Meet at a bar, pub, restaurant, essentially anywhere where there are people and you are in a public space you feel safe in.
- Limit your dates – Suggest a date activity which doesn’t take too much time. Something like a drink can work well as it means you can make your excuses and leave after one, or if you’re enjoying yourself you can stay for more. If you are going on a date which isn’t as easy to leave then tell them prior to your meet that you have to be home by a certain time.
- Set your intentions clearly in the beginning – when you first start talking try and make it clear that you’re not okay with certain conversations. If a guy thinks you’re a prude then he’s probably not the guy for you. It’s not to say you won’t have them in the future, but why does a stranger on the internet need to know your sexual history or your turn ons?
I would love nothing more than to go into detail about my own personal experiences and why I am giving this specific advice, but this blog is already 5 paragraphs longer than anyone is willing to read. It’s not a strict step-by-step manual on how to date, rather a guide to help potentially avoid feeling pressured or threatened. Of course, not all men are like this, but women go through horrible experiences and it understandably puts us on edge. I have previously touched on an incident which happened to me earlier this year and if I had known what I have just written above, then it very well could have been avoided.
We need to be more situationally aware of people and their behaviour. We need to stop excusing rude remarks and uncomfortable questions because it only encourages those kinds of conversations. I don’t want to meet up with a guy and be asked about my bedroom habits or discuss what underwear I prefer. It’s none of your damn business, stranger and it’s not going to give you any real insight into me as a person.
As always, if you have any comments or questions feel free to leave one below. Alternatively you can message me on Instagram @hneugh – I’m always happy to answer questions and receive any stories or screenshots you may have.