Social media is a blessing and a curse. It provides an easy way to make a connection with another person. The challenge is actually connecting and then maintaining it. This process includes trying to have a similar framework of language and understanding on a platform that doesn’t allow context, body language, etc.
Recently, I started trading messages with a guy online. From the basic information in his profile, he seemed interesting. I usually try and exchange messages to get a sense of someone (to try and tell if they are crazy or not). We had a few shared interests and the conversation seemed to flow pretty naturally. This is not always the case. When I get to the point that I am asking all the questions, I usually move on, figuring that it’s just one-sided interest.
Then he asks if we can meet. It’s a little early but I don’t have any red flags so I say “sure.” I suggest meeting for coffee. Here is where the process breaks down.
When I say meet for coffee, in my mind, I picture myself with coffee/chai/tea at a table in a Starbucks (although Caribou or any place would be good). It’s a public place, so it’s safe for first meetings. It’s also easy to get out of in case you don’t get along with the person you are meeting.
He gets annoyed at the coffee suggestion. He asks if he can come to my place. First red flag. I nicely say that I don’t meet people for the first time at my house. He reluctantly agrees and we pick a Starbucks half way between our homes.
He gets there first but I am only a min behind him. I get out of my car and go inside, stand in line. I text him to tell him I arrived. Couple minutes later, he texts to ask where I am. I tell him that I’m in line (and I’ve been looking around to figure out who he is). He tells me he is outside. When I get outside, I only see a couple getting into their car. He finally tells me he is in a car and describes it for me. When I look over, his car has dark tinted windows, has the headlights on and is parked in the darkest part of the parking lot.
Yeah, I left.
There are probably a million reasons why he didn’t get out of his car. He might be closeted. He later told me it was because he wasn’t dressed to go inside (which seems a stretch). He might have been nervous about meeting me.
Regardless, I realized that I’d like to meet someone that is comfortable meeting another guy for coffee in public. At my age, I don’t have the time or patience for people without the social basics. As I reread that, it sounds harsh in my head but I also know it to be true. Communicating is the most basic social skill. I am not the perfect communicator but I try.
I want to meet guys that are willing to try.