Thursday, October 10, 2013

PSA: Skype - The New Internet Dating Forum (?)

Skype is a widely used tool around the world for people to connect online so they can see each other face to face.  It is a tremendously wonderful application and I am so glad that someone was genius enough to create it so we can all stay connected face to face.  It also has become super duper creepy - at least for me anyway.

My husband travels a fair amount for his job and we also have a family member in a different state.  We use Skype to have the opportunity to see each other rather than just email, text, or talk on the phone. It's so good to see someone's face, their expressions, their baby belly, or whatever it is that they have and you miss seeing. When we use it as a family, it is like my husband isn't really gone which is very nice for all of us back on the home front.  Our extended family decided to get Skype accounts, as well, so we could enjoy it with all of our distant family friends that we do not get to see regularly.  NOT to get dates.  Here's where I'll elaborate.

Several weeks after signing up and using Skype, I started getting invitations from men other than my beloved Thewber.  Some were just "Hey, wanna chat?" to long winded dialogues about themselves and how they want to find love.  Sort of like those creepy spam emails you get from whack jobs in some other country who want a green card, sex, or all of your money.

At first, when I got a couple invitations, I thought, "Oh, they must mean some other Sasse" and just declined because I wasn't the gal they were looking for.  But then they started to get more intense, sending pictures, and writing long winded stories about themselves.  To be honest, all of these guys were pretty good looking and I thought, A. these are not their real pictures and they found some stock photo on the net somewhere or B. why are they doing this? they could totally find a date the old fashioned way - by getting out there and meeting people face to face or even online. 

I will tell you, for those of you that have tried this Skype hook up deal.  It. is. creepy. I don't know you, and for you to randomly send me (or anyone else) an invite to chat or become your 'beloved', is weird.  Social skills are something that the internet has taken away from us and I get that.  We are so used to just being at home in our jammies watching movies and surfing the net.  I get it, really I do.  But it is critical for us to keep up the human element of getting to know someone like when they are sitting next to us or across from us live and in person.  To touch their shoulder and laugh when they say something funny or embrace after having a great time out together.  Ultimately this is what you are looking for and it's only going to happen if you do it the way that society deems acceptable. 

Now, I've been dating Thew or married to him for over 13 years, so I've got all the love that I can handle right now, so I'm not exactly out there looking for this kind of stuff, but if I were, here's what I would do:

1. Join a reputable internet dating service like I mentioned above. 
  • It works and some of them even will match you up beforehand so you don't even have to search. SCORE, people! I have a few friends that have even found their soul mates and have gotten married after using these services.
2. Go to a speed dating night at a local bar or pub.
  • I'm sure you can find these in your local area and personally I think they would be a total hoot, even if you don't find 'the one'.  You'll meet a bunch of people and find new friends if nothing else and friends always have more friends, so you just never know.
3. Join a club or group that specializes in something that you like to do. 
  • Now, I know a lot of us join groups that are focused on a topic that we are interested in and the majority of the time, it involves the same sex as us, but this is ok. Those people know other people and you never know, a lady just might show up at the golf range and can out drive you with an iron no less.  Now, wouldn't that be an easy way to go up to her and ask her how in the heck she learned to do that?
4. Check out 'single' options at your church, community centers, or neighborhoods. 
  • I know, this sounds totally lame, but give it a chance at least once.  I've heard of several people who have met this way.
5. Join message boards or other types of online group chats so you can get to know people a little beforehand. 
  • This will make it less creepy when you send them a request on Skype to chat at an individual level.  I did this a lot in college actually.  This was back before the 'internet' even existed if you can believe that (to my defense it took off my senior year).  I used to join chat forums through a green screen computer and it went fast - scrolling constantly when everyone chimed in.  It was hard to keep up with at first but after a while I got the hang of it.  It was fun, it improved my typing skills, and it was way easier than meeting people in the bars.  I got to know quite a few people from that and then ended up having email or phone friendships with several.  I did not think that was creepy at all because it wasn't just random. I knew a little about them and they knew a little about me and we wanted to know more.
6. Ask family and friends for help.
  • Most of them already know that you are single and looking for love so why not just simply ask them for help?  Most of them already want to help, so just let them.  You never know and by getting to know more people who know even more people that will increase your chance of meeting someone interesting.
7. Join a local face to face dating service or find a real live matchmaker.
  • In my area, we have individuals that act as matchmakers, just like Patty on Bravo (the Millionaire Matchmakers).  We also have several face to face dating services that will match you with clients as well.  I think this is so fascinating, the process, the meet and greets - all of it.  Definitely worth checking into if you want something on a more local level and face to face so you can get going on a relationship right away.
This is a pretty good list if you ask me, and some of them get you out there and some of them allow you to do this in the privacy of your own home, so you can wear your jammies or your lucky duck hat or whatever it is that you like to do in the privacy of your own home.  So use it and please, please people, for the love of Pete (or Stan or Kyle - you get the picture), do not randomly try to hook up with people on Skype.  No one likes a creeper and you are better than that.  I know it.

Until next time,
J.K. Sasse

If you have not read my definition of PSA, please do so here.  It's a hoot!

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