I had a great chat with a guy on e-Harmony and we made it to exchanging phone numbers. I said I didn’t chat much (because I don’t, and because I would rather meet someone in person to see if there is chemistry in real life – before wasting time chatting). I said in my chat that I was looking forward to hearing from him. He didn’t call. He texted me questions twice about wanting to see my online social media profile like LinkedIn or published articles. But we hadn’t met yet, and I didn’t feel comfortable sharing my full name and my entire professional life and social media web presence with a total stranger. So I encouraged him via text to “give me a jingle.” Keep in mind he had not shared his last name or LinkedIn profile either, but he clearly expected me to share my info and was not going to talk to me until he had a chance to look me up online. That feels unsafe to me.
So here is my question. At what point in online dating is it appropriate to share last names? After meeting? Before meeting? In chatting? In a phone call? I asked him to share his, said I cared about safety issues, and he blocked me. So I feel like I wasted time on e-Harmony and would like a more efficient (and gracious) way to deflect premature questions. I’ve been out of the dating scene for 4 years and am just starting again. I’m totally comfortable taking a risk to meet in person, but I’m nervous about sharing a LinkedIn profile or a last name with a total stranger. Am I the one with a problem? How do I manage this kind of situation in the future without looking like a paranoid person, or a bitch? And how do I get a guy to call instead of text?
This is an interesting question, Haley, but perhaps not for the reason you think it is.
Before we get into that, let’s start with a moment of validation:
It’s weird for a guy to request your LinkedIn profile or published articles.
It’s unusual for a man to transparently insist on looking you up before a first date (frankly, that’s usually a woman’s move).
And it’s shitty for him to block you, which is pretty aggressive, given how little communication you had prior to this.
But weird, aggressive, shitty men are always going to exist on the Internet; all we can do is hope to out them before you’ve invested too much time. The real question I’d like to pose to you, Haley, is whether you’re the one with the problem.
But weird, aggressive, shitty men are always going to exist on the Internet; all we can do is hope to out them before you’ve invested too much time.
Again, I’m not excusing Mr. LinkedIn’s performance, which stands on its own as a “what not to do in online dating” example. But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that, in my experience as a single man, the more a woman made a big deal about sharing information, the more I saw it as her own red flag.
Now mind you: I did most of my dating before social media and before Google and texting became ubiquitous. At the same time, we’re not talking about technology here; we’re talking about a feeling called trust.
If you’re a trustworthy person, it feels very uncomfortable to be mistrusted.
Imagine what it would feel like if you went into a grocery store and got frisked when you exited – just in case you stole something. Would you be excited about going back into that store? Would you feel comfortable and trusted? Probably not.
And that – to me – is the missing piece for those who are vigilant about cyberstalking their dates before they meet. Their intentions are pure – I don’t want to get burned by dating a liar, a player, a married guy, etc. – but they put up their walls so high that any reasonable, trustworthy person might well determine that they don’t want to scale them.
In this instance, your guy was the fearful guy – looking for some independent verification that you were who you said you were. It didn’t feel very good, did it? More often than not, women are the ones who do this to men, all out of fear of the worst-case scenario. I respect this choice. I also think it’s shortsighted and doesn’t account for what it feels like for the man. I’ve written about a similar scenario where I encouraged women to let men pick them up for first dates – before roundly being shouted down by a hundred women.
All I can say is that the times are changing and transparency is your friend. Lead with trust and confidence, you’ll find that more people respond to you. Lead with fear and mistrust, you’ll find that more people pull away. So to more directly answer your flurry of questions:
Lead with trust and confidence, you’ll find that more people respond to you. Lead with fear and mistrust, you’ll find that more people pull away.
I feel it’s perfectly appropriate to share your last name right away (presuming you have nothing to hide).
I feel that you can’t help people from feeling curious about you, so you might as well be open about it.
I feel that holding your last name back only raises more questions about your fear and control issues.
Finally, I feel like stating something that makes logical sense but tends to garner very little sympathy: if a guy is a creep/stalker, you’re not going to know it via email. You’ll probably not figure it out on the first date. You’ll only know AFTER you’ve let him know your name, gone on four dates with him, taken him home and then tried to cut him loose. In other words, you can’t protect yourself from a really bad egg, but you can drive off a lot of good ones by being stingy about sharing your full self with them.
I lead with trust. I encourage women to lead with trust. However, if you choose not to lead with trust, don’t be too surprised if trustworthy men bristle at being mistrusted.
P.S. How do you make a guy call instead of text you is a separate answer entirely.