Kathryn's Blog

FAQ #5 I don’t want to be recognized

It can be pretty disconcerting to realize that the best possible resource for finding love has taken a heretofore private matter and puts it out on an electronic billboard for the entire world to see.  Internet dating sites are now close to the top (if not already there) of the best and most successful routes to finding your best mate.  The majority of the success relies on putting singles who are looking in front of other people who are looking, too.  You can’t expect Mr. or Ms. Right to get in touch if they can’t find you.

Just a brief word for sanity here: What’s WRONG with wanting love in your life?  What’s so horrible about others finding out? Why should you be ashamed of having your desire for a mate be seen?  If you are free to get involved with someone else and are telling the complete truth, then why are you worried about being recognized?

However, some folks do have legitimate reasons for wanting to keep their private lives private.  So here is how to do it:

Basically, you have three choices: 

1. Hide your profile completely, so no one can access it except you. 

2.  Post a profile essay but no photo (making sure that the information in your essay is not identifiable). 

3.  Post a full profile, with photos, but use a different zip code than your home territory where you do not want to be found out.  For instance, if you live and work in New York City, use a Boston zip code, or the zip of an area that you would like to visit.

There are problems with each of these solutions.  Hiding your profile completely (as well as not posting a photo) will make it seem as if you have something to hide, which is true: you are hiding.

If your profile is hidden, no one will be able to find you at all.  You will have to do all the looking and contacting yourself, and then perhaps copy, paste and send your profile to anyone you contact. 

Many will find your hiding rather creepy.  You can be seen as a lurker, poking around but not playing fair by posting like everyone else. 

#2 is somewhat better, but not perfect.  Some folks won’t even reply if you do not have a photo posted. Most folks search only profiles with photos, and yours will not have one. And you could be recognized anyway: when I was looking for love on Match.com—with no photo posted—one of my clients recognized me by my writing style.  It would have been much better if I had been more comfortable being completely open about my search.

The best solution, if you really want to hide in your local area, is #3, posting a full profile and photos in another zip code where you are unknown and unlikely to be recognized. 

While your profile will not come up in a search by people located nearby your home zip code (after all, that’s how you are avoiding recognition), you are “public” on the site and not lurking.  You’ll need to do your own searches to find people near you, and since you will be able to see THEM, then you can screen and eliminate those you don’t want to see YOU.  In your first email, you will need to tell your contact why you are not public in your home area, and refer them to your profile by including your dating site screen name.  An additional plus is that if you post your profile in a zip code that you visit or would like to, someone there may find you cute as a button, contact you, and you’ll then have a reason to travel.

So there you have it: not perfect, but a solution to that persistent question: How do I avoid being recognized?


FAQ #4 Why don’t they answer my emails?

Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, I talk to who has spent any time on an Internet dating site asks me “Why don’t they answer my emails?” The nastiest littlest-known secret is because the guy or gal you wrote to probably is too cheap to join the site: Most sites require that you pay before you communicate.

Think about it: It’s to the dating site’s advantage to encourage you to post your profile, and they make it free to do so. Every dating site needs lots of people’s profiles and pics to draw other new members. But dating sites, like any business, need money to continue offering and improving their services, and they get people to pay up by making emailing a paid-only privilege.

So if you, in good faith, pay your membership fees, then email a cutie or two or three, you can see how the odds are really against you. It’s a very high probability that the object of your interest has not paid up, 10 or more to 1, unpaid to paid. And you have no way of knowing, because there’s no indication of payment status on profiles. So from the cutie’s point of view, with each contact they receive, they need to decide if the privilege to respond to adorable you is worth the $25 or so it will take them to join up.

The second biggest reason that they don’t answer your emails is that they are rude. Even if someone is not interested, a short, polite note saying something like “Thanks for your interest, but I don’t see a match here” takes only seconds. You can boilerplate a No, thanks” message and just paste and copy your message into an email. Match.com even has a button below the email you get to make it super-easy: Say “No, thanks.”  Why not use it? An unanswered email is so distressing. Event though “No, thanks,” might not be what you want to hear, at least you know.

Unfortunately, rude is becoming the norm. It is absolutely customary now for younger people (older people, too) to just ignore emails they are not interested in. In some ways, this makes sense, because email is so easy to send that many of us are deluged every day. Sorting out what we really want to see from the junk and the communications that we simply aren’t interested in has become a major daily chore. Many people now are simply using the delete key rather than responding. I have also noticed that on sites like Match.com, new emails in your email box have a thumbnail photo, plus age and location. It’s not uncommon for people to not even open the email, based on that tiny bit of information.

So here you have it: Non-answered introductory emails likely mean he/she is cheap or rude. Subset of rude: people who routinely don’t answer any email because they are not interested.  You don’t want to be cheap or rude, do you? Nor do you want to be seen as cheap or rude either, so pay up and say “Thanks but no thanks” to all who think you are a hunk.

P.S. If you post a profile, play fair: Pay the fee! Most sites offer great deals for multiple months (less that 50 cents a day!). You’ll be financially supporting the site you are using and sharing the costs with the other fair-playing members. The dating sites will be able to improve their services with the money you send. And your posted profile, which implies that you are available for communication, will actually be telling the truth!



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