I’ve been actively online dating for two years and I’m feeling burned out and disappointed. Should I just quit?

by Simone Kornfeld

The old online dating burnout. Classic. We’re actually impressed you’ve held out for a whole two years before getting fried. Online dating is a great tool to meet new men, have random adventures and practice your brilliant flirtation (be sure to read Smitten if you don’t feel like a brilliant flirt yet!). But if you do it with too much quantity and not enough quality control, it can really bum (and burn) you out. Sounds like it’s time to light a fresh fire under your approach. When perusing face after face and skimming through profile after profile it’s easy to dehumanize the real live beings those pixels represent. Instead of genuinely evaluating if you are excited about each person you see, you play the numbers game. You toss a wide net of nonspecific messages, accept generic dates with generically eligible guys, and handle each one like a preliminary job interview. This wide and shallow style of dating can be extremely unsatisfying. You might feel a little spark of excitement each time someone “likes” your profile or sends you a message, but the lack of substance becomes a real wet blanket over time.

So here’s your new strategy: Take an intuitive approach. This means getting acutely selective about whom you write to, respond to and choose to meet. When you check out a guy’s profile take a few moments to gaze into his pixilated eyes. Don’t only focus on how handsome he is, but tune in to the feeling you get when you look at his face. Does his face look like a face that you could enjoy seeing day after day? Even if he’s incredibly handsome, if you don’t feel a deeper stir of interest when you look at him, move on. Same goes with his profile. If he’s passed the gaze test, take the time to read his profile with presence. Feel the essence of his words. Be honest with how they affect you. Again, only move forward writing to him if you are genuinely intrigued. On the flip side, do not entertain connections with guys that reach out to you whom you aren’t truly inspired by. Don’t use their attention to placate your own loneliness or fill you up where you feel a lack.

Finally, when you DO choose to meet up, make it special. Don’t go to the generic coffee shop wearing generic chinos. Choose to visit a unique spot that you’ve never been… like the middle of the cherry blossom grove at the Botanical Gardens, or the underground speakeasy on the other side of town, or the politically charged new exhibit of sketches from Japanese internment camps in the 40’s. You may or may not feel a romantic charge with the guy, but at least you will have curated a man and an activity that will inspire and invigorate your senses. This way you’ll never be at a loss in the online dating game again.