We’ve all been there. You’re out and about, having a few drinks, maybe even on a date, and there he or she is… someone you recognize from Jdate (or any online dating site). Maybe you just clicked on each other’s profiles, maybe you “flirted” or “winked,” maybe you e-mailed back and forth a few times, or maybe you had one fateful date that never led to another. Or even worse, maybe someone committed Din #4 in our high holiday dating atonements – deciding they were not interested and never telling the other person. What is the proper protocol when you have the dreaded in-person online dating encounter? (Dun dun dun)
You have a few choices when this happens:
- Do the dance Ashlee Simpson did when she was caught lip-syncing, and leave the proverbial stage immediately.
- Give each other the awkward, “I know you know I know” glance all night.
- Avoid each other like the plague lest you get caught in a “JDate Moment.”
- Say a friendly, knowing hello and go on your way.
- Announce to all your friends, and everyone in the room for that matter, that you guys know each other from JDate. How funny is that?
I’m hoping the answer is obvious… #3. Kidding, of course! The answer is #4. It’s happened to all of us, and it’s not a big deal. Whenever I hold a seminar or make a presentation, I start out with the question, “How many people in this room have done online dating?” Depending on the age range of the audience, anywhere from about 5 to 30 percent of the hands go up. But then I change the question to, “How many people in this room know someone who has done online dating?” Without fail, 100 percent of hands are in the air every time.
It’s a small world in our nation’s capital, especially in the Jewish community, so we’re bound to have these meetings. But the mature way to down-play the potential awkwardness is to say a knowing hello and be on your way.
So don’t cower in embarrassment, don’t do a crazy jig, and don’t call any more attention to it than you have to. A polite hello will do the trick. And who knows? Maybe the polite hello will lead you to strike up a conversation, and you’ll then be able to say that you met offline instead.
Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, helping people find success in online dating and getting them excited about its possibilities. “Like” A Little Nudge on Facebook, or follow on Twitter. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.
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