Busy week, other things to focus on – sometimes I forget I sent a note at all.
And yet, here I am, convinced beyond just about any doubt that what we’d call rudeness in our face to face dealings is a far kinder way of behaving in the online world.
It’s cleaner, it’s less awkward, and as counter-intuitive as it may seem, ignoring people spares their feelings.
It’s the ones who employ actual manners, as we learned them growing up, who make us feel the worst about ourselves.
I see it, I recognize the truth in it, and the part of me who was raised to be a courteous Southern boy who respected the feelings of others is never going to be quite okay with the idea that “rudeness” is the nicest thing I can do for another person.
In “real life,” when someone approaches and asks you out, you’re obliged by social custom to reply. How can I be mean to someone who thinks I deserve that kind of effort?
You may not be interested, but you can’t just pretend that the person isn’t standing there talking to you. So we have developed all manner of ways of saying no thanks, in what is hopefully the kindest way possible. And a couple times, women I have written to actually have replied with nice no thank you messages. And – here’s the odd part – a little uncomfortable.
None of us likes to be rejected, and if we have any empathy about us at all we’re uncomfortable inflicting pain and/or embarrassment on someone – especially since that person’s only crime is thinking we’re kinda neat. When I first signed up for back in 2010 I didn’t know the rules. It turns out that I much prefer being ignored to being acknowledged in cases of rejection.
I remember feeling obliged, when I got a message from a woman who didn’t interest me, to try and craft a nice reply that didn’t make her feel bad about herself. If there’s no contact, it’s harder to take it personally.
I also remember sending notes to women I found interesting and getting absolutely no reply at all. I may not even notice that whomever she was didn’t reply.