Monday, July 15, 2013

It's a Small World After All

San Francisco is a notoriously small town. You're generally no more than 6 degrees of separation away from everyone. Often it's more like two. Not surprisingly, the world of online dating reflects just how small this city is.

Here are some of the most common scenarios:

He's dated one of her friends
A week or so ago, I got a message from one of my close friends asking if I knew a guy who had been Tinder* messaging her. I did, in fact, know this guy. We had gone out a few times not that long ago, and based on my experience he wasn't exactly looking for anything serious. I said I didn't mind if she went out with him, but she thought it was too weird. Game over on that potential meet up.

He's checked out or hit on one of her friends
The same friend mentioned above was telling me about a guy who she'd been messaging through OKCupid. They were really hitting it off and had a date planned. She told me his username so I could check out his profile (on invisible viewing of course) and tell her what I thought. Before I'd even had a chance to do this, I saw his name pop up that he was looking at my profile. Fortunately, he didn't also message me, but it was quite the reminder that everyone on these sites is seeing multiple people. In another example, I was telling a different friend about a guy I had a date scheduled with. She thought she knew who I was talking about and pulled up his Facebook profile. Sure enough, same guy. While she had been looking for a potential roommate, he had come over to look at her place and afterwards asked her out. She didn't go out with him so I still did, but the date was slightly awkward because of it.

You already know each other
Some of you have told me you've run across my profile, and I'm sure more of you have than I know of. I've been lucky only to find a few people that I recognize, but many friends have stories about running across coworkers. It's just awkward, but good to remember that you're not as anonymous as you'd like to think on these sites.

Everyone is on multiple dating sites
I haven't been on Coffee Meets Bagel** for very long so I've only seen profiles for a few guys on that site and have "liked" only a handful. I was looking through the profiles I've had come through. Then I switched over to Beautiful People***. One of the guys from CMB also had a profile on Beautiful People using the same profile pic. I really shouldn't judge since I'm also on there. But I'm there as a social experiment for the blog, and I doubt he's doing the same, so I'm definitely judging.

Your dates know each other
Coffee Meets Bagel was founded by an MBA student so there seems to be a high number of MBAs on that site compared to the other sites. I looked at the Facebook friends that I have in common with two of the guys I have dates set up with. Based on where they went to school and our mutual friends, they definitely know each other. This has the potential to get super awkward.

*Tinder: An iPhone app where you see a photo and the Facebook friends you have in common. If you match, they put you in contact with the person over text. Often, but not always, it's used to find someone to meet up with out at a bar. Minimal effort required to find dates.

**Coffee Meets Bagel: Each day you receive a "bagel" in your email. You open the site to see the person's photo and basic information about the person. Like Tinder, if you match, they put you in contact over text. You can use coffee bean points to unlock the Facebook friends you have in common. Almost no effort required since the potential dates are sent to you each day.

*** Beautiful People: This site is the lowest of the low for the sites I've seen. To become a member, you upload photos, and you are voted in based on attractiveness. The people on this site are objectively much more attractive, but they often seem to be much more shallow as well (no surprise there). From what I can tell, to actually get matched with someone you have to pay for the premium service. Otherwise it just seems to be feeding people's egos to get "blinked" at by other attractive people. High effort to find a date.

So online daters, don't forget to be nice to people you interact with on these sites. Chances are, you have more people in common than you think.

Update on Compliment Guy
We had date #2 on Friday. We played laser tag, not at an indoor place, but outside in a park. He and his friends are very serious about their laser tag. They have their own guns, wear ninja outfits and there was even some face painting. I actually had fun (and won a round), but Compliment Guy has been MIA since. It seems like chances are pretty high that he's not interested at this point. So, dear readers, it looks likely that there will be many more blog posts in my future.


  1. Wow laser tag.... Barney Stinson would totally approve

  2. A long time ago, a friend of mine who was on (this was pre-OKC days) came across a guy that I worked with (mind-you this when I was living in a far, far smaller town than SF, LA, or even Den). His wife had gotten in a bad accident about 9-months previous and was in a coma with little-to-no chance at a real life. This was obviously his first foray past that relationship, but it felt very, very odd (and slightly voyeuristic and sad) to see him in this new, dating-inclusive light... but yeah, online dating is definitely a small world.

  3. Its only Monday and you saw Compliment Guy on Friday. To me that's not enough to begin speculating about his disinterest. Hang in there. Maybe he doesn't want to smother you. Who knows.

  4. Who knows is right. I'm just not holding my breath.

  5. ^^ I agree, I wouldn't think that just yet... maybe he doesn't want to smother you...