Dating Deadlines Get Dates
by Olle Fun
If you’re anything like me, you know that there’s little more motivating than having a deadline looming on the horizon. Suddenly you can think more creatively. Suddenly the project becomes a priority. Suddenly you are finally taking action.
Heck, I know I procrastinate just so deadlines get closer.
Marketers use this psychology to their advantage all of the time. Ever heard “offer expires soon,” “supplies are limited,” or “act now?” In Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion he calls this “The Scarcity Principle.” Deadlines make things scarce, and it causes us to act.
So, I have an online dating tip for you that can help you use this strong psychology to your advantage. Use deadlines to get your matches to act.
The First-Date Deadline
If you’ve done any amount of dating, you have had this scenario happen to you:
- Sunday: You’ve already sent a girl great opening online dating message, and gotten a response. You send a follow-up to ask her out. “Hey, want to have a drink on Wednesday night?” If you’re smart, you’re more specific than that when asking her out. You don’t get a response that day.
- Monday: Still no response.
- Tuesday: Your buddy says “hey, I have tickets to a great concert on Wednesday. Want to join me?” Since you already have tentative plans, and also because you aren’t a dickhead, you tell him you already have tentative plans.
- Wednesday: You get a message from the girl. “Oh, hey, sorry, I can’t do drinks with you tonight. A friend is in town, and I’m having dinner with her. How about next week?” You then ask your buddy about those concert tickets, but he’s already found someone to go with him. You spend the rest of your evening catching up on your Netflix queue and masturbating.
Okay, so maybe it’s a little rude that the girl didn’t tell you about her Wednesday night plans beforehand. But, you have to live with that. People aren’t always going to act according to your code of conduct. Besides – aside from her personal life outside of online dating – she’s probably swimming in messages, and it’s not so easy to keep tabs on every date request. (But, be wary – unless she’s apologized genuinely, she’s either impolite, or not into you)
But the fact is, her not responding has screwed up your schedule for the week. You missed out on an opportunity to hang out with a friend. Not to mention that evening could have also been used to go on a date with a different potential match. You end up holding the short end of…well…holding your dick.
That’s why – for your sanity – I recommend including a sort of a “deadline” in your date request. It might go something like this:
[Stuff relevant to the conversation thread, etc.]
Well, it’s clear that we could definitely hold a conversation over a drink or two :) Would you like to have a drink Wednesday night at 8pm? Since you live on Wicker Park, how about Nick’s Beer Garden? Alternatively, I can do Thursday night at the same time. I’ll keep these times open until 3pm tomorrow, [emphasis added] so let me know. I’d love to hear more about [conversation nugget], [conversation nugget], and [conversation nugget].
I’m really looking forward to meeting you, Sarah.
WHAT! NO YOU DI’N'T. Yes, you did. It may sound a little hard-edged, but if she has any manners, she will understand. You can’t be expected to twiddle your thumbs all week waiting for a response, and pass up other potential plans.
This “deadline” not only demonstrates that you are not a loser, and that you have an active enough social calendar that you can’t be leaving your evenings open willy-nilly; but also that you’re a considerate person with good communication skills.
You’re already giving her a few days notice, two different nights as options, and offering to come to her neighborhood (all per best practices), so the least she can do is get back to you in a reasonable amount of time. You’re covering all of the possible bases with this message. And, with her having so many messages to sort through, she’ll appreciate that.
Not only will this help you keep your social calendar filled optimally, much like that deadline you have at work, this deadline will get her to act and make a decision.
The Profile Deadline
You’re trolling Match.com, waiting for a buddy to pick you up for a night on the town, and you come across a great match. She’s good-looking, she can spell and use proper punctuation, and she’s smart. Just then, you hear your friend’s car honk. You don’t have time to come up with a good message, so you add her to your “favorites,” and run out the door.
Then, some time passes, you don’t get around to messaging her, next thing you know, she’s not on the site any more.
Wouldn’t it have been nice to know that she was about to disappear?
You might think that she left the site because she found someone, but this isn’t always the case. I would even say that – if she’s really that high-quality match – it probably isn’t the case. She probably got bombarded with so many half-assed or desperate messages that she got frustrated and left the site.
She could have gotten a message from you. Since you have a great profile, know how to write a good message, and can keep a good conversation going, her experience could have been different.
From time-to-time, you might decide to take a break from online dating, too. Maybe you’re getting burned out. Maybe you’ve decided to spend more time with friends and family. Or, maybe your membership is just about to run out, and you don’t plan to renew.
That’s why – before you go canceling your account – you should put up a little “deadline” message in your profile a few days to a week in advance. It could be like this:
Hey there, just so you know: my membership is expiring on January 31st, and I don’t plan to renew. So, I’m a limited-time offer. ACT NOW ;)
I tried this once on OkCupid, and got a message within 5 minutes from a girl directly asking me if I wanted to meet up for a drink. Which brings us to the hidden benefit besides just making a deadline: this is editing your profile, which tends to bump you up in search results.
So, if you keep in mind “The Scarcity Principle,” and make deadlines, you can keep your online dating moving forward.