Guest Post: Single In the Digital Age

2011 January 31
by Grace Boyle

Note: Patrick contacted me as a newb blogger earlier this month. His energy and enthusiasm struck me – he wanted IN and he wanted to know everything about blogging. He threw a few ideas my way and here he is with a personal story about (online) dating via guest post. Welcome him!

Bio: Patrick Mullaney writes over at his blog HeyMullaney. He would love to have you view his blog, and he loves to converse over email as well. His email is patmullaney24 [at] gmail [dot] com.

As you can tell from the title, I’m single. And it’s not by choice. I would love to have a girlfriend, but I have a hard time meeting anybody these days.

You remember that old Dane Cook joke he tells about his friends wanting to go out and search for some chicks as if they are down an aisle in a local grocery store? I wish that was real.

Actually it is. It’s called the internet. More and more people join online dating sites every day, and I am one of them. I joined because they told me it’s okay to look. I’ve only been on two dates so far and I joined in November. I was a member of eHarmony for six months and I only went on two dates with that one. I’m also a member of Plenty Of Fish, Zoosk, and OkCupid.

Here’s my profile on Match.

Maybe you can give me some tips on what I’m doing wrong.

I used to make fun of these people. I would joke to my friends and say, “What are they going to tell their kids, that they met on a dating site?” Sure they will. Now I’m putting the hopes and dreams of my personal life into these services just like all of those people. And ‘why not?’ is the way that I look at it. It’s as viable an option as any. It’s better than drunkenly meeting someone at a bar.  I met my last two girlfriends’ in a bar; those went terrific (hardy-har).

What Am I Doing Wrong?

Maybe I don’t put in the time and effort that I should.  Maybe I don’t have enough pictures on my profile. Maybe the username (schlepin24) turns girls off, as one of the meanings of schlepping is to move lazily or sluggishly (I just think it’s a cool word, that’s all). Maybe I’m a repulsive beast that turns into a hairy werewolf at night (and not the sexy Twilight kind either). I don’t know! I honestly don’t understand anything in the dating world anymore. It doesn’t help that I’m hell-a shy.

You want to know what I think is hilarious? I think that it’s funny that in a time where everyone is seemingly so accessible, meeting someone is far more difficult than it ever has been. Everything is an audition. On Match, I only have the impression that my profile gives of me.

You may think the exact opposite of that, but look at it the way I look at it: I wake up, I go to work, I go work out (the gym is not a viable place to meet somebody), I go back home, write, read, I go to bed. That’s the day. Where do I have time to meet anybody?

I understand that there are all kinds of ways to meet people, and I guess I just need to make the time to put myself out there more. Maybe I should do a speed dating event? Like I said, I have no idea. The dating game is such a complete crapshoot. And I’m totally frustrated.

Here’s what I think I’m going to do: Email every single girl on Then I’ll have to get some kind of response! At least, one would be inclined to think that if I did do that.

Now, who’s up for dinner and a movie?

What do you think? Where are the good places to meet people? Do you think that meeting someone online is just as organic as meeting someone in real life nowadays?

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  • Drew Jacob

    Totally understand. I’d try meeting people at work and the gym (which is indeed viable, if you can teach yourself some decent eye contact skills and have something interesting to say).

    Another option is to do your evening writing session at a coffee house. A fine place to meet someone, and less noisy than a bar so easier for the shy types.

    Fun post! I hope to see more :)

  • Kristin

    LOVE this post. What a great perspective coming from a guy. I was literally just talking to a girlfriend about this last week…now that college is over and we all pretend to be adults Monday – Friday, where are we going to meet people?

  • Danielle

    I signed up for eharmony last night, so this post really hit home. I did it once before, but ended up meeting someone (in a bar…) so I didn’t get very far with it. Now I’m back and hoping for success, although I’m still nervous about meeting people offline. Good luck :-)

  • Pingback: My Longest Relationship Was Three Months | HeyMullaney()

  • Anonymous

    Instead of giving you advice I will say you should try reading some of the female dating blogs out there. Learn from other people’s mistakes and get an idea of what the other side thinks.

  • Patrick Mullaney

    I’ve been scouring the internet for good dating blogs to read. The way women think and act definitely is a great mystery. Thanks for the comment!

  • Patrick Mullaney

    Hey man. Yeah, the whole meeting girls at the gym seems daunting. I’ve read that girls may not be receptive to meeting guys at the gym because they are all sweaty and gross and may not consider themselves in any shape to meet someone.

    I love your suggestion to go to coffee houses though, so I think I’ll take a shot at that one. There’s a Barnes and Noble down the street from where I live with a nice cafe so perhaps I should try that one out.

  • Patrick Mullaney

    Hey Kristin, thanks for the kind words. I honestly have no idea where people can meet anymore now that I’m out of college. Like I said in the post, the bar is not the greatest place in the world to meet someone. I know there are all sorts of places to go I guess I just need to determine which place to go to (book stores, cafes, grocery stores?).

    Seriously, one of the local magazines suggested the local Wegman’s as a place to go to meet people. I’m not sure if I’m too eager to go there for that. But at this point I’m willing to try anything.

  • Patrick Mullaney

    Hey Danielle, good luck with eharmony! Eharmony’s strength is also its weakness in my opinion, the fact that they do the matches for you turned me off a bit. There wasn’t so much choice in that. At the same time, I know some members think it’s more intimate and makes meeting someone for the first time easier when you’re not being bombarded with the stress of viewing all those matches that may be available on other websites.

    Again, good luck with everything!

  • Doniree

    First of all – I have a success story! Not mine, but… my sister met her husband on and you’re right – more and more people are meeting via the Internet these days. I met my boyfriend on Twitter.

    Other places you’ll meet girls? Through friends, through social activities (say yes when someone invites you to hang with a new group, try something different, etc – you never know who you’ll meet!), etc. Or, take the initiative! Host something at your place, invite a few friends and instruct them to bring someone new or to bring a friend or a sibling, etc.

    I’ve found some of the best connections (friends and beyond) come through already-existing friends. Oh, and then read this. :) Good luck!

  • Patrick Mullaney

    My brother in law’s sister met her husband on Match, so I went in with high hopes. If nothing else it’s a way for me to meet someone that I may not have had the opportunity to meet had I not done it (duh). So, I’ve got a few more months on it and we’ll see how it goes.

    And I just read that link you sent, pretty humorous stuff. Obvious, but very funny.

  • Working Mom Journal

    Never been into online dating, but I have seen a lot of marriages via online dating. Yet, I am a little weary about it, maybe its the African in me :)

  • Guest

    I feel his pain – I’ve done online dating on and off for a few years now and have tried all the sites (eharmony, plentyoffish, okcupid, zoosk). The good news is I”ve been dating a great guy that I met on POF for about 3 mths now! But the bad news is it took a while to get to this point. I went on a lot of “meh” dates and had a few experiences with jerks.
    I think if you’re going to do online dating you should remember that A) you need to put effort into it – you can’t expect to just post your profile and BOOM get a million messages from cute, fun, smart girls without putting yourself out there. Search around and send a message to anyone who strikes your fancy – not going to lie you probably won’t hear back from a huge number of them. Just GO ON DATES as much as you can. Which brings me to the other thing you should remember, B) accept the fact that you may have to go on a lot of dates, maybe even some bad ones, before you meet the right person for you. I hate saying this as I know it’s not something that’s nice to hear, but I feel I have enough experience with online dating to know. I had people tell me this when I was single and going on date after date that didn’t go anywhere and I thought “ya right, whatever”, but I have realized that it’s true. It’s the same IRL!
    In my opinion, there are a MILLION factors at play when dating/searching for a partner and a lot of it comes down simply to timing. What I know for sure is that if you stick with it and just be patient with the process, you will find someone. Trust me.

  • Grace Boyle

    I really like Doni’s pointers. Sometimes you don’t know if the connection is there, but Match (or other dating sites) are the catalyst to meet someone.

    I really think meeting people through your close friends, friends of friends is one of the best ways to meet someone. They aren’t random, they are friends with someone you know, etc.

    I also haven’t done online dating before, but, I think it’s a great resource. It works for thousands of people! I would give it more time and I would also, ask more girls out. To be honest, not sure girls are going around Match asking guys out regularly. Still some of the old-fashioned rules apply here. So go for it, ask them out, see how it goes. There’s no harm in it!

    Thanks for the guest post!

  • Patrick Mullaney

    Yeah, all I can do is see how it goes! I have to work on more ways of meeting girls as well too though. There’s a coed sports league that goes on around me so I should get involved with that again maybe.

  • Patrick Mullaney

    Dating is such a crazy, crazy game. I will definitely try to go on more dates.

    It just gets frustrating waiting for things to happen. That’s kind of what joining online dating communities allows people to do, let’s you take control of things. But something out there is working beyond my control and I don’t know what it is… Oh well, whatever will happen will happen.

    Whatever will be will be or however that song goes. Thanks for the comment!

  • Michelle

    Perhaps try joining a rec sports team or other low-key, group-focused activity (i.e., volunteering, professional organizations, art/photography/cooking class, etc.). It shouldn’t throw you off your normal schedule too much because the time commitment isn’t huge yet will still give you the opportunity to meet others with similar interests/values. Plus, you’ll inherently have something to talk about! Specifically regarding your concern with courting at the gym, team sports at least circumvent that I’m-watching-you-when-you’re-sweaty-and-gross issue, since you’re supposed to be social and interacting already. Good luck!

  • Caleb Wojcik

    I met my fiance on so it can happen. The strategy (although it sounds weird and kinda creepy to use that word) that I used was to wink or write a thoughtful about about combined interests and not push for a first date. My fiance and I actually emailed for about three weeks back and forth before we ever met in person since we were both so busy. It actually was better that way because we got to know each other really well before we even hung out.

    Also, having non-conventional first dates helps ease the awkward tensions too. Instead of dinner or drinks go do something together. Play a sport, rock climb, paddle a canoe, have a picnic, etc.

    I’m open for sharing any other advice too if you want it.

  • Jane

    I feel your pain… “where DO you go to meet people?” might as well have been my official mantra throughout my 20s. My philosophy was to try not to try TOO hard, but to try to take any opportunity to meet folks… going out with friends, sharing smiles and introducing myself (even when it felt a little scary– “hi, my name is Jane!” is a good conversation starter), going to interesting events in the community (films, art walks, etc), and volunteering at various organizations (well, that one was just something I like to do, but it can be a good way to meet new folks!) Whatever you’re into, there’s usually a community to network with… tech meetup groups,
    athletic groups, etc. Meeting new friends can always lead to new connections. I can say that women respond to guys who are brave and confident enough to just smile and introduce themselves! (As long as it’s not TOO forceful, which can feel insincere). But who isn’t flattered by eye contact and friendliness?

    If I was a single lady looking to date online, here’s what would catch my attention in a guy’s profile: a bit of detail about why you want to date, what qualities/ characteristics are the most attractive to you, what qualities you value the most about the people in your life, what you look forward to doing with the person you end up dating? Maybe a quick thought or two about what makes your life rock or what’s unique about you (I agree with you that the good stuff should be saved for the dates) :)

    I think it’s worth remembering that the women online probably feel a little torn about it, too. So a little effort goes a long way– some photos to give a sense of who you are, more restrained / meaningful contacts than just “emailing everyone” (trust me, desperation or insincerity is THE biggest turn-off) :)
    Just a thought!! Don’t know if that’s helpful, but anyone with enthusiasm and determination can only attract good people into their lives, so don’t give up :)

  • Crysta

    Great post. I’ve been pondering this lately and considering joining an online dating site, but I’m skeptical. I’m so busy – I work full time, go to grad school, volunteer with a couple organizations, and am crazy-involved in my community – but haven’t actually met anyone worth pursuing. If I’m doing everything “right,” why can I not meet a nice guy who’s available? I just keep preaching patience, and eventually, one of these friends-of-friends or volunteering connections will lead to something good. Hang in there!

  • Grace Boyle

    Isn’t it? It’s an honest and true account, one that many people can relate to.

    I don’t think it’s about doing anything “right,” and I wouldn’t be so hard on yourself :) People meet in grocery store aisles, on planes, at the gym, walking down the street, through a friend, etc. There is no “right” place.

    I would say to yourself, if you don’t have time, maybe right now you don’t have time for a relationship. Meeting someone is one thing, but actually being in a relationship takes time and effort.

    Patience is key. Also being yourself is key. Online dating helps put you right in with other people who are honest and say hello, I’m here and want to try dating. It’s just another way to get out there and TRY it. Cannot hurt :)

  • Grace Boyle

    Caleb, I love hearing a success story :)

    And your strategy seems great. Get to know each other, by talking on the phone, email, etc. and then if that persists go to a date. Thanks again for stopping by!

  • Crysta

    You’re absolutely right. For the last several months, I’ve been too busy to even think about dating, and that was fine. It just wasn’t a priority. Just every now and then, like during a good snow storm, I start wondering what I’m doing “wrong.” But in reality, I’m growing and learning and DOING, and that’s fantastic. It will open doors for me that plain old dating can’t.

    And you’re right – a little bit of online can’t hurt 😉

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for checking out the post Crysta. I just checked out your blog, it looks pretty good!

    My ventures online have been unsuccessful so far, but the fact remains that it can be useful if you do it right and you connect with the right people.

    I’m on twitter @heymullaney, hope to talk to you later!

  • Elisa Doucette

    First glaring thing I notice – No occupation listed. But an income. Makes me wonder what you do. I immediately thing gigolo or drug runner. My mind is a little warped though…

    As for online dating, I feel that it is just a new place to meet people. Like fountain-shops and college campuses and bars have all found their way into single space the online field was destined to do it eventually. It works for some people (my sister and her boyfriend met on OKCupid and are ridiculously in love with each other) and for others not so much. Like any other conventional place…just cause it worked for someone doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.

  • Vanessa

    Hey Patrick – honestly, I tried online dating (eharmony) and while everyone in this world is on it – I would love for a good looking, normal, confident guy to walk up to me and start a conversation anywhere: bookstore, subway, starbucks, bar. Not be creepy, no lines, but ask questions to get to know me a bit, be funny (if that is what you are – I’m into funny) and then gage the connection, ASK for my number (worst I could do it say no), CALL ME in 2 days from getting my number and have a real conversation. And then go from there.

    I think for me personally, an in person connection/chemistry is important and online dating became too time consuming and tedious and it took so long to meet people and then there was nothing there. I think it is great that you are putting yourself out there for love. Keep doing what you are doing.

    Also – if anything, your profile is maybe too nice. WE DO WANT nice guys, but if you come off too nice it can give more of a friend vibe. That being said, just be who you are and the right lid will come!

  • Patrick Mullaney

    Hey Vanessa,

    I feel like I have to find that confidence again. I used to have it, then it up and vanished somehow. I am starting to think that Match probably won’t get me the love of my life (or even a girlfriend), but I hope that I put myself out there more.

    Happy you enjoyed the post, and thanks for the advice!

  • Chloe

    Maybe “what you’re doing wrong” is that you describe meeting women – HUMANS, might I add – to picking something up at the grocery store. I’d say with that analogy, the kind of responses you’re getting from women (evidently, NONE) are much like that which you’d get from a steak (do you see my analogy here? A piece of meat, which can’t talk, because it’s not a person… No wait, maybe you’re too slow for this, let me break it down for you…), which is JUST the kind of thing you’d get from a meat market, I mean, a grocery store.

    It’s embarrassing, Grace, that you endorse this kind of garbage on your blog. The entire “From the Guys” segment is boring, vapid, and obscenely simplistic.

  • Grace Boyle

    Hi Chloe. Pat is a blogging friend of mine and this is his genuine account of being single in the digital age and online dating. If you knew him at all, you would know he is kind, funny and just trying to navigate life after college and looking for a wonderful partner. This is of course your judgment and projection upon reading his post. You’re entitled to it.

    I try to offer varying opinions from time to time and of course, not everyone will always agree.

    I’m sorry you feel embarrassed for me and my blog. I don’t see this as garbage and if you saw in the comments, many people had ideas, could relate or even understood where he was coming from. The “From the Guys” posts were a couple years ago and an experiment from friends who still blog for online relationship publications. I would never want someone to think anything here is “boring” and “vapid,” sorry you think that.

    As always, I will relay my thoughts and opinions here as I have for almost three years, with thousands of readers, numerous blogging awards and a wonderful supportive community. I welcome your feedback and if you prefer to share more with me, you can always reach me by email: I would welcome it!

    Thanks for stopping by, Chloe.