The dangers of IM flirting

I’m told some people found the love of their life through an online dating chat room. Others have shared they got to know they beloved long distance through IMs.

Instant messageWhile IMs can be a way to get to know each other quickly, it can also create a false intimacy. I rarely open my IM application because I’ve found it is easy for men (and I’m guessing women) to get into too personal matters too quickly.

For example, I was checking my matches on a new site that has an automatic IM capability as soon as you log on. Within 30 seconds, a guy said hi to me. I typically ignore these, but he had a nice opening salvo, so I quickly looked at his profile, saw he was out of the area and 20 years younger, so sent him my nice brush off message. He continued asking me about things in my profile. So I decided to be nice and chat with him for a few minutes.

By minute two he was asking me questions that were inappropriate. I told him so, and said if he met me at a party he would not be asking these questions. Then I logged off.

The anonymity of the Internet can encourage some people say things they wouldn’t say in person. Or maybe guys like this would! But I think most would have more of a filter for appropriateness. In email, you have some time to think about what you’re writing. But an IM is just that — instant — with very little filtering going on.

This IM assumed intimacy has been more the rule than the exception. If you want to continue to chat you have to tell them your boundaries. But I find if a guy goes there in an IM, he’s not really someone I want to know more.

And it’s not just sexual comments or questions that are a problem. It’s easy to share details and feelings with someone you’re not looking at face-to-face. “What’s wrong with that?” you ask. “Isn’t that a great way to get to really know someone?” Yes, it can be. It can also create an imagined attraction when you haven’t even met yet. Then when you do and there’s no spark, you realize you’ve fallen for the fantasy that you imagined, rather than the real person.

The good news is if you start IMing with someone who becomes inappropriate and you share your boundaries and he doesn’t stop, you can block him from contacting you. Best to nip it in the bud before he has your phone number or address.

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5 responses to “The dangers of IM flirting”

  1. nysharon Avatar

    I have had this same experience. It is a venue for predators and or players to test the ground for free sex or cyber sex. Some of them acutally get off while talking sexual to strange women. A note to all, be careful, there are plenty of ways via the internet to track you down once you start giving out information on IM. I am a probation officer and this is my line of work–not just talking out my ……..

  2. jason was hereee Avatar

    I met my wife on aim 8 years ago, we just got married a little over a year ago. Everyone in the room was ignoring me as I was talkin about snowboarding and she actually talked to me…it was kinda funny, i was too shy to call but im glad i did, she is beautiful inside and out. Im a lucky guy……..So dont give up…..

  3. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I’ve met some cads on IM, (including one who led me on for two months without ever intending to meet up in person, before I finally got smart and cut him off), but I’ve also met some really nice guys, including one I’m right now IMing on a daily basis, just to talk and flirt with a little. As I’ve been out of the dating pool for a few years and am extremely shy by nature, IM allows me to communicate my thoughts and open up in a way I wouldn’t be able to do offline, at least not with someone I didn’t know fairly well beforehand.

    Is this exchange of emotions and feelings good or bad? I think it all depends on how you look at it and the outcome, (if any), of the relationship. Also, and perhaps most importantly to my way of thinking, does it meet the needs of the parties involved? If so, perhaps it’s a good thing. If not, as you said, it’s easy enough to close the window.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  4. […] you just met that person — in person. The Dating Goddess said it best in her recent article: The Dangers of Online Flirting. Lord knows that I’ve had men say to me things that would make me blush in person –okay […]

  5. Mitsy Avatar

    I talked to several guys on yahoo messenger who all had profiles on the yahoo site. There was a certain rush you got when you’d get an instant message and you wondered if this guy was worth talking with or eventually meeting. I remember a guy from a couple years ago. He had profiles on both and Yahoopersonals. He and I also had several phone conversations and I was interested in meeting him, even though I had reservations about the distance. He was about 2 hours away from me. Then after we’d had a couple conversations on the phone (and he never did set a time to meet), I was baffled by his behavior. About a week later, he messages me online and we talk and I finally ask him if we are ever going to meet. He then proceeds to tell me that he “freezes up” upon meeting people. I now forget what I responded to him, but I was clearly irritated that I felt like I had wasted time with this guy if he never planned on meeting me. (We had exchanged photos at this point.) Then I got a couple off-line messages from him later. Never did respond to him…then almost a year and a half later (after I’d removed him from my list) I get another instant message from him. I had not blocked him from messaging me–only removed him from my list.

    At that point, I had actually forgotten for sure who this guy was because I wasn’t sure about the user name. When he told me who he was, I proceeded to tell him, …oh yes, I did remember him and said that he was the guy who had a profile on 2 dating sites but did not want to meet anyone….I said since I never heard back from him again, I did not give it much thought really–sorry. So, I pretty much did tell him what I thought of his behavior, but I didn’t have to fake not knowing who he was at first because it had been so many months since his last contact. Guys like that aren’t worth a minute’s worth of time.

    I now talk to no one via those instant message programs as I got fed up with the games men played and it was just another venue for them to do more of the same. If a guy is interested, he will call and then follow through with meeting a woman. If it doesn’t go in that order, then it’s a waste of time to message and e-mail hoping to get a relationship going. Been there, done that.