With over a year of online dating under my belt I was starting to think of myself as a bit of an expert. From Silver Foxes and Cape Town’s numerous Mama’s boys (maybe that’s why they call it the Mother City) to the FWBs and Rebound Guys – I convinced myself I’d seen it all and there were no more nasty surprises that the big bad world of dating could pull on me. But that was until I ‘met’ the TALKER.
The Talker : The online ‘dater’ who engages in prolonged email or WhatsApp conversations with no intention of ever meeting up with potential suitors IRL (In Real Life).
Despite the fact that I had heard plenty of Talker horror stories, I still managed to find myself sucked in by one. He was considerably better looking than average OKCupid troll, his spelling and grammar were excellent (a huge ask these days) and he had the ability to hold a engaging conversation (well,online at least). Oh, and he claimed to be a VERY BUSY medical doctor ( so you can’t blame a girl getting carried away thinking of George Clooney in his ER days).
Anyway, Dr Ross promised me we’d meet after his exams were over and being a reasonable young lady I figured it was a fair request. But two weeks went by and still no sign of said date. Fed up and disillusioned, I decided the best course of action would be to ghost the socially inept fool. Sadly he didn’t get the hint so I told him straight about my approach to dating. He eventually confessed to being a Talker and told me that I’d only end up disappointed if I met him IRL because he gets stage fright around new people. Whatever, I am not interested in attending any pity parties.
Before this little episode I had assumed that everyone using online dating platforms was looking for real human interactions but I was proved wrong. It seems that there really are people out there that are just after a virtual ‘relationship’. In fact, there are stories of some such ‘relationships’ lasting for years.As much as this behaviour baffles me I figured there must be logical reasons for the existence of the Talker. Here are the reasons I’ve narrowed it down to:
Like the Talker in my story, there are people out there that have trouble interacting with fellow humans. Sitting behind a computer screen offers them a form of protection and allows them to put on a confident facade but having to meet someone face-to-face would just end in a meltdown. Fair enough – but they should be seeking professional medical help for their lack of interpersonal skills instead of wasting precious time.
Exploring alternative options
If your relationship is on the rocks its natural to look elsewhere. You’d expect most philanderers to make a B-line straight to Ashley Madison but not everyone is that sure of themselves or their ability to cheat. Using legit online dating platforms may seem like a softer option and a good way to test the waters and check out if the grass is really greener on the other side.
Looking for an ego boost
Life has a habit of knocking us down. So sometimes its natural to look seek some attention just to boost our egos. Pretty people or those with a glittering personality can simply go out and find other humans that will laugh at their jokes and flirt with them, which in turn will boost their confidence and leave them feeling like they can handle anything the world throws at them. Then there are others who need to use the internet, create fake identities in order to create the same effect.
We all have issues. Some us have good friends and family that we can talk to. Others are willing to fork out for a professional therapists.There are occasions when one can utilise a random Tinder boy as a sounding board (guilty as charged!) but at least have the decency to do it person. Talkers know that there are Mother Hens out there that are looking for a pet project to take care off and they’ll take advantage of that for as long as can.
Remember not everyone is who they say they are. That cute guy with the dimples you’ve been sharing your innermost thoughts with could just as well be a spotty teenage perve sitting behing a computer in a remote Indian village! It may be relatively rare but beware of the catfish – very few photos or being generally vague should be seen as red flags.
So, my advice when it comes to Talkers is to avoid them. Unless of course you’ve got a lot +of time on your hands in which case maybe you should just find some hobbies. I’d say limit yourself to 1-2 weeks of chit chat online. If they are decent people they’ll make a plan to meet for a drink in a public place as soon as possible (I’ve had dates on the same day as being matched with the person!). Its only when you meet someone IRL that you’ll know whether there’s any chemistry and the longer you let the virtual relationship carry on the greater the risk of you falling in love with a fairy tale character that only exists in your imagination.
Now over to you Dear Rinsers. Do you have any Talker experiences to share with us? Are you reluctant to meet people offline or are you a fan of getting the first date over a done with? Do you have any advice/tips on how to spot a Talker? Answers in the comments section below.