By Amethyst Wonder
You know what I’m really starting to hate? People sending me messages written as though they know me.
This is the verbatim text of two actual messages I received on FetLife:
Hey lady how have you been? I thought we would have at least had a real conversation by now. Hope we can learn more about one another
heya gorgeous, just droppin by to show you some love and let you know just how goddamn sexy you are!! i mean soo hot!! x
What’s wrong with these? Besides the complete lack of capitalization in the second message, they’re pretty inoffensive. Here’s the thing: each of these messages was the first contact I received from the person who sent them. At all. I know, the first message really sounds like I’d met this person before – but, I hadn’t. The second message is nothing but complimentary, which I appreciate. But it irks me that it sounds like it was written by a friend I haven’t heard from in a while.
I get a lot of messages. People ask me questions about groups I’m in, comment on my photos, or introduce themselves after having met me in real life. Some of them are quite lovely. I don’t mind one bit getting messages from strangers.
I mind when people are overtly rude, of course. I mind when people don’t read my profile before messaging me, especially when they pretend that they have. I mind the unsolicited cock-shots. I mind the out-of-the-blue friend requests. But I also mind, maybe not as much, when people don’t bother to introduce themselves or tell me how they found me to write to me in the first place.
I realize many people have no problem with this. Maybe I’m still a little old school. Social networking, be damned, but I hate that people use their computers as an excuse to throw out all sorts of real-life etiquette. I wouldn’t just walk up to someone on the street and start speaking to them in such a familiar way. I think it’s just as presumptuous to do it online. And yes, sharing online creates the illusion of intimacy, especially with a lot of what we do. But that’s no reason not to forget your manners.
I think the reason this particular type of message bothers me so much is that I can’t help but wonder if this is just a minor faux pas or the tip of the inconsiderate iceberg. Each time I get one of these messages I lose a minute of my life weighing the loss of a potential friend against the time I will never get back if this person is an idiot. It really makes me wish FetLife had an auto-reply function.
So why am I writing this? Because I’m begging you not to be that person. If you want to reach out and make a new friend, great. But I’m an advocate for thoughtful messages. And this sort of in-your-face, too familiar greeting can be very off-putting. If you really want to connect with someone, a little effort to introduce yourself goes a long way to making that someone feel you’re worth it.