I play mahjong. It’s true. I know I’m a bit younger than the average-aged player (though I’m not sure why it trends that way!), but I love my weekly mahjong games. I play with a group of women every Sunday afternoon, and I always come with my shiny pink “I love mahjong” pouch filled with quarters. Why quarters, you ask? Because we gamble, too. I once made out like a bandit, winning an all-time high of $3.75!
One of the reasons I love the game so much is that a large part of it is based on skill. You have to figure out which hand (like in rummy) makes the most sense with the tiles you’re dealt, and then you have to strategically acquire the rest of your tiles to complete the hand. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just bear with me for another minute or so.) You need to use methods that have worked in the past, you need to practice to better your skills, and you need to play pretty often to stay at the top of your game. But, what if, after all of that, you still can’t win? At that point, you just have to resign yourself to trying again next time because the rest of the game is up to timing, chance, and luck. Sometimes you’ll have those working in your favor, and other times things just won’t go your way, no matter how well you played.
In the online dating game, much of your success will be due to hard work. Online dating isn’t easy, which many people don’t realize. They think they can just throw a mediocre profile up there and wait to see what happens. That’s like walking into a bar and just plopping yourself on a stool without even trying to make conversation with anyone or signing up for a gym and assuming you’ll lose weight simply because your credit card is charged on the 15th of every month. It’s just not going to work. The first step is creating a profile that catches someone’s attention. (Profile pointers here.)
But that’s not all! Once you have that amazing profile online (and don’t forget the photos), then it’s time to start sending some emails to people who interest you. I’m not talking about any old generic emails, either; I’m talking about thoughtful, unique emails that show the person of interest that you actually read his or her profile and took the time to craft an email. Will it take some time and energy? Absolutely. Will it be worth it? You bet. (Email pointers here.)
Of course, though, just like in mahjong, sometimes you’ll write that witty email, tweak it a few times, and send it into the online abyss, only to receive nothing in response. Even though you’re devoting the time and giving it your all, sometimes things just won’t go your way. As hard as it may be, try not to take it personally. There could be any number of reasons why someone doesn’t respond—you look like an ex, she’s on vacation, the email got lost in the inbox, or he just didn’t like your hair—but that’s okay. Get back on the horse and try again because you’re bound to win your quarter… ahem, date… eventually.
We can do everything in our power to be the best we can be, either at mahjong or the online dating game, but in the end, timing, chance, and luck will play somewhat of a role in the process. Don’t let it get you down. If anything, it just means that you’re primed for a win (or a date) the next time.