It’s public knowledge that I am a former serial dater, and after seven years of single life, I would bet that I have interacted with the majority of the dating population this fair city houses.
So it’s no surprise I often encounter people from online in my professional life.
Calgary really isn’t that big when you’re swimming in the dating fish bowl.
What makes these encounters awkward are situations when you happen to discover that ‘happily’ married colleague cruising on Tinder, or worse, what happened to me the other day.
“Hey, do I know you?” says the not quite a stranger sitting opposite of me at my desk.
“No, I don’t think so,” says me, praying that he doesn’t remember the fact he once sent me an extremely crude message on a dating app.
So crude, in fact, I may have shared the screen shot with my co-workers, unknowing at the time who he was, or that he would eventually show up in my office.
“Really, you look so familiar,” says the clearly oblivious not-quite-a-stranger, unknowingly digging himself into an awkward hole from which neither of us can ever recover from.
There were two ways this scenario could have played out.
The first was exactly how I handled it, feigning ignorance, yet steering the conversation away from the ‘let’s figure out how we know each other’ game that every human I know plays because it’s programmed into our DNA.
The second way things could have gone would have been if I had called out this ‘gentleman’ on his inappropriate behaviour, which truthfully, occurred over four years ago, but was heinous enough that my co-workers’ memories were triggered when they saw him sitting opposite of me.
It amazes me the bravado that one dons when the person opposite of them happens to be on the other side of a computer/phone screen.
It’s as if we think that this mystical being is somehow not real, and therefore doesn’t require the basic decency or respect you would afford them in real life.
Unsurprisingly enough, in person, he was a perfect gentleman.
And so, the five takeaways we have from this scenario are:
1. People online are real live humans deserving of your respect.
2. If you would be mortified over having something you’ve said go viral on the internet, choose your words more carefully. We call it ‘editing.’
3. Conduct yourself online in a manner in which you will never be ashamed of, because chances are, you will run into someone you’ve interacted with on a dating site in your professional life.
4. If you are certain you know someone, and they’re adamant that you don’t, go along with it. Chances are, you’re being spared what’s left of your dignity.
And 5. Karma is a real witch.
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