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Online Dating Tips

When I think about potential topics for future posts, I like to read through my co-bloggers’ entries and trending topics from other Catholic sources. After writing my last blog, a few of my friends gave me great suggestions for future posts. I was on a roll—before the blog was even published, I was writing three new ones. And then it went live. And the comments started rolling in.

I am always shocked at the complete lack of Christian charity and consideration for others that so many commenters exhibit on my own and others’ blogs. Many personal pages on the Web are opinion pieces based on the writer’s own thoughts and experiences. If someone disagrees with points I’ve made or conclusions I’ve reached, I certainly have no problem with it. When commenters make personal attacks on an author, I do wonder at their motivation.

In one recent blog, the author wrote how she dealt with specific dating problems before she became a happily married mother. One comment about the relationship? “The dynamics are that he’s wussed out. For now. Eventually, the real him will return, but she’ll be older and probably fatter.”

In my last blog, I mentioned how it’s a good idea to take advantage of being single to make time to travel. One commenter reacted in this rather bizarre way: “When women are busy racking up student loan debt and traveling, how will they ever have time to settle down and have children [?]. They are so busy with their higher education degrees and world travel in their 20s that they are too busy to be interested in potential mates and then by the time they are 30 they are so entrenched in debt that marriage will not be possible.”

In both of these examples, the commenters have assumed the worst. They do not know the authors, and yet they have made very direct personal accusations.

Charity has always been the most elusive virtue for me. It will probably be a lifelong struggle for me to temper my sharp tongue. Words I’ve said in anger or impatience will haunt me for the rest of my life, and I pity my poor confessors.

However, comments on the Internet, and most especially on CatholicMatch, should not be words typed in haste or bitterness. The blogs and forums on CatholicMatch are meant to be non-threatening ways to exchange ideas and start new, like-minded friendships. I can only assume that any Catholic single on the site is looking for a spouse. Why then would an eligible man or woman write a comment that is irrationally aggressive and personally directed at a writer? Those comments can be linked back to a member profile—shouldn’t we all be trying to put our best foot forward? If these commenters think that being unkind will find them a spouse, they are most definitely wrong.

CatholicMatch has put out a booklet on how to navigate online dating, and there is a section on proper etiquette in forums and comments. It is never okay to attack a person directly, but a logical argument against points in a blog is completely acceptable. No one wants to leave the feeling that they are a loose cannon, especially when trying to make a good impression on a prospective spouse.

I’d like to think that all of us on CatholicMatch are in the same boat. We are single practicing Catholics, trying to find a partner to help us get to Heaven. In no way will making negative assumptions about each other help us get to this goal. All of us should try using a little more kindness in our interactions with others, even lowly bloggers. As Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

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11 Comments

  1. Missy-1032758 November 29, 2013

    “Charity is the measure by which Our Lord judges all things.”
    Padre Pio

  2. Stacy-1024270 November 29, 2013

    I am amazed by the same thing, not only online but in real life. There is a very fine line between voicing your opinion and just being hurtful and disrespectful. More people need to put themselves in the receiver’s place BEFORE speaking. Would they want to hear those words or that tone towards themselves? You are so right, everyone is going through trials that others no nothing about. Very eloquently put, God bless you!

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      I’ve noticed that the people who lash out in these posts seem to be the ones who are in the most pain. So, I put this to everyone reading these posts. Which people who post in here should receive God’s mercy. You all seem to have very set rules on who should get your mercy.

  3. Lisa-727959 November 29, 2013

    Great post, Catherine! I agree whole-heartedly.

    - Lisa Duffy

  4. Charley-998972 November 29, 2013

    I would imagine that all the bloggers agree ;-)

  5. Lynea-297530 December 2, 2013

    One of the issues is that people use the internet as a way to artificially fill their social void. They puff themselves up because they feel that they can be armchair judges from behind their computers, without having to know an entire situation. Yes, we can judge right and wrong, but rash judgment is a sin. Also, just because one can always find support on whatever they believe, do or say, even if it is outside of charity, support doesn’t mean that they are right. “Right is right if everyone is wrong, and wrong is wrong if nobody is right,” as the old saying goes. People are no longer discerning out of charity that is true charity: obedience to God FIRST, and secondly, out of this love of God, love of neighbor as self. Without that true order of charity, people lose discernment of right and wrong, make excuses for their sins, and tend to rashly judge others. Social media has inadvertently fostered this lack of charity and responsibility for discernment of due decorum and just right and wrong in general due to it being abused in a disordered way. We ought to be firstly be building holy connections with friends outside the internet, instead of looking just to find the cheap and easy way for socializing with anyone who will agree with us.

    • Lynea-297530 December 2, 2013

      If anyone wants to attack me, by the way, please first attack my terrible grammar. I despise my writing skills.

      Here is what I meant to say,
      “… just because one can always find support on whatever they believe, do or say, even if it is outside of charity, that support doesn’t mean that they are right. “Right is right if everyone is wrong, and wrong is wrong if nobody is right,” as the old saying goes. People are no longer discerning out of charity that is true charity: obedience to God FIRST, and secondly, out of this love of God, love of neighbor as self. Without the true order of charity, people lose discernment of right and wrong, make excuses for their sins, and then they tend to rashly judge others. Social media has inadvertently fostered this lack of charity and responsibility for discernment (including due decorum and just right and wrong in general) due to social media being used in a disordered way — as a way to foster one’s ego. We ought to be firstly be building holy connections with friends outside the internet with the Kingdom of God as our intended end, instead of looking just to find the cheap and easy way for socializing with anyone who will agree with us.”

      Some will even commit “sins of the tongue” via their fingers (eg.: typing uncharitable comments) and use their faith as an excuse. Also, without a culture of discernment — which social media tends to lack because it simply has more worldly influences than spiritual, even if it is mainly discussions of spiritual things, wrong is presented as ‘right’ and what is truly right in God’s eyes is considered ‘wrong’ and ‘uncharitable.’ For example, we’ve even come to the point where if someone publicly professes that they are against the Church’s teachings on the 6th and 9th Commandments, and someone says, “well, that means that you are in heresy” — then they are considered uncharitable for even saying that about something that the person in question publicly revealed. It’s ridiculous. Virtue is no longer a good thing, but public opinion is greater than that. Some will say they mean to promote virtue, but when it comes down to it, they will buckle to human respect when they are tested.

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      Yeah! Like the bible says-no charity for those people on social media that don’t show charity! It’s getting rather funny that all the people that are talking about charity are showing no charity to those who we don’t feel are voicing their pain in an appropriate manner. I hope God is a little more merciful than the people in here!

  6. Tom-995241 December 3, 2013

    The subjects of religion and politics don’t seem to be a good way to start off a conversation with someone you have just met.

  7. Lynea-297530 December 28, 2013

    Tom, what brought that response on? Did anyone say here that was a good way to “start off a conservation”? But there are forums here by topic, and some of them are on politics and religion. There are some people who really care about these topics, and for good reasons too. I think it’s good to have the ability to communicate about the things that are most important to you, wouldn’t you agree? Many people come here to meet not just baptized Catholics, but Baptized practicing Catholics.

    Anyway, my comments were taking on the points already brought up. Sorry if something I mentioned bothered you.

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