I ask this question seriously. As I mentioned before in a previous post, I’ve been treading the online dating waters but I am no closer to finding someone that I can get excited about than I was before. I’ve gone out on a few not-so-great-dates and I’ve even had mildly interesting online conversations with a few men. But still nothing serious. At this point I am considering throwing in the towel and abandoning online dating altogether.

I don’t want to give up though, especially since I haven’t been finding much success dating offline either. But I find the selection of guys I’ve encountered online to be a digital reminder of who I don’t want to date. Take for instance the guy who can’t carry a conversation. Sometimes I message a guy first if I’m really interested. I peruse his profile, looking for something interesting to compliment him on or ask him a question about. I make sure the message is more than a sentence long. You know what I get in response (if I even get a response)? Just a “thanks” or some other one-word equivalent. So I ask another question, usually one that requires an explanatory answer from which I can get a little more information about him. With that, I get a whole sentence in response that doesn’t really tell me much. Why bother responding at all if you’re not going to put any effort into it? If you’re not interested, it’s better that you don’t respond at all. That’s what I do. But if you are interested, when are you going to ask me a question? This isn’t just about you. It’s called a conversation. Learn how to have one.

Then there are the guys whose opener message to you is, “Good morning.” Nothing else, just those two words. *Sigh* Okay, good morning you as well. I check out their profile before sending the reply so that I can add something else witty or complimentary to say based on what I’ve read. If they mention a TV show or movie I like, I’ll add that to the message as well. His response? Nothing. It’s like he used up all his gusto in his cheery greeting to me despite the fact that my reply message inspired further chatting. So I forget about him until I get a response from him hours later that simply reads, “Good evening.” I kid you not. I cannot wait to ignore that fool. What is he, some kind of Daylight Savings messenger? I just can’t.

What about the guys who only want to talk online? My personal rule of thumb has always been to talk to a guy online for maybe two weeks (depending on frequency) to get to know him and then, if he hasn’t already done so and we both are interested, suggest we exchange phone numbers and meet in person. Sometimes we do actually meet. But other times, he just prefers to chat. I assume there’s something up with this guy (maybe he’s in a relationship or something) and end the conversation. I am not on a dating site to find a pen pal.

On the other hand, there’s the guy who sends one flimsy message to me with a short greeting and dives right into asking for my number. Um, who are you? Why would I give out my number to a guy who I’ve never even spoken to who hasn’t even introduced himself to me? Ugh. Do better.

Let’s talk about some of these profiles I’ve been seeing. First of all, it should go without saying that you should take a moment to at least fill out your profile. I know that certain sites have a lengthy questionnaire that is sometimes optional (but helpful, because I look at those kinds of things). But you should at least fill out the basic information section where you write a description of yourself, interests, and anything else that conveys your personality. Your photo tells me nothing.

Another thing that should be obvious is that your profile should have more than one photo. I am not a fan of selfies (like, at all) but I realize they’re needed for these kinds of sites, so I made the effort and uploaded five on my profile. I made sure that they conveyed certain aspects of my personality, in different clothes and settings. Why do some guys only have one photo of themselves and they’re wearing a baseball hat or they’re looking down? Are they in the witness protection program? Is the undercover look in now? For crying out loud, let me see your face.

Also, when you take a selfie from your phone, please make sure said phone is out of the picture. I can’t even believe I have to say that. Oh, and try to take a minute to get dressed before you strike a pose (the half-naked shot of your abs while standing in front of your bathroom mirror is so lame). I could only hope that there’s more to you than a hard body. If that’s all you’ve got, you really need to reevaluate your life.

One more trend I’ve found slightly disturbing is the guy who lied about his age on his profile and tells you he’s lied about it. Seriously. One of the things I look at in my search is age. I select an age range of guys and my results are supposed to only reflect men in that age group. But I’ve found some men who have the following disclaimer on their profiles: “First of all, I’m X years old. I put Z as my age because I have a young soul so I am looking for a woman who is Z years old.” Sir, I believe the site you want to be on is sugardaddy.com or some kind of male equivalent of a cougar site. But thanks for making it easy for me to eliminate your profile in my search right away. It saves time.

I say this all to ask, how is someone supposed to find love on these dating sites? I’ve found it difficult to even get a response from some guys. I’ve even encountered guys who are “just looking for a friend right now.” Dude, get out of my way. You need to hightail it to bangwithfriends.com or meetup.com and stop wasting everyone’s time here.

Doesn’t anyone crave that goose bump-inducing connection with a person you could only have once you meet them? Does anyone care to get to know a person anymore? Have we all become so delusionally preoccupied with what we’ve convinced ourselves are more pressing areas of our lives that we forgot how to talk to each other? If we are so digitally dependent these days, why are many still digitally-tongue tied when it comes to online conversation and portrayal? At this point, we should have all mastered the art of the digital language.

I can’t possibly begin to answer these questions. But as I continue to navigate the online dating world, it’s become increasingly evident to me that too many of us are trying to cut corners in dating and aren’t putting the leg work in. Is it because we can’t figure out how to do so or is it simply that we don’t care? 

Candice Frederick is an award-winning journalist and film blogger. She writes the blog Reel Talk and serves as co-host of “Cinema in Noir”.