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From a date to a relationship

A photo finish

Sadly, it does often happen that people break off contact unannounced once they have seen another member’s photo. Kathy (44) wrote to us about this.

A photo finish

“Dear Parship

I find it extremely upsetting when one of the men on my list asks for my photo and, once he’s seen it, just breaks off contact. OK, so he might not have liked it, but it really makes the whole thing seem a bit cheap. In general, a photo only gives a limited impression of the real person - it can’t express their vibe, their animation or their intelligence. And I don’t believe in ‘no-hopers’. Anybody who looks after themselves a little can at least look interesting, even if they are not to everyone’s taste.

“Even if decisions are being made on appearances, shouldn’t something positive be derived from the process - not just as a matter of good manners, but also of sensitivity to the situation? Shouldn’t it be possible to send a polite refusal, maybe with a little feedback on the photo? After all, I’ve done the other person the courtesy of sharing my photo with him. Can’t your members pluck up the courage to do this? It would make the whole process more relaxed.” Katherine (44), university lecturer


Dear Katherine

Many thanks for your remarks, which we are throwing open for discussion here. It is only natural that meeting with silence should bother you when you have released your photo. Let’s face it, it would be desirable for everyone to use a few well-chosen words to say ‘thanks, but not thanks’ - and many Parship members already do that. And it would be wonderful if everyone would give other members a second chance, even if their photo doesn’t seem to hit the spot at first glance; we have stories of a number of Parship couples have come successfully together in spite of an initial lack of photographic ‘chemistry’.

No fixed rules
But the truth of the matter is more complex. Nobody likes to say no to someone, especially in their private lives - especially if the reason for the refusal can appear superficial. This could explain why some people just prefer to break off contact - which is astonishingly easy to do on the Internet. They can’t be reached and they don’t have a physical photo sitting in their drawer that, according to the etiquette of traditional lonely hearts advertising, they should send back to you. For some people, one of the advantages of online dating is the ‘no strings’ aspect to the process - but that doesn’t excuse impolite behaviour.

It’s only a photo
Katherine is right - a photo is only a partial representation of a person, but it does provide an initial impression. Whatever the circumstances, we can all take a look at someone and ask ourselves: “Do I or don’t I like the look of him/her?” It happens in the street, on the bus, in the supermarket …” It’s just that very few people venture to approach someone they find attractive, only to be told (in the majority of cases), “Sorry, but you’re not my type.” That doesn’t happen on conventional dating sites where members’ photos are on initial display for all to see - and interest is generally aroused by looks rather than something deeper; but it can happen on Parship, with its more discreet system, whereby you release a photo on a one-to-one basis, usually after the two of you have had time to get to know each other a little.

I’ll show you mine …
The more active you are online, the more likely you are to get comments on the way your photo looks - both positive and negative, since people can sometimes forget to be sensitive, even on a site like Parship, with its focus on finding a genuine relationship.

It is up to you whether and when you release your photo to another member on the service. You could perhaps wait until you have sent a few messages to each other, which hopefully decreases the chances of a sudden break-off of contact. That being said, you can’t always expect to see a picture in return. And if you do get turned down, that is just the response of a specific individual - everyone is different and each of your recommended partners on Parship represents a new opportunity for you.

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