I'm writing about your 2/2/2 rule from Finding the One Online. Since you originally came up with it, the online experience has changed significantly when it comes to email. Many people rarely use a desktop and, instead, rely on their phones for most online communication. As a result, email communication has dropped significantly while texting has risen.
I've messaged several men who never use email. So suggesting to them that we communicate that way is awkward for them. Some have tried and it's very obvious right from the start that they never use email because it doesn't make sense on a phone on which texting is so much easier and the norm.
As a professional writer, email is right up my alley. But trying to stick to 2/2/2 when the same is not true for many men is difficult to say the least.
So can you update the second part of the 2/2/2 rule to reflect the reality that, for many people these days, email is virtually obsolete?
Thank you, Barbara, for the email, and for the reminder to my readers that, yes, in fact, times change, advice changes, and even things that are called “rules” are really more like “guidelines.”
To recap, for those of you who aren’t aware of the 2/2/2 Rule. It was something I came up with when I was a single guy in the early 2000’s. Most guys were writing one line emails that said, “Hey, you’re hot! Here’s my number. Let’s meet!” and, as a result, struggled mightily with online dating.
I, on the other hand, really enjoyed online dating because I chose to slow down when everyone else was speeding up. While other guys were angling for quick coffee dates and pushing to get laid, I just wrote a few more emails on the dating site, moved to regular email for a few emails, scheduled a phone call and a follow up, and THEN set up a first date. At that point in time – merely a week later – we would feel so comfortable with each other that a first date would feel like a second date.
I told women to apply this principle to online dating in my Finding the One Online program in 2008. By offering templates and a technique that would slow men down and yet make the interaction fun and playful, women could avoid going on all those bad soul-sucking dates with total strangers.
Most of the people who complain about modern dating are complaining about the very methods they’re employing to date: dating apps, texting and social media. My answer to them: STOP DATING THIS WAY.
The 2/2/2 rule (2 emails on the dating site, 2 emails on Gmail, and 2 phone calls before a date) helped so many women that one of my clients suggested I do a TEDx talk about it in 2014. If you have 18 minutes to spare, you can watch it here, as nearly a half million other people already have.
The criticisms – apart from the personal ones about my eyes, hair, ears and voice – were predictable:
“I just want meet as quickly as possible to see if there’s chemistry.”
2/2/2 allows you to build trust, rapport, and excitement over the course of a few days, thereby allowing you to screen out most of the awful, angry, unintelligent men – and, in turn, have better first dates.
If you prefer meet a total stranger who swiped right on your face, good luck with that.
“Guys do all the work. Women only like tall, rich, white guys. Life is unfair.”
Read the YouTube comments on my TEDx Talk and you will hear from lots angry men who put in a lot of energy to online dating with little reward. To some extent, they have a point. It’s really competitive to get the attention of a beautiful woman online. And while they can’t necessarily control their height, weight, age, race, education or income, they can certainly do better with their marketing: namely writing better profiles that attract women and writing better emails to stand out from the crowd. That’s what 2/2/2 is about if you choose to learn how to do it right.
Finally, there’s your criticism, Barbara:
“Nobody emails anymore. It’s all about texting.”
Yes and no.
- Yes, you’re correct that texting is the dominant form of communication.
- Yes, it’s true that many people aren’t tethered to their desktops any longer.
- Yes, it’s true that the millennial generation has a completely different relationship to technology.
- Yes, it’s true that men like instant gratification. They don’t want to waste time, don’t want to discover you don’t look like your photo, don’t want to wait for sex. Thus, anything that slows them down can send them into a minor tizzy of annoyance.
And yet… And yet…
The concept behind 2/2/2 isn’t really about 2 emails, 2 Gmails and 2 phone calls before a date.
It’s about making a connection BEFORE you meet instead of meeting and hoping to connect.
It’s about going back to a time that most people enjoyed – a time when dating was more personal – a time that it was expected for men to make some sort of effort for women.
Listen, I hold no judgment for anyone who doesn’t like the old way. Takes too much time. Costs too much money. Doesn’t guarantee a great first date.
The problem – as I see it – is that most of the people who complain about modern dating are complaining about the very methods they’re employing to date: dating apps, texting and social media.
My answer to them: STOP DATING THIS WAY.
There are men who will answer a few playful questions on a dating site.
There are men who use email at work and will jump when you offer to send him a photo there.
There are men who will be glad to call you on his commute home.
There are men who will make a plan at the end of the phone call.
The idea is that you make a verbal connection on the dating site by being a great conversationalist, you only give a guy your phone number right if he earns it, and if you do give him your number, you’re better off setting up a specific time for him to call.
My point is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to online dating, but if you’re unhappy doing it one way, you’d be wise to consider another way.
Most people decry the shallow, impersonal approach of swiping and texting. Everybody’s being judged on their photo. Everybody’s got 10-20 text conversations going. Everybody ghosts without a trace.
So what feedback do I get? Change your 2/2/2 rule to accommodate this objectively less intimate way of getting to know someone! Sorry, folks. I may not be able to singlehandedly kill Tinder and texting, but I can certainly encourage you to become less reliant on it – especially when it’s frustrating you.
Moral of the story: 2/2/2 isn’t iron-clad. I don’t give a shit if you exchange five emails on the dating site or if you have one phone call instead of two. The idea is that you make a verbal connection on the dating site by being a great conversationalist, you only give a guy your phone number right if he earns it, and if you do give him your number, you’re better off setting up a specific time for him to call.
If you don’t – if you say it’s impossible - I predict a lot more swiping and texting in your future, all because you insist that you have no choice in the matter.
Here are a bunch of other women who followed my old-school ideas – and discovered men who would email, call, plan and pay – all because it was fun and in their best interest.