Better in Person

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I know a woman that I absolutely cannot stand - and with whom I should be best friends.

On paper, we’ve got so much in common. We shared the same major in college. We have many of the same interests in books and movies. We share almost all the same political beliefs. She’s done many things that have earned my respect.

Now, if only we could have a conversation without one of us gritting our teeth. I’m not sure exactly what the problem is; there’s no apparent underlying issue, like competition, for instance. We’ve both tried to get along. I simply feel like we’re speaking two different languages. Chatting is never easy, even though we’re both extroverts. We’re somehow oil and water.

I’ve known her for many years. I’ve long accepted that we’re never going to be best friends, and that’s okay. Occasionally, though, I’m reminded by how compatible we ought to be, and I’m bewildered all over again.

The same thing happens on occasion in online dating. We see a profile that looks promising, and get excited, only to be disappointed when our personalities don’t mesh nearly as well in person as they do on paper.

The problem is that sometimes we want to believe the profile is the truth, not the person. We’ve become infatuated with that profile, and we’re not ready to let it go. So we try a second date, or a third.

Alas, like my non-friend and me, you can’t usually talk yourself into having chemistry. Sure, randomly bad first dates do happen, but that second date will confirm everything you need to know, if you’re honest with yourself. So if you find yourself in a similar situation, remind yourself: you’re not looking for a great profile, or a great emailer. You’re looking for someone who is just as good - or better - in person as they are on paper.