Because they are for many single people the opening salvo to online dating or our first real entrée for finding a social life, obsession with personals, or at very least an overly keen interest in them is where madness can start. For writers we can become obsessed with getting every single word correct, fret over where to post the personal and then when we do check them constantly-to not do much more then re-read what we wrote-and basically pen more and more personals and tweak, re-post and fret some more.
For those of us who are on the other end of the continuum, there is a near limitless well to the proportions one’s obsession can stretch over reading personals. Not only is keeping-up with every new personal that’s posted on the plethora of dating websites a Herculean undertaking but attempting to decipher the intent of every single poster, contacting all those people, keeping straight the emails back and forth-assuming you send inbox helloes and receive responses-managing and maintaining where you go and who you look at can roll into an addiction as powerful as checking one’s Facebook page.
What happens too often, as happens in every aspect of our online socializing, is that a person can get mired in one or two little aspects of the Internet dating world above all others. He or she can get way too personal over personals, take every response NOT SENT as a direct attack on their self esteem…or their own personal. Other men and women get stuck down the rabbit hole of chat-rooms and begin to believe they have a richer social life in them then they ever did out of them…and maybe, in a sad way, they do. Still others do indeed get addicted to Facebook, tweeting, create a sex life around camming to the exclusion of all else.
Any one way to approach dating is only going to see us respond or be found one way. Personals, like anything else we use to find dates, mates or lovers online are only one piece of the overall pie that is online dating and digital socializing.