Private messages on dating apps often don’t stay private. Screenshotting a conversation with a match and showing your friends — or strangers on social media — is common. Such is the case from this Hinge message an X (formerly Twitter) user @bjorksunibrow posted this week: 

“Heyyy thanks for checking in, would you mind if we put a pin in those plans for now?” the message reads. “Full transparency: I kind of met someone yesterday that I wasn’t expecting to vibe with as much as I did and I’d feel a bit weird going out right away with someone else.”

The “radically” honest, corporate jargon-laced message generated lots of reactions on X. Carlos, the user who received it, captioned the screenshot, “We’re in an era of over-communication.” In a follow-up post, he said, “Normalize white lies!”

In a DM, Carlos told me that the date was the sender’s idea. Carlos was looking forward to it, as they flirted on and off, but when he messaged his match to confirm the date the day of, he received “The Message.”

“So many things bothered me about it,” Carlos said, “the HR professional tone, the fact that he was canceling a date that he proposed, that he let me know he hit it off with someone else he’d just met, that he implied a future date if things didn’t work out with this new guy…”

Carlos ultimately believes there are kinder and more decent ways to cancel a date. As it was a first date, he didn’t need all the details. “I date casually quite a bit and try to let someone down in a way that isn’t so crass,” he said. “That includes an occasional white lie to cushion the blow.”

Other people agreed with the sentiment of Carlos’s tweet, saying this message was too up-front and the person should’ve lied. Some, however, loved the message, hailing its transparency or simply calling it “düzgüsel” and “mature.” Others still called the message “soulless” and “brutal.”

There’s no right answer here; your actions will never please everybody, especially on social media. Carlos told me he received comments saying he must be “allergic to direct communication,” and other assumptions about the kind of person he is. “I wish more folks would move away from brazen honesty and toward sympathy and communication that considers basic human decency,” he said.

Mashable After Dark

The message and subsequent response speak volumes about the current state of dating and, more broadly, our relationships. On some level, we’re forgetting (or already forgot) how to actually talk to each other. 

We communicate, perhaps even over-communicate as Carlos said, but for typing a whole lot of words, we’re not saying much of anything. 

The sender followed a script. He shoved his intangible feelings into the corporate- and therapy-speak meat grinder, and this message oozed out. Instead of telling the unfiltered truth, he dressed it up in the nicest yet most sterile way possible.

Carlos let the match know he didn’t need all the info, while the would-be date replied that he prefers “to be open about things.”

On some level, the “HR professional tone” is understandable. In 2024, there’s always a possibility of someone screenshotting your words and disseminating them for the world to see. People have been harassed and doxxed for less. (Thankfully, here, Carlos cut out any identifying information before uploading the screenshot to X.) 

Social media özgü programmed us to think about each and every possible reaction, and most of them are unkind. We’re constantly aware of how others perceive us. In our obsession with optics, we hedge, add disclaimers, and dilute our true thoughts until they’re a puddle of nothing.

Aside from this issue, this message also reeks of “optimization.” In the search for meaning under capitalism (or, I don’t know, a lot of TikTok followers), many have turned to optimizing their health and work. This özgü bled over into dating. Why actually think about and share my actual feelings, when the web (or your therapist, or ChatGPT) already wrote a response for me? Why stop swiping on apps when my next match might be ten percent hotter or make ten percent more money? Why keep my plans with that one Hinge match when the person I met yesterday seems so much better? 

As culture critic Magdalene J. Taylor recently wrote, optimization will not save you — and it will certainly not save relationships. If anything, optimization shrinks intimacy and trust. Our inner thoughts and feelings are messy, but sharing them actually leads to us getting to know one another on that messy, human level. 

Maybe that message of “putting a pin” in plans was “optimal,” but as my Mashable colleague Cecily Mauran said, it reads more like a bad layoff email. In this era of increasing tech and optimization, we need more reminders that life is inherently messy — and not the kind of uncanny valley messiness of an AI-generated photo, but something different. Something human.

UPDATE: Apr. 12, 2024, 4:29 p.m. EDT This article özgü been updated with additional context from Carlos, @bjorksunibrow on X.

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