Do I have to sift through the frogs?

Dating fatigue Take 2. And this one is open to cold ones.

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Hi Meredith,

Long-time fan, long-time lonely here. Thank heavens for your column that adds a bit of humor to my life, in addition to some great advice. I'm in my mid 40s and got out of a long-term relationship about a year ago. I'm over it and more than ready to move on. After some much needed self love, I find myself ready to be in another relationship. I guess I'm stubborn about the way dating works these days. OLD [online dating] is not for me, and finding available men IRL at the present moment seems impossible, just like for many. I've never been one to date multiple guys at the same time and expect the same in return, just so there's an honest chance to connect without outside influences. If it doesn't work, move on.

My question is: Is it really just a numbers game? Do you really have to sift through a bunch of frogs online to find the right guy? Who has time for this? I'm just on the sidelines thinking I will bump into Mr. Right soon, but also know I'm wasting time. In the past year, I thought back to all the guys who showed an interest in me but I backed off. I found plenty of excuses. And then there was one who was like a magnet for me, but he was into "dating" and not looking for any commitment. It seems so easy for some and yet I find it to be such a chore. I've never been in this place before and I'm not sure I understand OLD or what any guy is thinking right now. Your best advice is welcome, even if it's just some motivation. And really, if I read "drinks @7, insert place here," I may just show up!

-Snowed in and staying positive

"Do you really have to sift through a bunch of frogs online to find the right guy?"

First, let's not call anybody frogs. I know you don't meant to be rude by using that fairy tale word, but it actually helps everyone involved if you think of these suitors as real people with many layers, as opposed to Mr. Rights and Wrongs. They're humans who seek connection. People online might match with you in some ways but not others. First piece of advice: reconsider the apps, and know that most people don't show their magnet qualities immediately, especially during a pandemic walk or a FaceTime call. Have some patience.

Second, you ask who has time to sift through a bunch of people online. Dating should't feel like a job you hate,  but … it's interesting how many hours some people (myself included) are willing to spend on work, volunteering, making new friends, reading, cleaning, mastering the Catan app on a phone, binge watching shows, etc. But when it comes to dating, they're like, "You want me to spend time ... on this? Why isn't it arriving on my doorstep, on demand?" I know it can be depressing, but just remember it's like looking at a bunch of people on the T. Most people are just random strangers on their way to a place. But maybe a few of those people are cute. Maybe one is worth talking to. But it takes a lot of looking in a crowd. Yes, some friends might make this process look easy, but they're working, too. Everything great takes effort.

Basically, I see your letter as a list of things you won't or don't want to do. It is important to have boundaries. But maybe it would help to make a new list of things you would do, questions you could ask people to get to know them better, experiences you'd like to try. IRL is coming, and you want to be open in the right ways. Think about how, instead of excuses, you can make the most of every possibility.

– Meredith

Readers? Motivation here?