DEAR CAROLYN: I gave my phone number to a man I've been messaging on a dating app. The pace of messages picked up considerably after that. He asked to talk on the phone, but I declined since my kids were home and they're very nosy. Anyway, over the course of the "conversation" — about two hours of intermittent texting — he sent things like, "I hope you give me an opportunity to show you who I am," and, "Will you open up your soul to me?" in addition to a few other references to wanting to get to know me, show me he's a great guy, etc. We had made plans to meet for coffee in a few days. He signed off with a certain affectation, an identifiable term, so I'm not using it here. I'm a little . . . uncomfortable. Like, too much too soon. One "let me show you I'm a good guy" is OK, especially if someone seems hesitant or nervous. But this felt like too much, especially with his signoff. Earlier I told him (honestly) that I'm not dating any one guy right now, and that when I am, I stop searching on the site. This is one of those dating sites where you can see that someone is online. He texted this morning to wish me a good day. I mentioned I was uncomfortable with the term he used before, and that we haven't even met yet. He didn't acknowledge this. Since then he's texted again, asking if there's any chance we could meet sooner. Should I even keep a date with this guy? To me, the warning flags are waving that he doesn't have appropriate expectations. I'm a people-pleaser, and have a history of giving people what they want because it's expected of me. But I've also been accused of being too picky or too judgmental, though perhaps not by people with a history of healthy relationships.
UNCOMFORTABLE: You're uncomfortable, so cancel the date now. It's not even a close call. You don't need this person, this date, this information on whether your suspicions are founded or not. The benefit of your doubt isn't a debt that strangers have any right to collect.
Don't explain why you're canceling, either. If you give nice-sounding "reasons," then you'll open the door to his countering or refuting your reasons. This is from "The Gift of Fear," by Gavin de Becker, which I recommend you read. Save the communications, too, just in case you're right about the red flags.
I hope you're working with someone to break your people-pleasing habits. "Too picky" doesn't exist.
RE: ONLINE DATING: I've been online dating for many years. The one thing you have to remember: You do not owe this person anything and they do not owe you anything. This gets less true after you date someone for a while — meaning you may owe it to them to break up instead of ghosting them — but your time is a gift you give to people. Their time is a gift they give you. If either person doesn't feel comfortable, then say you are not a good fit and move on!
If they continue to text you after you explain this, then block them.