I first got on Craigslist when I was in college. While most people I knew were using it to find side tables, I was buying “reliable cars that cost approximately $2,000.” Three, to be exact. Not all at the same time, of course (what am I, a rich person?). Three in a row, because each of them stopped running after a year. Also, not one could drive on the highway without overheating.

During my three semesters at the University of Florida, just as the Craigslist killer had come to fame, my roommates enlightened me on this website. I thought the whole concept was a cool idea (minus the murders). It was like a local eBay where you could also find jobs selling shots for liquor companies. One day, I heard someone make a joke about meeting a girl on Craigslist personal ads, and I was like

THEY HAVE THOSE?

Personal ads are one of my favorite things to read. I think they’re amazing. You get to see a side of people that is rarely revealed in face to face conversation. I usually only read ones written by men, because I already know what it’s like to be a female pining for someone. Sometimes personals are sweet, but mostly they are entertaining and I love to picture the people who wrote them.

I went to look at these for the first time and remember noticing the basic “men seeking women” and “casual encounters” links before seeing what would change my life forever: missed connections.

MISSED CONNECTIONS

I didn’t know what this was, so I started clicking them. It was like finding a secret treasure. These were people looking for people they don’t even know! The pizza man, the girl in the green dress, the guy you locked eyes with on the train- I thought this only happened in movies. As a jaded young woman, I had no idea people really tried to find each other in this world. Was this the best thing I’ve ever stumbled across in my entire life?

YES. IT WAS.

For the past six or seven years, I have been checking Craigslist Missed Connections every day. I check in whatever city I’m in. If I’m traveling with friends, I check for them. They don’t know I do this. But if there was one for them, I would probably respond to it.

In the beginning, it was to see if anyone was looking for me (they weren’t). Then, I started to fall in love with these people. Some are sweet, some are disgusting, and some are just plain stupid because they don’t give enough detail and could be describing anyone. These are my romantic comedies.

There are a few basic types of Missed Connection ads. I doubt people know they’re falling into these categories, but here they are:

The Romantic. These ads are kind and hopeful. The person who wrote this is probably very shy and doesn’t plan to kill you in your sleep. They read something like this one:

“You were stocking shelves and when I came by you asked if I needed help finding anything. You were very cute and we exchanged pleasantries. Hope you see this and respond–would like to get to know you. So I know it’s you, what did I tell you I was looking for?”

The Creep. These ads are written by people who will text you 47 times in one night if they get your number:

“preggie at trader joes. looking so sweet … just wanted to reach out and touch something…”

The Vague. These ads give little to no detail about the person being searched for which means the writer is missing this whole point:

“well. im a little older than u. u could have lied, lol. either way. im hoping u see this. kinda felt like a drunk asshole when i said i couldn’t talk to ya and tripped all over myself. oh well. haha maybe ill see ya around.”

In between each of these are the poems about the one who got away, the angry rants about exes, and the dick pics, which are plentiful.

In all these years, there has only been one Missed Connection that could have applied to me. It was for a girl who wore a black halter dress to the Olive Garden (hate all you want, halters were in). I had no desire to respond. Recently, however, I emailed the writer of this Missed Connection that is actually not a Missed Connection at all:

“Hi. I am looking for a lady to help me proof read a love letter. I also seek guidance and will need to
talk by email to help me figure out a plan… and to write the ending of the letter. I really want to give my best. Thank you”

I wrote to him twice and he never responded. I am devastated.

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Sarah Stevens

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