Do you have a weird or specific place on the internet that you visit often? For me, that corner is the “missed connections” page on Craigslist, where I feel like I can see people’s weirdest actions and feelings.
If you don’t know what the “missed connections” page is or have never been on it, a “missed connection” is a public interaction in which two people share a moment but don’t exchange information (either by accident or because they are too shy), so they post about it on the page to see if the other person will respond. If the two people do find each other, that makes it a found connection.
The Craigslist page is supposed to make it easier for these (hopefully) new connections to be made, but that’s not why I use it. People often use the page for things like dramatic open letters to ex-partners, public observations, and often one-sided declarations of love to people they don’t even know.
When I read the posts on the page, I feel like I can see into the minds of the people who wrote them. People say some really strange things when they don’t know who is listening. One of the most common kinds of posts I see is from random men talking about women they just saw in public. Are they trying to… get a date? I’m not quite sure sometimes.
One guy writes, “You looked like you might be from the Pacific Islands or Hawaii. I saw you in your cute Jean shorts in the aisle for toiletries… I was the white guy who couldn’t decide whether or not to say “hi” to the woman in the hygiene aisle, as if she was interested in him or even looking for him on the missed connections page. The person who wrote this post also capitalized the word “jean.” I can’t say yes, sir.
“I was at Hell today at 4 and you were wearing a low shirt and leggings,” a different individual remarks. With some guy walking across the street. I was at a gas station.” Nope, not at all. I’d pay to find out what these people are thinking when they write and post things like this, but I guess we’ll never find out.
There are a lot of posts by men that basically say, “I saw you walking on the sidewalk while I was driving. You had boobs. Locate me. When I see these, I truly ponder if anybody has ever effectively used this tactic. I tried to get in touch with a few posters to find out what drove them and what they wanted to happen, but most of them didn’t respond even though I promised to keep their identities secret.
I can say that I understand, and I wouldn’t respond to a request to interview me either if I had posted something private and slightly questionable online for everyone on the missed connections page to see. I’m glad no one got back to me because I wouldn’t have known what to ask them. What did you think would happen if you posted something like that? Do you like making people feel bad, even if they’re just reading your words?
Aside from these kinds of posts, the main way I’ve seen the “missed connections” page being used wrong is for people to write open letters that are kind of sad and often directed at a certain person. My guess is that people post these kinds of messages because they are anonymous and they need to say what they want to say but are afraid to send the message to the person it is meant for.
In one post, it says, “You’ve always liked my kind of crazy… just get in touch with them.” I think it was a great sale. Someone else writes, “I’m trying to get away from you, but it’s hard. I think about you often. Claim to miss me as well. These postings resemble journal entries that are available to the public. The people who make them use the page as a kind of personal blog.
There will always be people who use Craigslist’s “missed connections” page the way it was meant to be used, and for that, I am grateful. As much as I like seeing the sad things people do in some of these posts, it’s nice to see a sweet couple get back together thanks to the page. It shows that the page is, in some ways, being used correctly. If you decide to use the page, be careful because the people who write on it are unknown to you. Stranger danger! Reader, just be careful out there.