State: New Jersey
Question: I’m a 40 year-old single guy living in Hoboken, NJ. I have a great group of friends but have had to rely on online dating for almost all of my dating over the past 2 1/2 years.
My dilemma is as follows. Over this time period, I’ve been using match.com on and off. I’ve managed a couple of short term relationships (2-4 months), and dated many women for short periods of time (many one and done dates, several strings of 2-4 dates which didn’t turn into anything).
What’s been happening is that almost all of the women I’ve dated have been women who’ve contacted me. This isn’t a bad thing except that it seems to go in ebbs and flows with long periods of inactivity. Because of this, I’ve spent a lot more time recently emailing women rather than waiting for them to come to me. I recently started using your approach I book marked your article about online dating emails, but don’t seem to be getting anywhere (1 response in about 25).
What I’ve noticed is that 90-95% of the profiles I comes across are so boring that I can’t even find 1-2 decent questions to ask in order to get a reply back. What I want to know is how does a single guy weed through countless profiles that are almost all exactly alike except for the pictures? I’m sure I’m not the only guy out there experiencing this issue and I wanted to know if you and your readers could shed some light on this for me.
The first thing you need to understand is that most people’s profiles seem boring because we look at so many that they all sound the same. Don’t expect to be wowed when you check out someone’s ad. You should expect to hear the same things that every man or woman says. Don’t focus so much on the profile text because much of that is manufactured hoo hah. Focus on the photos. Ask a question about one of the photos rather than something they say in their profile. That picture was chosen for a reason.
All you should be looking for when you read profiles are signs that they’re going to be difficult. Boring is actually a good thing in this regard. You don’t want a woman or a man who tells you they are:
- Outspoken/speaks their mind
Also avoid the people who:
- Have disclaimers
- Self-Identify or include inflammatory or provocative statements in their ads
- Challenge your masculinity or femininity or somehow demand that you prove to them how you are worthy of their attention
- State upfront that they’re “giving this another try”
- Tell you how busy they are or how much they work
Weed those people out. When you accept that about 50% of the people on these sites are in no way, shape or form healthy, easy to get along with or available, you’ll be better off. Who cares if they’re attractive? They’re emotional black holes. Avoid. The sooner you embrace what your audience actually is, the easier online dating will become. I’m 43, a size 10 and don’t want children. Guess how limited my options are? So be it. I don’t email anybody that says they want kids, or who state specific opinions/preferences concerning body type/weight, or aren’t interested in dating anybody over 38-40. I don’t reply or message anybody I’m not genuinely excited to speak with or meet. That means I send fewer emails and get even fewer responses. It also means I have fewer dates.The up side of that? I don’t careen down a shame spiral after a date and I increase my chances of making genuine and lasting connections.
I recently read something about online dating that really put things in perspective.
There are two types of people who do online dating. The people who send messages and the people who receive them.
Everybody wants to be the one who receives messages. Everybody wants to believe that they are in high demand and that they some how stand out. The reality is that very, very few of us actually are or do. There’s that 10%-20% of people who get all the messages. Everybody is emailing them, which is why those people rarely respond. The rest of us? We’re lucky to get 3-5 messages a month, and they’re rarely from anybody that interests us. The Senders are often perceived (incorrectly so) as the ones that nobody wants.
The more messages you send, the higher your lack of response rate will be. That’s just simple math. Getting one reply out of 25 isn’t great. It should be more like 1 reply for every 10-15 messages or so. So the OP is probably messaging women out of his league. You’re smart to respond to those people that email you first. At least you know there’s moderate interest. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be taking initiative. You should. You just need to be smart about it so as to avoid having your self-esteem take a beating. You know in your gut if someone is probably fielding multiple offers. Don’t contact too many of those people at the same time. Spread the love over a course of many days or weeks.
Pay attention to who views your profile. Contact those people. Many times people will read a profile and come across something that makes them think they would not be a good fit for you. That’s why they don’t respond. Reach out to them.
If you’re using Match, employ the Wink feature. Wink at people you’re interested in meeting. Yes, guys, there’s a good chance that some of those women will be all, “A Wink??? How Lazy!!” Whatever, ladies. You keep counting all those winks you ignore. That should make those lonely nights more tolerable. If the person doesn’t carry any grudges about Winks, and they’re interested, they’ll reply. The Wink feature is good because coming up with a witty or engaging email time and time again can be exhausting. Don’t abuse the feature, but certainly use it. If it didn’t work, then the sites would disable the feature. Ladies, you should be Winking as well. Mix it up a bit. The point of using this feature is to stave off Online Dating Burnout. The more effort you put into a message combined with the fewer responses you get is going to frustrate you. (PS? Hey, @OKCupid? You need a Wink feature.) Also utilize the Favorites feature and make sure to select the option that lets the person knows you added them to your favorites list.
Next, don’t send more than 2 messages per day. Do NOT go on messaging tears and send out several emails in one sitting. For one, you’re going to screw yourself if multiple people respond. You’re going to end up blowing someone off, and that’s not fair to them. For two, it’s a lot easier to digest and accept the few responses you do get if you spread it out over several days.
I know many people prefer to browse profiles anonymously, but you should absolutely make sure that someone you’d like to meet can see if you looked at their ad.
The goal is to get in front as many people as possible and get noticed. You can do that without sending messages. I’m convinced that the lack of replies people get to their intro email is the main contributor to ODB (Online Dating Burnout.) If you’re not having fun and enjoying the process, you’re doing it wrong.