How Come Nobody I Like Replies To My Dating Profile?

Evan had an interesting post today. A woman wrote in asking why she was hearing from so many men that were the opposite of what she’s looking for.

In the last couple of years I’ve met a lot of guys, online and offline. I haven’t found the person yet, but I’ve learned something about men: they have a lot of faith in themselves. And here’s my question: how come guys always, always, always think they are the PERFECT match for you, without any self-awareness?

 

If you click through to the original article, what you’ll see is a list of examples from the woman who submitted the letter. I happen to agree with Evan that these men that the woman is meeting don’t much care what her criteria is. Some of the guys just want to go out and have sex and have no intention of taking it further. Others, though, believe that they bring other things to the table. Things that, to them, are important. There’s also a teeny tiny sub-section of people on these sites who know darn right well that they aren’t what the other person is looking for. They see that person as a personal challenge.

You, my dear Evan, get the idea, but they don’t. Why do they always think they’re perfect for you? I know it when I’m not someone’s type! If I see that a guy is looking for this nurturing, low maintenance girl in her 20s I don’t lose my time, I’m not that girl. But men don’t, men will always try to convince you not to be “rigid”, when what’s happening here is that he’s not your type, you know it but he doesn’t stop for half a second to think about it.

Is it a biological reason? Social? Sexual?

It sounds to me like the woman from the letter is looking for  a carbon copy of herself. Too bad most men don’t think the same way.There’s a whole other group of men who are reading her apparently very stringent criteria and ignoring her. They don’t place the same level of importance on the same things she does. Most men aren’t looking for a Protestant single woman with a Master’s Degree who is cultured, speaks several languages and is a bit of a stick in the mud and likes to stay home. Most men aren’t that rigid.If they find her attractive and pleasant, they’ll date her at least once. That’s the difference. Men will give something a go because their criteria, for the most part, is pretty shallow. The other difference is that most men can determine rather quickly whether or not a woman is their type. They’ve decided by the end of the date if a woman is serious dating material or casual dating material. Many women tend to romanticize the date and the guy, thereby sticking around longer than they should and ignoring red flags.

If men are telling this woman that she’s not being flexible enough, she should listen to them. Sure, some are trying to beat her down so she’ll go out with them.But I’d bet just as many are genuinely trying to help her. She’ll ignore them, of course, because all her friends have told her “she can do better.” You know how we say that men use the word “intimidating” when they really mean “unlikeable?” Well, ” you’re too rigid” is just code for “they’re out of your league” and “that person doesn’t exist.”

What Evan doesn’t suggest is that maybe this woman can’t pull what she thinks she can pull. It’s taboo to do so. As I’ve said before, I honestly believe that what truly bugs woman about getting emails from men that don’t interest them is that they are confronted with the reality of their situation. The guys they want have so many options that they don’t need to email her. The guys who don’t have options are throwing anything to the wall trying to get something to stick. It’s annoying, for sure. But Evan gives good advice when he says that she needs to build up a tolerance to this sort of thing. This is the nature of online dating. People delude themselves and think they’re far more engaging and attractive than they actually are.

I always try to impress upon my profile review clients that they shouldn’t be too specific when describing their ideal match. If you’re too specific, you will weed out a ton of people who think they don’t fit what you’re looking for. They also might assume that you’re one of those people whose persnickety attitude about their “ideal match” is exactly why they’re single. Those people get labeled high maintenance.

I also suggest that they choose – very carefully – which details of their personality and lifestyle they choose to share.  If religion is a deal breaker, then you should really be on a site or attend groups or activities that are organized for strictly for that faith. To be perfectly blunt, if you’re very religious, online dating just isn’t for you. Not the mainstream sites, any way. Same advice applies if your partner’s education really, really matters. Find a site that caters to that crowd. Sorry, but you’re not going to find a practicing Protestant with a Masters Degree on Match or OKCupid. There’s probably, like, five. James Bond types are not cruising EHarmony, either. You may wish to set your sites a bit…lower. Successful online dating requires people to pare down their “must haves” to the bare essentials. You simply can not expect online dating to be even moderately successful for you if your idea of your perfect match is too specific.

After a certain point, if you’re “never” meeting anybody that suits you, it’s time to head back to the drawing board. I know it’s not PC  to say this, but time to consider the dreaded “settling.” There just comes a point in all of our single lives where re-evaluation is required.

 

 

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29 Responses to “How Come Nobody I Like Replies To My Dating Profile?”

  1. Christina Says:

    I’ve dated someone who was a carbon copy of myself (we were actually both practicing Protestants with Master’s degress on OkCupid-but I think we were the only ones). It was freakin boring!

    And yes, most women have way too many requirements. The only one on EMK’s OP’s list that seemed reasonable to me was distance. It makes sense to not want a LDR. Still, that’s just the theory. The reality is, people are meeting their matches online across the country and in different countries. It might not be as big an obstacle as many people think.

    In fact, the whole emphasis on common interests is really overrated, imo. In my case, it led to boring, overreducated Presbyterian evenings. :-) By comparison, my husband and I didn’t have a single interest in common on our PoF profiles, and we never run out of things to talk about.

    I’ve been wondering why it seems to be such a big deal to some people to be contacted by those they don’t consider “good enough.” I think you hit the nail on the head- that fear of not being as incredible as you think you are is fed whenever you’re contacted by someone not in your league. Scary. :P

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

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  2. Joey Giraud Says:

    You, my dear Evan, get the idea, but they don’t. Why do they always think they’re perfect for you? I know it when I’m not someone’s type!

    More tests. The way to pass these tests is to ignore em.

    Women. Always with the tests.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

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  3. Denise Says:

    The woman is looking for:

    - Someone who lives nearby
    - Someone of the same religion
    - Someone who won’t drag her out to clubs and bars at night
    - An intellectual equal
    - A guy who wants kids

    It’s only asking too much if you’re looking for ONS and FWB situations. I don’t think that’s too much to ask if she intends to get married, have children AND not get divorced later due to incompatibility.

    If she spends the next few years dating men who are clearly not a match for her, she’ll be accused of squandering her youth and beauty. It seems like she knows what she wants and just needs to delete messages from men who don’t match what she’s looking for and forget about the others.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 11

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    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      It’s asking too much if she can’t seem to find that man offline or on. That should tell her that that guy is a needle in a haystack or that those men with those qualities don’t want her. If her proifle sounds half as persnickety as her letter, she’s being ignored by men who think she’s an uptight, boring snob.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 17

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    • Tallgirl Says:

      I’m not so sure it’s what she’s asking for, it’s how she’s asking. The bullet points you gave a fine & fair. And if said in a positive way, her chances of finding someone would no doubt raise considerably. This lady sounds like she’s not only entitled, but grumpy. Who wants to hang out with anyone, no matter what their interests are, if they seem entitled & negative? Yuck.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

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  4. Mark Says:

    Had to look at the original article to get a better understanding.

    I think It highlights a number of issues.

    Sure, a certain percentage of men will try to contact anyone in a skirt in a scatter gun approach for any number of reasons. Usually the most obvious one. Yep, they are out there. So let’s dismiss those right away because they are totally and absolutely a mismatch (as illustrated in the article).

    Yet, I think it’s a fair bet to say that a far larger number are men who may not fit exactly the criteria stated. Maybe an inch or two shorter, a year or two younger/older, a few more miles away….That sort of thing.

    Why?

    I’ll agree with Moxie that many men are flexible about a number of points. But part of that is because they know that the likely hood is that more often than not they will receive a no response or negative response to most of the messages sent. So in that sense they are sending messages out because they know to a large degree it’s a percentages game and the numbers are usually not in their favor. Not only to get responses back, but to then set up meetings which may or may not happen. Then to decide if she is in fact compatible or not during an initial meet-and-greet. All too often long odds.

    So they figure “Why not? It doesn’t hurt to ask and you never know unless you try.”

    So guys are a little more open to a number of things and in all fairness you really can’t fault them for that. Especially since many women like or expect the man do do the initiating. Sorry, but by and large, you can’t reasonably expect to put a profile out there and have only a man fitting your exact requirements respond to your profile. It doesn’t work that way in real life so you shouldn’t expect it to happen online.

    So some wiggle room should be expected in the men who respond to your profile. A follow up question then is how much latitude is a reasonable amount vs. what is totally off base.

    Still, if you do feel that those requirements you have are strict and absolute then by all means stick to them. Just be reminded that if you do, you may so narrow the potential pool of applicants to a very few. Moreover, just because this narrow field of potential suitors fits your bill is no guarantee that they will see you in the same light. So be careful of what you wish for, because you may not get it.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

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  5. Jim Says:

    Online dating is such an ubelievable crapshoot. It’s less about personal chemistry and the unfathomable dynamics of human interaction than it is about advertising and marketing – and not everyone is in to the latter. It comes across as empty and superficial. So, given that men are conditioned that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, a pic and a few words in an online profile seem an easy enough shot to take. Online is (or should be) a backup plan for dating – if your shot misses, no harm and no foul. And, maybe most important, men are also conditioned that women are moody, unpredictable, changeable creatures who are as likely to freeze you out if you approach as be friendly — so, again, men will take a shot on a profile that initially reads like a mismatch because it’s a quick and painless date. Everyone’s online to meet someone, right? Is there anyone who has really put all their chips on the Internet for meeting Mr/Ms Right? Give guys credit for being open to something new and not scared off by a few words on a computer screen that might not seem like a perfect fit. Women like adventurous, confident men….right?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

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  6. AJ Says:

    I would much rather deal with these types online then in person. How annoying is it to have some one pull the same shit when you are out with friends. OMG…delete

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

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  7. Brad Says:

    It’s like the generational conversation from “Up in the Air”:

    Natalie Keener: Sometimes it feels like, no matter how much success I have, it’s not gonna matter until I find the right guy. I could have made it work, he really fit the bill, you know. White collar, 6’1, college grad, loves dogs, likes funny movies, brown hair, kind eyes, works in finance but is outdoorsy. I always imagined he’d have a single syllable name like Matt or John or Dave. In a perfect world, he drives a 4 runner and the only thing he loves more than me is his golden lab. And a nice smile. What about you?

    Alex Goran: You know, honestly by the time you’re 34, all the physical requirements just go out the window. You secretly pray that he’ll be taller than you, not an asshole would be nice just someone who enjoys my company, comes from a good family. You don’t think about that when you’re younger. Someone who wants kids, likes kids. Healthy enough to play with his kids. Please let him earn more money than I do, you might not understand that now but believe me, you will one day otherwise that’s a recipe for disaster. And hopefully, some hair on his head. I mean, that’s not even a deal breaker these days. A nice smile. Yea, a nice smile just might do it.

    Natalie Keener: Wow. That was depressing.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

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  8. Zammo Says:

    “…men are also conditioned that women are moody, unpredictable, changeable creatures who are as likely to freeze you out if you approach as be friendly.”

    That’s no social conditioning at work, that’s the experience of too many with too many women like that.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

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  9. Crotch Rocket Says:

    Men will give something a go because their criteria, for the most part, is pretty shallow.
    You can call it “shallow” that we desire a woman we’re physically attracted to, but that is a fundamental requirement for a relationship to move beyond platonic–and it oversimplifies things. Men specify what we desire, but we’re flexible: a deficiency in one area can be mitigated by a strength in another area. Women are more rigid: they list requirements, not desires, and being strong in other areas is generally not able to mitigate failing one of those requirements–something a lot of guys don’t understand because that’s not how men think.

    The other difference is that most men can determine rather quickly whether or not a woman is their type. They’ve decided by the end of the date if a woman is serious dating material or casual dating material.
    In most cases, it doesn’t take anywhere near that long. I’ll know within a few minutes whether I “click” with someone. I think most guys are the same way, which is why so many of us prefer to meet for coffee/drinks to see if that’s there before committing to the time, effort and expense of a “real” date. Well, that and to make sure her profile pictures are accurate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

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  10. Crotch Rocket Says:

    Evan gives good advice when he says that she needs to build up a tolerance to this sort of thing. This is the nature of online dating. People delude themselves and think they’re far more engaging and attractive than they actually are.
    Unfortunately, I bet most of his clients/readers don’t realize that he’s talking about them too, not just the people who are contacting them. Nearly everyone overestimates their value to the opposite sex. In the case of women, this is usually because they don’t understand what men value–they’re evaluating themselves as women evaluate men, whereas men evaluate women by completely different standards. Until you can see yourself through your target market’s eyes, you will never understand why they’re not interested.

    if you’re “never” meeting anybody that suits you, it’s time to head back to the drawing board.
    Indeed. This is a sign that you aren’t bringing enough to the table to buy what you want. Yes, one potential solution is to “settle”, but there is another rather obvious solution: bring more to the table so you can afford to buy what you want.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

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    • Steve From the City Next Door Says:

      What could one reasonably easly bring more of to the table?
      Looks…plastic surgery?
      Better paying/more prestigious job? Possibly doable but going to take some time.
      I suppose one could develop more social connections or gain higher standing in the community…maybe.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

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      • Joey Giraud Says:

        How about a better nature? a more enlightened outlook? a less caustic tone?

        Body is important, but nasty behaviors and attitudes can render a hot frame ugly.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        What could one reasonably easly bring more of to the table?
        If it were easy, everyone would do it.

        Looks…plastic surgery?
        A few people might need that, but the vast majority of people (both male and female) would do fine just by going to the gym and improving their diet.

        Better paying/more prestigious job?
        That really only applies to men, since a woman’s income/job is generally irrelevant.

        Attitudes, outlook and behavior is a major area that you left out, and probably the easiest/cheapest to fix–if the person is able to recognize that they have a problem in the first place.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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    • D. Says:

      It could be that she’s looking for a “unicorn.” If she were going car shopping, she’d be trying to find a car that can do 0-60 in 0.4 seconds, gets 52 MPG, has all-wheel drive, comes in purple, and costs $30,000 or less. Sorry, sweetheart. NOBODY makes that car. Some people, in dating, have this problem — they have some impossible ideal mate in mind who simply does not exist. But I don’t think that’s what’s going on here.

      I think it’s a different issue. I think it’s more like she’s looking for a very specific make and model, in a particular color, with a particular set of options, then the problem might just be that none of the four dealerships in her area has a car with those specs. Doesn’t mean the car doesn’t exist. It does. It’s just that they don’t have it on the lot. Might also be that it’s such a popular model that as soon as it shows up, it’s only there for about a day before someone else nabs it.

      I think it’s easy to assume that the problem for the woman in question is that she’s overrating herself because she isn’t being contacted by the kind of guy she wants…but what if the kind of guy she wants just isn’t using the service she’s using? Or is so few and far between that the odds of the two of them actually finding each other are pretty slim? One thing I note from her original message was that she wasn’t complaining that the right guys were looking but not emailing.

      Personally, I think that for people who are looking for such specific criteria, online dating is probably not something they should be doing. It’ll produce both false positives and false negatives. She might find a guy who meets her criteria, but in person they just don’t connect at all. Or she might skip over guys whose profiles don’t mention the things she wants, even though they’re actually true about them.

      Online dating is fine for just finding for just finding “a date.” For finding “The One,” though, I actually think it’s less productive than just meeting people offline.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        Sure, there are some people looking for unicorns, but I think the more typical problem is that people are expecting to get a Porsche when they only offer enough to get a Beetle.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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        • D. Says:

          For practical purposes, I’m not sure there’s really a difference between the two. In either case, it’s someone chasing the unattainable. Whether they’re chasing something that doesn’t exist, or only going for people who aren’t interested in them (for whatever reason), it’s still grasping for what’s out of reach and it’s a waste of time. I tend to think people do that for a number of reasons, including fear of an actual relationship, and not having thought a lot about what they really want and what really matters to them (so they’re busy focusing on the wrong stuff, and therefore chase what they can’t have).

          That said, I tend not to think in terms of “leagues” or a person’s “value” in some transactional sense. Even when I’ve been contacted by people in whom I had zero interest, my thought was never “Seriously? Who are you kidding. I’m out of your league.” Someone else might’ve looked at it that way (and in some cases, I’m sure they would have when I think about it), but in the moment it was more just like “Nope. Not interested.”

          But yeah, if you think in terms of whether a person’s “value” matches the other person in some quantifiable sense, then I do suppose some people go after folks whose “value” isn’t matched with their own. I don’t think in those terms, but the general phenomenon you’re talking about is real.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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  11. nathan Says:

    Part of the problem is that people make these long lists, and then when they find out that no one meets all of their desires, they compromise on the wrong issues.

    For example, intellectual compatibility is really important to me, and when I’ve opted to overlook that, it’s never worked out long term. However, that isn’t the same as needing someone to have multiple college degrees. Level of education isn’t as important as being able to have good/interesting conversations on a regular basis. This is one of the problems with online dating. Filling out all those little boxes makes it easy to get fixated on the content of the boxes. Someone doesn’t have a Masters Degree, and you click right past them, having no idea how compatible you might be. You might not even include them in your searches.

    Generally, it’s good to be flexible. At the same time, it’s wise to figure out what to be most flexible about.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      Blah, blah, blah
      So, people need to learn to separate their wants from their needs. Thanks.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

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  12. D. Says:

    For the record, this behavior isn’t limited to guys. You can list “dealbreakers” in your profile as a guy and still have women email you who clearly do not fit the parameters. And, as stated in the EMK response, that’s more about the people who write than it is about the email recipient. The people writing aren’t concerned with the recipient’s profile, or think the restrictions are goofy or whatever. You just delete the messages and move on.

    I think Moxie’s right, though, that this woman is frustrated because while she’s getting this attention, she’s NOT finding what it is she wants. I think the real issue is that she’s got to accept her choices and recognize them as affirmative choices, not circumstances in which she’s stuck.

    Having restrictive criteria isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you have to be ok with going for long stretches not finding what you want. If it’s a considered set of criteria, based on experience (rather than fantasy), and you’re at a point where that really IS the only thing you want, then I see no problem with it. Accept that you’re panning for gold, and are gonna find a LOT of mud while you wait.

    I’d figure stating her criteria up front will help weed out/scare off some of the people she wouldn’t want to date (although obviously not all of them). It’s true she could scare away some potential guys she might actually like dating, but I think that’s one of the limitations of the online medium. She could provide less info, but then guys who are as selective as her may simply say “Meh. Boring profile,” and skip past her. I don’t know that there’s a perfect balance point between that, either.

    It sounds to me, though, like she’s visiting the wrong sites, too. If you’re looking for marriage and a family, you can’t really take sites like OKC or POF all that seriously as sources. It’s possible you’ll still find it, but the odds are slimmer, due to the sheer volume of people just looking to date or just to get laid on those sites. To a lesser extent (thanks to the pay wall) I think Match.com is like this as well. EHarmony might be a bit better if she wants to use an online site. If that’s not her cup of tea either, then probably the best move is to simply treat sites like OKC/POF as passive experiences and not take them seriously. Clear out the in-box every week or couple of days (depending on how many emails she averages in a day and how long she’s willing to spend hitting “delete”) and go focus on meeting people in the real world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

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  13. joe-f Says:

    I think people should forget about lists and just go out and date. Of course, they have to be attractive but other than that, just test drive and see if it works. I never imagine I would marry someone who is very different from me but it works and I am happy.

    I don’t think it cost a lot to date different people. At the end of dating different people for a while, you might find that the criteria on your list isn’t what you are looking for. Both men and women face diminishing returns-dating gets worse as you age. I am sure I am going to get a lot of complaints but honestly guys-do you really think the 25 year is going age with you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

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  14. mike Says:

    “men’s criteria is pretty shallow”….. Yet, women will date a man just for his money. So in fact we would date you for who you are, but women would only date you for what you have. And which one is shallow again?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

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    • Elizabeth Says:

      That’s a huge, sweeping generalization you’ve made there. Not to mention offensive. I don’t know a single woman who dates a man based on how much money he’s willing to spend on her.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

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  15. Carey Says:

    “To be perfectly blunt, if you’re very religious, online dating just isn’t for you. Not the mainstream sites, any way.”

    Thank you for saying that. It’s something that needs to be said more. There’s a delusional aspect to everything these days. As though we should be able to walk into any situation and whatever our beliefs/principles/ideologies are should make no difference. Well, they do make a difference. And common sense approaches to what we’d like versus what reality gives us would go a long, long way toward weeding out the noise in order to find the signal. If a person wants a like-minded person the easiest, most foolproof way to go about finding them is to look in the right place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

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