How Do I Survive The Frustration Of Online Dating?

Hi Evan, I’m a big fan of the blog. I’ve been excited to start meeting guys in my new city (LA – same as you!) but I’ve already started feeling disappointed. I signed up for match.com and okcupid. It seems there are plenty of men looking on these sites but hardly any saying hello! And if they do say hello, the emails are boring – “Hey, I’m thinking of getting some sun this weekend. How about you?” Or they make me think these guys have me on a pedestal – “If you don’t mind me saying, I think you are beautiful, and your profile seems so genuine. I hope you write back!”

 

I’ve taken your advice and posted pics of me looking fun, cute and active: wedding guest/bridesmaid pics, vacation pics, a fun sibling shot (labeled “with my bro and sis.”) So what is the deal? I’m 29. I’m pretty and fun. In my bio, I basically state I am a “retired jetsetter who still wants to have fun, but do it on a local level.” I’ve read a bunch of profiles and tried to reach out to men who were my equals, both in lifestyle and dating goals, but these guys haven’t responded. I’m thinking, “We are SO alike, why aren’t you responding?”

Granted, I’m just starting out, but it’s already frustrating! How am I supposed to take these emails that I’m getting? I find them so mass-market, like I bet they copied and pasted and sent to 30 girls without reading about me at all. How do I get to the next step? Should I *wink* first? Are sending messages a bit too much? –Angie

 

There are two entirely separate issues being discussed here: one is your frustration with online dating overall, the other is with the nuances of how it’s done. Let’s deal with them separately.

First of all, I want you to consider all the other places that you could meet thirtysomething men in Los Angeles. Thru events from LA Weekly, thu email lists like Thrillist, thru E.O.W. – a social group run by a bunch of my friends, thru random happenstance at the gym, at Ralphs, on Sunset Blvd, at the UCB Theater, thru Meetup.com, thru friends’ house parties, thru work friends, and business networking, thru set ups, thru matchmakers, thru singles organizations, church or temple. And yet, despite all of those options for young people here in LA, it’s tough.

It’s very easy to live in a huge city and never meet any men.

Online, you’re ALWAYS meeting men.

That’s why I believe in online dating. Not because it’s perfect. But because “real life” doesn’t always provide enough opportunity on a week by week basis. And unless you get lucky at the Grilled Cheese Invitational or First Fridays on Abbot Kinney, it’s very easy to live in a huge city and never meet any men. Online, you’re ALWAYS meeting men. Your ad is live for 24 hours a day for men to approach you, and if you log on for 20-30 minutes each day to reply and reach out to one new guy, your social life will instantly pop.

None of this changes the quality of men, the quality of how they market themselves, and the quality of their interaction – all of which is, frankly, abysmal.

But one thing I know from 7 years of doing this job is this: a great profile and witty email doesn’t necessarily equal a great guy. And generic profiles and emails often mask amazing personalities. As a result, you really can’t tell anything from online dating – you just have to make the best with what you’ve got.

This is what I discovered as a customer service rep at JDate in 2001, and it’s the very thing in which I coach private clients every day: writing a unique, confident, specific, self-aware, witty profile that attracts more men and higher quality men; coming up with a one-of-a-kind username that instantly brands you and demands recognition, filtering through the wrong men, funneling the right men from email to the phone to the real life date, keeping a healthy attitude about guys and maintaining an open mind about why they do what they do. It’s a lot of stuff, but it’s finite and it can be conquered. Soon, everything will open up for you.

Your job is not to stop the “wrong” men from writing to you.

So instead of complaining: “The wrong men always write to me!” you will soon remember, “Aha! Most men are the wrong men. In fact, 90% of guys I would never even consider dating. Which means that I can’t get upset when I don’t like 90% of the emails I receive. And I must be patient because I’m only open to 10% of the population. The higher your standards, the longer you will likely have to date online.” Simple shifts in perspective like this are life-saving, and allow you to persevere where you’d ordinarily quit.

Your job is not to stop the “wrong” men from writing to you. If you’re 29 and cute, they’re going to be coming out of the woodwork – 55 year old men from 100 miles away, telling you that you’re beautiful. Don’t sweat those guys. Men copy and paste emails because such a low percentage of women write back to them. It’s a bad strategy on their part, but you have to understand that they’re FAILURES and be a little more sympathetic to them.

If you want a better online dating experience, you have to learn three things: how to write a better profile, how to flirt with men and keep them interested, and how to initiate contact with the men YOU want in a funny, confident way.

Click here to learn more about how to do it.

 

My way far more effective than anything you’ve done before and it beats the hell out of more trial and error and frustration. Literally, my 64-year-old mother just went through all the Finding the One Online material and found a boyfriend in 1 month.

What do you think a 29-year-old could do if you learned how to do it right instead of complaining about how everything is wrong?

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Leslie

    I love the blog, although I don’t post often and had to add my .02 cents.
    I live in a Northeast US city where the ratio of men to women is around 1:6. When I decided to try online dating (at the urging of some friends and Evan’s blog), I went in with the mindset that I was looking for quality not quantity. I only sent emails to guys whose profiles had the values that I was looking for and that were well written. Those were far and few in between, and most of those guys didn’t respond, just as the was mentioned in the question even though we were SO alike.
     
    Although it was easy to get discouraged by lack of responses, I maintained the mindset that it didn’t matter whether I was emailing/meeting a 100 guys, 10 guys, or only one guy – at the end, I will end up with only one guy anyway, so I’m better of finding that one or few guys who a great match for me, rather than wanting to feel attractive or as though I have lots of option because there are 90 other guys paying attention to me who are not right at all.
     
    After about a month of online dating, I had email exchanges with 6 or 7 guys, which materialized into dates with only two guys and one of those two dates has been my boyfriend for almost 6 months. I was blessed with a great guy, but also being committed to what I want, keeping a positive attitude, and always focusing on quality over quantity I’m sure helped a ton!

  2. 2
    Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach

    Evan – great advice! I tell my  dating coaching clients who are over 40 this all the time. You don’t want to stop the flow of men even though they are the wrong men – the Universe will get the wrong message that you don’t want men! So don’t let the wrong men bother you.

    Instead, recognzie this as evidence that you are very attractive and internally thank them for admiring you. This builds self-esteem rather than making yourself feel bad about the wrong guys wanting you.

    Like Evan says, so what if 90% are wrong – there are still 10% that count. Focus on what is right to see the possibilites crop up. At 29, you still have loads of choices!

  3. 3
    Regina

    Leslie #1 wrote, “I maintained the mindset that it didn’t matter whether I was emailing/meeting a 100 guys, 10 guys, or only one guy – at the end, I will end up with only one guy anyway, so I’m better of finding that one or few guys who a great match for me, rather than wanting to feel attractive or as though I have lots of option because there are 90 other guys paying attention to me who are not right at all.”

    Excellent point, Leslie! What you wrote reminds me of the book, “What Color is Your Parachute?”  The author basically uses the same analogy when looking for a job after you’ve been downsized (or in the case of love, dumped). It doesn’t matter if 95% of the companies (guys) aren’t interested in hiring you. The goal is to weed through the 95%  that don’t want you for whatever reason, and find the 5% that DO want you. Out of that 5%, you only need ONE company (guy) that wants to make YOU an offer (for a job or that of girlfriend).  Evan provides the tools to do that – all we have to do is apply what we’ve learned from him.

  4. 4
    Karl R

    Angie said: (original post)
    “Or they make me think these guys have me on a pedestal – ‘If you don’t mind me saying, I think you are beautiful, and your profile seems so genuine. I hope you write back!’”

    That guy doesn’t sound like he has you on a pedestal. It sounds like an uninspired (almost cliche) email to me.

    Angie said: (original post)
    “these guys haven’t responded. I’m thinking, ‘We are SO alike, why aren’t you responding?’”
    Leslie said: (#1)
    “most of those guys didn’t respond, just as the was mentioned in the question even though we were SO alike.”

    Almost every guy who does online dating goes through that same scenario … again and again and again. I would spend hours searching for women who seemed like good matches. I would send a carefully crafted email, and then … nothing.

    A lot of men get frustrated, so they stop writing original, personal emails, and do unoriginal, copy & paste emails instead. It’s a bad strategy on their part, but when well-written emails get so little response, it’s hard to see the point in putting in the time.

    That’s one reason why you’ll get so many boring emails. The men who send them are acting on the frustration that you already feel.

    Hopefully you’ll find the situation a bit less frustrating now that you understand what’s going on.

  5. 5
    Sayanta

    What I’m confused about – guys with generic, adjective-laden profiles tell me they’re clueless or really don’t care about the process of attracting women? How are these guys going to be amazing boyfriends?

    1. 5.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      If you think, Sayanta, that the ability to write an effective online dating profile has anything to do with a man’s ability to treat you well, act responsibly and loyally, save money, offer commitment and emotional support, then you’re really overestimating the value of an online dating profile. Put another way: pretty much every woman who ever came to me had a crappy generic profile. Does that mean they’re all clueless and are doomed to be bad girlfriends?

      No, it does not.

  6. 6
    Sayanta

    One more thing- if guys really are going through the same woes the op is, as Karl says, wouldn’t they be Grateful to get an email from the op? Unless this is male revenge at it’s finest ;)

  7. 7
    Michael17

    I myself don’t have any sympathy for guys who write bad emails, especially because they are my competition. A guy is frustrated? Too bad. Either play to win or get the hell out.
     
    I have good pictures and a well-written profile. I write a great first email. I still get maybe a 15% response rate on the emails I send. Out of those 15% who write me back, I will end up meeting up with maybe 50% of those. I know what it is like to spend a lot of time crafting a great email to a woman on PoF who looks like a mutual great match and have it gotten “Read Deleted”. As Leslie and Regina put it though, that means if I find 30 profiles I really like in a month, 4 or 5 will write me back, and I will get 2 first dates that I am excited to go by.
     
    Now, what Evan said about a great profile not correlating that strongly with a suitable woman: I agree. I’m not looking for a terrific writer or photojournalist. To this end, I can look past the cliche-ridden text in your profile and your boring emails. But I do need something to go by though. I have to like your pictures of you for one thing, and if there is something interesting or noteworthy about you, put it in your profile. I’m sure that I decided NOT to write to some women who would have been great for me, but how would I have known that? There’s nothing in their profile that stood out for me, and I just don’t have time to write to every woman who’s profile didn’t stand out for me. Make it easier for me to see that it is worth our time for me to write you, and I will more likely will.

  8. 8
    Sayanta

    Oh, I don’t think there is any rhyme or reason as to why people behave the way they do in online dating. I’ve sent flirty well-crafted e-mails to men who never responded but still looked at my profile every single day. ??? Weirdness…

  9. 9
    Karl R

    Sayanta said: (#9)
    “I don’t think there is any rhyme or reason as to why people behave the way they do in online dating.”

    Every person, including the clinically insane, acts in a manner that seems rational to them. A schizophrenic may be operating under the flawed premise that God (or an alien) is talking to him, but the actions taken in response to that premise will follow a logical pattern.

    But I wouldn’t waste a lot of time trying to figure out the rationale behind someone’s behavior when there’s know way to know what they’re basing those decisions on.

  10. 10
    hunter

    I too have written paragraphs to women on POF, only to get a mere, three or four words in response from women.  

  11. 11
    BloggyDaddy

    I also agree that there is rarely any rhyme or reason to it, which is what leads to the frustration.
    I’ve met one good woman that I dated for a while whom I met online and although we aren’t still dating, I consider us friends.  The rest have been a mix of quite a few emotionally damaged women, women who really aren’t interested in dating, women who just like the attention, and so on and so on.  Some sound great and suddenly stop emailing for no reason that I can tell.  Some write one sentence responses and I get bored trying to carry on a conversation.  Some want to meet right away at a bar or there house even, no way, I just emailed them.
    It does get frustrating but the thing I try to remember is this.  Before online dating it took me a good 15 years to find the woman I felt compatible enough with to get married.  Even though we divorced, we did have a lot in common and loved each other, but it took a long time to find that.  I can’t expect to find Ms. Right #2 right away, it might take some time and there is probably a lot of bad eggs to weed through just like it was before online dating.  It’s actually easier dealing with the frustration of bad online interactions than bad ones in person.

  12. 12
    texasdarlin

    @ Karl # 10 You are 100% correct.  Having worked with Schizophrenics on a professional level I’ve experienced it.

    @ Michael 17 #8 & Hunter # 11:  Where are you?  in all the time I’ve been on POF I’ve gotten only a handful of emails that were more than 1 sentence long.  Usually it’s “hi  how r u?”  Mind you I’m in my 40’s and so are these guys.  So thanks for bumping up my faith.  

    I’ve done the online dating thing for a number of years off and on.  I’m back on for now after taking a break after my last relationship ended and have a profile up on a couple of free sites.  I’ve done Match. com and eHarmony as well as Chemistry.  Out of those I was most successful on Match and in part due to the stipulations I had to follow if I wanted to ensure I got six months free.  At the time Match was offering 6 months free if you didn’t find someone in the first 6 months.  In order to qualify you had to contact 5 new people each month (& I don’t believe a wink counted) and leave your profile up the whole time.  There could have been more but I don’t recall.   You’ve got to work at it and to take each day as it comes.  Leslie #1 makes an excellent point.

  13. 13
    Steve

    @hunter #11
    I think everyone has had that happen to them.   I take it as a flag that they aren’t interested, but don’t want to feel rude by ignoring my message entirely.
     

  14. 14
    Honey

    I am pretty sure I responded to EVERY email I ever received on a dating site, even if it was to say, “I don’t think we’d be a good match, but I appreciate your interest.  Good luck on your search!”

    Who deletes emails unread?  That seems soooo rude to me…

  15. 15
    Christie Hartman

    In many years of being in this business, one thing I’ve noticed about many online daters is that they go in with unrealistic expectations. They expect emails to be exciting. They expect profiles to be perfectly written. They expect lots of responses from the right people (whoever their right people are). They expect to connect with everyone they meet because they looked good on paper. Online dating is a different ballgame. Go in with an open mind and think of it as an adventure. Like Leslie (#1) said, you’re only looking for one. And you have to weed through many to find that one.

  16. 16
    Michael17

    Honey #15: Wow, I am impressed. I personally don’t care about not getting an acknowledgement for the first email, and I don’t respond to every email. I have “deleted unread” a couple of emails on PoF. I put in my profile what I am looking for, and if a woman writes me who clearly ain’t it, well, that’s what she gets for not reading my profile… But I do get back to someone after the date, and I do expect to hear back either way after the date. I won’t disappear on someone I have been communicating with either. At that point there is some sort of relationship. We both invested energy here.
     
    Christine #16: I agree about the unrealistic expectations. As a guy, I would say the biggest unrealistic expectation I am seeing from women is for instant chemistry on the first date. What’s worse is that many of them come into the first date somewhat guarded. So they are putting a tall order on the guy: put them at ease and THEN wow them.
     
    As a guy, I would say that my unrealistic expectations are on the front end: Whom to write. I would say that maybe 1% of the profiles I see are compelling enough to get me to write. It isn’t about the profiles being perfectly written though, instead it is a lot about looks. I’m sure that this is causing me to discount a lot of women who would be great for me.
     

  17. 17
    Sayanta

    Michael

    I think women come to the dates guarded because they don’ t know if the guy is going to be 40 pounds overweight compared to his pic. True stories.

  18. 18
    Steve

    @Sayanta #18
     
    Both men and women experience that phenomenon regularly.
     
    I don’t care unless someone’s appearance is drammatically different from their pictures, but I have been lucky in that regard.   Nobody has been drammatic that way.
     

  19. 19
    Steve

    @Honey #15.
     
    I never felt like anyone has been rude to me when they didn’t respond to my introductory emails.   It is no fun telling someone you are not interested……..or having it told to you.  I actually prefer it that way.
     
    Not responding is also nice when someone 20 years outside of your age range. 200 miles outside of your geographical and who hasn’t read your profile contacts you :)
     

  20. 20
    Ruby

    Sayanta #18

    Or 15 years older than photo. 

    I’d also prefer no response if i contact someone and there’s no interest.

    Anyway, if you are 29, pretty, and have a fun profile, my guess is that you are getting lots of volume, and it’s going to be all over the map. Congrats, you get to be picky! Surely there will be a few men who look past your attractive photo and also like what they read. You just have to do a lot of weeding.  

    And maybe your profile could stand to go deeper as well. If you only talk about wanting to have fun, maybe you need to go into more detail about your interests and what you are looking for in a date or partner. 

  21. 21
    Jadafisk

    Really? I try to answer all of my messages for the sake of politeness, even though when I send I don’t care all that much, because I thought it was erring on the side of caution. This impacts the way I word my profile – to cut down on undesirable candidates and welcome others. I know Evan’s approach is to keep the door as open as possible, which would necessitate – for most women with certain stats, anyway – a policy of not responding to a ton of messages, which makes me uncomfortable after I’ve heard many men bellyache about women who don’t respond.

  22. 22
    Diana

    Whether or not to acknowledge someone’s initial contact when I am not interested in them has always felt like a conundrum to me. On one hand, I don’t want to feel like I am being rude by not acknowledging their interest (even the cookie cutter emails), but I also don’t want to feel like I am possibly disappointing or hurting their feelings by letting them know that I do not feel we’re a good match. I almost always respond to their email because that is what I’d prefer for myself. I am not emotionally invested enough at that very early point to feel offended, hurt, think they’re being rude, etc. But a simple acknowledgment lets me know that they at least gave me a thought. I do feel annoyed when I get an email from a guy who hasn’t even read my profile, yet he says how great it is. Huh?! Next.
     
    I don’t send cookie cutter emails. Then again, I don’t send a lot of emails because I see so few that interest me. It’s kind of like what Michael17 said. I could be passing on guys who would be great for me, but I can only make a decision based on what they’ve written, and most guys profiles are abysmal.

  23. 23
    Venus

    @Sayanta # 18  I also respond to all my e-mails.  Guys usually come back and thank me for responding.  It seems that so many are used to being ignored.   

    Like Jadafisk #22, I have amended my profile to cut down on the number of undesirable persons contacting me.   I was spending too much time crafting rejection letters for people who should not have been writing me in the first place.  (Absolutely no match potential) It has made life online a bit easier.

    When I contact a guy, I really would prefer to get a reply back.  Even if its a no thank you.  I think it says a lot about him if he does not respond. 

  24. 24
    Venus

    Correction, the first part of my comment should be directed @Honey# 15

  25. 25
    MiW

    I have to say I completely disagree that we should be responding out of politeness to the people we are rejecting. If I spend 1.5 hrs typing responses to people I’m actually interested in (approx 10mins per msg, 8 ppl) there is NO WAY the other 3-4 per day that don’t fit my ‘looking for’ are getting anything.
    Also, I don’t expect or want a rejection email from the people I message/wink to.
    I think by changing your profile to ‘weed out’ people from contacting you is just shooting yourself in the foot. Online dating is a numbers game.

  26. 26
    Michael17

    Whether to respond or not: I only “delete unread” emails from women who are clearly not what I am looking for, and they would know that from reading my profile. For example, in my profile I say explicitly that I am not compatible with anyone whose status is “separated” or anyone who has kids–I’m just not ready to have kids of my own, never mind be a father figure to someone else’s or deal with “baby daddy” drama. And yet I get a lot of emails from women who are “separated” and who have kids. Deleted Unread. Heed what is said in the profile next time!    

    What is much much harder for me is when I get a nice, well-written email from someone who seems really sweet and whose profile is well-written too, but who isn’t my type physically. I just can’t look past the physical attraction not being there. But I don’t want to tell someone that they aren’t my type physically. The best I could come up with was to tell them that I already have too many other prospects to juggle. That’s a lie though. Now I just don’t respond. On PoF the status of the email is “Read” (but not Deleted for a couple weeks). Hey I have to deal with a no-response 80% of the time and I live, so can they.

  27. 27
    Michael17

    By “guarded” I mean that the conversation feel something like pulling teeth. (Yes my pictures are all very recent and I look at least as good in person.) her demeanor says “you’re a stranger, I don’t trust you”. Sometimes it thaws out, sometimes it does not. I really feel that there’s something not right about that. I get that women are concerned for their safety and all that, but c’mon–we’re in a public place, I respect her boundaries, she’s going to be fine. I’m putting myself out there to give the date a fair shot, and I feel that it is “part of the contract” for her to be present too.

  28. 28
    Sayanta

    See this is what I’m not getting. The op has mentioned that guys don’t email her back. This has happened to me too. If guys are so eager for young and attractive women to contact them and they don’t get responses to their messages wouldn’t they jump to respond to messages from women like op? Then again, I guess it’s timing. I’ve teetered between famine and feast myself.

  29. 29
    david

    I hate, hate, hate to say / suggest this, but maybe the OP isn’t as attractive as she thinks she is….I mean, she’s 29 — the “perfect” age — she could date someone 25 – 29 AND 30 and up…the fact she isn’t FLOODED with 20-something guys AND 30-something guys is giving me pause…and the no responses from her “equals”….Hmmmm….and the only e-mails she gets are from dopey guys just fishing for any reply….

  30. 30
    Steve

    @#29
    There are a number of reasons why a guy might not respond to a young woman contacting him first, beyond simply not being interested in the woman.
    The guy could have lost interest in the site or dating for a while and not bothered to take his profile down.    Some sites leave abandoned profiles up so that the sites look better populated.
     
     

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