How Do I Survive The Frustration Of Online Dating?

a woman choosing between two suitors

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 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 random happenstance at the gym, at Ralphs, on Sunset Blvd, at the UCB Theater, thru, 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?

Join our conversation (77 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

  11. 11

    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

    @ 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

    @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
    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.

    1. 14.1

      So right! What I don’t understand is this. A guy that constantly receives compliments on his appearance in person; gets no play when it comes to online dating. Some folks are just more photogenic than others. I have most certainly responded to women that I’m not into right from the jump of things. Mainly appearance and what I’m looking for doesn’t fall in line with what I want. I still talk to them and eventually take them out. Only for the purpose of SEEING what may come of it. One can only know once they’ve tried something for themselves. Women definitely don’t practice that enough. And no, I’m not saying date a person that you’re TOTALLY unattracted to; but give some guys a freakin chance. I just think that most women judge a person by how well the guy takes photos that’s all. I mean think about it; if every guy was Prince Charming, we’d all be saying the same things right?! Right! So ladies, quit your whining and go on more dates! It’s that simple!

  15. 15

    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…

    1. 15.1

      After multiple abusive responses to a polite ‘no thanks’, or people who won’t take no for an answer, or guys with clear deal-breakers in their profile…you stop responding to every message. I agree it would be ideal to be polite to everyone, but your time & energy needs to go into the people you are interested in, not those you aren’t.

  16. 16

    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


    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

    @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

    @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

    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.  

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