How Do I Survive The Frustration Of Online Dating?

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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 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?

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

Comments:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.  

  4. 24
    Venus

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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….

    1. 29.1
      Mavis

      I’m not sure when this comment was even posted…I came to this site out of frustration because of exactly what you just wrote! With men, it seems to be all about how “attractive” the woman is – in other words, the picture. She could very well be contacting her “equals” and getting no responses – because it seems that “average” men want a supermodel. I am a 32 year old woman who has tried online dating on and off for years. I admit, I’m not very pretty – but I’m not horrible looking. I have a plain face, but I’m thin, fairly tall, and young-looking (people usually guess me to be in my 20s). And no, the responses haven’t been “flooding in” at all. I write to guys all the time who I believe to be average – I avoid the very overweight ones, but I could care less if they are bald, have a big nose, etc. I tend to go more for those who have similar interests and values – and I can’t tell you how many of those have ignored me, and how many emails I’ve gotten from obese men, those who can’t speak English, those who are 20+ years older than me…I could go on. But I won’t, rant over.

      1. 29.1.1
        Victor

        And your problem with bald people is?   Please do not stereotype.   I am a very hot bald man and I resent the insinuation that being bald is somehow unattractive.   That one comment completely negates the rest of your post.   Please think before you say such things.   Thanks.

    2. 29.2
      Brandon

      I’m thinking the same thing.

  10. 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.
      
      

  11. 31
    Angie

    @#30

    Hi David,

    I wrote the letter.   The person I was waiting to write back actually did since I emailed Evan, and we went out.   He wasn’t as attractive in person as his profile was, but he was ok – a bit scatterbrained actually.

    Some messages frighten me.   On top of the types above, I get propositions for weekend getaways and some that are just offensive.   It’s ok though.   I prefer messaging guys, though, because when I get replies they seem better than what guys email me, even if they don’t all respond.   I don’t think I am overrating my looks or personality.   I didn’t say I’m a model, but most people would describe me as pretty (I get that I look like Michelle Trachtenberg a lot, so you can figure out if you think she is pretty or not).   

    Also, I try not to be too suggestive myself.   I usually say “Hey, I’m new in town, I see you like ____. Me too.   Anyways, I’m looking to meet nice new people”.

    I do have ONE guy and we are set up for date #3, so we’ll see.  

    And I don’t think replying to a message that is too suggestive, a cut-and-paste job, or a 50-year-old who with 3 kids who clearly doesn’t match my basic criteria with a “polite thank you” is necessary.

    Thanks Evan! 🙂

  12. 32
    A-L

    I will have to say that when I was dating online, I’d ignore the cut-and-paste and/or vulgar e-mails.   But if it was obvious that someone customized an e-mail for me, then I would respond, if only to say that I wasn’t interested.   My favorite e-mail remains one from a guy 100 miles too far away, who was 20 years too old, and had too many children (he had kids).  

  13. 33
    Christie Hartman

    There are some good arguments here for both replying to someone you aren’t interested in AND simply ignoring the email. When I was dating online, my personal belief was that it was better to reply to the men who emailed me, and provide a short but polite rejection. Although, as some have said above, there are good arguments for not bothering with this. However, I refused to reply to anything suggestive, any obvious cut-and-pastes, or anyone who clearly didn’t fit my criteria (and thus didn’t read my profile). These were pretty rare, fortunately.
      

  14. 34
    Michael17

    Christie #34: It’s a dilemma for me whether or not to reply. I am into a certain physical type. As I said before, I hate to reply to someone’s thoughtful email by telling them that their looks don’t do it for me. And just saying that I don’t think we’re compatible is often an obvious cop-out; they say all the right things in their profile, and back them up with pictures. Also, telling them that I’m already dating too many people is kind of a lie.
      
    So the kindest thing seems to be to just ignore, and let them draw the conclusion that I am a jerk, a fake profile, or seeing too many people already. I never contacted them, they contacted me. What do really owe them at this point anyway?
      
    It’s a different story after we meet up though, AND if they ask for a second date, OR if I tell them I will call. Then if I am not feeling it, I will actually get back to them to let them know.

    1. 34.1
      Ryan

      I always reply. I think you do owe someone common decency, if the person emailing you was decent and not vulgar. I understand that this is another human being, if it was in a coffee shop and someone 400lbs my senior came up to me and showed interest, I would politely decline, not walk away as if they weren’t human.

      Just because it’s online and there is no social pressure, that says a lot more about me and my character if I don’t respond, than them.

  15. 35
    JB

    This is just my personal opinion but if  a woman is  not interested in me after a first email I’d rather just be ignored.I get the message.For some goofy reason it hurts more when  a woman  takes the time to type a rejection…..lol go figure? It’s basically become such an unwritten rule of online dating that I ignore any woman that winks at me on Match if I’m not interested.They know what it means,ya know why? Because they do it themselves 20 times a day to other guys…lol
    The women on Match just “wink” none of them even bother to string a couple of coherent sentences together,at least not  to me.

    The “unread deleted” thing in POF used to bug me a lot because I know these women would just look at my  profile(pic mainly I’m sure)  and delete the email not even caring what I said.Thank god POF makes you pay now to see if an email was read and or deleted so only an idiot would pay to see the words “read deleted” over and over again…lol At this point on POF if I don’t hear back I just assume “not interested” and I really don’t care if they read it or not.

    As far as the “copy and paste” emails?? I have a couple of general templates I use but I still personalise a little as well.As has been said above ladies,we’re sorry but there’s just no point in sending a unique email to each and every woman who’s profile we might like only to be ingnored.I operate under the assumption that “if a woman likes a man’s profile(pics,content,height,income,education level,and job title) it really doesn’t matter what the opening email says as long as it has some substance and some reference  that at least shows we read their profile.

    So to answer the question “how does anyone survive the frustration of online dating”? I started in 1997(before photo’s)  and after 14 yrs of doing it……I take it with a grain of salt,know it’s just part of everyday life and don’t let it get to me whether I’m getting rejected or doing the rejecting.I have a pretty thick skin at this point.Life goes on and you’ll survive.

  16. 36
    kat3281

    I used to reply to emails and winks I received at first, even if it was a generic “not compatible, wish you luck”, but the vast majority of men responded one of two ways: either continued emailing to convince me to give them a chance forcing me to either ignore or more forcefully reject them or they got downright spiteful at being rejected, ie “well you are fat and ugly anyway so who cares”. So unless someone seems really sweet and like they spent a great deal of time on a personalized email, I just delete. I recently tried again responding after reading this website for so long and so many men with the same complaint about women not responding and had the exact same results.
    And for the OP, I think most of us get frustrated with online dating at times. When that happens to me, I just take a couple of months off and return when I am feeling more positive about trying again. A string of jerks or bad dates can leave anyone feeling pessimistic, it does really seem to be back and forth “feast or famine”. But overall, I still meet way more people online than in real life and then I know at least a few basic things about the person (assuming the are not lying about anything, which does happen). So for me, it is still the best way to meet people.

  17. 37
    Sayanta

    The thing is- how are you supposed to respond to personalized e-mails that are just really weird? I’ve had e-mails sent to me where the sender was discussing the meaning of life and asking me to read his poetry. Um- yeah, he obviously put thought into his e-mail, but I had absolutely no clue on how to even begin to respond. Another guy who wrote me likes sewing and baking desserts in his spare time- and all his friends are women. I had no idea how to respond to his very sweet e-mail either. Another dude wrote me an “Ode” in sonnet form.  Sometimes, there is just no response.

  18. 38
    JB

    Perfect case example: I just got winked at by a woman with the username “worldtraveler”  who’s extensive lengthy profile says she’s a clinical psychologist with a postdoctoral degree in clinical psychopharmacology,she loves to travel and has 25 attractive photo’s in her profile in various vacation spots. She has a PhD and she can’t string a few sentences together when she emails me?? Wtf ??…lol I might add that my profile doesn’t even mention the word “travel” because I hate it. This one time I will email her back and be sorry to tell her “I don’t think we’re a match” but send me a postcard on your next European tour.

  19. 39
    Ruby

    MiW#26

    Yes, you should be meeting multiple people, but it isn’t just about volume. What’s the point of having people contact you if you have nothing in common or they’re not your type at all?

    KAT281#37  

    Yes, me too. If i contact someone and don’t hear back within a few days, I can assume they are not interested. Actually, after a couple of days, I’ve probably started to forget all about it, so i don’t need or want an email reminding me that they aren’t interested.  

  20. 40
    kenley

    JB,

    Are you suggesting that because you don’t mention travel in your profile that a woman should assume that you hate to travel?   If so, I don’t think that is a realistic expectation.   One can only highlight so many things in the profile and I don’t automatically assume because a man doesn’t specifically mention liking an activity that he must therefore hate it.   

    Also, if you like everything else about her profile, you would really dismiss her because you don’t like to travel?    Perhaps because I am not a hot commodity on-line (I’m a middle aged black lady), I don’t dismiss people so quickly.      I am a city girl through and through and I have moved to a less urban part of the country.   In this new area, almost every profile I read mentions how much the guy LOVES camping, hunting, fishing and riding motorcycles (mainly Harley’s).   I HATE those activities, but I realized that I don’t have to do those activities with the guy…especially when I discovered that for some of those activities, the guy only does them once or twice a year!

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