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 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. 41


    I’ve been on both ends of being non-responder and non- respondee. I think I understand why people wink because I’ve started doing it too! Lol if you’re not sure if you’ll get a response then why bother? Also, women are told that actual message sending will make them seem like the pursuer and men will be turned off.

    Also I’ve noticed that that if I wink back at someone I always get a message. It’s like I’ve given them the green light that it’s safe to message.

    I don’t know you JB but it sounds like you’re either too jaded to deal with dating at this point or that you’re looking for a very specific kind of woman and youre mad that she’s not out there yet. I’ve been there too though.

  2. 42

    @kenley #41

    Actually, I think the travel thing is big (especially if the woman has 25 travel pics).   I love to travel, and consider it a requirement that my significant other at least enjoy travel.   They don’t need the same passion about it, but I’ve dated homebody types… it doesn’t work.

    I’d go with them on vacations, and they’d pout about the food or what is on the hotel tv.   I’d go away by myself and I’d get lengthy emails that I couldn’t begin to respond to.

    I think travel style is a huge thing, depended how adventurous and worldly you are.   I don’t think it’s necessarily a dealbreaker, if you are both sort of in the middle, but if one person wants to stay home all the time, and one person wants to travel all the time, I think jb’s assumption that they are not a match is fair.

    @sayanta #42

    Evan just had a post recently about women doing the messaging.   The guy I am going out with tomorrow (date #3) I originally messaged. (and, funny enough, he is a world traveler, which is why I messaged him).   His profile said he loved to travel and recent adventures included A, B, C, D locations.

    I basically said (a) I’m new in town and looking to meet new people (very general – not “I’m looking to meet the love of my life”), (b) it looks like we have a lot in common, (c) How are B and D locations?   They are on my list.

    He wrote back (a) welcome to LA, (b) He’d love to tell me about B and D, (c) here’s (his) number, let’s grab a drink and he’ll tell me all about them.

    And like I said, I wrote the letter.   This is how I like things – NON-frustrating.   But he’s the only one who did that, which might be why he’s the only one I’m making any progress with.

  3. 43

    One more thing-

    I think OP said that the guy she e-mailed wrote her back a week later? This has happened to me before- I’ll wink or e-mail- the guy will look at my profile, but not respond until several days later. This just screams sketchiness to me. I mean, how long does it take to send a timely response if they’re interested? Am I too picky here?

  4. 44


    I see your point.   I guess because I only go on one to two big vacations a year, love of travel wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me.   I guess that’s why there are 32 flavors and then some!

  5. 45

    I respond to e-mails because it seems rude not to.     I generally give a reason and find something complementary to say about their profile.   “I really enjoyed your pictures, You have such a beautiful daughter” etc.   I have never gotten back a nasty reply.   But guys do come back and thank me for responding and somtimes try to pursuade me to reconsider.   I don’t do follow up rejection.   I simply ignore any further correspondence.   If he persists I block.   Rejections are final.  

  6. 46

    Oh and I never respond to winks!!   Either online or in real life.   I find them cheesy.   Send me a message.

  7. 47

    Thanks Angie,

    @Sayanta #42 I’m not jaded because I don’t want to date someone who loves travel and it’s a huge part of their life.I never said it was a deal breaker.I get plenty of dates with non travelers or people that go on 1 vacation a year….lol This woman sounded like she was looking for a travel companion that was close to retiring and or had the financial means to take 3 or 4 trips a year.To be honest I just dropped her a note thanking her for the wink and asked her a couple of nice questions because I wanted to see what she says when I tell her I’m not much of a traveler and how important is it to her. I am curious… we’ll see……..

    Also you have to give people time to respond,people are busy and sometimes it takes a few days to respond to an email or a wink properly instead of rushing it and saying nothing.

  8. 48

    I don’t think there’s any mystery to online dating at all…. contrary to the “there’s no rhyme nor reason to it” philosophy, I   actually think its completely straightforward.  

    Guys respond to your photos. That’s it. If they like your photos, they will write to you, even if they live hundreds of miles away, meet none of your stated  specifications and you don’t meet theirs. Equally, if the guys who are “totally compatible” with you don’t reply to your e-mails, its because they didn’t feel an attraction when they looked at your photos. It doesn’t matter if you share the same hobbies and life goals and love of carrot flavoured ice cream, if you don’t appeal to them physically, they don’t want to get to know you!

    This in no way implies that there is anything wrong with your looks, it simply means that your look does not appeal to that particular guy. OK, he could take a chance and meet you anyway in case you were better looking than in your pictures, but where’s the motivation? Meeting people you’ve contacted online is wearying and time consuming enough without arranging to meet people you don’t even think you’re going to be physically attracted to.

  9. 49


    I see what you’re saying but that doesn’t explain what happens to me- some guys won’t write or respond but they’ll be checking my photo every day- I don’t think this is because they find me hideous 😉

  10. 50

    Angie #32: It can be easy for women to overrate their power online. Just because many a young woman gets a host of men writing her, doesn’t mean that every guy, or nearly every guy, really likes her profile.
    I’d take out “I’m hoping to meet some nice new people”. It definitely weakens your email. That sentence would make me not respond unless I was really taken with your profile. I’d be wondering how many other guys you wrote today. You instead want the reader to feel that there was something about *him* that made you take the chance to write him. Or at least, not give him a reason to believe otherwise.

  11. 51

    On the responding to e-mail issue, I’ve sent a polite ‘thanks but we wouldn’t be a good match’ e-mail, only to have the guys curse me out as a reply. Whew! Dodged some bullets there.

  12. 52

    I’m so glad to have found this blog because I have had the same experiences as everyone else and I thought it was just me!   I have been on ‘match’ for 3 mos. and have had very little luck with it.   I researched how to write a profile, what kinds of pics to post, etc.   I am a well educated, articulate, fit, attractive woman/blue-eyed blonde.   I seem to be able to turn heads pretty much everywhere I go. I am also 54, which seems to be desirable mainly to the elderly or the very young (20-somethings..and I know what THEY’RE looking for.)   

    When I do make contact with someone of an appropriate age, no matter who contacted who first, and begin a dialogue, it seldom goes anywhere.   They’ll email and talk about meeting, but it never materializes.   Or they suddenly vanish after a couple of exchanges.   I have tried analyzing my emails to see if I am saying something wrong.   I even had a friend take a look!   We decided some of them were too wordy, but the bulk of them seem pretty “normal.”   What the heck is going on?   It’s pretty discouraging.   I know it’s a numbers game, etc. and I’m trying to hang in there, but why would someone begin an enthusiastic-sounding dialogue, only to disappear?

  13. 53

    Patricia @ 53 –
    Some things are outside of your control and you will never know why someone you were corresponding with went “poof”.   One guy might disappear b/c he starts to focus on someone else, another might decide to take a break from dating, etc.
    I personally don’t like repeated email exchanges.   It is time consuming and more important, it is very difficult to really determine someone’s personality.
    Try making the transition from email to phone to a first meet much quicker. Also, as has been hammered home so many times on this site, guys are looking for women who are fun – be animated, laugh a bit, and don’t be afraid to flirt :=)   Re-read you emails and see if they are a bit dry.   Even better, ask a couple of guys to read them and give an honest assessment.   Hope this helps.

  14. 54

    Patricia   It’s your age I am 55 have been on numerous dating sites over a two year period and the general rule is men in their   fifties  don’t date women in their fifites

    they date gnerally 10 12 years younger so we get the very young or the elderly.
    It’s just  the way it is.    For women over 50 generally speaking  online  is not he way to go unless you are wiling to lie about your age.   I am now focusing on men in their forties that I meet IRL single dances/meetup/thru work/friends.   The problem with online is that you will not be showing up in searches due to your age.    If you do want to do the online thing try emailing first.  

    1. 54.1

      Not sure when this comment was posted, but I agree with you. I am 32 and look young for my age (most people IRL guess me to be early-mid twenties) and I’ve had plenty of men in their 50s contacting me. It’s gross, I already have a dad thanks. Then a lot of men my own age ignore me. Why is that, do they want 18-year olds? I’m so sick of this!! >:(

  15. 55

    Re. Still Looking:   Thank you for your insight.   I have read in more than one place to cease exchanging emails with a guy if he hasn’t mentioned meeting after the fourth one.   I’m not sure how to get a guy to ask me out.   I have read, repeatedly, that they need to be the one to initiate contact.   I do try to be animated and clever in my emails, but I think I will take your advice and show some of my emails to a couple of guy friends.   

    Re. Teresa: I think you’re absolutely right about our age.   I realize I don’t show up in their searches, so I when I do a search I look at profiles and send the occasional email to someone I find attractive.   Sometimes I hear back and sometimes I don’t. I have really had to extend my geographic range, because I see the same tired faces I have seen for the past two years.   The thought occurred to me that I could lie about my age and get away with it, but I wouldn’t want to begin a potential relationship under a lie.

    Since I work from home, I have realized that I do need to get out more and get involved in the community.   I work out with a private trainer at his home, so I have decided to go join a gym today and start going in the evenings. I went one evening recently, with a married girlfriend, and saw a few attractive men.   I also plan to start doing some volunteer work in the community.   I have told friends I am willing to be set up, but no one seems to know any decent available men.   

    It’s weird because any time I go out in public I have no problems attracting men.   I was at a Sunday school function, recently, and mentioned I was cold.   Three good-looking men approached me immediately, with their coats, and each insisted I wear his.   The problem?   They’re all married!!!   ARGGHHHH!!!!!!


  16. 56

    The OP posts:
    I usually say “Hey, I’m new in town, I see you like ____. Me too.   Anyways, I’m looking to meet nice new people”.
    And in her original letter she has the audacity to call men’s messages boring and generic.
    The real problem with dating, online or real life, is double standards and the application of two weights and two measures. A simplification, but one which holds – most of the time it simply boils down to this.
    Finally, read the comments posted by men and compare them to the ones posted by women. Bar a few exceptions, there is a clearly visible pattern. If it’s not clear enough to you, then you’ll always remain “confused”, despite the facts  being as clear as daylight, and as clear as they were to all our ancenstors.

  17. 57

    I always chuckle when I read that people actually went on dates. I’ve sent about 40 emails on 3 different sites, all of which were well-written, and I’ve got a strong profile, and only gotten 3 responses, none of which materialized into anything. I just get the old view/ignore thing all the time. It’s a mind-numbing process to me.

  18. 58

    Nice advice Marc,
    “they are the failures”, do you tell men the same when they complain to you. This short messages maybe to generic are born from the experience of low to zero response rates from women profiles. Why failure? Until no answer comes in, why invest more? You hear other people telling you t stop putting too much effort into messages.
    You can take any point of view. The matter is arbitrary there are no failures.

    Failure is when a fourty something with three kids no own life, realizes she picked the wrong douche bag and wants an active guy like me to date meet her. Why should I? Own kids? Impossible. She brings plenty of financial burden. She does not even read your profile when you want someone without kids, you want someone to have a family of your own. Or she has no kids but no income either.

    I get a wife from abroad then. White western women, will flake out of the gene pool of future generations. I don’t mind it.

  19. 59

    A wise woman would avoid any man who has such a low opinion of her and her children.   

  20. 60

    I gave up. I am very confident and approach women in public easily..but these dating profiles? I have had very little luck. I have a friend who has 0 confidence in a bar/coffee shop scenario but he routinely gets dates on the dating sites. Some guys are just more clever I think. Good luck to you ladies. 🙂

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