I Ask Questions in My Online Dating Emails, But They Don’t Ask Questions Back.
Great info! I enjoy reading all of this blog, and it has stopped me from boggling my mind about a few things!
Anyway, I’m a male who is his 40’s on Match. I seem to run into this a lot and haven’t seen this addressed. In my first email, I usually ask a few questions and figure the female will answer them, which they usually do, but then they don’t ask anything of me but still seem interested. I may email again, saying, “If you want to know anything just ask”, etc. but I still get no questions in return to start a conversation. Confusing.
Should I assume this is one of those. “She isn’t into me things?”
It’s not that she’s not into you. It’s that you probably haven’t given her a compelling reason to be.
If you want to know why your email correspondence online is generally flat and falls apart after a few emails, you have to look in the mirror and take responsibility for your part in it.
Just today, I was on the phone with a client who was sharing the same experience with me: “Why do guys write such boring emails? Why don’t they ever ask questions? What am I supposed to say?” She showed me example after example in her inbox of generic email exchanges that have no fire, no wit, no flirtation. Yet she didn’t realize that she was an equal part of the problem.
It’s not that she’s not into you. It’s that you probably haven’t given her a compelling reason to be.
It wasn’t until she showed me one really GOOD email from a guy that she started to get it. He asked her a silly question and started grilling her with more and more trivia questions, teasing her about what she might win if she got all the questions right. She played along and pushed right back and they’ve already got a first date lined up.
I asked this client what made this email exchange different from the other exchanges.
“He was funny”, she said.
“And how did that make a difference to you?” I asked.
“It made me funny in response to him,” she replied. “He was so lively and engaging that I sort of had no choice but to come back with something equally witty and creative.”
“So by him writing something playful and interesting to you, he actually brought out a more playful and interesting side of you?”
“Exactly! What woman doesn’t love a funny guy?”
“You’re right,” I said. “And what man doesn’t love a funny woman?” She agreed, wholeheartedly.
“So if a man can make you into a more engaging person by writing a witty first email, wouldn’t it make sense that you could turn a man into a more engaging person by doing the same?”
“Yes, but it’s a lot easier when he says something and I can respond to him.”
“I agree. But look at the emails you write back to the boring men. They’re just as boring as the ones that you received. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you took the time to write something interesting and creative back to these guys, you might discover that they actually have a personality? I mean, from the majority of your emails, you sound really boring, too. And yet this one guy with the trivia questions was able to bring out your playful side.”
The moral of the story is that you are ALWAYS responsible for how you leave a conversation. This is equally true on dates. By being optimistic, playful, interested and interesting, you can almost always transform any evening into a pleasant experience. The problem is that we don’t; we expect the other person to do the heavy lifting – to make the plans, to ask the silly questions, to raise the playing field. We all want someone to set the tone and follow along, instead of realizing that we’re always setting the tone ourselves.
I realize that I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent from your original question, Dwayne, but this is important. If your email dialogue is flagging, it’s not simply because she’s not interested in you – it’s because you haven’t captured her imagination. You haven’t created a compelling reason why she should write back to you over all others. And yet most of us get online and wonder why it always feels so stale. It’s because YOU’RE making it stale, and you’re accepting stale conversation from others.
As explained in great detail in this article, most emails sound like they could have been pre-written by anyone in the world. Here is one short email that makes 11 mistakes in only a couple of lines. See if you are guilty of doing any of the following.
If you’re going to write the same exact email as every single person on the dating site, you can’t be surprised when you get deleted quickly like junkmail.
Dear X (1)
I just read your profile (2) and thought it was really great (3). I also thought you were cute (4) and loved the fact that you go hiking with your brothers every summer. I do the same with my best friends. (5). Anyway, check out my profile (6) and see if you like what you read (7). If you want to know anything more about me, just ask. (8) My number is 555-1212. (9)
I hope to hear back from you soon (10).
Here’s what’s wrong with this very simple, innocuous email that you’ve probably written (or received) 100 times.
1) Dear X
She knows her name. Better to start off with something engaging right from the get go.
2) I just read your profile – She knows you read her profile.
3) …and thought it was really great. Of course. Otherwise, why would you be writing to her?
4) I also thought you were cute. She knows you think she’s attractive. So does every other guy on here.
5) and love the fact that you go hiking with your brothers every summer. I do the same with my best friends. “Me, too!” The crux of most email exchanges is taking something the other person did and saying, “Me, too”! There’s nothing wrong with a “Me, too” email, but how is someone supposed to respond? “Um, great?” Establishing commonality is often a symbol of trying too hard to sell yourself.
6) Anyway, check out my profile. She knows she’s supposed to check out your profile. That’s usually what happens after someone reads an email.
7) …and see if you like what you read sounds weak, like you’re asking for her approval. Assume success and you’re more likely to have success. Say “if you like what you read” and you’ll probably fail.
8 ) If you want to know anything more about me, just ask. Your profile should be good enough that she shouldn’t have to strain hard for information about you.
9) My number is 555-1212. Newsflash: Women don’t like cold-calling strange men who offer their numbers on the Internet!
10) I hope to hear back from you soon Wishy-washy. Don’t put her up on a pedestal.
11) Sign your name! You sound creepy if you don’t warm it up with a signature.
This probably sounds incredibly nitpicky, but it’s not. If you’re going to write the same exact email as every single person on the dating site, you can’t be surprised when you get deleted quickly like junkmail.
So if everything you’ve been doing in your emails is ineffective – if everything that comes naturally to you is too dull – what ARE you to do? The opposite of what’s above. Don’t say anything that is obvious. Don’t sell yourself. Don’t kiss ass. Don’t overpraise. Don’t ask for them to consider you. Don’t ask for them to write back to you. Act like you’re a catch – confident, bold, funny. If you sound like you’re presuming you’ll get an email back, you’re much more likely to get an email back.
And remember, keep it light. You’re not here to find out if a person will sleep with you or marry you in a first email. Could you imagine having such serious conversations with a stranger at a party?
“Excuse me, ma’am. You look very attractive. I think we have a lot in common – particularly our mutual love of rum punch. Would you like my phone number and to learn more about me?”
Who would a woman rather go out with – the boring lunkhead who asks for her number before he’s had a chance to charm her, or the witty guy whose every email she anticipates with delight? It’s a no-brainer.
Imagine saying that in real life! Now, consider that you’ve been saying that to hundreds of women online for years. No wonder the conversation goes nowhere!
Whether you’re a man or a woman, you need to differentiate yourself. And studies show that confidence and humor are the two most desirable qualities in both men AND women. So instead of playing the blame game and pointing fingers at people who take a long time to email, or say nothing interesting, or write only one line, step up and try a little harder yourself. You may be shocked how those same people become a lot more interested and interesting when you give them more to work with.
I’ve got two techniques for writing first emails that I describe in Finding the One Online. One is called Fun Fiction, in which you make up something silly based on a detail in the other person’s profile. The other is called Opinion Openers, where, instead of stating a “me, too” fact (You like Bruce Springsteen? I like Bruce Springsteen!), you offer your opinion – in which your personality shines through (Hey, if The Boss is from New Jersey, how come he sounds more like Woody Guthrie than Tony Soprano when he sings? What part of New Jersey has an Oklahoma accent?).
You may think that this stuff doesn’t matter – that people only write back to the most attractive people no matter what. So while I will acknowledge that being hot and stupid is more effective than being ugly and fascinating, the truth lies somewhere in between. A great email will never make someone who doesn’t want to date you consider you, but it WILL tip the balance when someone is choosing between a dozen otherwise similar candidates. Who would a woman rather go out with – the boring lunkhead who asks for her number before he’s had a chance to charm her, or the witty guy whose every email she anticipates with delight? It’s a no-brainer.
So do yourself a favor, Dwayne: stop beating up on yourself because she doesn’t sound interested. Be more interesting, and you’ll never have to wonder if there was anything else that you could do on your own behalf.
Seriously, my friend, this is a very do-able technique and I’ve helped hundreds of guys (and thousands of women) master online communication.
Check out my CD series if you really want to get the best results out of your online dating experience.
And don’t forget to let me know how it goes…