I Have Tried Everything And Online Dating Is Still Not Working!


Hi Evan. I read what I purchased from you faithfully and followed everything you said. I am a 36-year-old East Indian woman living in New York City. I would say that less than 10% of the people I write to write back to me. No one is really writing to me. I did EVERYTHING you said.

This is incredibly frustrating, especially after I checked your blog and saw that in a question you asked about response rate, ALL these women said that they got at least 50-60% response rate. I write to all kinds of men who are both younger and older, of all races,single and divorced, etc, etc. and I’ve been very, very careful to use all of your tips, and I read your blog faithfully. Why can’t I even get a response? I feel like I’m the ONE outlier who can’t make your tips work for me.

That’s my feedback–it’s not working for me. Is it because I’m Indian? Is it because I’m 36? Is it because I’m in New York City? If you can help, I’d appreciate it. —Mellie


First of all, I want to give you credit. You’re doing something.

If you’re writing to men who state that they’re looking for women 24-32, you can’t be too surprised that they’re not writing back.

Unlike most of the lookie-loos who read free blogs and newsletters and don’t try anything different, you put your money where your mouth is and invested in Finding the One Online. And now you want to know when the payoff is going to come.

I hear ya. And I don’t blame you in the least.

However, there are a few variables that might be affecting your experience…and I’d just like to point them out to you.

Since I don’t know you at all, I’m just going to be objective and theorize why you might not be doing as well as you’d like.

1. You’re not as attractive as you think.

In this famous OkCupid blog post, OkCupid takes great pains to illustrate that while women think that 80% of men are BELOW AVERAGE in attractiveness, men actually have a fair appraisal of women’s attractiveness. And while they still write disproportionately to the best looking 33% of women, normal women still get plenty of attention online. I’m not saying you’re unattractive — I have no idea what you look like — but if you were expecting men to be knocking down your door, take a look at the most attractive women in New York City between the ages of 25-35. I think you’ll see why you’re not getting as much attention.

2. Your age and race do matter.

Not to only have one source, but OkCupid also did a post on race. And what they observed is that yes, in fact, the percentage response that Indian women get from white men is less than they’ll get from men of all other races. It’s not my place to judge, but everyone’s entitled to his/her preferences. Write to more Indian men and your response rate should go up by 15%.

As far as age goes, I think it goes without saying that men prefer younger women if they want to start families. Check out the preferences of the men you’re writing to online instead of just writing to the men you prefer. If you’re writing to men who state that they’re looking for women 24-32, you can’t be too surprised that they’re not writing back. No more than a man who is 55 should be too surprised that you’re not replying to his query.

3. You’re writing to the most attractive men.

According to the aforementioned blog post, the average woman will get a 30% response rate from the most attractive men. The least attractive women get less than a 10% response from the most attractive men. And it makes sense since the most attractive men get 11 times more email than the lower-rated guys.

In reality, failure is the default setting in dating.

The point is, Mellie, you’re dealing with men who are at the top of the dating totem pole — 35-40 year old cute, successful guys in New York City. It’s a seller’s market and they can afford to be choosy.

4. Your expectations are out of whack.

It’s not that you’re wrong for wishing that things came a little bit easier; it’s that you’re hoping for a different reality, which generally is not a good use of your time. In reality, failure is the default setting in dating. I don’t know where you pulled up that women get a 60% response rate — maybe one of my customer testimonials — but the reason I used it is because it’s unusual and impressive. You can’t judge yourself against the best, no more than I judge my writing on this blog against Philip Roth. Give yourself a break, okay?

And if you think YOU’VE got it bad, go check out the numbers for men who are writing to women. It’s pretty much the same, but worse, because the most attractive women receive TWENTY EIGHT times more email than the least attractive women. Talk about fierce competition.

Take a deep breath and realize that this is a process and that all you can do is make the best of it. But that doesn’t mean you’re done yet.

5. Your profile and first emails aren’t as good as you think.

Just because I got a personal trainer at the gym doesn’t mean I’m going to be on the cover of Men’s Health. Just because I get guitar lessons doesn’t mean I’m going to be performing like Clapton any time soon. And just because you bought Finding the One Online and rewrote your profile and tried my email technique doesn’t necessarily mean that you nailed it. The best way to figure out if you nailed it are your results. If you’re not happy with the results, it sounds to me like there’s more tweaking to do. Try E-Cyrano or my One-on-One Coaching. Just do something different, because right now, you’re too close to the process to be objective about it.

I just listed a few things you can’t change — your age, your looks, your race — but there are many other things you can probably do better.

Please let me know how I can help.

Join our conversation (183 Comments).
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  1. 21

    I haven’t had as much difficulty getting dates as Dan sounds like he has, but I do think it’s true that men have to put more work into sending e-mails and facing rejection than women do. However, I also think it’s important to consider a few issues that negatively impact both men and women doing online dating.
    1. Older profiles tend to get less attention. There seems to be a few month window where you’re still one of the “new kids on the block,” and especially for anyone who has been online awhile, a source of potential interest solely because you aren’t the same old same old.
    2. The older you are, the less attention you get. Especially if you don’t have any broad spectrum attraction characteristics – like wealth, power, or way above average looks.  
    3. Anyone who sincerely wants a committed, LTR and demonstrates that in their profile will get less attention because so many folks online either aren’t sure what they want, or are using online dating mostly for fun or casual purposes.

  2. 22

    Also K- are you writing men of all races? Do you find non-Indian men respond less?

  3. 23

    Hey Sayanta–I don’t write to men of all races as I’m not attracted to all races, but I do write to a lot of different races.   I think I get the same if not more responses from non-Indian men.   I will note that I don’t really look all too Indian as only about 1 of 10 people guess correctly.   So the men who seek me out tend to like more exotic/latin looking types of women.   As to what you said about not having male interests, I guess just try to highlight fun interests.   My cousin was writing her profile in a way that would sound appealing to a woman.  
    Thanks for pointing out that it’s tough for a size 2.   I have put on some pounds in the last few months and I was seriously starting to think that it was the cause of my bad dates.

  4. 24

    @Sayanta, while dating online might be skewed towards certain people, considering how many people who look all kinds of ways are married and dating, why are people always shocked that someone who is fat or less than perfect looking can find a quality mate?   I see women that I don’t think are pretty, and some who are quite heavy with good-looking husbands who adore them.    However, they are likely very pretty to the person who picks them.    Of course many will insist it is impossible but yeah, we all have our own tastes.

    I mean, I get that when it comes to window shopping for mates then it becomes all about the exterior, but reading this blog people are quick to think that they should be coupled up before the fatties and the uglies and can’t really fathom a world where being a size 0 or 2 or blond or whatever doesn’t make them the first pick for everyone.   

    The awesome thing about the world is that beauty is subjective, and just b/c you think someone is really ugly, and just b/c they have flaws doesn’t mean that in real life they won’t find a mate.   

    It’s just clear reading here how many people find certain traits to be untenable which is their right, but we just don’t all view things the same way, it’s easy to be myopic and assume that what you like regarding looks, size, race, etc. is what everyone likes.   

    That being said, lots of studies have shown that it’s much harder for WOC of certain races to get responses, even when contacting men of our own race.   I mean, there are so many things that you’ve brought up about immigrant vs. non-immigrant, and for both Black and Indian women, colorism is an issue which non-minorities don’t face when contacting people of their own race, and which I’m frankly loathe to discuss with non-minorities.     

    @K, so much goes into you having bad dates than just what size jeans you wear. If you are having bad dates then you aren’t picking the people who are right for you.     

  5. 25

    Nathan- okay, there’s my other problem! Lol I’ve made it clear in my profile that I’m looking for an LTR

  6. 26


    I wasn’t trying to sound offensive, sorry if it came out that way. I was really responding to Michael’s post where he said thin pretty women have no trouble online or getting dates. It’s just completely false.

  7. 27

    @Nicole… my comment about size wasn’t all that serious.   I was just noting that it was nice to hear that even a size 2 woman has a hard time with dating.   I go on a lot of dates and I know it’s just hard to find the right person.   I’m working on getting to the size that makes me the most happy.   When you aren’t there sometimes you start to wonder, that’s all.

  8. 28


    You sound like you have a great personality, and I’m sure that’s playing a role in getting you dates. But not looking Indian can also be a help- even though I’m thin, long hair and legs, etc. I def look very ethnic. And I’m not even going to go into the whole standards of beauty being Europeanized etc, coz that’s just a whole book. Lol

  9. 29

    @ Sayanta # 26:

    OK, maybe it’s false that thin pretty women have NO trouble online or getting dates.   But how much trouble do you think they have compared to regular guys?

  10. 30


    Plenty- theres 200,000 more women than men in NYC

    1. 30.1

      Sayanta –
      Your raw numbers are correct, but your conclusion is wrong.   All those extra women are in the upper age ranges, 65 and up.   In all the younger demographic groups, single men outnumber single women.   You have to be realistic; people are not interchangable parts.

      Women have much less trouble online than men do, other things being equal.   It’s just the way our society is structured.   Men do the approaching, women do the choosing.  

  11. 31

    Sayanta–Thanks for the kind words!   If it’s any consolation, my good friend is Indian, very thin and tall and looks extremely ethnic.   When she was single (up until this year) she often got a ton more attention from all guys.   So there is hope for all of us:).   I’m sure her huge smile and laugh went a long way.

  12. 32

    @ Angie #4 “Also, depending which site you are on, you may be writing to inactive members. Match.com was notorious for having tons of profiles that belonged to individuals who haven’t signed on in months.”
    I can confirm this now. About two months ago, I canceled my Match account to be exclusive with someone. Got a confirmation number, good-bye email from Match, the works. They didn’t charge anything to my credit card, so I thought my account was no longer on Match. Yesterday, two people texted me asking whether “things didn’t work out with the guy”. Turns out, both of them saw my profile on Match, but wait it gets better! One of these two had a link to my profile emailed to him in a list of his daily matches. So, yeah, I am now one of these individuals. Yesterday, I followed instructions from their customer service to get on the site, uncheck every email option, and cancel the account again, hope it works better this time around! Very embarrassing! Apparently I’d been emailed and favorited by a number of people in the last two months. Awkward!

  13. 33
    Saint Stephen

    Is the OP only emailing the successful, educated,  gorgeous looking, 6 2″ tall guys who owns profiles that looks like they were written by William Shakespeare? I’ve observed a particular trend online, that most men and women will take a shot at those (members of the opposite sex) that are way out of their league in real life- without even noticing it.      

    My suggestions is that she opens up search criteria to include the 5 2″ and 5 3″ guys, and she should also email tons of guys she would ordinarily consider unattractive and watch if they will grow on her. She needs to be more open minded and less judgmental. I believe if she tries this suggestions her response rate might escalate to 90% or even more than she can handle.

    As an aside; it has also been my observation/experience that women (and men) who are more open minded and less picky are often the ones who end up getting the quality (smart, tall, cute, successful) men/women.     


  14. 34
    mellie charnalia

    Thanks for the feedback guys–Mellie’s my nickname…Anyways, there’s some weird stuff between Indian men and women…some are very traditional and want some “perfect” match with no flaws, or are extremely anti-Indian. I had completely crazy and horrifying experiences on the indian only websites, so I’m branching out. I’m thin and was attractive enough to get a lot of attention online dating when I was younger…so it might be the age thing (if we’re talking about totally superficial stuff–and I could pass for my 20s, and no, I’m not just saying that). And yeah, I have a ton of “guy” interests and watch shows that are considered to be men-friendly–and I don’t talk very much about my career at all. But, I never considered that someone might assume I wouldn’t want to date non-Indian men. I’ll try some different pictures and to keep revising my profile. I can’t control the other stuff people make up in their heads about what I must be like. 🙂

    1. 34.1

      Mellie, don’t lose hope. I was in your shoes living in a big city trying really hard to find a relationship. Then I studied articles about the demographics of each dating site. It’s true single women outnumber men by a certain age group, attractive people get more attention. Online dating is all about your picture at the start. I was thin and young looking my whole life. I dated younger men. At first when I put up my profile the pool of people who contacted me had very few guys I would date. I kept tweaking the profile until this pool approached my pool. Same for the pictures. Then I winked at 150 guys I would date. A good number responded back so that I could start deciding from the emails who to go out with. I went out every night. I took my profile down to inactive when I went exclusive. On my last stint I found my fiance who was looking for a woman his age professional, intelligent conversationalist. We fell for each other right away. I’m an average looking, very smart, kind nice girl who used to finish last. The man I’m marrying is an 8 and attracts a lot of attention. He’s smart, kind, successful and gorgeous. I used to think I would never find him, that no one would marry an older professional, smart successful woman but I changed my attitude towards myself overnight and the world of dating responded. I didn’t need surgery but I did make over my clothes makeup and mostly my attitude. Think about your best self, why do your closest friends, longest friends love you. Market that first. Think a guy would be really lucky to be with me because I would be his best friend, his biggest cheerleader etc etc… I met really great guys before him. I responded to a lot of emails but I was always honest, polite. Online dating works. It’s not personal though. It’s a marketplace. You have to create a buzz around your best qualities. It’s weird how people will think of you what you think of yourself. If you put yourself down you will find people who will say the same things you say to yourself. If you think guys won’t date an Indian you might look for a white guy who is dating you out of his comfort zone and dump you later. Who cares if most of them won’t. There are plenty of guys who think east Indian women are the most beautiful women in the world. Those guys like exotic food, have travelled are very worldly and seek the extraordinary. I didn’t screen for looks but good looking guys found me. People, average people look better after you get to know them. Good looking people with terrible personalities lose their appeal in a short time. Don’t let the online world put you down. You are fabulous in some way. Get unstuck because the phone conversation, the first dates, sustaining a relationship are also steps to overcome. For myself I just knew if I could get going the rest would be easy.

      i’m writing because all the replies that you may not be attractive enough messaging better looking guys are infuriating to me. Online dating is set up to screen for looks. That’s why they’re saying that to you. I’m saying get your pictures past the bar of acceptability then get the guy through those few words on the profile. Most of the world is average looking and most married people you know are not drop dead gorgeous. Best of luck.

  15. 35


    Glad you commented! Like I wrote before, I honestly think its just random stuff. Guys dismiss girls for the most superficial s-t it’s better not to think about it. It sounds like we’ve had similar experiences, though I’m sorry for the experience you’re having, I hope I don’t sound selfish in saying I’m glad I’m not alone

  16. 36
    mellie charnalia

    yes, to Saint Stephen…I have opened it up for shorter men—and yes, I’m emailing tons of people and honestly am not even paying that much attention to what they look like–I don’t care about height, weight, money, religion, race, education level, class background, or writing a perfect profile. Trust me when I say I’m casting a very, very wide net and constantly asking myself if I’m being judgmental in any way. And I’m writing to people in their 40s as well, not just in their 30s. There are some things I won’t compromise on: like when someone writes in their profile that they’re looking for casual sex,–but these are bare minimum things, guys….. It’s hard not to feel like some hideous ogre…..yes, I get the reality that I’m 36 and not white in the crazy dating world that is NYC, but jeez…..

  17. 37

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.   Just look at John Lennon and Yoko Ono.   John, as a Beatle, could arguably have  had his choice of supermodels, etc.   Yet, he fell madly   in love with a woman who was not only seven years older, but, by most accounts, *not* conventionally beautiful.

    Folks, (men and women):   Let’s stop beating ourselves up for who we are not.  God (or  whatever Higher Power you believe in) made us all unique for a reason. That doesn’t mean you should slack off, roam the planet in a sweatsuit, wear geometric polyesters once you turn 50, or give up on personal growth and development. It means you accept who you are, work to maximize your natural attributes, and trust that the RIGHT person will love you for you, and the best you that you can be.

    Who wants to be on stage all the time?   Who wants conditional love?  

  18. 38

    @ Nicole, #24:   Great post!   So, so, true.

  19. 39

    Maybe you are casting too wide of a net?   It might be beneficial to qualify your searches more and write to the men whom you find truly interesting and compatible, not just anyone and everyone and seeng what happns.   Just a though.

  20. 40

    A number of Indian women have won the Miss World contest and are considered among the most attractive on the planet. With men, it is mostly about looks, so forget all this nonsense about unconditional love. Most love IS conditional in this world. Beauty is not subjective, its objective, at least for men. There is a very high consensus among men on which women are beautiful.

    Now the good news. Unlike women, men set the bar low for who may be deemed acceptable to date. If I said that most men consider 80% of women acceptable, that would appear encouraging. Unfortunately, this would still leave one in five out in the cold. No one ever seems to think that it may be them.
    A significant number of women are in the ‘not even on a desert island’ category.

    The second piece of good news is that cosmetics can make a HUGE difference, and I have to include in that surgical procedures. I  realize  that this is not politically correct, but it is the reality.
    If you are falling below the bar, I think you should try to get above it, not trying to force something with someone you are not attracted to.
    Think looks that say healthy and fertile.
    As a woman, this option is open to you. It is mostly of no use to men. I have a 5ft 5 male friend finding it incredibly difficult to get a date.

    If I am going to be attractive to the opposite sex, I have no illusion that a great character is sufficient. I have to be the best me. I have to bring my best game. The high status me. The confident me. The wealthy me.
    If there was a God, I’m sure we would live in a world where we are judged only on our compassion.
    Sadly, we are stuck in this one. Anyway, I’m off down the Gym.

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