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.

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  1. 61

    Have you ever considered a matchmaker? (And not a traditionally ethnic one)
    This worked for me… and while I’m American, I’m not white. I also was not dating in NYC, so I know that’s a whole other ball of wax!

  2. 62

    wow- I did the ‘girlfriend’ thing on the list from the link, and just got 10 responses today. okay girls, I think we know what the issue was. Don’t wanna jinx myself though…lol

    1. 62.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      What do you mean, you “did the girlfriend thing”? You mean you copied that list? Or you rewrote your profile to illustrate what HE gets out of dating you, as opposed to how amazing you are?

  3. 63

    Evan, yeah. Sorry I wasn’t clear. I didn’t copy that list- I just tweaked it to suit my values. And to answer your last question, a resounding yes.

  4. 64

    Funny, I just stumbled across this website:  http://singlemindedwomen.com/money-tips/2011-top-10-cities-for-single-women/4/

    NYC is listed as the top city for single women!  

  5. 65

    Sayanta@62: Good news!! That’s what I was getting at before–if something isn’t working there could be a million “reasons” why not. It isn’t until something starts working that we can even take a guess at what works (keeping in mind that correlation and causation could be two different things).

    And often when something isn’t working other people take that opportunity to let us know what they think is wrong with us (the reason why something isn’t working), under the guise of offering “helpful” feedback. And we do that to ourselves, too. Getting a kick when down usually doesn’t help anyone to get up.

  6. 66
    mellie charnalia

    these comments are all so fascinating.
    Ann, I can understand what you are saying–the problem with online communication is it’s hard to get across our points sometimes.

    Sayanta, that’s so cool! I hope to continue to hear about your dating adventures! I also tweaked my profile, using both Evan’s techniques and saying a bit more about what HE’D get out of this. I keep having to remember, how does a man see this? I keep tweaking and tweaking, trying to strike the right tone….

    That East Asian Man, I’d read a blog by you!  

  7. 67

    Mellie@67: It’s almost like writing sales copy or something. “A little bored these days? Date me and have the time of your life!” Then  you have to put all the disclaimers in little tiny letters at the  bottom, to be read in a super-fast voice:  “Negative side  effects if you are (fill in the blank with superficial things that people reject men for).”

    Just joking. But I think there’s a kernel of truth in it.

  8. 68


    It’s so funny- I just read a guy’s profile that was identical to what you just wrote ! Lol

  9. 70

    I am a 34 year old Indian woman who is on Shaadi.com and eHarmony and Match and I get A LOT of responses from men.   I do not fit the age criteria whatsoever of most men.   Also, I have an Indian friend who is a doctor and is very overweight, and she still has A TON of responses from men.   I used to live in LA for 12 years, and I’ll tell you that I find men in bigger cities to be more picky and much more superficial.   I’ve expanded my search to all over the world and have gotten attention from some pretty decent guys from all over.   New York men who are educated and attracted probably have an entitlement complex like the men in LA who I used to meet and are much more primitive in their selection criteria.   That said, I am long distance dating someone in Paris, France right now (French and not Indian) and he has dated a ton of exotic women who are ‘perfect 10’s’ in his mind, but I can’t shake him no matter how hard I try.   I’m not the nicest woman in the world, but I stand up for myself unapologetically in all ways, and I think he respects that even though I’m not model material.   Also, why do I seem to get a lot of responses online?   I did avail myself of e-Cyrano services (but strangely, I don’t seem to receive Evan’s emails any longer!).   Honestly, having a profile that is well-written is like 60% of the battle.   Also, I think that men are wanting a woman who seems ‘fun’.   I am fun, but I’m also looking for commitment, but my profile is geared to soothe the male anxiety that a relationship wouldn’t be fun.   I make myself seem endlessly entertaining and exciting and mysterious on my profile, and I think they like that.   You just have to push the right button with them.   Also, white men LOVE the mysterious exotic aspect of Indian women.   Play up the stereotype with funky eye makeup and with something a little exotic in your appearance, but like the white fantasy version of the exotic and not the Indian conservative version of exotic (think belly dancer).   To white guys, anyone from the Mahgreb and eastwards is cool as long as they have the mysterious belly dancer vibe even if belly dancing has zilch to do with India.   I’ve gotten feedback from men that they don’t like it when an Indian could pass for a generic white woman with the only difference being her skin color.   Play up your ‘exotic’ difference, as stupid as that sounds.   Do all the superficial stuff, like smelling like incense, Egyptian jasmine oil perfume – white guys EAT THIS STUFF UP!   So honestly, it has nothing to do with your looks and more to do with your vibe.   Men like the ‘vibe’.   Honestly, the more generic white girl imitation you look, the less successful you will be.   White men expect and appreciate Eastern sensuality in a woman.   Think Mississippi Masala and watch an excellent movie called Sabah to get back in touch with your Eastern seduction moves.
    eHarmony is boring, which is why if you are forced to sound boring through its frame, you will not get responses.   Shaadi has been AWESOME for me.   Match is just for the generic white guy looking for the generic white girl fantasy (you know, the cookie cutter tan, white teeth, big boobs fantasy).   Brashly be yourself without apology and look a little flirty arrogant in your pictures with the kajaal and you will start attracting men.   Be PASSIONATE.   White guys love this about ‘foreign’ women, even if you were born and raised in the States like me.   And…most white guys I’ve dated immediately ask me about India (even though I’m American through and through) and want to know about tantra and other stuff.   It’s very annoying, but humor them long enough, and then they will get to know and like you just as you are, but you have to train them into that.   It sounds stupid, but when I was more like a generic version of an average white girl, online dating didn’t work for me, either.

  10. 71

    Also, to add, I’ve found that a lot of white men appreciate the family values of Eastern women.   White women who NYC guys are dating expect nannies and country clubs, and are generally not that useful to men once they are married.   Basically, it’s a huge advantage to be an Indian woman.   Wrap yourself in that Eastern mystique that white men SO love, and then they will love you for your smarts and family values once they get to know you better, and not all white women can compete with that.   If you look at online forums about white guys who love Eastern chicks, they say that we’re more feminine and family oriented than white women.   I’m not making that up.   If anyone here thinks I am, just Google “Why do white men like Asian women?” and then read the thread comments.

  11. 72


    I see what ur saying, but this would sound like I’m trying to make myself into someone I’m COMPLETELY not. Not even close. I might as well put up a profile of myself as a 24 year old blond flight attendant. But I think you’re right about Match…very cookie cutter white. I’m not ‘generic’ though– in my interests and tastes.

    And also, it seems that you’re playing up the whole ‘exotic’ thing, yet you talk about success on Shaadi…I’m not getting that…

  12. 73
    Shaswata P

    Raina @71

    LOL   Tantra…Really?? Tell them to retain their semen strictly within their bodies for a few years before they see any use of this spiritual practice…..

    Anyways your posts are fun to read  

  13. 74

    Raina, you are hysterical. And I think you are right, too. Ha!!!! 🙂

  14. 75

    Sayanta@73   I have real life success with the tactics I mentioned, and I’m not even that kind of Bollywood princess at all.   On Shaadi, I have met some pretty hot Indian dudes, born and raised in the U.S.   Match.com for me is demeaning.   I’m more educated and sophisticated and cultured than 95% of the white women on there, but I feel like I have to compete with what I consider to be very average women and their very average looks, but they have an advantage since they’re white, and white people will tend to feel more comfortable with others who are like them.   There is no problem with that tendency between those of the same race – nothing abnormal there.   Shaswata P@74.   YES, the kinds of things told me to by white men on a consistent basis are so ridiculous and laughable that I almost can’t believe that those experiences actually happened.   A white guy would almost never ask a question about sexual experiences or a woman’s penchance for pole dancing, but I am amazed by how many white men seem to think it’s all right to ask these things ON A FIRST DATE with me.   They are very unsophisticated in their understanding of the East and the social mores and such, so even Ivy League grads with stellar backgrounds and travel resumes routinely make such mistakes with me.   They don’t get it, because in their own eyes, THEY ARE SUCH A CATCH, and so intelligent that a ‘foreign’ woman like myself would be worthy to be chosen by such a specimen.   It’s almost like the bestow upon me the ultimate gift of assimilation.   Anyway, it’s annoying, but if you like them enough, then you can play the game and let them know later how stupid they sounded when they made dumb comments about your culture to you.   I love the ones who are also more Eastern spiritual than you and try to school you on your own religion.   I swear, it’s insane.   But some of them are fun, and if they want to parade you around their friends for exotic street cred and so they can look cool and cultural, I think it’s fair to let them take you out to dinner and pay for things since they don’t have a true understanding of how your culture works, and truthfully, they don’t want to.   Once you bring up the serious topics surrounding culture, they appear super shocked that you actually do have REAL Indian roots that you’d like to maintain.   They just thought it was like a cool superficial thing to be a part of, and it was usable for them to gain esteem points in their circles.   But actually eating a vegetarian dinner for Diwali (one night out of the entire year)?   Fuhgedaboutit.

  15. 76
    Shaswata P

    @76 Raina

    Once again your posts are very funny and informative….I would concur with you …I also get that sometimes where people think Indian Spirituality means Tantric Practices and only that….It sometimes become so exasperating that I donot even try to enlighten them that Tantric Sexuality forms a super-miniscule part of the whole plethora of Indian Spiritual Traditions…I mean seriously how many Tantric communes are there in India?   and in the West it seems many people are interested in the superficial stuffs like the fake yoga and get genuinely shocked and scared to bits that real Genuine Yoga requires a lot of penance,ascetism and sexual continence( even being married)  

    A suggestion perhaps…Have you or other Indian friends among you ever considered in getting know the IIT-IIM grads ….themselves being extremely successful at a young age they tend to value educated Western Indian women who know their way around the corporate world and still hold on to their Indian cultural values

    There are dedicated websites where you can meet them  

  16. 77


    Of course there are always ignorant people- but we seem to have had very different experiences with white men when it comes to the cultural thing. The ones I met who were “schooled” in Hinduism or Buddhism have not been condescending or arrogant about it at all. In fact I think some of them show MORE dedication and interest in the topic than Indians do. And no one has ever attempted to thrust knowledge on my own religion on me- in fact, a couple of times I was embarrassed when they asked me questions, assuming I’d know for sure, and I didn’t have the answer.

    And never in my life has anyone EVER brought up pole dancing or any other kind of interpretive dance or tantra. The most these guys have asked me about my culture is what part of India are my parents from? It’s like it’s been a non-issue with the white men I’ve actually had dates with or just met casually at parties, etc.

    Maybe it’s because I grew up in the tri state area.

  17. 78

    You also might find this interesting

    Well shoot, I wrote that list over a year ago and it’s still getting attention! Speaking as a guy in his 40s and who actively dates via online dating websites, I look for profiles where the woman truly understands that she must bring something to the dating and relationship table other than “I’m fabulous!”.
    Evan is doing yeoman work to help women understand the realities of Dating 2.0 in a world where more and more men are taking the Red Pill and understanding the real relationship challenges between the sexes, not the pablum presented by the mainstream media and through the emotional pornography of social expectations. Life isn’t a romantic comedy or a romance novel.

  18. 79

    Hey Andrew

    I already posted that in #48!!

  19. 80

    @Sayanta re: post 78, I concur I haven’t had any of Raina’s experiences either regarding my culture and I’m a west coast girl.

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