Ignoring Men

Part 2 of Janet’s question from last Friday: If a woman gets a flood of emails on a dating site, how can she weed through them quickly and fairly?

Men often don’t bother to consider the plight of the younger and more beautiful women who date online. Is it better to have a lot of options than no options? Yes. Do the thousands of emails from wildly inappropriate people get to be a bit overwhelming after a few months? Hell, yeah.

Young attractive women are the celebrities of online dating sites. Their photos are what get men to create a profile. And access to emailing them is what inspires them to subscribe. And on any decent sized website, a cute woman between the ages of 25 and 30 is going to receive hundreds of emails. These emails are, to generalize, from men between the ages of 20-50 within 100 miles away. Excxept when they’re from 70 year olds across the country. And from the UK. And Russia. And men looking only for sex. And so on, and so forth. Is it any wonder that attractive women don’t want to subject themselves to this? And is it any surprise that the decent men who take the time to write something interesting get lost in the shuffle? There are some days that women delete everything in their inbox without reading it. Why would they do that when there might be Mr. Right in her in box? Well, if she’s already corresponding with five men, she doesn’t have time to talk to any more. It’s simply too much. Lots of quality men go by the wayside. And it may not even be their fault. Although likely it is, since their photos, profiles and email technique can generally stand to improve by leaps and bounds.

Point is – it’s REALLY competitive out there and the sooner that men and women understand this, a) perhaps they’ll stop getting so upset and b) perhaps they’ll start taking this more seriously. Online dating isn’t a game where men should cast a net as wide as possible to see what they catch. It’s a serious endeavor that happens to be very competitive. Like job hunting. Those who have the best credentials and the best sales pitch are the ones who are going to get the best results.

Back to your question, Janet. So you’re generally being overwhelmed by the wrong guys. (Let me guess: guys who don’t have attractive photos, interesting essays, or witty emails!) I feel for you, even though there are a bunch of women who are undoubtedly jealous at your options. And although there are many sincere men who are looking for a serious relationship and took the time to pen something eloquent, your life is too short to worry about being nice to all of these dudes. You’re not an HR department; you don’t need to spend hours constructing “thanks, but no thanks” responses to everyone who took ten seconds to woo you.

In other words, some of your mail is – literally – junk mail. If you have time to read it all, then that’s courteous. But if you’re spending two hours a day sifting through ponderous crap? Start deleting. Delete based on looks, delete based on age, delete based on distance, delete based on spelling. Whatever YOUR criteria are, they’re perfectly fair. You’re online for your own satisfaction and everyone who’s trying to get a piece of you should respect that. Not all of them do.

I have a theory that the only people who worry about getting rejection letters are people who aren’t getting many dates. Those rejection letters become the only things they can hang their hat on – the acknowledgement that someone out there took the time to listen and read and respond, even if the response wasn’t affirmative. But if they had three dates lined up that weekend, they wouldn’t be too concerned about the people who ignored them. At least that’s what I think. Now, do I deny that a politely worded blow-off is a decent gesture? Of course not. I’ve been known to write them upon receipt of a really thoughtful email. However, most emails are not thoughtful. And we cannot judge anyone’s character based on his/her willingness to be polite to HUNDREDS of suitors.

So Janet, delete away, with my blessing. And a caveat – that you respond to a few thoughtful or funny emails with polite rejection letters. Those guys deserve a little something for their efforts.

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  1. 1
    Love Goddess

    There is only one thing I disagree with – the age range of women that get a lot of emails as being between 25-30. As someone that is over 35, I can tell you I get a ton of emails from men of all ages.

    1. 1.1

      LOL What’s your secret? I’m 32 and I’m attractive, with interesting anecdotes in my profile, not too many restrictions or demands and I get maybe 5-15 new guys emailing me per week. Most of them are inappropriate matches, too.  

      1. 1.1.1

        Oh poor you.

        I am a 25 year old gujy and guess how many women message me?


  2. 2

    I reluctantly agree with your bottom-line that replies aren’t obligatory, but I still think it’s rude.

    My personal tactic is that I want to make the online dating experience a little kinder for everyone and offer the favor of a reply. If a guy who winks at me is not a match, I click the automated “thanks, but I’m not interested” button. Done! If they’ve written an email, I’ll reply with a short, “thanks but I don’t think we’re a match. Good luck finding your girl–I’m sure she’s out there.” Does it get a little tedious? Sure. But I try to be kind and do more than the bare-minimum of social ettiquette.

    I’ve been struggling with this in reverse, trying not to take it personally, but it really doesn’t feel good when guys ignore me. I almost NEVER make the first move of a wink or email, but on the few times I have, I got nada in response. Ouch. And for the record, I’m not trying to date out of my league. It feels bad to be ignored.

    This dynamic has me feeling that the smartest thing is to make a policy of never making the first move. It doesn’t seem to work for me. But then it feels equally terrible to be passive, weeding through a million approaches for men, hoping one of them might be a match.

    What’s the deal with this? Are women who send a wink or short email considered less attractive? I don’t get it.

    1. 2.1

      There is a mindset out there among some men — and the trick is that you never know which of them have it — that a woman who is proactive about messaging first is “too forward” and “desperate”.

      Yes, it’s terrible, and yes, they’re wrong.

      I think the question a lady has to ask herself who is serious about being in relationship is whether she’s looking at online dating as the *only* avenue for finding someone to date. I think it’s the only way to get out of that “binary choice” box, the systems – and the odds – being what they are.

      JMHO, of course.

  3. 3

    I am certainly not the hottest women in the world or on these dating sites, I’d say I could probably rate “cute” (or have been told that a lot, anyway) and there have still been times when I was overwhelmed by emails, winks, and IM’s. Not to the point of tons, mind you : ), but more than I could comfortably read, then read their profile, and then respond with something personal but still saying “thank you, but no thank you and best of luck to you.”

    I agree that this is the best thing to do if you can do so. I did so as much as possible, and like many of you do, and as Evan suggested, I particularly made the effort if I could see that the gentleman had gone to a lot of trouble to write something “real” and especially if he mentioned specific things from my profile.

    I got some very nice thank you notes in return. Some of which I kept because they were so nice. Also got some men who wrote back something rude or tried to convince me why I was wrong, or just took it as encouragement to keep writing.

    I have corresponded with enough men now, and gone on enough dates with men of many diverse personalities backgrounds, ages, occupations, etc. that I have a pretty good idea of what types of things don’t work for me. I have read more profiles – really read them, all the way through – than I’d care to openly admit since I know there are times when I spent too much time looking, responding and/or deciding not to … and in a few cases, initiating contact. And also making sure to write a nice note after going out if it was me that didn’t feel enough of a connection.

    I can count on two fingers how many men have extended the same courtesy to me after a less than stellar date.

    But I don’t believe in “do as you have had DONE to you”. I believe in “do as you would want others to do to/for you”. In some cases, that isn’t prudent if you are dealing with a sexually explicit guy, one who is very angry, or what-have-you. Men come across women who are too grasping, too familiar, seem to be looking for a meal ticket, and any number of other things that might be turnoffs. My bet is that these are the women they might delete without replying if they either heard from them first, or found out these things after meeting.

    I am not complaining – being overwhelmed is part of the deal if you are a girl on a dating site and have things in your photo and profile that attract guys. Not just looks ; ) because mine are fine, but not anything I would think anyone would write home about.

    I think a lot of PEOPLE, both men and women do cast too wide a net and also, keep looking “for the next best thing to come along” and I think that hurts good people – both men and women – in finding one another and in having a better chance and finding/creating a really good, lasting relationship.

    It does seem that the longer you write to, or date, someone when you aren’t honestly feeling it, the more unfair that is to them. I find I start getting angry – not at him, but at myself for continuing something when I know my heart (and/or brain or body) isn’t in it if he is a truly nice guy who just I’m just not into enough to warrant the attention I’m getting. He deserves to have the same (or close to it) interest and attention. Sometimes it sucks doing the right thing – being tactfully honest that it isn’t working for you and he deserves better. But then you can always say something that doesn’t make it about him or would leave him feeling bad.

    I also feel really weird writing to a bunch of guys as far as actually corresponding – at one time. Things get too personal with too many people and I can’t help but almost feel like I am cheating or being disingenuous if I am talking to several guys at once.

    So sometimes, even if something comes in that you are dying to respond to, but you already have someone you like and who seems to be interested in you that you have already established a rapport with, then you still don’t reply or maybe do, but not with the note you want to send. It sounds like an excuse to say you would love to talk to them, but are currently somewhat involved so can’t or won’t.

    Have to give a real chance to whatever, and more importantly WHOMEVER, you already have going to see if something is really there.

    I do believe some of the really obnoxious people in the dating world do a number on both men and women and that that too wears people down and makes them tired of trying to reply to many or to write to many.

    I’ve even meant to reply sometimes, but wanted to wait until I could really think and write a thoughtful, and well-thought-out reply, and then lost track of time and the day’s date because other things (not people) came up or was in a not so hot place (figuratively) and wanted t be up when I replied.

    I do read every email though.

    The best is when you get an email from a guy who has emailed you before and it is clear it that he doesn’t remember writing to you before. Or in one case, having already talked to you on the phone and set up a tentative date that he then reneged on and didn’t call back (on Christmas Eve) and then he calls you up six months later. I remembered what his Ex-wife used to call her in-laws, what he did for a living, and what kind of dog he had and the dog’s name (from that phone call) and I immediately recognized him when I saw his screen name. Also received a couple of repeat emails – the SAME exact email – clearly a form letter from same guy within a couple months time.

    There are still some of us out there who sincerely appreciate men who take the time to read our profiles and to write something that is clearly meant for us specifically and as such, we get back to them whenever possible. Not a slam on Janet or saying she doesn’t care! You do get a lot of junk mail too though – 20 yrs outside of your age range, Separated when you have made it clear in a polite way that separated is not your thing, or lives in another country, etc. And if we try to be polite and write back to everyone, we might well spend so much time saying no thank you to them that we still don’t get to the good men.

  4. 4

    I’ve wrestled with this topic myself. I don’t know exactly what the right approach is because it seems like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I’ve sent rejection emails and texts, and ignored guys and I can say from experience that it’s a mixed bag. Some men, no matter how nicely you phrase it, will react poorly to being rejected. Others will appreciate it. I think it also depends on the level of involvement: for example, a guy I go out with and have a nice time but with whom I don’t necessarily feel a spark will get a nice text or email if he persists in pursuing me. A guy with whom I’ve only exchanged a few emails, even if they’re nice ones, doesn’t really necessitate a response if I lose interest. And a guy who suddenly acts like a douche, even if we’ve made plans to meet, definitely doesn’t deserve a reply. That’s the way I’d take it if I were them. I’ve gotten ignored by pretty much every guy I’ve emailed (which isn’t a lot, I admit). Even the ones who do respond to my attempts to initiate usually lose interest a day or two later. It’s nothing I’ve done, because I do have good photos and a good enough profile and I try to write interesting, fun emails. It’s nothing personal so I just chalk it up to him not being the one and move on. What’s the sense in beating a dead horse?

  5. 5
    soul sister

    As a veteran of Match for several years, and back on again recently, I would like to share my perspective on this:
    First time on match, answered every email, tried to give everyone a chance if they were at all “normal” looking, sent texts or emails to thank someone after every meet and greet, even if I paid for myself, sent no thank you emails (and then got into dumb rebuttal arguments with guys who can’t take a polite no, and there are lots of frustrated men out there – and I was usually out of their league in the first place)….and within about 2 months I hated it and went off.   I am in my 50s, I have a job, I have a life, and it was all too much.   Too overwhelming, I felt terrible telling guys not interested, especially when they acted totally hurt, and I didn’t like when I got emails that said “thanks, but I just didn’t find you attractive”…uh, could do without that info. If I don’t hear back, I can make something up in my head – hey, maybe they got together with an old girlfriend, or maybe they like brunettes more, or got busy…but thanks, you are not attractive?   NO THANKS!
    2nd time on Match….I decided I am paying for this convenience, not someone else.   I did not respond to anyone I was not interested in, I preferred if I contacted them and they were not interested I just did not get a response (hey, if they don’t respond, they are not interested, why do I need to have them tell me that too?).     I could be emailing someone and lose interest and just stop responding.   I do searches, I send emails, I send winks (btw guys, if you send me a wink and not an email, I do not respond because I think you are either not very interested or a wimp….I wink to give you encouragement to write to me, but won’t respond if you just wink back), and I could care less if I don’t hear back.
    Match is a numbers game.   If I am expected to be polite all the time, I will lose interest and go off all together.   Isn’t it better for me to enjoy my experience on there so I can add to the pool, instead of making it an uncomfortable experience and reducing the pool?
    I think everyone takes online dating way too seriously. It is just an easy way to get introduced to people. And I met my long term bf on there, so it does work.   But people will have WAY more fun with it if they don’t make so many stupid rules for themselves and everyone else.   It is just NOT THAT SERIOUS!   Enjoy your “shopping for men/women” experience for exactly what it is.     Shopping….not buying!  

  6. 6

    Online dating is simply not for me. I was innundated with emails, flirts, winks, etc. My first filter was spelling and punctuation. My second filter was if he said I was “hot.” I absolutely despise that word as I think that description invites street harassment, which I have also experienced. Attractive, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning…those adjectives are winners guys. Maybe some women like the “hot” moniker. I eliminate a man immediately if he says it to me. The adjectives he chooses usually reliably indicates to me his general level of respect towards women.

    Online dating is too big of a time commitment with too little rewards. Some people take great pictures…some don’t. What is attractive to me is the sparkle in his eyes, his enthusiasm for life, and a natural warmth, none of which can really be captured in a photo. I have a much better time meeting men in their natural habitat in the flesh…whether it’s in a yoga studio, at a coffee house, at a venue listening to music…you get the idea. It is so much quicker and easier to discern if you have any kind of easy connection face to face without being on an official date. I am social and approachable when I am out and will definitely talk to an interesting man first. I think back to dating in high school, for instance. You didn’t just meet someone for coffee that you hardly knew. You usually already had common friends, common interests, or were in class together and already talked. By the time you went on a “date” you knew this person pretty well already. That is a better way of dating for me.

    I hate to admit this, but the only time I put a profile up on a dating site is when I am feeling particularly lonely…the emails give me a little validation that, yes, I am actually attractive to men. I usually take my profile down within a week or two.

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