Should Women Write to Men?

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Dear Evan,

I just read your post regarding internet dating. Very interesting points you make and I agree with most of them.

Here is my question: Are men ok with women sending introductory emails to them? I am very confused about this point. In some ways, I see a email hello similar to a come-hither look at a bar, etc. but in other ways it seems very aggressive and therefore a turnoff to most men. I would love your thoughts on this.

Thanks.

Jane

Dear Jane,

Your question brings up two of the most common mistakes that women make in online dating:

1) Waiting for Men to Write to You First
2) Telling Him What You Like About His Profile

First things first:

Men LOVE it when women write to them. It makes their lives so much easier. If you have an attractive photo, interesting essay, and you’re in his target demographic, why WOULDN’T he be excited to hear from you? You may be on his Favorites list but he hasn’t had the opportunity to contact you yet. So yes, Jane, don’t hesitate to contact that guy you’ve been eyeing. There is nothing inherent about initiating an email conversation that screams out “desperate”. However…

Where most women screw up that first email contact is by taking one of two approaches: 1) telling him how great he is, or 2) explaining why you’re great and why he should write back to you.

“But…doesn’t that just about cover it? What else could I possibly say?”

Presuming you’ve had a man write to you before, is it really all that interesting when he tells you that he thinks you’re cute? Is there something particularly energizing in the phrase, “I think we have a lot in common”? Is it really all that intriguing when he explains why he’s a good partner for you, even though you haven’t met? Even if a guy reads your entire profile and respond to one specific line, do you really get excited by a man who says, “I notice you like skiing. I enjoy Breckenridge.”

Nah.

Then why would you write an email like that to a man?

I’m really grateful, Jane, that you made that connection between a first email and a come-hither look at a bar. That is EXACTLY the metaphor I use for private clients in describing the “tone” you want to capture in your initial contact. You’d never hit on a guy at a bar by walking up to him and telling him that he’s cute, he seems nice, and that you’d like to buy him a drink. So why would you write an email that does the same thing?!

If you want to meet a man at a bar, you cross the room, plant yourself eight feet to his diagonal, wait for eye contact and smile. Once you smile, it’s his job to come over. While you might have “made the first move”, you’re still in control, since he has to approach you.

Same thing online.

Emails that tell a man that he’s interesting are dull.
Emails that tell a man that you hope he writes back are weak.
Find the tone that shows that he’d be lucky to have you – and maybe he’ll feel lucky to have you.

It’s a bit counterintuitive, but if your first instinct is to compliment him and explain your value, you’re not demonstrating that you have any value.

Once you put a man on a pedestal, he’s automatically looking down at you.

Once you tell him how great he is, he doesn’t know why he should write back.

So yes, Jane, you should totally write to the guy. But the tone of that email should be flirty, funny, and challenging – the same as the email from a man that gets your attention.

POSTSCRIPT

As to HOW to do something like that, here’s a link to my Finding the One Online program, which spends a full hour explaining how to email people online. Hope it clarifies things a bit.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    A-L

    Sayanta & Selena, can I join in the love fest?   Because I love y’all too!
      
    And I have to echo BTDT about the speed of e-mails.   With one notable exception, I never corresponded with anyone for months before meeting them.   But I’d say I probably exchanged 3-4 e-mails with a guy before setting up a date.   In fact, I’d probably have felt kind of rushed if he’d asked me out on the 2nd e-mail (assuming he had begun the correspondence).   Of course, to each her own.   But I’m sure you’ll end up doing great on the dating scene, Sayanta.

  2. 22
    Selena

    Ofcourse you can join the love fest A_L! (((Hugs)))

    Have you set a wedding date yet?

  3. 23
    sayanta

    thanks guys, that’s some really great advice here. I have to admit, I think my mother’s constant pressure to have me find a husband soon is taking its toll on the online dating scene.

    But anyway…I’ve blabbed enough about myself.

    A-L- that’s true, what season are you going to be married in? Have you guys picked a honeymoon site yet? 🙂

  4. 24
    sayanta

    Oh- Sorry again for the double post, Evan, I promise I’ll stop after this one.

    I just realize, BTDT and A-K- the one guy I did see- I got all flattered because he wanted to meet me RIGHT away- couldn’t wait, didn’t want to talk on the phone or anything. (red flag, right? but the leo in me couldn’t resist this).

    Well, at least the guy was hot. But that’s…um pretty much it. I’ve never been out with someone so, sorry to sound mean, but the dude was really desperate- within 5 minutes, he was asking if we were going to have a second date, third etc. And…he was nice, but definitely one of those people not comfortable in their own skin. And those kind of people end up making ME uncomfortable!

    So..yeah, looks like that is a red flag.

    PS- I know I’m making a generalization…but I’ve noticed that sometimes the men who don’t want to talk on the phone end up having heavy foreign accents, while in e-mail/and on the profile, they gave off the impression of being born and bred American.

  5. 25
    A-L

    Thanks, Selana!   November 21st is the big day (we’ve been engaged since February which is why I went on hiatus from EMK’s blog…too busy getting the wedding planning underway).
      
    Too bad we don’t live in the same area so we might actually meet up in real life.   Of course, I know some people prefer to keep their anonymity.   But the regular posters definitely seem like very cool types.   So I’d like to hang out with y’all.

  6. 26
    Tom

    I’m glad someone finally agrees with me! I’ve hear so much advice that a women should not contact a guy. I’ve always advised women to do the exact opposite – if you like someone, go for it!

  7. 27
    Di

    I have to laugh at the guys who think that this is a ridiculous question and that women should absolutely message them.   I’ve messaged quite a few guys who are looking–or *say* that they’re looking–for a woman just like me.   Yes, I’m pretty.   Yes, I’m well-written (some guys have gotten very excited about how intelligent I seem, which tells me something about the “competition”).   When I write to a guy, I keep it short and sweet.   I bring up something in the profile and I ask a question that I’m genuinely interested in receiving an answer to.   Unfortunately, those men never reply.   Based on my limited experience, it seems to me that a guy who is interested *will* send a message, and those who aren’t, well, they’ll move on.

    1. 27.1
      abigail

      I totally agree. A woman doesn’t need to write anything…a smiley or a view is enough to get the man to write in my experience… If he’s interested he will & if he’s not why would i waste my time? In my opinion women are better off investing energy AFTER a committed relatonship

  8. 28
    Lily

    Reading this article was having a person stop giving you oral sex right before the orgasm.
    Okay, so you’ve told us what NOT to write. How about some examples of what TO write?
      

  9. 29
    SparklingEmerald

       I just can’t bring myself to e-mail a guy first.   I am very sensitive to the whole “male led courtship” thing, and do not want to come off as chasing after a man.   I thought I’d dip my toe in the water by making a guy a “favorite” or at the most, commenting on an interesting photo in his profile.   The only guys who have ever responded to me putting them on my favorite list, led to HORRIBLE first meetings.   I guess they just responded to my putting them on a favorite list out of curiosity.     After a few e-mails   & phone calls, our first (and only) meet & greet were the pits.   They acted the way a guy acts if his   mother pressures him to go on a blind date with the daughter of one her bowling league friends.   It was horrible.   If a guy thinks my pics and profile are cute, he will reach out to me.   If he didn’t reach out to me,   he’s just not that into me, and cutest, funniest, flirtiest e-mail in the world won’t change that.
    I am pretty much done with the liars, losers and player that I meet through   online dating.   I signed up for a very pricey match making service, where they personally interview, & background check everyone and THEY take the profile photos, so there can be no BSing with old photos, no topless selfies in the bathroom mirror, and no bullshitting about age.  
    They even offered me a second year membership for $1 if I’m not married or engaged in one year, which wasn’t necessarily my goal, but honestly, if one year at a matchmaking service for designed for relationship oriented people doesn’t work for me, then I think I’ll just take the dollar and buy a lottery ticket.   I think the odds would be better.

  10. 30
    Jocelyn

    I wrote first to my fiancé on OkCupid. He had made a joke in his profile about Jack and Rose from Titanic both getting on the door, and I sent him a link to the MythBusters episode where they proved the board wasn’t buoyant enough. He fortunately took this as a sign that I was interested (I was) instead of just an almighty know-it-all, and sent back some cheesy Titanic pick-up lines. My profile was equally as brash as my opener, and he admitted about a year into dating that he’d read it and skipped over it, so it turns out we were both very lucky I had initiated contact. 🙂

  11. 31
    Shell L

    I don’t like writing to guys first. I find my best dates come from the ones who pursue me. My worst dates were ones that I initiated (and I mean some really bad dates guys). A conversation that I initiate is more likely to end up in a dead too. Just my experience. I rather spend my time on people who express enough interest in me to the point where they feel compelled to write me a message.

  12. 32
    Christine

    I think this is a good introductory email to send to a guy just by reading this blog:

    “Hi I’m Christine, I just want your opinion on something. Do you think it’s good thing for females to email guys first? Is it flattering or is it a turn off? If it is a turn off please disregard reading this email and delete…then I will wait for yours”

    Hahaha, just thought of it now lol! Maybe I’ll try it ??

  13. 33
    mims

    A stranger in Europe I met gave me his e mail address – we met like twice. No touching.. chatting. I started the e mailing from America saying I landed safe and it seemed fantastic e mails every day and he was so cute, complimentary…   so I flew back to Europe to see him thinking it was love, I know. Well, he was working evenings and the only time I saw him was when he visited the hotel for breakfast and for an hour after his shift to sit and talk at the hotel. I mean, it was a stupid thing to do but I learnt a lesson and want to pass it on. The e mailing thing can be very psychological. Daily e mails create a sense of closeness. But unless you are with the person in real time, don’t do it. He was nuts about a ‘friend’ and didn’t spend any more time with me than he had to to be polite. The ‘great’ week he talked of was not..he did nothing to entertain  me locally and  the sexy flirting was gone. He was not attracted and wouldn’t kiss. I cannot stress enough that you all need to be with real people in real time..for some time before you do the e mailing bullcrap. The illusion seems real but real is meeting that person often.

  14. 34
    Willowandy

    Good things for me (man) is that:

    You don’t write a really short message, a couple of paragraphs are great.

    You have written a fair bit about yourself on your profile.

    You ask one or two things to get started on.

     

    Or the short version: Short messages and profiles are less attractive.

  15. 36
    Joe

    I’ve been on Match 3 months.   42, 5-10 170, great job, house (but divorced after 10 year marriage, and we split custody of our 2 kids which are both marks against me I acknowledge)

     

    I’ve emailed 100+ women 33-42, gotten maybe a couple responses and 0 dates.   It’s really remarkable since I use the “reverse match” feature to email appropairate women.   I’ve gotten about 15 emails and they’re all ugly, fat, older, or some combo of the 3.

     

    If you’re a 5 looking for a 7 or 8 guy, online dating is a goldmine.   If you’re a successful in-shape guy, run as fast as you can.   Meet em in real life, so you can get a fair shake.

     

  16. 37
    Mica

    I have decades of dating experience and now as a woman in her 50’s,   times awasting and I email guys online all the time I think I may like. As Evan said go for volume. It’s like getting a job you don’t know which resume will hit.

    I don’t write long messages just a quick hi, mention something we have in common or ask a question about their profile.

    Men can be interesting. If they really end up liking you and are the alpha type often turn the tables and recall it them that wrote to you first or spoke to you, when   you know you got the agile thing going.

    Also sometimes its timing. You write to a guy he doesn’t respond yet you could email again to same person down the road and now they are responding they don’t even recall “meeting” you. We don’t really know where people are in their level of relationship readiness when approached.

    Sure most women would like to be approached by a man yet why miss a possible connection or the chance to move on and say to yourself, not this one he isn’t ready for my specialness. That makes it a more manageable pool of the men who will appreciate your advances.

  17. 38
    Mica

    I don’t like the idea of many months of correspondence before you meet. That can lead to such disappointment if it doesn’t work out. Quicker meeting, no big drive to meet up and fast coffee chat if not going well is better to assess chemistry and decide if will be seeing this person again or moving on.

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