Should You Send a Follow-up Email to Someone To Hasn’t Written You Back?

Sending a follow up email

Dear Evan

1. Should a person send a follow-up email to someone they have written to before and not heard from?
2: What do you think of expressing in one’s profile that you prefer emails to winks?

Thank you so much for your encouragement and help in our searches.


Dear Ynez,

Allow me to answer your second question first, because it’s a lot quicker:

No. Don’t express in your profile that you prefer emails to winks. You wanna know why?

1) EVERYBODY prefers emails to winks. So, in essence, you’re saying something as clichéd as “I like to laugh” or “I want a man who’s honest.” It’s a pointless point, and is one that’s bound to be ignored.

2) The fact that he winks instead of taking the time to write to you speaks volumes about him. A wink says either that he’s lazy, he’s illiterate, or, more likely, that he’s winking at 50 people at a time to see who responds to him. He may actually be a decent guy — but he’s a decent guy who is pretty indiscriminate about the women he contacts. Proceed with caution.

3) I just think it’s in poor form to tell anyone what to do. “Nobody over the age of 40! No cheaters or liars! Nobody who has addiction issues!” Feel free to ignore anyone who doesn’t meet your criteria, Ynez – including your desire to be emailed — but please, don’t issue demands in your profile.


I have two (and maybe even three) answers to your query about sending a follow-up email. One set of rules applies to men, another applies to women. And yes, there’s a logical explanation for this double standard.

Women have the simpler answer. No, you shouldn’t send a follow-up email to a guy if he hasn’t written back. It’s not that it’s impossible that he was busy, or accidentally deleted your email, or had an emotional crisis that caused him to abandon dating for awhile. Rather, it’s that, 99 times out of 100, a guy who doesn’t write back to you is a guy who isn’t attracted to you. If he is attracted to you but is dating other people, he’ll get back to you eventually, without any additional prodding on your part.

Men are faced with a different dilemma. Why are there different rules for men and women? Because women — especially younger women — receive infinitely more emails than men. Think about it: If a guy is doing great, he might get ten emails — and can manage to respond to the three or four attractive women in his inbox. If a woman is doing great, she might get 50 emails, or 150 emails, or 400 emails. Which means that there are definitely some quality guys who don’t get through the first screening process

I remember meeting a woman on in 2002. We dated for six weeks and I remember asking her about her experience. She told me that she received over 500 emails in her first week. How many guys did she write back to? Five. That’s 495 guys who got silence in return for their emails. This reinforces why women are NOT obliged to write back polite rejection letters AND it reinforces why just because older men want attractive young women, they are unlikely to get a letter back. If she has 500 potential future spouses in the mix, why would she date a guy fifteen years older? She could date a guy that’s just as successful and kind, but closer to her age. And she usually will. Doesn’t mean she’s bad. Just means she has choices. See my blog post “As Valuable as Your Options” if this isn’t clear to you.

But back to my point. … When a man’s dealing with such a competitive atmosphere, he might take a shot at   writing a second or a third time. Plenty of women who are exasperated with the flood of emails delete their entire inbox just to keep things manageable. What they DON’T do, and probably should is HIDE THEIR PROFILES. But as much as the young women complain about all of the awful guys who write to them, they generally refuse to stem the tide by removing themselves or going without a picture. I wrote about this extensively in I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book and think that if your biggest problem is the volume of the “wrong men” writing, it’s really easy to fix. Take down your photo or profile and proactively contact men. Instead of spending half your day deleting profiles of men you’d never consider, you could be talking to one or two decent guys at once. Most women are not afflicted with this problem, but it is a real one, especially for the younger set.

Wait, what was your question again, Ynez? Oh, should you follow up with an email if you’ve been ignored? For you, as a woman, probably not. It wouldn’t cost much to try, but I don’t think the results will be that great. Men are looks-driven and I don’t know many who ignore someone who piques their interest. For men, it’s probably worth it to take a second shot a month down the road. But then again, there are enough quality women that I don’t see why you’d write to the same uninterested ones twice. Eventually, you gotta take a hint.

Or, if you’re like most people, maybe you don’t.

Join our conversation (107 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Agreed. Guys generally don’t ignore emails from women to whom they’re attracted. If he’s not responding the first time, it’s either because he’s not a paying member and can’t read the email, he’s got too many emails in his inbox and will wait till other prospects dry out to get to yours, or he simply isn’t interested. I’d maybe try an IM, if you really want to give it a second shot. That may get his attention.

  2. 2

    I agree about not sending a second email. If he is interested, he will email you back after the first one. Not sending a second one means you can still have your dignity and pride. Also, I would try not taking it personally when people don’t respond. As Evan said, there are so many people online. In my experience, people online are also flaky. The ananimity of the Internet makes it easier to disappear without a trace than say, if you had met someone in person. You can’t take each person that doesn’t get back to you as a personal affront because you never know what is going on in someone’s life. If a guy emails me numerous times after no response from me, quite frankly, it makes me glad I didn’t respond because it makes them appear desperate. As far as the winks, I wouldn’t be so hard on the guys. If you respond to his wink with an email, you should get an email back in return.

  3. 3

    I don’t think it can hurt for a woman to follow up with a 2nd email. But, they should wait at least a few weeks. And, if they get no response after the second one, they should give up.

  4. 4

    Just an honest question – Are there really that many people out there who would reply to an email of someone if they went to their profile, before responding to initial contact, if that person didn’t have a picture posted? Please note, I didn’t ask if many men would reply without a picture (of the girl who wrote to them or Winked). I am female, and I don’t respond to people who don’t post a photo, either.

    Same goes for when perusing profiles to either find someone to write to or hope I hear from him.

    The one time I broke my personal rule on this, I never saw him – because he said he couldn’t post it because he was a forensic profiler and he wouldn’t want criminals to be able to find him. Maybe that was true, maybe it wasn’t. He was also the one who contacted me six months after a phone call and didn’t remember he had already corresponded and spoken with me and then disappeared without a word previously.

    As to hiding it – the profile – if getting the wrong responses = no one can read it if you hide it. Therefore, if you do email a man or wink at him, and he goes to see who you are, then he gets a notice that that member has hidden their profile, changed their member name or is no longer on the site. Can’t reply to someone with a hidden profile. This is the case on anyhow.

    And popping in and out frequently – visible, non-visible trying to guess when he might write back makes you look indecisive and flaky. And you would still get people writing that you might not want to hear from during the “Visible” periods : )

    Yes, women could contact the men they want to hear from – but as several of you have pointed out, if a man wants something or someone, then he usually goes for it. It is easy to think if you haven’t already heard from “Him” whoever him is (the one or ones that really caught your eye) that maybe he saw you and wasn’t interested enough to write.

    I don’t know how many men write or wink back if a woman initiates contact (though some state in their profiles that they would welcome such), but it has been my experience that you rarely get a reply of any kind if you make the first move. Maybe I have tried to date out of my league or something else was going on (or not), but it did serve to reinforce my theory that I have a better chance of connecting with someone if he chose to invest in me a touch first.

    If I were super hot, with bodacious boobs, I do suspect some of these guys might have replied. So that goes both ways too. In each case, I wrote a headline that was original (I hope) and had something to do with something very specific in their profile and to them and was clever (at least, I hope so) and tailored the email to the guy.

    So women also get the “silent”, i.e, no acknowledgment treatment too. And later on, men drop off the face of the earth with no word too.

    Makes you appreciate the people who go the extra mile and put in more effort all the more. And isn’t that the kind of person who would most likely do the same with you in a relationship too?

    I agree with Evan and the previous posters about not emailing a couple or so times if no reply. Though I think this would be true for a guy too. I don’t think he should have to email a girl several times before he says, she isn’t that into me. I deserve someone who really is, who is excited to hear from me, and responds in turn and in kind – whether to email, text message, or phone call. Not saying call for call or totally email for email in terms of same number on both sides – but who makes a concerted effort back. Certainly some effort at least in reply.

  5. 5

    I’m gay and on, so here’s a nice gay man’s perspective:

    If they don’t respond, move on. Trust me, gay men are the pickiest people on the planet. Don’t waste time waiting, find the real one.

    1. 5.1

      I agree with you, Mark;   It’s not “Rocket Science”.   I think this whole online dating thing is common sense.    People are on here trying to pick everything apart.   I can’t keep reading the same thing over, and over.   I had the worst experience of my life with online dating; and not sure if I will ever try it again. 🙁

      p.s. we had no pics posted, but that was not the issue!

  6. 7

    What if he did email you back after your first email, but hasn’t responded to the 2nd email you sent in response to his email? It makes me wonder if maybe I offended him in someway…

    1. 7.1

      I have the same thing happen to me too all the time from women…First email I write I get a response…then I respond back, then nothing…Its like, do they want me to throw myself at them? Are they looking for more jokes? Did they find better people in their minds to talk to? Why even send an email if you don’t plan chatting a bit. Do they want to play games? Its obvious in my emails I am interested in them…I have tried everything from asking them out to humor etc…In my experience its a simple waste of time. Best to move on. Their loss. I have never been discourteous to anyone I write and I always  relate to their profiles.

  7. 8

    I’ve always wondered why women get more emails than men too… Maybe it’s because men only think with their dicks. LOL!

    My question: How do you peek a woman’s interest? I mean, there are probably more attractive men online than there are ugly men, so what are women looking for in terms of looks?

    1. 8.1

      Hey female online dater here who gets lots of emails.      I wish I could answer, but the truth is with women it all depends. I could think a guy is super hot and my best friend would say he was ugly.   Its not like with men where they can usually mostly agree on a girls attractiveness overall.    Some women like bald men (I do).   Some like overweight men, skinny men tall men.   The best thing I can say is that there is someone out there for you.         Remember this though, she is getting a ton of emails, so if   you email a really good looking girl online so is everyone else.

  8. 9

    I wanted to add my two cents because I’m female and I’ve actually had really good luck sending a follow-up email to an original email that I never got a response to. I’ve done this twice with guys who I was emailing back and forth with, and then it dropped off (so in both cases they did respond to my first email). Both guys I ended up going on several great dates with. I used to never email someone again who didn’t email back, but the more I’ve been doing online dating, the more confidence I’ve gotten with my photos and email/profile-writing skills, and I just figured, what do I have to lose? So both guys I sent a flirty email along the lines of “so you seem like a really cute, great guy, and I’m sure you’re busy sifting through a gazillion emails from lovely ladies, but if it’s not too late, I’d like to throw my hat into the ring.” I got responses from both guys right away, and it turns out they had pretty good excuses for not emailing me back in the first place (being really busy, not being sure I was interested, etc). So in some cases, the follow-up email does work.

    1. 9.1

      Your situation is different and I agree this is okay. If you all were talking and then the   person drops off, it’s okay to follow up and I have had men do this to me, no issues.   It’s when the person does not respond to   your first email, and then you keep sending follow up emails, that’s creepy.

  9. 10


    Just curious- did they ever explain why they suddenly ‘dropped off’? I hate it when they do that- but I really can’t complain, since I’ve done it to guys myself. 🙁

  10. 11

    Ah it is a cursed thing to be less than a perfect woman. Methinks I shall get thee to a nunnery….

  11. 12
    Ms. D

    So what about he e-mails you, you respond, and then radio silence? I mean HE expressed interest, so it wasn’t a lack of attractiveness or charm in the profile. And I THOUGHT my e-mail was consistent with my profile? I did realize very quickly after sending the e-mail that I said that my only pic at the time was a “couple” of years old…my bad, it is 1 1/2 years old (I mean, JFC, I’m 27, it can’t be that old or I’d have been an obvious teenager!), but thought I had remedied any potential issues with that by quickly uploading a new pic with the caption “November travels around the world”. WTF?

  12. 13
    Karl R

    Ms. D asked: (#12)
    “So what about he e-mails you, you respond, and then radio silence?”

    He’s pursuing a more serious relationship with someone else.

    To give you a (more transparent) example:
    A couple months ago a new lady showed up in my yoga class. Over the course of the next few weeks I made a point of introducing myself to her, making small talk and casually flirting with her. She had every reason to believe I was interested in her. (Because I was.)

    During that same period of time, one of my dance partners broke up with her boyfriend. I’ve known this woman for a year, we dance and flirt regularly, and we’ve become good friends. Suddenly we’re both available at the same time. A month after her breakup, I let her know that I was interested in pursuing an exclusive relationship with her.

    Under the circumstances, the lady from yoga didn’t stand a chance. She didn’t do anything wrong. It wasn’t a level playing field. Even if she’s as amazing as this dance partner, I didn’t have enough time to discover that.

    The lady from yoga is not completely in the dark. I’ve “just happened” to have a couple conversations with a couple friends in my yoga class where she could easily overhear. She knows that I’m dating someone else.

    Your situation is probably identical to the lady in my yoga class. The only difference is that you weren’t informed of what else was going on.

    It’s possible to do everything correctly and still not get the man. But if you do everything correctly, you will manage to get one sooner than if you just fumble around randomly.

  13. 14

    Karl R is one of the Male Voices of Reason on this blog and the reason I signed in to tell him so. I thank you and truly appreciate reading your words.
    Women should move on when a man does not pursue nor chase. I’m online dating after a icky breakup. Took five months off to study myself and bone up on dating. Using all of Evans advice I bought the book Why He Disappeared it’s very wise. Taking my time vetting men it feels good I’m not nervous about dating anymore.
    Karl, this quote is the best!
    “It’s possible to do everything correctly and still not get the man. But if you do everything correctly, you will manage to get one sooner than if you just fumble around randomly.”

    1. 14.1

      Now that your not scared maybe you should consider someone from your past. Maybe there single again to…

  14. 15

    Omg–I thought I was the only one who hid my profile! I’m not the hottest girl–honest guyfriends have said I’m a 7 which seems accurate. I’ve had emails anywhere from artifically affectionate in the first mail to guys wanting a cuckholdry situation to all things in between. Hiding a profile can allow a woman to cherry pick only the men she wants to talk to. Just don’t take it personally when they don’t all respond. Why wouldn’t she want to stop the flood of emails? While it may inflate her ego it can make it really hard to focus on the good eggs. My only warning is to expand your search a bit farther from your ultimate preferences lest you lose out on some super guys who aren’t in perfect packaging.

  15. 16

    “I remember meeting a woman on in 2002. We dated for six weeks and I remember asking her about her experience. She told me that she received over 500 emails in her first week. How many guys did she write back to? Five. That’s 495 guys who got silence in return for their emails. This reinforces why women are NOT obliged to write back polite rejection letters…”
    They wouldn’t get that many if they would do some of the work, too. Plus there would be few enough that she COULD have actually written back. This is a problem partly created by women, so she WAS obliged to it, in spite of numbers. Several hundred of those 500 guys who sent e-mails probably poured their hearts and souls into it.

    1. 16.1

      What do you mean if she “did some work.”   I email lots of guys online, some respond some don’t. I don’t wait around for me to email me and I don’t take it personal when men don’t respond to my emails.   that does not prevent the 500 emails I get per week?   So you are saying I should just not online date, or maybe put an ugly picture up of someone that is not me? I don’t understand.      I took maybe respond to 5% of the emails I receive.   Sorry guys don’t online date if   you don’t like the odds.

  16. 17

    I really find it extremely difficult to believe that one woman received 500 emails in a week!!   There is no way that is true…if she was that amazing then why is she on a dating site?   She would just have to walk outside her front door and guys would flock to hershe is lying thru her teeth!
    As for the guys initiating contact and then disappearing…they are assholes!   Why play with people’s minds and get their hopes up and waste their time??   You can date more than one person before deciding which one you wanna be exclusive with! That guy that played the yoga girl was a jerk…he conveniently let her overhear that he was dating someone else??   Are you in junior high??   Now that woman is left wondering why you bothered flirting in the first place?   Why couldn’t you have dated both women and then make the decision of who u wanted to be ur girlfriend?   GUYS, STOP WASTING OUR TIME AND PLAYING WITH OUR MINDS!!

    1. 17.1

      Really? You’re getting angry at men for doing something that women do 100 times as much?

    2. 17.2

      Now come on, flirting and talking is just that, not he owed the yoga girl his life, he didn’t drag it out by dating two girls at once which would of been harder for the one girl he would have to let down.

      Yes women do this all the time lead men on, by the way I’m a women, if i date a man i don’t assume we are exclusive until it is agreed by both of us .

    3. 17.3
      Teresa Doone

      I agree totally Jenn…if men want to email etc, they should know whether or not to pursue instead of wasting women’s time… Online dating fun for me but at other times exhausting checking emails all the time !!

  17. 18

    This cute guy crossed the road to say hello and gave me his card, I cant remember if he said call me? anyway what did it for me is that he stroked my hand, and it wooed me.
    I went to his website fell inlove with his Art and a picture of him, which is amazing and sent him an email, singing his praise, and he never replied!, I realised that he’d have this effect on most females, whom its possible that he  would stop them also  in the street too.
    I don’t like rejection like the best of us, dejavu here, however, its not even about rejection its about common decency, if you invite someone to contact you and you don’t reply? that is rude, I don’t have B.O. so what could the reason be another female? obviously, someone younger! slimmer, I just wish he’d dropped me a line, out of common decency.
    Still, lots of fish in the sea I guess, Artists hey! and their muses waiting in a line queuing up , well not me! aster la vista….I might even do a sit up!

  18. 19

    Elana, thank you but your response gives women false hope. It seems (and I could be wrong) that those men you followed up with DID end up going on a few dates with you but ultimately it didn’t work out because they were never interested in a relationship with you.   Yes it hurts but it’s usually best to not follow up because it seems too eager and the ones that respond are doing so usually out of boredom.   The exceptions are IMHO if you are just online dating for fun (I am not) or if this guy is an actual friend or a friend of a friend, just to clear the air. The non response after a few long emails thing happened to me recently and though a few friends told me to follow up with him I chose not to because a) we have never met and therefore he cannot be rejecting me, he’s just rejecting a few random photos (guys I HAVE met tell me I look much prettier in person and my friends agree, I’m just not photogenic, and I know women that practically post glamour shots that are shockingly not representative of what they look like in person) and emails and sentences I typed in a few emails and b) we live 5 hours apart.   I’ll never see this guy and even if I did I doubt he’ll even recognize me. We women need to maintain our diginity. Yes, DO show interest and be enthusiastic when he is reciprocating but when he drifts away, we should disappear as well. 🙂

    1. 19.1


      I can totally relate to what you’re saying.   Thanks for your comment.

  19. 20

    I’ve got a related question that maybe Evan or another guy can answer. What if the guy has written back a few times and you’ve started to have a conversation, and the guy just stopped writing back all of a sudden? Did he decide LATER he wasn’t attracted? Did I say something wrong? And in this situition, is it still better to not send a follow up email?? Ugh, this is why online dating blows.
    Any advice would be great  

    1. 20.1

      I would move on and do not contact him. and don’t be just dating one guy until you find the one that likes you as much as you like him, don’t have expectations so fast, enjoy life without a partner.

    2. 20.2
      Mark B


      I doubt you did anything wrong.   I’ve had this happen to me plenty of times from women.   Usually they liked someone else more and focused on them to see where it goes.   They play the stalling game with you (oh I’m busy this weekend line) by keeping their profile up until they’re ready to give it a shot.   Then they go silent & it gets hidden later.   There’s no way for you to know that or do anything else.

      Other times- & these tick me off- some people only want to email or text.   They have no intention of ever going out.   I think they like the attention because it boosts their self esteem or they are married & are testing the waters.   I also think they have major issues.   Because of that I now have a 5 email rule max & 1 phone conversation max.     After that you either want to meet me or not.   I mean it’s a dating site.   Everyone is there to date- not text.   I don’t have time for a thousand emails/texts.   There’s only one way to know if we hit it off and that’s by meeting in person for a drink or coffee.   I’ll say look it’s been great, but I can only tell if there’s chemistry if we meet.   When are you free?

      Your self worth is the most important thing you have imo.   In your situation, I wouldn’t send an email, but that’s me.   If they really wanted to date you they would have emailed you & made themselves available.   If they don’t- they’re not worth your time.   And more importantly you can stop wasting your energy & time on them and focus on people who are into you.   That’s what you & everyone out there deserves.


      PS- (I didn’t see the other Mark so I’ll post as Mark B from now on)


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