What Do Women Want from the Men who Email Them?

What do women want from the men who email them? And, if you’re a guy, do you give them what they want?

Please respond in the comments below.


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  1. 31

    Well, there is much that can be determined by the profile itself. I am divorced, have a graduate degree, I am a non-smoker, non-drinker, and Catholic. I have children, I am 40 and I am unlikely to want more children. I am seeking a long term relationship. I reside in this city. I have close-up pics and pics doing things I enjoy doing, so that my interests are present. What more do you really need to say, other than what I do say in my profile:” I am open to life and love, and I still have plenty of firsts left within me for the right guy. It might be you…you never know!!!”

    1. 31.1


      If that’s the extent of your profile, you haven’t given a guy who might want to write much of a “hook” to hang his email on; it’s just a pretty generic profile that would fit many 40 year old women. Honestly, I’m a pretty decent writer and unless I found something in one of your pictures (not you, but an unusual activity, or something in the background, for example) I’d find it hard to write you a message that didn’t look  cut and paste generic. Do you have a hobby or interest you could expand on (maybe either something unusual, or where you go to do the activity; for instance if you ski, or scuba dive,  or go kayaking, where are your favorite places to do that?). Or you could expand on some of these “firsts” you’d like to do with the right guy. What? Where? All those specifics, those little details, are conversation starters. Have a favorite local restaurant? Mention it; gives a guy something to ask about.. It doesn’t have to be big or particularly exciting stuff, just little details about you and your interests that give your profile a touch of unique, and give us something to respond to while showing we actually read your profile.  When you don’t give us that, even the guys who want to make the effort will have a hard time giving you anything distinguishable from any cut and paste spam you get in your mailbox daily.

  2. 32

    why does a man have to come up with something just short of a fancy oratory just to get a woman to say hello.whatever happened to hi nice to meet you ?

  3. 33

    Nobody’s asking for fancy oratory. If you write, “Hi, nice to meet you,” then the only thing a girl can write back is “Hi.” How thrilling of an e-mail exchange is that? (Besides, you haven’t actually met yet anyway.)

    Instead try: “Hey, I saw that X is your favorite restaurant. I’ve been meaning to go there. What should I try?” This is not exactly following Evan’s protocol, but it’s the lite version so if Evan’s way seems too hard, try this. It shows that you read the girl’s profile (a major plus) and you’re giving her something to respond to. It doesn’t take forever to write, and it’s not going to scare anyone off. Is this really too much to ask for?

  4. 34

    #32 – how do you expect a woman to respond to an email like that, i.e., “hi, nice to meet you” ??? we aren’t “meeting” and you haven’t given me anything to respond to you about — i don’t even know if you looked at my profile before writing those very personal words. that kind of “line” works only when meeting face to face and you know pretty much nothing about the other person. if that is all the effort you want to put into a first contact, why not just wink?

    what REALLY turns me off are first emails wherein i am referred to as “sweetie”, “honey”, “sexy lady” or any other term of “endearment”. it feels condescending and creepy — i can’t imagine writing to a man and calling him “honey”!

    OH, i know we encourage questions, but this one “so, how is Match working for you” (or any variation thereof) is really annoying to me. if it were working really well, i wouldn’t still have a profile up….enough said? how do you answer that!!! “i’ve met some interesting people but not the right one….” — duh! i wonder if anyone else (male or female) feels this way about this question?


  5. 35

    funny thing is it works in most partsof the world and in fact i get much more responses from russian ladies than american ladies.i just dont like the fact you have to go through having to impress these american ladies and having to jump through hoops just to get one.frankly a good portion of american ladies attitudes piss me off.

  6. 36

    I get e-mails from guys that just go on for days and days (our interaction, I mean) without them making any effort to want to meet. Those are the most annoying.

  7. 37
    Karl R

    joseph said: (#35)
    “i get much more responses from russian ladies than american ladies.i just dont like the fact you have to go through having to impress these american ladies and having to jump through hoops just to get one.”

    If e-mailing Russian ladies is so much more rewarding, why are you wasting your time e-mailing American women at all?

    I prefer to date American women (they live substantially closer), and writing an intelligent e-mail isn’t that difficult for me. But if it pisses you off, wouldn’t it be easier to date in a way that doesn’t make you angry?

  8. 38

    From a man’s perspective I find it interesting that women online want to go out on the first date fairly quickly rather than take awhile to get to know each other for awhile. Awhile to me I think may be like a month maybe a couple months. Women here seem to think that a lot of guys are the ones that say stuff like nice profile, want to grab a drink (something like that) maybe I’m just one of the men that is actually taking the online dating serious, reading the profile thoroughly, asking tons of questions about the ladies profile, letting her know about me, looking for a serious girlfriend and NOT a one nighter then eventually (emphasis on eventually) going out on the first date.

    Also I find it very interesting that so many women online and for that matter offline as well but more so online women that think they can actually tell if there is a spark on the first date. Yeah maybe very very few times can actually tell that the first date there is a spark or not. But I tend to think the first date is more of getting through the nervousness for both men and women, chatting, getting to know each other and then on the second date one can tell more if it’s going to work out more or not.

    Also hight seems to be a HUGE issue for online and offline women but seems so much more important to online women. To be honest HEIGHT should not be that big of a deal since our height is our height and weight is weight but yet weight can be lost height cannot be changed.

  9. 39

    James #25:
    Who gives a **** what the woman wants? It’s always been about the woman. When will it be about the guy?

    Could not help but laugh. I don’t do blind dates or online dating, but I would think keeping the email short is good. I would say be yourself because in the end, don’t you want to be with someone with whom you can feel at ease? If you pretend, you might get stuck with a woman that will end up nagging you because you won’t be able to keep up with your pretense.

    If her profile is available, read what her hobbies or interests are and share a little of your knowledge or interest in that area; keep it short and somewhat mysterious so she’ll want more. I know that I would be bored to death with age, marriage, love, phone#, bank account, etc.

  10. 40

    Having to go all the way to Russia to find a date? U kidding me

    I can’t figure out what is the big deal about finding a date. It is very easy; just find someone who is compatible. If this doesn’t work, go out with anyone girl; think of it as an adventure. Don’t be so restrictive and picky, loosen up and have some fun. If you both are not able to laugh and smile on the date, you are not having fun.

    Joseph, have you ever tried volunteering? I notice the females who volunteer are not very judgmental.

  11. 41

    This world is now so rife with the disease of selfishness that people now resort to dating websites just to meet a potential friend moreover a life-long partner, people talk about relationships (and other people) as if they’re disposable diapers, and true long-term commitment is generally a thing of the past. The commenter is right, who said that women (and men) who volunteer are less judgmental, however they don’t usually exist on dating websites (not much time)

  12. 42

    First – a subject that would make me want to open the actual message (sorry, that sounds shallow…but seriously…on any given day I can get dozens of notifications about emails and I just don’t have the time/patience to read those that can’t even bother with a subject line)

    Second – Mention something that shows you’ve read my profile, not just looked at the picture.  Maybe mention a hobby I have listed?

    Third – Ask a question or give me something to respond to.  Emailing with a stranger can be difficult…so if a guy asks a question, it will at least be a ‘jumping point’ to start a conversation.

  13. 43

    This process annoys me.  It annoys me that it’s more important to convince a girl that I’m a great guy and genuinely interested in her than it is to actually BE a great guy and genuinely interested in her.  I understand that girls get countless messages and that there are a lot of jerks out there, me not included as many who know me, girls included, will tell you, but quite frankly anybody can mention something from the profile and ask a question.  I always read through the girl’s profile, feel some genuine spark, then write with great interest in getting to know her…I get almost zero write-backs.

  14. 44
    Still Looking

    @ Christian 43 –

    If you are getting almost no responses, there are several explanations:
    1.  Are the women still actively looking?  On Match you can see when they were last online.  Don’t waste time writing to someone who hasn’t logged on recently.  If you are on EHarmony, you can write to women who are not subscribers and they can’t see your pictures or write back.
    2.  If you are writing to very attractive women your email will be lost in the dozens or hundreds of emails they receive.  
    3.  Are you aiming too high?  If you are an average looking guy with an average job the former beauty queen looking for her MD/JD/MBA Brad Pitt look-alike match isn’t going to give  your profile a second look, assuming she even reads your email in the first place.
    4.  Are you responding to the winks/emails that YOU receive?  If you are not receiving winks and emails have you written a killer profile and added some great pictures?  Evan has a service to help you with your profile.
    5.  You mentioned that you read a profile, feel some genuine spark, the “write back with great interest in getting to know her.”  Based on the thousands of profiles I’ve skimmed, there have been very few that caused me to feel a “genuine spark” because there just isn’t enough information on most profiles.  Is there a chance that when you write back “with great interest” that you might be saying something wrong or coming across too strong?  My initial emails are usually quite short and intended only to establish a dialogue – not to express any great desire/interest.  Would you mind posting one of your recent introductory emails for comment?

  15. 45

    James said: (#25)
    “Who gives a shit what the woman wants? It’s always been about the woman. When will it be about the guy?”
    It’ll be about the guy when Evan writes a post about what guys want from an email.  This thread is about what women want and that’s why it’s the only point of view currently being discussed.

  16. 46

    I’ll keep this brief (Well at the beginning I thought I would :), the long and short of it is if a woman isn’t interested it really wouldn’t matter what you say to her even if she says that’s the nicest email I had, but.. blah, blah.. At this point you’re just feeding her ego and you’ll of spent your valuable emotional energy and beyond that you’re just massaging her ego (women have them too, and they’re more sensitive than ours too), so be measured in whose you stroke and invest time in.  A nice, to the point, email that’s shown you’ve read the profile, make a quip, she’ll look at your photo first, if that OK, then your profile and probably respond more-or-less straight away. Sound familiar?  Exactly the same as us. If she wasn’t your type, you’d probably stop at her photo.
    As far as getting a sympathy/rejection reply message from her, in my eyes this just amounts to the woman basking in your admiration when all you really want to do is get on to the next, had her chance and you really don’t want to hear all the pity excuses do you?
    Of course it’s worth noting there are major biological differences hard wired in us, namely we (men) have millions of swimmy things and the ladies have perhaps 400  eggs in her lifetime and even if she hasn’t any left she’ll still have the same mindset 🙂
    All meant in the best possible way!!  Best to work your butt off and then you can have the pick of the bunch.
    I believe in Darwin, not lovers hope. Dan

  17. 47

    I’m attractive, early thirties, 50+ emails a day, and I 100% endorse A-L @ 33’s suggestion:
    Instead try: “Hey, I saw that X is your favorite restaurant. I’ve been meaning to go there. What should I try?” 

    Shows that he read my profile plus is casual and confident. If his profile is also good, I’m in for a little more.
    PAINFUL are the interview style showing that they read (and want to quiz me on) every single thing in my profile (delete), but the WORST are essentially a lengthy “private” profile about who they are and what they want.

  18. 48

    I appreciate all the feedback here.  However I agree with Christian above.   I’m an “A-” guy (looks, intellect, profession, etc.) who takes great care in communicating effectively with girls at my level.  Almost zilcho on the responses, especially on Match.com.  There are likely 4 to 1 guys on most dating sites and while I appreciate the “hardship” girls have to go through filtering through garbage, we honest guys with realistic expectations have to go through double the trouble on the other end.  Perhaps someone would volunteer to put together a publication of actual winning emails so some of us skeptics could give them a try.

    Scott – It’s not 4 to 1 at all. It’s closer to 55-45. And I have put together a publication with a formula (and samples) of how to write an email.

    Go to http://www.findingtheoneonline.com and ignore the marketing to women. It’s a unisex product. EMK

  19. 49
    Montgomery Duryea

    I’m asking questions and being polite and giving compliments to women that have gone out of their way to contact me only to be ignored completely.
    I would like to be rejected or blocked or any kind of response would be fine and I will take it for what it is and not make a big deal out of it. I would just like to not be ignored,especially when I know they are online and they just contacted me by sending me a message.

  20. 50

    I have to agree with Scott. Having read quite a bit about online dating and finally decided to take the plunge myself, I have become quite convinced that women are the problem with online dating.

    Everybody starts out with ridiculously high standards, but men learn soon enough from the lack of responses that they should start messaging the types of women that they would talk to if they met them at parties. In short, they bring their online standards in line with their in-person standards.

    Women never learn this lesson. They continue to not respond to anyone who’s not way over their heads, then complain that the experiences don’t go well and use that as an excuse to continue to mock and reject all the guys they should be talking to. Their excuse is that they don’t have time to read all the messages they get, but it’s quite obvious that every message a woman receives is a message that a man spent time writing. Men are putting MORE effort into this than women, but women simply aren’t holding up their end.

    I have a professional photo atop my profile, and five other shots, none of which are selfies or inappropriate and all of which are substantially different from each other. I certainly don’t have an attractive face, but I’m a fitness nut with a lean, muscular build that includes a genuine well-defined six-pack (not shown, because shirtless photos are tasteless, but it exists), and I am always very well-groomed. I also have a serious, six-figure career (lightly referenced) and a variety of academic, athletic and social interests. I list a few of the biggest ones on my profile, specify that I’m looking for a serious relationship with a woman who I can respect, who’s intelligent, etc. No mention of looks, because I’m genuinely not as concerned about looks as most guys, although being overweight is a big turnoff because of my interest in fitness.

    So I find a bunch of women who are decent-looking but not the best looking women on the site and who seem like serious relationship material and profess a desire to meet a guy just like me. I send thoughtful, profile-derived messages like the ones that this site and these commenters have recommended. I always end with a question that the person ought to be interested in answering. Because I have decided to make a serious effort at this, I’ve sent over 100 such messages in just a few weeks. How can I manage such a large number of conversations? Quite easily, in fact.

    Because I haven’t gotten a single response.

    I’ve changed the style of my profile twice. Long and serious. Funny. Short and sweet. Doesn’t matter. Women view my profile after I message them, but they never reply.

    There’s a simple, obvious conclusion here, and it matches my previous experience. Women are liars. They say they want all these things, and they’re completely full of it. What they want is to complain, and actually engaging with someone like me would make it a lot harder to do that, as my previous girlfriends can attest (I’ve never had a breakup that was anything other than “this has been great, you’re wonderful, but we’re just not right for each other” followed by genuinely continuing on as close friends). Seriously, I’m close friends with every ex-girlfriend I have. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about about the fact that the ones that dumped me clearly did it over looks and refuse to admit it, but we just don’t talk about it anymore.

    Ok, this has become a long rant, but the point remains: all of this talk about profile content and email technique and all the rest are complete crap. There is only one thing that matters in online dating, and that’s how pretty your face is. That’s all. Women like to rant and rave about how men only care about looks, but having read a ton of other people’s accounts and now seen it for myself, I can confirm that the women of online dating are MUCH, MUCH WORSE THAN THE MEN in this area. There are plenty of mediocre-looking women that I would at least like to go for drinks with based on their profile content, but not a one who will return the favor. Spin it any way you want, ladies, but at the end of the day, we’re all single and unhappy, and it’s YOUR fault.

    If you don’t like hearing that, then prove me wrong!

    1. 50.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re obviously a smart guy, which is why I’m surprised the more obvious conclusion didn’t occur to you.

      Your conclusion as to why you went 0 for 100 on a dating site? “Women are liars.”

      My conclusion: you were shooting out of your league.

      I know, that’s hard to take, but it’s Occam’s Razor – the most obvious answer is the one that’s most likely to be true.

      If a woman told you that she went on 30 first dates and never got a second date, would your conclusion be that “men are liars”? Probably not. Apply the same logic to yourself and the result is inescapable: you’re selling a product that nobody’s buying. You can blame the buyers if you want. Objective people will look at the product, the marketing, the message, and the pricing.

      You don’t say how old you are, but how about you do this:

      Buy Finding the One Online. It’s a unisex product. Go to e-Cyrano and let a professional handle your profile.

      Then, when you’re done, write 10 emails to 10 different mediocre looking women your own age. I’ll bet you get 3 responses.

      It’s not women’s job to prove you wrong. It’s your job to do something different/better to get different results. 20% of all marriages start online. Evidently SOMEONE has figured out how to make this work for him.

      1. 50.1.1

        I wish it were that easy, but I already addressed your answer in my original post.

        I moved down. The women I message were always my age, and now I’ve ventured increasingly into overweight and unattractive territory. They have less education, less of a career, and less experience/success at the things they claim are most important to them. I am out of THEIR league in a number of areas, with looks being the one where we might be more even. Again, these women are bordering on LESS attractive looking than the ones I get dates with in real-world encounters.


        By even suggesting that being “out of my league” could be the issue, you’ve admitted that my final conclusion is correct: an attractive profile picture is WAY more important than profile and message content. I cannot “do something different” in that area. Of course, you and every other person who sells advice for a living have to be adamant that your advice can actually make a difference, so you can’t acknowledge this, but plenty of guys out there know what I’m talking about.

        1. Tom

          J.D. brother, I feel your pain, but I speak from personal experience when I say your theory is inaccurate. Firstoff, the fact that women are bothering to look at your profile should tell you that your looks aren’t the problem. I’m a tall, good-looking guy and they do the same to me. I get a response maybe 2-5% of the time, but I’ve been on OKCupid and POF for well over a year and  zero dates. Don’t even bother with Plenty of Phish; it’s a lost cause.

          Evan may have shed some light on this without even meaning to. If you can pay someone to write a better dating profile than Julie Garwood and RSD Todd combined, what chance do us ordinary guys stand? I think the trick is less about conveying integrity and good character and more about making them go “aww!” in all the right places.

          Ockham’s razor would actually suggest a more Machiavellian solution: that a lot of these women already met someone and kept their profile up because the attention gives them a huge ego boost. It reminds them that they still have other options if their current bf/hubby doesn’t pan out. I think older women, especially, need that comfort to give them the illusion that they’re still beautiful, especially if their man isn’t giving them the reinforcement they need.

          As one final piece of advice, if you haven’t already, showcase your six pack, dude! At this point, you have nothing to lose? If that doesn’t work, terminate your profile and meet women the old fashioned way.

  21. 51

    email very nice

  22. 52
    Alhassan Kanu

    I Do

  23. 53

    Just got into online dating again after almost 50 years.  I had a great marriage with a wonder woman and beautiful person.  She recently passed away.  What I want in a relationship is honesty and really the bottom line to it all is the couple is supposed to have fun.  No one is perfect and sometimes people will say the wrong thing.   I know there are some bad matches and some jerks so both people need to be a little  critical of each other.  They should not throw the other one under the buss  just because they said something that was not perfect.  As in marriage you have to give it a chance and sometimes a lot of chances.  That’s how it works.  You don’t give up on each other.   The whole thing is based on giving but if it comes to one partner watching the other to see who is giving more then that relationship is already in deep trouble.  A lifetime with another person is supposed to be fun.  Not critical of how much he does or how much she does.  Honesty is also key.  there is no room for a third person.  That will end in disaster.  In a great marriage there is no watching the other person.  You are together and one and you enjoy each other..  No resentment of bitterness.   Anything like that will destroy the marriage.   The big problem in dating people who had other relationships is that there already is bitterness hiding down deep inside so one wrong move and that relationship is already on the rocks.  There is no tolerance for anything because people were hurt before.  A lot of woman with  huge clip’s on their shoulders are dating only because of their sexual needs.  The difference is that they are wearing the biggest chips and love it when they make men compete for them.  Some really would like to burn us all but are in it only to quench their sexual desires.   They will try and destroy any man any way they could at his first wrong move.   Men be careful if the bitterness comes out in little things.

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