What’s a Normal Response Rate for Men?

Dear Evan,

I think you’re totally right that online dating is much better than the alternatives, even if it’s not perfect, but your reply begged the question.

The reader raised specific and common problems that people have with online dating, and you probably have better insight than anyone how to deal with them. For instance:

1. What’s a normal response rate? Should a guy who gets 5% response rate try to improve something, or should he feel like that’s about average?

2. If a woman gets a flood of emails on a dating site, how can she weed through them quickly and fairly?

I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog.



A normal response rate, according to a study performed at MIT, is around 20%. However, there are a lot of variables that would render that study moot. First of all, the saturation of online dating; undoubtedly, it’s more competitive today than when the study was commissioned in 2004. And just as it is harder to get into an Ivy League school than it was 20 years ago, it’s a tall order to get an email back from a person who has hundreds of other options.

In fact, that college analogy is pretty much the basis of my online dating coaching business. I remember growing up in an upper middle class area of New York, going to a high school where we knew each others’ GPA’s down to the fourth decimal place. We all took Kaplan SAT courses and hired college counselors to help us prepare our applications. (Come to think of it, they charge a LOT more than I do!)

The moral of the story is this: we can’t change the competitive nature of things; all we can do is elevate ourselves above the competition. Which is why SAT courses, teacher recommendations, long essays, short essays, and interviews are taken very seriously in the college application business. In the online dating world, there aren’t as many differentiators, so it’s important to get them right:

Photos – LookBetterOnline .
Essays – e-Cyrano
Dating technique – Assistance available at EvanMarcKatz.com

If a man or a woman does all of the above, he can literally TRIPLE his response rate from the aforementioned 5%. Needless to say, this all applies to women as well.


P.S. I’m going to respond to Janet’s second question next week. It’s a juicy question that deserves a juicy answer.

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  1. 1

    The online dating study is interesting reading. A bit related to my research (teen sex, lying), so good to know about.



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