There's a lot of mixed messaging when it comes to dating advice. Readers can search the Internet and find two pieces of guidance that directly contradict each other.
The problem is that it's nearly impossible for a single person in the modern dating world to form a coherent theory. That's a big part of my job - to make sense of this contradictory advice and find the the through-line that ties together the best dating advice: is it effective or ineffective? Most people - and experts - offer emotional choices, based on how they would do things or how they would like to see things done. I try very hard to give advice that actually works, regardless of my feelings. If it works, I feel good about passing it along to you.
So, when there's so much information out there that tells women to be feminine and receptive, when there are entire books which teach women to let men do the courting, when the core piece of my advice in "Why He Disappeared" is to "Do nothing," how can anyone, with a straight face, claim that it's smart for women to make the first move online? Doesn't this contradict EVERYTHING?
With an interested guy, you don't need to prop up the relationship yourself.
No. No, it doesn't. And that's really frustrating for folks like me who understand that different approaches work in different situations. For example, a guy can't go up and make an aggressive first move after 10 at Starbucks; but if he's on a third date with you and he hasn't gone in for a kiss yet, he should probably get with the program.
So it is no contradiction to tell women that yes, you should let a man court you - call, plan, pay, and otherwise respond enthusiastically to his calls, emails and texts at the beginning... and ALSO be the first person to initiate contact online. Here's the difference:
When you write to him first online, you're making an introduction. It's the equivalent of a guy saying something funny to you at the bar. You're not complimenting him. You're not asking him out. You're not telling him how much you have in common. You're literally writing a short, funny paragraph designed to break the ice. Now, the ball is in his court. From here on in, you don't have to do anything except mirror his efforts. This is to prevent you from chasing him down, overfunctioning and being perceived as weak and needy. With an interested guy, you don't need to prop up the relationship yourself.
But wait - by that logic, aren't I saying that if a guy were interested, he would automatically write to you? NO! That's the entire point. There were women on my JDate favorites list for TEN YEARS that I never wrote to. Why? Because I was writing to other women, and other women were writing to me. So did I find them attractive? Yes. Would I have responded if they wrote to me first? Yes. Did I ever meet them? No. There was always something else more pressing - or someone else more aggressive or entertaining.
If you're dissatisfied with the quantity or quality of men in your inbox, the answer is simple: take control of your own love life.
So, please do yourself the favor of reading this latest OkCupid study, which validates everything I've said for 13 years. Just because you get emails from guys does not mean that they are the men that you want. If you're dissatisfied with the quantity or quality of men in your inbox, the answer is simple: take control of your own love life. Write a great profile. Write a cute email to one new guy a day that YOU choose. While you may only get 30% of men to write back, they will at least be men that you desire, as opposed to passively waiting for the right men to write to you.
Don't know where to begin? Don't know what to write in a profile or an email that makes guys want to write back?
Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.