How To Get a Response When Online Dating

Alright, gentleman…this one’s for you. Words of wisdom from the fabulous single girlie!

Greetings, We Love Date-ians! It’s singlegirlie here, it’s my first post here on this lovely site and I’m tickled hot pink.

I asked my Twitter followers what topics they’d like to read about on an online dating site’s blog, and one jovial chap replied, “How about how to get a fuckin’ response?”

I thought such a spirited request deserved some recognition, and thus the topic of this post was born. (I modified the F-word in the title, so as not to get you fired should your boss walk by. See? I got your back.)

As you may already know, girls on online dating sites receive far more messages than their male counterparts. So sometimes you’re just not going to get a reply, and that’s the deal. Maybe you’re not her type, maybe she’s met someone, maybe she took some really bad acid and is now only attracted to horses. No need to be bitter, just move on.

But, while it is important to remember that not everyone will respond and there is no such thing as a guaranteed response online dating, I can offer some tips to give you an edge over the poor sap who is at this moment hitting “refresh” on his inbox again instead of doing something productive like reading this helpful blog.

Your Message Matters

Most people understand how important first impressions are, so I’m always puzzled at the number of messages I receive that stimulate my gag reflex.

There are three types of e-mails that women see more often than not. These make me want to just throw in the towel and stop shaving my legs permanently.

1. The Quickie.
The quickie generally consists of less than three words. Examples include:

a) Hey, wut up?
b) Hi (insert generic smiley face/wink)
c) You’re pretty.

Messages like these a) give me nothing to respond to and b) make me think you are a dumb git with nothing to say. Please, write at least three sentences so that we know you are literate.

2. The Almanac.
While the three-word message is far more common, every now and then someone takes the opposite route and writes a master’s thesis. In this case, I may not think you stupid, but an overzealous nut with too much time on his hands. I don’t need a full bio. Keep it to one short paragraph — more than three words, less than the full Harry Potter series.

3. The Copy & Paste.
Some men type out a couple generic paragraphs describing who they are, then copy and paste it into every message they send. I can spot these a mile away, and I envision you sending it to 30 women a day. These are so devoid of charm you sound like a robot. And I imagine robot penises to be uncomfortable, so I delete.

Alright, bitch, what should I write?

I’m so glad you asked! Picture this: you’re browsing through profiles when you come across the girl of your dreams. Hopefully you’ve looked beyond her rack and actually read her profile. This is a tip, in fact: read her profile. This will give you some guidance when crafting a message to her. Bring up something she wrote in her profile that piqued your interest. Example:

“Hi there. Wanted to pop by and say hello. I see you like camping. Have you ever been to Lake Makahooky? It’s really beautiful. I went last year and actually spotted a Moose! What are some other great spots you’ve visited?”

This works because a) you’re letting her know you looked at more than her photos, b) you asked a couple questions, which gives her something to reply to, and c) you are talking about a subject you know she likes.

It’s simple if you think about it. It just takes a small amount of effort, and isn’t it worth it for the girl of your dreams? Or, as my follower put it, a fuckin’ response?

However, you’re not done yet. Even more important than your message is your profile. But I’m over my word count, so if you want to know what a good online dating profile looks like, mosey on over to my blog and read the post I wrote about it here.

Questions? Write ‘em down in the comments and I’ll do my best to reply. See? You can get a girl to respond on an online dating site. Cheerio!

20 responses to “How To Get a Response When Online Dating”

  1. Maria Avatar

    I have another suggestion for the men. If you’re looking for something serious or for the girl next door, please for the love of God do NOT put shirtless pictures of yourself in front of the mirror on your dating profile. It’s just downright tacky. Also, I totally agree with Liz on the quickie email. I would never respond to those because it makes me think you’re too lazy to come up with anything original on your own. Hope this helps.

    1. Liz Avatar

      Maria, haha this is SO true…those shirtless mirror shots belong on Myspace circa 2001!

  2. singlegirlie Avatar

    Haha, great point, Maria. I almost never respond to guys with pics like this. Guys, WHY??? All cameras have a timer now, so use it! Or better yet, have a friend take a photo of you! And smile!

  3. Chris Avatar

    These are great points, but even if you follow them to the letter, men might STILL get few responses. For 2011, I actually tracked my numbers (because I love trends).

    So I wrote 133 brief but interesting messages between two websites, all personalized. Of those 133 emails, 24 girls replied, and I ended actually meeting 5 of them. So basically 1 out of 5 would respond, and the chance of meeting one of them was about 4% (per message).

    I wonder if the converse for girls rings true (you have to *read* 133 emails to end meeting 5 guys).

  4. singlegirlie Avatar

    Hey Chris – yep, you are right. There is no magic formula that will guarantee you a response or a date, even though there are tons of people trying to sell books convincing you otherwise (hint: they’re trying to make money).

    As I said, women get far more responses than men. More than she knows what to do with sometimes. It can be frustrating. I’d say your ratio of 133:5 is about right for women, too.

    And of course, she has to like your profile. And there’s no magic formula for that, because guess what? Not all women like the same thing.

    I realize this all makes online dating sound pretty grim. But it *can* work. I dated online for five years with NO luck, and I hated it — until I met my current boyfriend, and we’ve been together a year and a half. I know other people who meet someone right away. There’s really no telling. The next girl you e-mail could be the one! Or she might not be. So you really just have to take a leap of faith.

    Nevertheless, I still think there are tactics that can give you an edge – like the ways I mention above, and having a great profile (see my post on that, too). At least if you want to meet someone intelligent.

    Good luck!

  5. SingleDadsARESexy Avatar

    I’m curious about the second email. I have made good friends with women who are online dating. I hear they get 50 emails a day. I follow what you say about the email and I feel pretty lucky with the number of responses I get. Every once in a while, there is a profile I can’t get out of my head. A few weeks later, I’ll send another email just in case my first one got lost in the sea of emails. Any thoughts on a well constructed 2nd email? Have you ever had a time where you were glad a man emailed you again?

    1. Liz Avatar

      This is such a good question!
      Personally, if it’s done respectfully, I really appreciate when a guy writes a second email, because like you said it really is easy to get lost in the shuffle. It can be a bit overwhelming. I say “respectfully” because some of the second emails I’ve received have been a bit aggressive. “Do you think you’re too cool to write back?” etc…and while the guy may have been joking, it just didn’t translate well.

      Sometimes, I’ve read an email from a guy and really liked it….and then got distracted by something and forgot to write back, so I WISH he would send a second email! I say, why not…I mean, if you can’t get her profile out of her head, go for it.
      I’ll have to get single girlie over here for her opinion! xx

  6. singlegirlie Avatar

    You know, I actually wanted to address this in my post but if I did it would’ve been way too long, so I left it out. So, thanks for asking!

    In the online dating world, when someone doesn’t respond it generally means “I’m not interested.” And that’s usually the case. But it’s true that technology is not 100% fool-proof and it’s also true that maybe it got lost in the shuffle.

    So I think there’s no real harm in sending a polite second e-mail a few weeks later. The worst that can happen is she doesn’t respond again. She might get a little annoyed (or might not), but who cares? If so, you won’t ever see her, so it doesn’t matter. And like Liz said, don’t make it aggressive, because this happens and it’s very offensive. Nobody is obligated to respond.

    As far as what to write? Well, you can mention that you e-mailed a few weeks back but thought you’d try again in case your e-mail got lost in the shuffle. Try to insert some humor and make her laugh, if possible. But be careful about sarcasm, because it doesn’t translate in plain text.

    I loved Billy Crystal’s message in When Harry Met Sally:
    “The fact that you’re not answering leads me to believe you’re either (a) not at home, (b) home but don’t want to talk to me, or (c) home, desperately want to talk to me, but trapped under something heavy. If it’s either (a) or (c), please call me back.”

    (But don’t plagiarize, someone might get the reference) =)

    I’m not sure if girls get 50 e-mails a day. Maybe when they first sign up, but it tapers off a little after that. Still, we do receive a LOT.

    Anyhoo, nothing ventured nothing gained, right? Good luck, single daddy!

  7. Michael Allen Avatar

    I was talking with a small group of singles about this very topic. Its hard to stand out now, since POF took away the ability to construct a “subject” line, and never had it.

    My advice is similar to you’re, but they need to remember several key points.


    I’ve worked with a few guys to get better profile pictures up, and craft their profile description so they don’t read like morons. We tracked responses and there was a noticeable difference.

  8. James Avatar

    I just say something ridiculously random or slightly funny and it seems to work. The problem is the second message, and even after a few messages I’ve never got to the point where it seems appropriate to ask the girl to GO somewhere (always seems to be a conversation killer). It’s hard to follow up a random message and turn it into a good conversation without looking like a nutcase, but it gets your foot in the door.

    I imagine an attractive girl gets so many cliché messages. You have to make yourself stand out. Also I only send messages to people who are online/ active otherwise it will be lost in the post, then you risk looking a bit desperate by sending another when she is online!

  9. Graham Avatar

    Ok so my girlfriends say nice profile. I write a nce crafted response and nothing. For a man the amount of time invested just doesnt give the pay backs. I am am considering one of the paid sites but will it be any different!

    1. elizabeth Avatar

      Hey Graham,
      Since you have tried free sites, paying might be worth it. You will have better options and the ability to meet people faster! Have you tried our sites? Let me know what you think! xo

  10. bolaji Avatar
  11. Owl at Owl&Panda Avatar

    It’s so true. Both me and Panda are on dating sites and we religiously only respond to messages that at least reference our profile.

    Same as an “in person” approach – it has to be personal, and you have to show her you are actually interested in her and getting to know her better.

    The boy I’m dating started with a simple comment on my music selections and then asking if I got to see much live music. Instant conversation starter that was 2 long messages daily within a week or so! 😀

  12. Yan Avatar

    Great pointers!
    I usually don’t have any problems with the first couple of messages, they usually reply but what I don’t like is when conversations turn into a one-way street.
    Is it okay if I’m the only one asking the questions?
    Sometimes it sounds like I’m interrogating her…
    How can I tell if she’s not interested but she still replies to the messages?

  13. njgal Avatar

    Pretty funny post – so true for either a male or female. In my case I am a 59 yr old women that has reasonably good looks and is not overweight and lives an active lifestyle. Your title speaks to me because I have the same problem – I feel invisible to men because the men my age are looking for a) college co-ed B) someone that is 15 yrs their junior C) if they are interested they are looking for a three some partner.

    Any tips for writing back to men that are not older than 62 to get them to respond to me?

  14. Frank Avatar

    I have found that the quicky response is the norm from women. Most do not respond, and the ones that respond to my well thought out introduction respond in a single sentence. The sentence is usually, “Hi, Frank, how are you? In my introduction, I told them how I was. I asked her to tell me about herself. She responded back and misspell my name as “fFrank” and then included one sentence and that sentence was an instruction to read her profile. As if I would contact her without reading her profile. Her profile stated that she not the type to talk a lot about herself. When I get a single line response, I lose interest. The typos tells me that they are not serious about dating. The one sentence responses tell me that they are lazy and are not willing to put work into a relationship. Or they do not value the chance to meet a special person and lose the opportunity. Is it their illusion that there are an infinite number of men available for them online and they are waiting for the time when they are sucked into the computer terminal and whisked away to fantasy land by Prince Charming? A relationship takes work. When I see someone does not want to work at the outset, it will only get worse as time goes on. I wonder if anyone ever meets in person from contact online? I can’t ever imagine it happening to me.

  15. Billy Avatar

    After doing the right thing many times without success (reading her profile/novel and writing a well thought out cleaver email), we figure it’s a meat market. It’s works better to send a quickie to 500 women – copy paste. The ones that find us attractive and like our profile will respond. The others would not have responded anyway.

    And who says women like different things? Only women do. We men know, every woman, say 98.97% love tall men. And most judge a man’s look the same way. It’s only natural. Accept that you are normal and not so unique after all

  16. Billy Avatar

    After doing the right thing many times without success (reading her profile/novel and writing a well thought out clever email), we figure it’s a meat market. It’s works better to send a quickie to 500 women – copy paste. The ones that find us attractive and like our profile will respond. The others would not have responded anyway.

    And who says women like different things? Only women do. We men know, every woman, say 98.97%, love tall men. And most judge a man’s look the same way. It’s only natural. Accept that you are normal and not so unique after all

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