Don’t Sweat Your Response Rate

In light of the emotionally – charged comments you’ve offered regarding your own personal online dating experiences, I notice a consistent sore spot is the disappointing dearth of responses to your attempts at contacting prospective dates. I observe that some have arrived at the mistaken impression that men suffer more ignored emails than women.

Let me assure you that this is in fact not the case. I, a woman of good intellect, better looks, even better sense of humor and average height (hey, nobody’s perfect!), have sent out many an unanswered email, and I will admit that early on in the online dating game, a few empty inboxes after such judicious searching induced some disappointment.

But if you are becoming, as one of you guys wrote, “too emotionally damaged after years of rejection,” it’s time to pack up the profile because it’s not personal.

Whether you’re dating in the real world or online, your self-confidence should be coming from within yourself and not from the first guy or girl who returns your interest. That’s why it’s called self-confidence and not confidence-obtained-by-securing-the-interest-of-an-attractive-member-of-the-opposite-sex. If you find yourself becoming discouraged, embittered toward the opposite sex, or “too emotionally damaged after years of rejection,” I want you to repeat this mantra:

“I’m just not his/her type. Now I don’t have to waste my time getting to know somebody with whom I wouldn’t have been a good fit.”

And the best part about the above quotation is that it’s not self-help phooey; it’s the truth. Turn the tables a moment and think back on those emails you’ve sent into internet space. Have you emailed every single one of the thousands of search results that have popped up after you typed in your search criteria? (If so, I’m both awed and disturbed by your persistence. 🙂 )

Probably not. You’ve instead likely filtered through the results and sent emails only to those who fit into your idea of a good match. Was there something wrong with the rest of them? Again, probably not. But you were looking for something different; you were looking for somebody who is your type.

You likely saw many decent, attractive people but passed over them because something didn’t fit. Perhaps they’re a smoker and you don’t smoke. Perhaps they have a significantly lower or higher education level than you. Perhaps what they wrote in their profile didn’t capture your interest. Perhaps they left a lot of information blank. Perhaps (and this is really okay to admit) they were attractive but not somebody to whom you would be attracted to.

And thank goodness for that, because if everybody in the world was attracted to everybody else in the world, we would be in serious danger of an overabundance of overlapping love triangles. (And pentagons and heptagons and other polygons whose names I don’t know.) The bottom line is this: Not every person who emails you, nor who you see in search results, piques your interest. It’s not personal, it’s simply your personal preference.

Likewise, a person who doesn’t return your interest isn’t automatically a bad person, a cruel person, an unworthy person, or a money-hungry gold-digger who has eyes only for the profile in the highest income bracket. You can tell yourself as much, I guess, if it makes you feel better. But I think in the long run if you can acknowledge it was a human being who simply wasn’t interested because you’re not their type, and who – I guarantee you – has had his or her own share of unanswered emails, you can move forward in the online dating process with less baggage.

Because we’re all in this together. Let’s enjoy it a little bit.


  1. Donald, you make a great point. I can only speak to my experience, but when I would respond with “No thanks,” I would frequently get responses such as, “Why?” “Just one date?” “I really think you’d like me,” etc. So I stopped sending the “No thanks,” because it invited more correspondence from somebody I wasn’t interested in corresponding with to begin with! Hopefully that helps clarify the “lack of response” perspective. However, if you’re responding with “no thanks” and the other party gets your point, then by all means, go the traditional response route, which is the most courteous! 🙂

  2. Are we making excuses for not responding? It’s not a matter of interest in the other party, it’s a matter of curtisy. Case in point is one lady who did return my initial response. She asked for my number and now 2 weeks later still no response. Is it such a horrible request for her to follow through on her actions?
    How long does a email take to send? In fact a site such as Match has a no thank you link. If you’re not interested it’s fine, but you’ve got to let the other party know something.

  3. Absolutely agree. You cannot take lack of response personally!

    I wrote a blog post about this, too!

    I’ve also found sometimes a second email (that doesn’t sound hurt or rejected or needy) can get the response. Just last week I sent a first short email to a really cute guy on match. Then I was about to close my subscription, but before I did, I sent him another email telling him I was ending my subscription, but that I hoped he might look me up on Facebook. He responded right away and apologized for not responding initially and asked me if he could take me out for a drink to make up for it!

    The one point I’d disagree with you on is that I do think women tend to be less responsive than men on most sites and I think that’s because women get more email on most sites. (Two reasons might be that often there are more men than women on some of the sites and traditionally it’s the man who does the pursuing.) If you look on OKCupid, it rates people on how responsive they are and most men are very responsive, whereas most women are not…

    But whether you’re a man or a woman, I think if you’ve been online dating for any length of time, you start to realize that a lack of response is common-place and really no reflection on you personally.

    Thanks for the post!

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