Online Dating Email Etiquette
When I began dating online after my divorce, I hadn’t dated in 25 years, and online dating was new and scary. I thought it was for desperate losers. If you’re dating online after a few decades hiatus, you can probably feel my pain. But, I quickly realized that if I relied on setups, I’d have about two dates a year (if I was lucky), so I bit the bullet and joined an online dating site. I had been a free member for a few weeks, window shopping to make sure I liked who was on the site before jumping in. I held my breath, entered my credit card info, hit “join”, and got to work tackling the 25 emails in my inbox. Yikes! Which ones do I answer? Should I be polite and answer all the emails or only the real ones (not the pre-scripted icebreakers or canned flirts or the two-word IMs I missed). And how truthful should I be in my responses? Following is my journey towards figuring out online dating email etiquette.
Online Dating Email Etiquette
1. Thoughtful emails. I answered the more thoughtful emails first. These men took the time and effort to write me, and I felt they deserved a response. If he piqued my interest, I’d tell him why. Then I’d leave him with an open-ended question. Choose something in his profile, such as travel, and ask him his favorite trip and why.
2. Generic emails. But what about the poorly written and or generic emails? You know the emails that have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them?
I am a kind educated athletic guy who adores kids and treats that special woman well. I love to play tennis, chess and table tennis. I work in one of the best high schools in NJ. Hope to hear from you.
Um, no reply for generic blah man.
3. Flirts and icebreakers. These feel like bad one-liners that a guy might use at a sleazy bar. Lines such as “Hello, Angel. I love your smile. How is it that you haven’t been snatched up yet?” Barf. Delete. But do keep an open mind. Every once in a while, a cute guy with a great profile sends a flirt. So, check out the profile before deleting and writing him off as lazy or passive.
4. Nice email, not a match. So what about the guys who wrote a nice enough email, but I felt we were not a good match? Maybe his photos were unattractive, sleazy, strange, or scary, or there were lots of typos in his profile essay, or he didn’t meet my five requirements for my ideal match. Here’s an example:
This is “John”. I read your bio and profile and my heart skipped a beat! You are someone I can really relate to on an emotional, intellectual and intimate level. Life is too short to waste on dead end relationships. Please check out my bio, profile and photo asap. If you’d like to meet your potential soulmate and love of your life, shoot me an email. I am ready for a meaningful relationship with the sweet, strong, spicy woman of my dreams!
He didn’t connect to anything specific in my profile. Saying he relates on an “an emotional, intellectual and intimate level” doesn’t tell me anything. But he was so excited about the possibility of me being “the sweet, strong, spicy woman of his dreams” I felt compelled to reply. I thanked him for writing me, said that he seemed like a nice guy but I didn’t feel we were a good romantic match. I wished him good luck in his search.
I hope that helps you make sense of your online dating inbox. Don’t feel compelled to answer every email. Answer the ones that touched you in some way. Keep your response light and fun. Always ask a question at the end if you hope for a response.
And don’t just wait for men to email you first. Take control of your love life and search for men who are a good match. Initiate emails to two potential matches every day until you find a man you want to date. It’s a numbers game, but you’ll have much better results if you make sense of online dating email etiquette.