Online Dating Email Etiquette

Posted by in dating after divorce, online dating after 40, single women over 40 | 0 comments

Are you confused about emailing on online dating sites? I don’t blame you. There is a lot to be confused about. How do you know which emails to respond to? Should a woman initiate correspondence? If so, what is the best thing to write in order to get a response? How quickly should you respond to a man’s email? Yes, it can be very hard to figure out the ‘right’ way to email. This topic is too big for one blog post, so today, I’m going to focus on one question: How do you know who to write back? In order to determine who to write back, it helps to understand what type of guy is emailing you. I’ve broken it down to four basic types. I call them E-Males. (Heh heh.)

The Four ‘E-MALE’ Archetypes

1) Mass E-MALE Mark. This is the guy who writes a generic email to scores of women, hoping that one or two might not reject them. They cut and paste the same email to all. It can be looooong (as in a poetic novella, declaring his every-lasting love for a woman just like YOU!) or really short, like “Hi, it’s me, Mark. You seem great. Can I call you?” My advice? This guy didn’t take the time to write anything personal, so you don’t owe him a response. Ignore Mass E-MALE Mark. 

2) Short and not so sweet E-MALE Sam. This guy may  address one or two points from your profile, so at least he seems to have read your essay. He gets two points! But then he concludes with an insult. Here’s an example: “I really liked your profile…up until I saw your political affiliation. What’s up with that?” Or this one, which started with a negative, “Only one thing poses a problem. Our age difference is significant. Nevertheless, if quality rules in your mind, the possibilities are substantial.” This guy is sabotaging the relationship by pointing out an age difference that might not even matter to you. Ignore Short and not so sweet E-Male Sam.

3) Long impersonal E-MALE Larry. These guys write a version of their profile essay in an email to you. It’s all about them. It’s generic, like Mark above. But these guys have chosen to write their essay in the body of an email instead of where it belongs…in their ‘about me’ section. Ignore Long impersonal E-Male Larry.

4) Just right EMALE Jason. Ah, the guy who writes a thoughtful email, highlighting some key points from your essay that resonated for him. He’s flirty. If he’s funny, that’s a huge bonus. And he ends with a question, because he wants to get to know you better. Yay, you hit the jackpot. This is a guy with potential. Write him back!

I advise my clients to write thoughtful, short, preferably light and humorous emails to the guys they’re interested in. Mirror what he wrote. Keep it at about the same length as his email.

And it’s perfectly fine for you to initiate contact with someone you’re interested in. Guys are flattered by your emails. But keep it light. You don’t know him. You were impressed by one or two character traits. Tell him what you liked about his essay and why it stood out for you. Express an interest in hearing back from him.

Asking a question at the end is a great way to get a response.

I am not only a dating coach, I am actively dating online. I have made all the mistakes so you don’t have to!

Here’s an example of what happened when I wrote back to a guy who fit the E-Male archetype of Short and not so sweet Sam.

Sam: Like your sincere, interesting & very thoughtful Profile ….& Pic’s too!
I’d enjoy hearing from you if there is interest & curiosity. 
Me: Thanks for your flattering words.
I viewed your profile and don’t believe we are a good match.
Best of luck to you.
Sam: May I ask why you felt compelled to send an unnecessary & annoying email response when I very clearly stated that I’d enjoy hearing from you if there was interest & curiosity. Do you have problems with reading comprehension or did you incur a recent head injury, God forbid? Woman like you can be very annoying, confusing & obnoxious.

I suggest you think about the appropriate or even necessity of responding by email when sending something that is not particularly pleasant or complimentary. As there are only 5,000 Plus other woman on this site, I hope I will be capable of surviving without you. 


Okay, in all fairness, this ‘Sam’ was exceptionally rude (and not a great writer). I immediately blocked him from being able to contact me, and I reported him for harassment to the dating site.

And yet, ‘Sam’ taught me an important lesson. If a guy says ‘contact me if you’re interested’, you should do just that. I certainly didn’t get Brownie points for trying to do what I thought was the ‘right’ thing.

I hope this helps give you a little more clarity about decoding online dating correspondence.

Best of luck to those of you who are actively dating online. Good things come to those who DO, so keep on doing and love will come to you.





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