Online Dating Sucks: Handling the Frustration

Can you talk about the struggles you had with online dating? I’m getting frustrated. I’ve sent several messages (close to 20) and have received no responses. I’m not naive, I know it could just be they are not into me. And that’s fine, I understand that. But I take the time to read profiles and call out/ask questions about their photos or subjects in their profile. I’m not sure what to do differently to stand out and just get a response, start a conversation. Thanks!

Here are some general tips:

1. Get your profile cemented in. Change the details weekly.

The best thing you can do for your profile is make sure it represents the best version of you. That doesn’t mean lie. Do not lie, or misrepresent. Just avoid talking about doom, your inevitable betrayal, and how much you hate dating. Keep the mood neutral or uplifting. No one wants to be bummed out before they even start dating. Tweak little details every week. Make sure you have a profile photo of your face straight on, a photo of you and a hobby of yours, a full body shot, and maybe one more. Make sure they are all within a year of today. Rotate you profile picture every couple weeks – it will entice new clicks. Also visit r/okcupid on reddit. You can have other users help you improve your profile or tell you what fits or doesn’t fit.

2. Write more messages. Fine tune your style.

I know you said that you read profiles, but I’m going to repeat this again. Read their profiles. Look for tone. See if they are asking for anything particular in their message. Example: a person who likes sushi and seems adventurous, snarky or short tone.

“I loved your profile – snarky much? Sushi is my favorite too. Have you been to the new place on grand? I’m trying to be more adventurous and try some of those plates with the tentacles… up for an adventure? I have this feeling we’d be good at killing an hour or two.”

Don’t message people you don’t seem to have anything in common with. Pay attention to match percentages. Try to message people who are looking to do the same kind of dating you are.

3. Expect that most people will not write back. 

They just won’t. Chances are you’re not what they’re looking for. It seems much more likely that someone is not right for you, than they are right for you. Don’t take that part personally. If they don’t write you back, their loss. (Unless you’re a wanker, but you seem nice.)

Occasionally you’ll find someone that you just don’t want to give up on. I believe in the rule of one followup message. One. Not four. Not five. Not a stream of sixteen. (Happens.)

In this message you may be tempted to say:

1. What didn’t you like about my message?

2. Did you even get my message?

3. Why didn’t you respond to me?

4. A reiteration of that same message you already sent.

I think it is better to make the assumption that they did get your message. They haven’t responded because they aren’t interested or they haven’t had time. If this is the case, none of those messages are going to make a difference. They’re going to further clutter their inbox.

Instead, take your one shot second message to provide something new that your first message lacked. I don’t know what that is. Figure that part out yourself.

4. Encourage people to write back to you by giving reason.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that you’re online dating because you suck at life and are going to be alone forever. You’re online dating because you have thousands of options and you’re incredibly picky. I don’t care if that’s not your truth. Put it on like a suit and tie.

5. Be you.

I reiterate from the first point. And basically every other point. Be the best version of you, but make sure that is you. The last thing you want is to date someone who has a misconception of who you are. Not only that, but being yourself attracts people. You are the only person that is you, so being you is the best way to stand out.

My Issues with Online Dating

The struggles I had with online dating were primarily focused on me simply being way too picky. I don’t know your gender identity, but male-identified folks tend to have a tougher time with the online dating. Supply and demand, perhaps. My rule for online dating was I would never meet someone I didn’t actually think I might want to date. The problem with this is that 1) People look different in person and 2) Getting to know someone in person is way different than online. If I could do it over again, I would be slightly more adventurous. I would also send more message. Twenty is a good start, by why not go crazy? If there are that many people out there that look like potential matches, keep going until you make a date!

There were times I messaged people and they didn’t respond. Perhaps ironically, they were usually women. I never think much about those people. I think more about the ones that did respond.

It can be a shitty game. But try not to look at it that way. Consider this as an opportunity to get out there and meet new people you wouldn’t have had the chance to meet before. Even if that does mean you send 50 messages for every one date.

And don’t forget to do other kinds of dating on conjunction. Go to meet ups, meet friends of friends, and be social in all the ways you’re comfortable being social. Dating has a rep of being frustrating and difficult. For some, it’s long and tedious. Try to think of those parts as the foundation for all of the fun and exciting possibilities that there are out there.

Optimist out.

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit by hitting ask advice at the top and I’ll answer it on my blog.

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Beginners Guide to OkCupid

Let’s rip the bandaid off. Online dating sucks for men. The response I get from most men gives me this impression: You sign up, you wait, you start to message, nothing happens. A sea of women with which you may find your great love or next one night stand, but you can’t get a response. Fact is, women are pelted with messages from dudes every day. (Rip #2: Online dating sucks if you’re a woman, too.)

Here are some tips that may be helpful in upping your odds of a response:

1. See when the person signed on last

If they haven’t signed on in three months it’s possible they’re not checking the site very often. It’s also possible you’re messaging someone who already paired off.

2. Check your match percentage

While not the only predictor of success, you’re probably going to have better luck with a 90% match than a 10% match. Plan accordingly.

3. Check what questions they’ve answered

After you check the match percentage, check the number of questions they’ve answered. If they’ve only answered five questions, that might put a huge gap in what the site is rating them by. You should also check questions that are important to you. Pro-choice man/woman a must? That’s a question. See if it’s answered.

4. Send out lots of messages, lots of them!

As often as you can, browse the site and send out thoughtful messages. Don’t sit around and wait for people to come to you. Message everyone that you find yourself drawn to. That’s what the site is for.

5. Pay attention to the content of your messages

Read their profile before you message them. All of it. There may be hints or flat out instructions on what they want from your message. Some people are only looking for something specific and you’ll be unlikely to get a response if it’s cleared you’ve ignored this.

6. Don’t be too upset if you don’t get a response

Some people don’t check their messages every time they log on. Some people take a while to catch up on their messages. Some people read mobile and respond on the web. Sometimes they just don’t like you (and that’s okay, too.) If this person seems to be your soulmate and you just can’t let it go, in rare circumstances, send a secondary email. Don’t beg, plead, or ask what you could do differently. Reiterate the point of your first message and wish them luck on the site.

7. Remember to meet someone sooner rather than later

My general guideline was to chat with someone until I felt like we’d get along well in person. I would have met a lot more people if I’d relaxed this a little bit and had more adventurous (/awful) dates. It’s good to get to know someone and see if that connection is there, especially if you’re like me and conversation is important. But it’s also important to actually meet in person! Set up a date somewhere you feel comfortable, somewhere public, and don’t forget to let friends know where you’ll be.

8. Be clear about your expectations

If you’re looking for a relationship, make it clear that you’re looking to go on a date. If you’re looking for some fun or a one night stand, make that clear, too. There isn’t a wrong way to do it, but everyone needs to communicate clearly so they get what they want.

9. Be active on the site

That means have new photos of you, for one. A face shot, a body shot, maybe a shot of you doing something like a hobby. Update those photos as needed to attract new views. Keep your profile filled out and up to date. Answer questions to improve your match ratings.

10. Be you.

No matter who you’re meeting, you want them to like you for you. Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not to get a date. If that person didn’t work out (too bad!) If they don’t want someone like you (their loss!) Any kind of dating can be a struggle, but sites like OkCupid help you reach a larger range of people who already have things in common with you. Take advantage of that and use it in addition to meeting people in other ways. And have fun.

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Dating on OkCupid

I haven’t been back on OkCupid since I started seeing someone late last year. Still, from time to time, I find myself missing the insane interactions from various OkCupiders (Check out some of my worst messages here.) I sometimes find myself wishing that OkCupid had a less date-y name and welcomed more people looking for friendship. I met a lot of awesome friends on there that I still talk to, to this day. There is no real equivalent to OkCupid that allows such open communication between people looking to make a connection.

Since I don’t really have any reason to log on to the site, I’m opening up my blog for your experiences. Have you been on a crazy date this year? Have you gotten a message that just blew your mind? How do you navigate online dating as a dude, where it seems twice as hard to get a message? How do you put up with all the horrible messages you get as a woman? What about if you’re trans* or in an open relationship? Have you had any memorable experiences with the site you want to share?

Send me your online dating stories and I might publish them on my site. Include a link to your personal blog if you’d like to be linked back to.


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