Online Dating, A Short Primer
It’s all about having a consistent system.
I will assume that you already have a profile and photos with one of the major online dating websites. I use Plenty of Fish and Match. Your local area might be more into OKCupid or even Craigslist. Ask around. I will cover more about profiles in a subsequent post.
So you review the profiles of the single women and you begin the hunt. If you’re sending out lots of messages, keep track. Use a spreadsheet if you must. Once you start working a consistent system, you might find yourself corresponding and going out on dates with quite a variety of women. This requires organization.
You send a message. You must read every word in her profile, even if it’s just a few brief words. Don’t compliment her on her looks. Seriously. Find something, anything, unique in her profile and comment on that. Your spelling and grammar must be flawless. Women conflate good communication skills with intelligence. Ironically, if you communicate too much with a woman, it’s a turn off.
If you’ve got honest wit and are good with words, you’ll be in a better position. Do bear in mind that humor is very subjective. One woman’s perception of witty and clever and is another woman’s perception of offensiveness and hostility.
If the woman has a long list of requirements that no man can realistically meet, don’t bring up it in any of your messages. In fact, don’t bother sending her a message. You’ve just run across an entitlement princess. I will have a more detailed post about how to translate womanese to manspeak regarding profiles.
The other part of the message can be a simple copy and paste and needs to have the “call to action” in the marketing lingo.
In this example, I am sending a message to a woman who has put “majorette” as her occupation and stated that she is learning to snorkel and has big dogs as pets:
OK, being a majorette could be considered a job. Do you get benefits in the off chance you suffer a majorette related injury? Hey, gotta ask!
And yes, I read profiles.
I do like dogs, especially big, slobbery dogs that jump into laps at the worst possible moment.
As for the snorkeling bit, just keep your breathing tube clear! lol.
I’d like to start a bit of a correspondence with the intent of actually meeting at some point soon. After all, the purpose of online dating is to go out on actual dates!
The Private Man
[Follow up – This women did indeed return my message and seemed enthusiastic about corresponding. But like so many before, she went “poof” and I never heard back from her.]
I use the boldface part of the message on every message.
Don’t make any overt sexual references. That’s a big a no no. From what I am told, there is a subset of guys on Plenty of Fish who are looking for sexual hookups. If that is your goal, get yourself over to Ashley Madison or Adult Friend Finder and stop polluting the waters at Plenty of Fish.
Again, it is extremely important that you find something unique in her profile and mention it in some way. The biggest complaint from women is that men don’t read profiles. Read her damned profile!
Once she receives your message, she’ll look at your profile. Yes, women look at photos and if you’re not her physical type, then it is highly unlikely that your message will even be read. This is the frustrating part. Try not to let it bother you. In fact, this part of the process is enormously frustrating because of the constant and never ending rejection. If there enough women in your area, you should be sending out at least five new messages every day. Yup, that’s almost 50 each week. Expect constant and never ending rejection.
Naturally, you will seek out the most physically attractive women first. These are the women who gets dozens of messages daily from fawning guys. These are the women who will also reject you unless you are devastatingly good looking (male model material), in ferociously good shape, over 6 feet tall, and wealthy. Your incredibly good photos and stunning words will reveal all this. There are just a few guys like this. They’re the ones dating all the attractive women you see in the profiles.
Why do you think so many attractive women write “no players” in their profiles? It’s because they got pumped and dumped by those very, very few guys who meet these women’s insanely high standards. Those guys, those really alpha guys, have no reason to commit and so they play the field because they can.
So, you will get realistic about whom you might attract once it’s clear that the online hotties aren’t responding to your messages. No one ever said that this part of online dating is supposed to be an emotionally rewarding experience. And seriously, going after 20-somethings? Save that for real life and not online.
Oh, don’t wink on Match.com. Just don’t. Send a real message. As for Plenty of Fish, if you make a woman a “favorite”, follow up with a message within a couple of days. The “Meet” feature is new to PoF and I’m still trying to figure out if it’s worth it.
If a woman winks at you on Match and you’re actually attracted to her, send a message. The same goes for when a woman makes you a favorite on PoF. If you’re not attracted to them, you can be polite and send a rejection message. Or, just ignore them. After all, that’s what the vast majority of women do.
If fate and fortune smile upon you, she returns with a positive message. Don’t expect an immediate return message, even if she is online. Shit, don’t expect any return message. If you’re the average guy, you might get a message or two for every dozen or so you send out.
Sidebar – Instant Messages:
They can work but be sparing about them. The best time for instant messages is right after dinner. But unless you can do really, really well with words, don’t expect much. Lead with “hello”, it’s the safest way to go. This will get her to read your profile. If she responds, she’s curious but not necessarily interested. Yet. Your job is to get her interested. This is tricky. Ask questions about herself. This is key. Reveal little about yourself. Don’t spend more than about 10 minutes going back and forth. And you must end the chat. If there are long delays between her instant messages, she’s chatting with other men or is busy. Take that as a sign to stop chatting. Send a thank you message. This will hopefully result in the message/email correspondence.
The problem with chatting is that you could reveal that your written communication skills aren’t up to snuff. That’s why messaging is good. You get the time to craft your message and clean up the grammar and spelling. Women think that good communication skills are a sign of intelligence.
You exchange approximately three back and fourths and then either you or she recommends a phone call. Don’t ask her to call you in the first message. Sometimes, the correspondence occurs over weeks. If there are long delays between messages, you reply in kind with the same delays. If she responds quickly, you do the same. Your online correspondence must be light and breezy without anything negative.
If after a few messages back and forth that seem to go well. Give her your number and hopefully she will give you hers. If she does, ask her when is a good time to call. If she doesn’t give you her number, don’t hold your breath for a phone call from her. Likely, you will call her. Do so within 48 hours.
If she answers your call, have a nice phone conversation, don’t flatter her. Instead, ask questions about her and listen very carefully. Volunteer only limited information about yourself. Maintain the mystery. If she talks mostly about herself, she will think you’re an interesting and accessible guy.
If she doesn’t answer the phone, leave a nice, brief message and ask that she returns your call at a convenient time for you. If after a three or four days there is no call, text, or online message, she’s done. End communications and move on. You can consider this a flake maneuver and it’s worthy of blocking her profile and ignoring any further communication from her.
When you do speak with her and you feel that the conversation is going well, it’s time to move forward to a real date. How do you know if it’s going well? She’s revealing more personal information about herself and in particular, her emotional state. “Well, I am feeling frustrated at work.” If she feels comfortable enough to reveal that without prompting, she’s comfortable enough for meeting in person.
But if she’s being very guarded and reveals little about herself, you may need another phone call. Phone calls should be stress free and no more than 15 minutes or so. For some guys, it’s difficult not to get nervous. Unfortunately, nervousness does not come across as confident. But if you’re keeping your online dating pipeline full, you will be having lots of these conversations and any nervousness and stress should ease over time. If you’re a really shy guy or lack social skills, I strongly recommend this website: http://www.succeedsocially.com/
Don’t ask if she wants to meet. Tell her. “I’m really enjoying this conversation with you, we need to meet.” The vast majority of women will agree. Have several options available. You are the man, don’t ask her where she might want to go unless she volunteers it. As for the timing, this gets tricky. Going for a Saturday date is problematic because Saturday nights make it sound like a big deal when you just really want to determine the chemistry factor.
After work on a weekday is best. Know where she works and pick a place halfway between her place of work and yours. A weekend afternoon for ice cream is also a good idea. In both these scenarios, you might even continue the date to a rather intimate conclusion. Don’t assume that. For the vast majority of guys, the first date is about determining chemistry and not making an attempt at seduction.
A dinner date is not recommended for a first date, especially somewhere fancy and expensive. This puts too much pressure on her and even more pressure on your wallet.
At this point, you should have a solid knowledge of Game to help you determine if your date is attracted to you. Game can also help escalate the date into something more. Don’t bring flowers to your first date.
Once the arrangements have been made, you are the one who ends the phone conversation. “I look forward to meeting you… and now I have to run…”
Real Life Flaking
Whether it’s getting stood up on a date or not following up to confirm a date, real life flaking is far more frustrating than online flaking.
If she calls you to cancel the date without offering a solid counter offer of another time or venue, it’s still a flake. She’s either not that into you or is working a bigger, better deal. Regardless, any real life flaking must result in instant dismissal. Make no further contact, block her profile, no exceptions. One chance, one chance only. Getting stood up with no notice – not even a simple text message – is the ultimate in flaking. It will happen. Be warned.
Here is a great tip for weeding out the flakes: Call them the morning of the day you have your date planned and tell them you’ve got an errand to run and will be 10 or 15 minutes late and ask if that’s ok. If they’re going to flake, they’ll jump on this opportunity to bail thus saving you from wasting your time later on.
Thankfully, real life flaking decreases as women get older. If she flakes in real life after 40, you’ve dodged a huge, life-sucking bullet and you should count your blessings.
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Hi Private Man,
Wow, this is a lot of information! From a women’s perspective (someone who’s quite an experienced online dater!) I agree with most of it, but not all of it. But.. in general, I agree that one key to getting responses is to include something personal that shows you read her profile in the first communication.
I think your example first communication was good, and did get you the return email, but here’s how I would change it. I wouldn’t tell her that you read profiles. That will be obvious because you are mentioning things in her profile. By telling her it’s like saying, “My strategy is to let you know I’m different by reading your profile.”
Also, (this may be just me) but I don’t like “lol.” I think people overuse “lol.” But I know you have to make sure they know you’re being light-hearted. Personally, I probably over use winkey’s ;-).
The other thing is that rather than bolding that you’d like to go out, I’d bold something like: Check out my profile and if there’s an interest, let me know. I’d love to find out more about you.
By bolding the part about wanting to eventually meet, I’d feel like by responding I was telling you that I would want to meet and it would be way too early for me to commit to that… unless I was really sure from your photo and profile that we were a great match.
I totally agree that no matter how stunning your email is, there is going to be a huge number of people who don’t respond. Don’t take this as rejection! There are lots of reasons other than rejection that people don’t respond. See my post: http://singleagainonlinediary.blogspot.com/2010/11/online-dating-what-do-you-say-when.html
I’ll be curious to read more about online dating from a man’s perspective. Thanks so much for your post!
We do have some semantic differences but those are minor details. It is sadly true that men surf the photos and ignore the words. In response to that, I see that most women put few words in their profiles. It’s unfortunate because the quality guys, the compelling guys, will read the words.
Now, if a woman is truly wordless, then perhaps she just lacks the intellectual horsepower to come up with a good profile. I know some truly dim-witted fellows who can’t string two sentences together and their profiles show it. Nice guys, just not very bright.
I will disagree with you on one point. No response is a form of rejection and I urge all men to consider it as such. At my age, there just isn’t the time nor the emotional energy to waste on women who don’t respond.
Well, as you said, it may be semantics, but I choose to not view a lack of response as a “rejection.” I think if you view it as a “rejection” you will spend emotional energy feeling rejected. Simply don’t worry about it. I don’t expect a response, but if I get one I’m happily surprised. There have been times I haven’t gotten a response, and I’ve sent a second email to let the guy know my subscription was coming to an end, but I’d hoped I would get to meet him. He responded right away and apologized and took me out for a drink to make up for it. And he was a super-great guy. That never would have happened had I taken his initial lack of response as a rejection…
Men are rational and logical creatures. We’re don’t “feel” rejection in the same way as a woman might. It’s just a simple matter of logically understanding that a woman isn’t interested and moving on to the next series of profiles. When a guy who is attractive to a woman shows persistence, it’s considered romantic. If that that guy is not attractive to a woman, persistence is considered more as the creepy, stalkerish behavior. Given that a very small minority of guys are considered attractive (and those are the ones who actually receive messages and don’t need a process), I advise that the vast majority of guys to be logical and rational towards the initial phase of online dating. No response is a rejection. Move on. Work the process.
I agree with this for the most part. I think persisting in dialog when a woman is giving indication that she’s not interested (such as lack of response) can be annoying or downright creepy. I agree to move on, though a 2nd email is not always bad.
The part I don’t agree with is the blocking. I don’t see any purpose in that. I also don’t agree that No response is always a rejection. There have been times both from female perspective, with me being unresponsive, and from the male perspective, where he’s been unresponsive… where there’s been a later email in which we’ve actually gone out and liked each other. In fact… it was true on the last two dates (both really good dates) that I’ve been on. I might have to blog about this…
Great post. I’ve never tried any of the info laid out here, but it stands to reason that this is solid advice. If I get back into the online dating mode, I’ll let you know how well your tactics work for a younger demographic.
Good advice and I pretty much agree with most of it. I’ve been doing online dating for awhile and have thought a lot about the only moderate success I’ve had and the complaints I’ve read on the internet from other guys about it. I send out a lot of emails like you suggest and I’m starting to wonder if that’s part of the problem for guys. If the average guy sends out 50 emails a week then that means the average woman will get 50 emails a week. Getting all those emails may be contributing to ego inflation among the women. A lot of them don’t really think about how the guys emailing them are also emailing a bunch of other women and how they have competition from all those other women because they can’t see that on the internet. They just see all the emails coming into them and they think they are really popular. This ego inflation leads to the unrealistic standards, over-choosiness, flaking, and always looking for a better deal behavior that us guys see among the women on internet dating sites. If guys as a group sent out fewer instead of more emails on internet dating sites it might change women’s behavior and we might be more successful. How to get all the guys, though, to do that is a question I don’t have an answer for. Maybe enough guys will reach the conclusion eventually that the opportunity cost of spending large amounts of time sending emails on internet dating sites aren’t worth the results. Then the emails going to these women will markedly decrease and they’ll be more friendly when an occasional guy actually does email them.
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I just re-read this info. Its surprising how much of it I forgot. It makes good sense.
I appreciate this is an old thread, I got led here through a series of links, but I feel compelled to ask – what is your motivation for pursuing these 7s?
I got into online dating myself about 6 months ago, and it soon became apparent that getting dates and hooking up with 7s was relatively easy. After a succession of these, I started to find the whole exercise utterly pointless – I was not particularly physcially attracted to any of them, and they didn’t intellectually stimulate me either.
I find myself now in the position of only really wanting to message the 8s and 9s, but not getting anywhere due to (as you correctly mentioned) not looking like a male model – or on the odd occasion I manage to elicit a response, getting flaked immediately afterwards.
Is it time to throw the online dating out the window and just concentrate on day game? I think I already know the answer…
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