When Should We Meet

The online dating world is a bit of a free-for-all, where there are few clear lines on etiquette. Though some believe that you should respond to every email sent to you, even if it's just a gentle rejection, other people have told me that they don't have time to write back to everyone who writes them. They just pick out the most promising and go from there.

The ideal is probably a balance of the two approaches. Avoid creating form letters that you send out to a number of women, hoping for one or two replies back. Women can spot these form letters from a mile away. Any letter you send should include identifying details about the person you're writing it to, such as her username or the interests she wrote about in her profile. Another common mistake is creating a "cover letter"-style first message, explaining your merits and why she should give you a chance.

Keep your first letter brief. Mention one or two things that you found interesting in her profile, or some interests that you have in common, and ask her if she'd be interested in chatting further. This will give her an opportunity to check out your profile and see if she's interested without wasting too much of her time. One great strategy is to always end every letter with a question about something you'd like to know about her. This will give her an opening when she writes back.

You may not get a response back. Women—especially good-looking women—get a lot of emails, and they don't have time to write personally back to them all. If you do get a reply, consider yourself lucky! She may have just written to tell you thank you but she's not interested, but at least it's a response. Write a quick thank-you note back, and continue on your search.

You may find that the handful of women you've managed to start conversations with balloons to ten, fifteen, twenty. You can't keep their names and stories straight. You're spending half the night on the computer trying to keep up with your correspondence AND sift through all the new messages you're receiving. What do you do?

When you start dating online, you need to get used to rejecting women (and being rejected). There are so many people online that you have to continually narrow your field. Every so often, go through your regular contacts and weed out those that don't seem to be real prospects. It's only polite to write one final email telling them that you've appreciated your conversations, but that you no longer have time to write.

Sometimes, you'll find that women just stop writing to you. Chalk it up to the same intention: they just don't have time to correspond with everyone. If you're still keen, write to her one final time to see what she's been up to and ask if she'd like to continue corresponding. She may very well have just gotten bogged down and forgotten about you. Or she may no longer be interested; you don't know until you try.

Continue reading here: Picking out the Good Ones

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