Posted by: GeekHiker | May 1, 2008

Online Dating: No Courtesy E-mail Required

(Sorry for the lack of posting, I’ve been riveted to “Carrier” all week…)

A couple of weeks ago, an absolute first happened: a woman made the first move on the dating site, sending me an e-mail.

Once I picked myself up off the floor, nursing the bruise on my head from where it struck the coffee table after I passed out from the shock of it all, I replied. I answered her questions, asked a couple of my own, it was all good.

Honestly, given my track record in on line dating, I didn’t expect a response. Oddly, I got one. Heck, I didn’t even pass out the second time.

This went back and forth for another couple of times. As I sent off my third e-mail, I was already, in my mind, prepping the next one, in which I would invite her out for coffee.

Evidently, it was one e-mail too late: I never got a reply.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know all the unwritten rules of online dating. I mean, hell, they’re unwritten for goodness sake.

And maybe there’s an unwritten rule out there that says “thou shalt offer to meet for coffee upon dispatching thine third e-mail to the party interested in thee”, or something like that.

Or maybe she went out over the weekend after I sent the third e-mail and found the love of her life.

Who knows? Who cares? After only three e-mails, I certainly don’t.

But, isn’t it kinda, in its own weird way, funny? I mean, seriously, you wouldn’t just get up in the middle of a conversation with someone, mid-sentence, and walk out, would you? No, of course not. Especially if you were the person that started the conversation. That would be rude.

Apparently, though, those kind of social norms don’t apply in online dating, as I’m learning. It seems for all the unwritten “rules” out there that might apply, there are none regarding common courtesy… ah, well, live & learn…



  1. Let’s say it’s way easier to “dumb” someone online, someone you haven’t met yet. Some people are quite whimsical by the way.

  2. You know, that happens a lot. I have tried online dating, and I would have men contact me a lot, I would reply, we’d go back and forth, and they would disappear all of a sudden. So yes, it is like someone getting up and walking away in the middle of a conversation. But it has happened to me more times than I can count.

    • Ok. Lea. I promise not to walk away.

      Actually I like emailing a person and being part of their life.

      Yes. I am a guy.

      Whatever you want to write about.

      I will listen and we will discuss like real people.

  3. Joy.

  4. You probably should not have outlined your threesome fantasy involving Jean Luc Picard and a woman dressed in a clown outfit in that third email there.

    Donkeys are not third email material either.

  5. Lea is right…this stuff just comes with the territory. I had guys blow me off and I’m also guilty of cutting off communication for no reason. Unless you really feel like you click with someone online, I think it’s easy to lose momentum.

    That said, maybe your gal is just on vacation or really busy or trapped under something heavy. 🙂 Ya never know…

  6. Have you heard from her yet Geeky?

    If not, next time just take your time in replying. If you come as too keen it smells of desperation and women like a man who has so many options he almost emails them as an afterthought.

    Of course I am not like that, but I am just telling you some of the unwritten rules of online dating.



    PS: I’ve been away too, but back to blogging again 😀

  7. So what I want to know is… did you just let it die or give her the benefit of the doubt and send one last Email to follow up?

    Online dating isn’t any different from offline dating. You’re probably just being tested to see how serious you are.

  8. This is why I’ve sworn off online dating for now (and possibly for good) – because this same thing happened to me every. single. time.

    They’d either disappear after a few (I thought) nice emails – um, gee, thanks…jerk! – or, in their very first email to me, give me their phone number and ask me to call and meet up. Or, ask for mine.

    Seriously, I just don’t understand.

    But don’t worry, G.H., that just means there’s a better lady out there for ya :o)

  9. Joel, do you work for {silly site 1} or {silly site 2}?

    Geekhiker, I had luck on and yahoo! personals. If it can happen for me, it can happen for you. I’m sure of it…

  10. The beginning of this post is hysterical! Thank you. 🙂 I gave up on-line dating. dumb.

  11. Gany – apparently so; I guess if you don’t have to see their face, it’s easier somehow

    Lea – And yet, one wonders why?

    Just a Girl – yeahhhhhh

    TGAW – Your comment made me fall outta my chair laughing! 😀

    Mel Heth – Oooh, I like the trapped under something heavy idea…

    Cara – I would usually wait a day or so between e-mails. Welcome back!

    Aaron – Nope, just let it die. I think anything more would’a screamed of “pathetic”

    East Coast Teacher – Yeah, it’s just all so darn confusing!

    Joel – (deleted) please don’t spam my site.

    Mel Heth – (sorry, had to edit your comment to throw out the spam) I may have tried one of those sites…

    *kb* – I figure it’s one tool in the tool-chest, but not the only one.

  12. Geek Hiker,

    It’s sad when people don’t write back without any explanation as to why… but it happens, and it happens on both sides. 😦

    I think that people find it easier to “disappear” when things are just online. Sad but true. tries to make it easier with automatic “thanks but no thanks” emails, but people don’t use them as much as they should.

    But look on the bright side, if she’d do something like that, then she doesn’t deserve you! 🙂


  13. e. – I agree with you… which is one of the things that makes online dating so darn annoying! Thanks. 🙂

  14. GH: It’s a good and bad thing, this crazy online dating. I do disagree with the above comment though, online dating is dramatically different than offline dating. You can’t read signals that well online. You can’t just tell that they are uninterested, the underlying interest stuff gets lost in the shuffle of emails, and if you’re lucky phone calls. I had a terrible time on, but enjoyed, just because I’m a more blatant type gal. But, in the end, I ended up back offline to find a guy, and I did! So, we’ll see. But, my thought is just like your girl e up there, she didn’t deserve you, and find someone else!

    On a side note, I walked my first 5K sunday…I don’t know how you do these long walks!

  15. If it makes you feel better, GeekyHiker, my experience with online dating parallels yours completely! Guys write. OK, that’s a plus to being a girl. But there are lots of disappearing acts. I’ve sworn off it for a bit. Online dating, that is. When I feel myself becoming jaded, that’s when it’s time for a break! Lori

  16. Ditto to what Lori said!

  17. Lori & Hilary – Heh, it just doesn’t make sense. And a belated welcome to the site to you both!

  18. If it makes you feel better, GeekyHiker, my experience with online dating parallels yours completely

  19. My perspective is that the ‘online’ part of online dating is akin to wandering up to someone interesting and chatting them up (compare content of emails exchanged and how long it would take to convey same info in real life)

    I would also say that online dating can create false intimacy; so combine the ‘intimate’ with ‘in reality you’re just words on my screen’ and some pull stunts of cowardice. Not an excuse but it keeps me from being (young &) bitter!

    btw – your blog is excellent! thanks for sharing =)

  20. Hi. Just found your blog and started surfing through the tags. I feel you on this one. I have been quietly ignored by a few guys after sending my photo. I understand the message but surely there is a more polite way of conveying it? I had one guy tell me “no thanks, cute but not my type”. I was appreciative of his honesty but wondered why he was doing the online thing at 30-something if his type was working for him.

  21. Yeah I can relate to this.. As a 33 year old guy, I try to have an open mind on and will write to girls who looks wise might not be my normal type, but in trying to meet people of better character, I think ive only hurt myself more.

    People online come off as shallow, selfish, self absored and just an overall sense of setting unrealistic expectations in thinking they deserve or can get someone better than they have had contact them.

    Im not Brad Pitt looks wise.. but im not the worst guy in the bunch.. and nothing makes me feel more insecure than writing to a girl based more on profile and interests than looks, and having her not even take 2 seconds to use that convenient “No Thanks” button that Match gives you… It makes me feel like the girl looks at my photo, makes a spot judgement and to her im not attractive…

    But as my friend whose been married 11 years puts it… “You’re dealing with people who havent had success dating through other more normal means, so why expect them to all of a sudden be courteous online?” Good Point!

    And.. just for the record… im the kind of guy if a girl takes time to email me, wink at me or what not.. i ALWAYS write back to her, even if its only to say thank you, no match… because I believe that in the long run, being honest and considerate of someone who took the time out to show interest in me, is better than just ignoring people… I had one girl thank me and say it was the sweetest rejection she ever got…

  22. I just had this happen….Been chatting on the phone for about a week and this guy swore he was sooo into me. The next week he asked for a picture ( I knew he just wanted to see my body) and I havent heard from him sense.

    I am wondering, should I have made a follow-up call after sending pic? I thought it was pretty obvious what he thought. I too, am not unattractive by any means.

  23. Thanks for this blog topic. We are all preaching to the choir.

    Has anyone had luck writing to the online dating service companies to help them improve the rules or dynamics of their service (i.e. requesting video tutorials be required during signup teaching ‘etiquette’)??

    Also, if you believe in karma, discourteous people will likely fall for someone equally or more dubious. One can only pray for their souls as they are escorted across the threshold at the gates of hell for all their improprieties. >:-)

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