What You Should Do Instead
If dating is akin to fishing (hence “Plenty o’ Fish”, from the stale platitude “there’re plenty of other fish in the sea…”) then you want to be fishing with dynamite. To abuse the metaphor further, you want to be tossing as much out there as you can and seeing what floats to the top. It’s one thing when you’re meeting women in person – unless you’re a graduate of the Lando Calrissian Player School, then you’re only going to be flirting with one woman at a time.
When you’re using an online dating site, you don’t have any such restrictions. You should be talking to as many people as possible – the joys of the text means that you can carry on several different conversations at once with minimal effort. Even if someone seems perfect on paper, you have no idea how well you’re going to work out in person… if you ever get to that stage in the first place. Some people aren’t going to work out. Some people are just going to disappear off the face of the earth with no warning. Even two or three dates isn’t enough to preclude things not working out. Unless you’ve had some form of the relationship talk, don’t be so quick to cut ties with other potential dates. You never know when you might want them back.
Here’s one of the harsh truths about online dating: it’s a numbers game. The people who don’t respond to you are always going to outnumber the people who do. You will spend a lot of time feeling like you’re shouting out into the void or tossing off messages in bottles only to watch them disappear over the horizon without any hope of a response.
This is the reality of % of people who use OKCupid or Match or Plenty Of Fish or Geek2Geek or Fetlife or ChristianSingles or JDate… really, any dating site (with some notable exceptions). Yes, there are occasionally people who use OKCupid like a sex ATM. They are the exceptions, gay hookup spots Indianapolis not the rule. Women have it just as bad as men do – they may get deluged by guys who aren’t their type, but the ones who are never seem to write back.
The problem is letting that deafening silence get to you, letting it make you bitter and resentful. And it’s easy. We all assume we’re the lone exception, that those non-responses are somehow a judgement of us as a person and that everyone else has it better or easier than we do. Sometimes that anger and resentment spills out into your messages to other people – I’ve lost track of the number of “You won’t talk to me, you must be some BITCH. LOL slut!” messages that my female friends have shared with me.
Spending your mental energy angsting about every non-reply you get is a waste of your time. It won’t help you get any more responses; all that will happen is that you’ll get more and more depressed before possibly giving up on online dating altogether.
What You Should Do Instead
Look, there are untold numbers of reasons why people don’t respond to online dating messages… and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with you. They may have taken a break from dating, they may be focused on one person, they may be out of town, too busy with work, or coming off a harsh break-up. You literally never know. Sometimes it’s something fixable – your profile isn’t exciting, your spelling is off… – and sometimes it’s something that you can’t control like reminding them of an ex-boyfriend or using a phrase they hate with the passion of a thousand suns.