A week of explanations (a.k.a. What you’re doing wrong)

As the OkCupid blog reports, only 32% of messages get a response. According to that number, your chances of getting something back seem pretty slim. However, when you consider what content a majority of the messages sent contain, your chances aren’t that bad… or you’re part of the population doing something wrong.

I’ve only recently started reading the forums. Time and time again, I hear men whining about ‘bitches’ who don’t write them back.

If you view my profile, it has a banner saying that I respond “very selectively”. As one of those ‘bitches’ who chooses not to write a majority of people back, I took a week’s worth of messages to examine and display just why I reply to messages so infrequently.

NOTE: I gathered the data a few months ago, so as not to embarrass anyone in recent history with the message he might have written.

I received 35 messages that week, so my sample size works pretty well. Not every message is included in this write-up, as many are single sentences that fall into the first category. For the sake of not repeating myself, I chose only one example to explain why that method doesn’t work.

Let’s now examine the messages.

Profile not read

There’s no doubt that online dating is a time-consuming effort. OkCupid does a good job of narrowing your list, but it still takes time and effort to locate profiles, read what the other person says, and come up with an opening message.

The quickest way to get shut down (besides something obvious, like the litany of messages I’ve received asking about lewd acts), is to send a generic message that gives no indication that the profile was read.

This is a vast majority of the messages I receive.

Hi, how are you?

Not compelled to write you… Or the three others this week who wrote essentially this same thing.

I’m a second generation lonestar. Grew up in small towns along the Texas gulf coast, mostly doing the kinds of things that I imagine people do when they live somewhere else. Feel most like me when outside, but spend the longest part of my working days in the house I’ve been buying for the last many years. I’m older brother to a lil red-headed sister. She’s one of my favorite people. I drive a VW diesel — it’s green and economical. sorta. My dentist tells me I have great teeth. (He’s really very complimentary so I’m starting to think I’ve got something).. I try to do the right thing. I know stuff. So please, look me over and if you’re up to it, write back!

“Here’s a whole lot about me. I didn’t feel like reading your profile to see what we have in common, so I’m hoping you’ll find something in my mini introduction that makes you want to say hi to me.”

i think you are very attractive and would love to get to know you, if you feel the same message back and see where it goes from there…


You seem like a pretty cool person, and intelligent too. I would love to chat sometime.

Generally flattery gets you everywhere. And, yes, it’s better to compliment my smile rather than my rack. But throwing out a generic compliment isn’t enough to get a response.

I fully acknowledge that some of these messages weren’t necessarily sent with the intention of getting conversation started. However, I feel that I need to point out that this doesn’t work for the sake of users who write nice things with hopes for a reply.

Receiving this sort of message simply says: Your photos were hot enough, and that’s enough for me. Now please take the time to read my profile, figure out if we have anything in common, and then write me a thought-out message to start some conversation.

Don’t be lazy. Profiles have text for a reason.

Profile read, failure to execute

This is a frustrating type of message because you know that the other person put a little effort into it, yet there’s just nothing to work with.

I hear you already: “Quite being a jerk, check out his profile, find something, and then write back.” And since you’re calling me a jerk, I’ll respond as one: “I’m the one with 35 messages a week. Give me something to respond to, and I might.”

I’m including these two not to point out that they’re necessarily wrong in their approach. (It’s a actually good start.) I just want to show how this can be improved so you don’t get caught in the ‘maybe’ pile.

Totally understand your outlook. Nightshift at my job is what keeps me going – i just can’t do the 9 to 5. I would like to know more of your thoughts on anything – you have stirred my curiosity.

There’s a section in my profile about how I’m investing in real estate and doing some forex trading, so props to the guy for mentioning that. However, he fails to deliver on a follow-up query. My “thoughts on anything” make him curious to hear more, but it doesn’t make me curious enough to respond. Too vague.

Hey, just saw your profile and thought I’d say hi. Let’s argue about politics and religion!!!! I don’t have anyone to argue with these days!

Once again, this guy pulled something from my profile. However, it would have been a whole lot more interesting if he’d have said something like, “So, what do you think about XYZ? I’d love to hear your opinion and tell you why you’re wrong over coffee.”


I got one message during the sample week that received a response. Many weeks don’t have such a message. And even when they do, sometimes I go to the guy’s page to find that he lives 50 miles away, loves his dogs, or hates ‘bitches’ who don’t respond to messages. There’s also the ultimate kiss of death for someone looking for a relationship with me: looking for casual encounters. (This is another blog entry for another time.)

In sum, this is an example of a good message. Writing such a note might get you a response. However, your profile and stated goals also have to align.

Dinner somewhere you’ve never been and recreational arguing?! Sweet!

Tabling the fact that we don’t know each other (for the moment), that sounds like a pretty damn happening way to spend an evening, and making new friends is always good. Plus, in a town with such good Taiwanese, Ethiopian, Modern English and Nouvelle Indian places, there’s surely a decent opportunity for culinary misadventures…

Care to argue sometime? I won’t even think about bringing you know who up!

He pulled a couple things from my profile, threw in some enthusiasm, and sounds like an interesting dinner companion. Bravo!

Fail, fail, fail

These are the weird ones I just had to include. Enjoy!

…how the hell does this thing figure you’re only a 1% enemy? I wonder what question out of the 2500 you’ve answered that didn’t line up. It’s kind of unfortunate that out of all the people on here within a 7 year age range, you’re the only one that seems to give a shit about not being a chunky butt. What’s up with that?

He had me up to ‘chunky butt’.

Hi i was looking at you profile and you seem like a really interesting girl, i know I ama little younger than you, but I would love to have a good time with you and share different experiences and emotions. what do you think? i am really honest and discret.

Sharing experiences? Emotions? Being ‘discret’ about that sort of thing?

Ear-resistible? I would go van gogh for you.

I don’t even know what the fuck this means. The guy wants to bite off my ear? Do I need a restraining order?

Twas an odd hour at night
And feeling quite right
Until I happened upon a phrase
that I try as I might
did not seem correct…
“People who use big words to sound smarter.” And those of us who know all them big hard words due to standardize testing forcing us to learn them.
While my lexicon is quite verbose
perhaps more so then most
I wish it to be known
I do not use it just so my intelligence will be shown.
or Yo what is up you foxy lady.

What. In. The. Fuck?


4 responses to “A week of explanations (a.k.a. What you’re doing wrong)

  1. A message at OKCupid doesn’t require followup any more than a smile at the bread aisle at the grocery store.

  2. Didn’t I already read this blog….. your lazy. Where’s the new material?

  3. While I agree with a majority of what you posted up there – it’s difficult to try and come off as genuine and couth when trying to intiate contact with a pretty/interesting/smart girl you don’t know… as one who was on a site like this and got maybe 1 response total (and even less when factoring in unintiated contact) – I’d say just consider yourself fortunate people actually find you interesting/attractive enough to try!

    I mean, you could waste time and money on one of these sites and have no one look at you… some of us are just doomed to sugar our own churros. 🙂

    Btw – the dude that sent the poem should at the very least get points for being creative and original!

  4. Pingback: Crazy daters and what went wrong «

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