To Respond, or Not to Respond? That is the Question.

rejection

You check your inbox. New message!

Excited, you click on “Loved your profile” from amateurchef81. The message is polite, even sweet, but after you’ve browsed  his photos and “about me” section, your interest vanishes. He’s nice, just not your type. You go back to your inbox and his well written introduction stares at you on the screen.

What do you do?

During my time online dating, I wrestled with this question MANY times. My first instinct was to write back, thanking them for their interest, but politely stating that I didn’t think we were a good match, and wishing them the best. I blame my parents. The first time I sent a “thanks, but no thanks” message, I received a very polite response, thanking me for taking the time to write him back.

I thought I’d found the perfect system. But did I?

The second time I turned someone down, the guy sent me an email asking if I was sure. Politely, I responded, yes I am sure. But are you really sure? He pressed again, sending me a list of reasons why he thought we were prefect for each other. With a mental sigh, I responded yet again that yes I was sure. Okay, he told me, while adding that he had to try.

The exchange was awkward, but not horrible so I continued with my system.

The third time I said “no thanks, best of luck,” the guy argued with me. It was as though sending that one message had opened the flood gates. After a few email exchanges, the argument started to heat up. I didn’t see him retreating anytime soon, so I stopped responding. My inbox flooded with hate mail, resulting in one final farewell note that read:

I hope you die in a fire.

Oddly specific. Why not a flood? Or a lightning storm? Or something more original like, I hope a monkey chokes you to death with a banana. Needless to say, I avoided candles for a few days and reported the guy to the eHarmony police.

I tried representing well-raised individuals a few more times after that, but soon realized the polite response I received the first time was merely beginners luck. While most men didn’t wish me death by fire, most of them did continue writing me.

Some pleaded, some stalked and some insulted.

One guy even told me he understood why I was divorced. Ouch.

In the end, I settled for not responding to emails unless I was genuinely interested. For a while, I did feel rude, even downright mean, but eventually I realized I was doing them a favor, letting them move on without wasting their time trying to change my mind or look for reasons to put me down. It was only on a very rare occasion, when someone appeared sane and nice, and took the time to write me a very long, thoughtful email, that I responded with an equally thoughtful “thanks, but no thanks” email. Although sadly, that scenario was very rare.

The takeaway: unless you feel strongly compelled, don’t bother turning people down nicely via email. Of course, this only applies to their first communication attempt. If you’ve already exchanged emails, texted, talked or met in person, a response is necessary. Unless they tell you they hope you die in a fire. Then you can ignore the crazy a$$.

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7 thoughts on “To Respond, or Not to Respond? That is the Question.

    • Loved the post! And I 100% agree if you’ve had any type of previous contact. But, to me, in the online dating world, if you’ve had no communication, it’s socially acceptable to not respond to an introduction. Especially if it’s a generic email. But if the guy takes a lot of time to craft a thoughtful email, it’s nice to respond politely, thanking him. If it were reversed, I would take the lack of response AS the response and don’t feel the need to be “let down easy” if we’ve never written, spoken, or met. But that’s just me! In the end, we each have to find our own system. 😉

  1. Perfect timing on this one! I was just thinking about this issue the other day. I’ve gone back and forth on it and come to the same conclusion. It really does, the majority of the time, just open the floodgates.

    • Thanks Tracey! It’s a sad, but true fact. In the “real world,” I doubt men would react with the same bad manners (well, most of the time I hope), but they must feel safer online, which allows them to email you relentlessly. While I love online dating, it’s a crazy world sometimes. 🙂

  2. These types of men are butthurt, and are the exact men who are rude to you when you politely turn them down in real life at the bar or club. They feel entitled and even though I think the word creepy is overused and has basically become synonymous for “I don’t find you attractive and would not have sex with you,” they really are creepy. Some women will be assholes too and reject you harshly though, but more so in person then online. Sometimes this can be devastating to a man who is just starting out in “game” and may stop him from ever approaching girls again, leaving him to rely on his social circle or co-workers to hook him up with females.

    • True, it’s important to always let a man down as nicely, and politely as possible. How they react, is then their problem. Thanks for commenting! I love getting the male perspective. 🙂

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