3 Essential Online Dating Etiquette Tips

Last year I dated a great guy who said he had recently purchased a 3-month subscription to Match.com, and received not one message. No one initiated contact with him, and he received no replies to the emails he sent out. In 3 months! He was good looking. Successful. Witty. Fun. And I think it is horrendous that not one woman he wrote to had the courtesy to reply. (And then women wonder why guys get jaded!)

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2. Accept rejection. “Not everyone likes pineapple.” I heard this quote years ago, and I think it applies perfectly to dating. Some people love pineapple. Some people hate it. There’s nothing wrong with pineapple; it’s just personal preference. Similarly, not everyone will like you. Get over it. If you get rejected, it’s not because something is wrong with you. It’s because that person isn’t a match for you. Be grateful to find out early on, and move on!

Also, it is important to respect the choices people make when choosing partners. People can want whatever they want, and it’s not your place to try and tell them why their choices are wrong. I recently received an email from a man who was about 10 years my senior, and not otherwise any great match for me. I wrote him a polite reply. I mentioned that I was looking for someone closer to my own age, and that I didn’t think we’d be a great match. I wished him good luck with his search. He took offense and wrote me a nasty reply. He disrespected my choice about age, even though it was clearly posted in my profile. He then wished me good luck with my search, “but I sense it will be a long one.” Perhaps it will be, but it’s my choice to make.

After exchanging a few emails with another guy, I took a careful look through the questions he answered and realized we weren’t a great match. Although we were enjoying the email exchange, I didn’t want to lead him on. “You can’t eliminate someone on just their questions. lol.” Yes. Yes, I can. That’s the entire purpose of the questions. At least this guy respected my wishes, and genuinely wished me well.

3. Don’t ask questions that would compromise the anonymity. A sure-fire way to ruin a great email exchange is to start asking questions that are too personal, questions that would give you enough information to look someone up online. “Oh, you’re an accountant? For which firm?” “Oh, you do triathlons? With which team?” “Oh, you’re in a band? What’s its name?” It’s called none of your business. These kinds of questions are best left for the second date or later. Before then, you can’t expect someone to feel comfortable giving you enough information to show up at your office, join your training team, or stalk your band. Be patient, and ask more general questions instead.

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Find more essential advice about online dating in my book: How to Be a Good Boyfriend: 34 ways to keep her from getting annoying, jealous, or crazy.