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Online Dating: Email Etiquette

Mar 8, 2008
Whether you've just started using an online dating service or you're an experienced pro, there is always some excitement that comes when you receive an email from someone's who's noticed your profile and is hoping to open a dialog with you.

The problem many of us have is that life is sometimes a bit overwhelming and we just don't have the time to respond right away. Between work, family, social clubs, and friends, we often find our time at a premium. There just aren't enough hours in the day for many of us.

Knowing that up front, how long should you sit on that message before you reply?

Online dating is all about getting yourself in front of as many singles as possible. This is a game of communication, and you want to stack the odds in your favor by communicating with as many people as possible. The more dialogs you have going on, the better. You're hoping to ask pointed questions and trying to figure out which singles are the ones you want to keep talking to.

Our society today is based on instant gratification. We want it now, and we're not willing to wait. Knowing this up front, it's very important to treat each inquiry with immediate urgency. Why take the chance of missing out on getting to know another quality single?

One simple rule to live by is that you should never wait longer than 24 hours to respond. If you wait longer than that, it is considered rude in the world of online etiquette.

That may sound like an easy response, but as we know things aren't always as simple as they seem. You most likely will never be able to find more time in your day, but that doesn't mean you can't address this situation.

The important point to remember is that you need to respond. Responding does not mean you need to reply with the Great American Novel. Pouring your heart and soul into your response is not justified at this point in the relationship.

Here are a few 3 quick pointers:

1. Explain to your admirer that you are very busy at this moment, but that you are genuinely flattered and excited to get their response. Give them a little something right now, with the promise of a little more to come. Make sure to follow through with this promise.

2. Answer at least one or two of the questions that they've posed to you. You are giving some of your time to answer their questions and it furthers the point that you are indeed interested in them.

3. Ask them one question in return. Because you are asking them a question, it shows that you are expecting to hear back from them.

Limit your response to three to five paragraphs. Another point to consider is to use white space when you respond. What I mean by that is to use hard line breaks or double spaces when typing each paragraph. Separate each point and make it stand out on its own. Don't have your thoughts run into one another. Research shows that people prefer to read text that is spread out as opposed to close together.

Finally, to help streamline your time, if you have been communicating with someone and you just don't sense a spark, send one last email to them to let them know that you're no longer interested. You may hurt their feelings, but in the long run this move will benefit both parties. There's no need to have any additional clutter in your inbox and this is one way to address it.
About the Author
Jim McMenamin is the webmaster and creator of MacsDatingSite.com, a blog dedicated to the various issues of online dating. For a limited time, Jim is giving away two free eBooks, 10 Tips To Writing Your Online Dating Profile as well as 101 Steps To A Happy Relationship, when you sign up for his newsletter.
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