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Texts/Messages Not Leading to a Date? Here’s Why

By Andrea McGinty March 30, 2023 Dating

This is one of the most common complaints I hear from singles as a dating coach and online profile writer. And it’s not because you’re not attractive, or there are no men out there, or they all want to date women 20 years younger, or online dating just doesn’t work for you.

Nope. That’s not why.

Online texting/messaging is both an art and a science. The art portion is being imaginative, short, sweet and knowing your audience. The science part is super simple: On average, an online dater can expect that with every 10 messages they shoot into cyberspace, one will answer. Gulp. Ok, if you are super talented with messaging, it may be 2, even 3 in 10.

But like Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Here are some facts about texts and messaging on dating apps that you may not have considered:

The 5-Day Rule

If you have not physically met a man within 5 days of the initial message, the date/meet will never happen.

Did that floor you? This is true 95% of the time according to a Stanford study. As a dating coach advising singles for over 25 years, I wholeheartedly agree. Cyber dating moves fast – here today, gone tomorrow.

So, don’t wait. Move on to the next man and the next date.

“Saving” the Profiles of People You May Be Interested in

Ok, this amazes me as I work with intelligent people. What does this mean? In the usual situation, we will be looking at potential matches together online, and I would get the comment, “Let me think about him.” I ask, “Why and for how long?”

You know the answer: “I want to see who else is out there.”

And just like that, you lost the opportunity. Please don’t do this.

Here is my Rule of Thumb: If someone told you that the Powerball ticket you were thinking of purchasing gave you a 50-50 chance of winning, would you buy it? Of course!

Same logic applied here. If there’s a 50-50 chance you might like someone, why not send a message? In the worst-case scenario, you’ll get a bit more info on them. Best case, you’ll get a lovely message and a date.

I can’t tell you how rare it is that someone looks at a match online and says “Oh, I know there’s a 90% chance he is the one for me.” How could you know that from a simple profile and a couple of thumbnail photos?

Sending Hearts/Flowers/Winks/Smiles/Likes

Don’t even get me started on this one. You send any of the above without a message, you just wasted your time. Ladies, it’s the 2020s, not the 1950s, and it’s more than OK to reach out first with a message. Trust me; I work with many men in the 50-75-year age group, and they appreciate a message from a woman!

Cut/Paste Messages

Cut and paste messages are easily recognizable, and no one responds to them.

For men, it goes like this: “Hey beautiful, I like your profile.”

For women: “I liked your profile. We have lots in common.”

Zero effort here. It’s either someone clueless about messaging… or they’ve been online forever and are burnt out. Either way, don’t respond. And please don’t become one of these people!

Make your message personalized and genuine. That’s the only thing you can do that will feel right.

Paragraphs, and Paragraphs and Paragraphs

Yes, I run into this working with my clients. They have sent an interesting message to a potential date, and what do they get back? A novel with all the details of the person’s life. It’s okay to share something but overdoing it will not benefit you.

On Saturday, while working with a client, she got a reply that was 8 paragraphs long, summarizing the person’s life story. Our eyes glazed over after the first few sentences… Who wants to date someone who spills their life on a dating site?

As Michael Jordan said, “The key to success if failure. I’ve never been afraid to fail.”

And as an expert in dating, I can only agree with him.

So, what works? A short, sweet message, sharing something funny or quirky about yourself. And don’t forget to ask a good question!

Happy Dating!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What types of messages have you received on online dating sites? Which ones made you want to respond? What types of messages do you send out to a prospective date? What results have you seen?

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I don’t think Michael Jordan said that… please proofread your entry of his quote.

Jane Spalding

After years of being on again/off again with I traded it for adopt-a-pet. I found a gorgeous goldendoodle and thought I was set for my later years. One day I opened a message from match. There was a handsome man with a great smile and blue eyes, BUT he sent me a LIKE. I agree with your description of those non-message messages. I never answer them! But I did this time. Long story short, we’re getting married next week!


That’s amazing. Congratulations.

The Author

Andrea McGinty is the founder of It’s Just Lunch dating service. She sold it and founded so she could help singles navigating online dating. In the 2020s, she knows the best way to meet people is through online dating using a professional coach and specializes in singles in their 50s-70s!

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