7 Online Dating “Rules” to Follow – and 5 to Break
Do you follow The Rules for Online Dating by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider? If so, you may doing more harm than good. If not, you need to start. Here’s a short guide to what rules you need to know (and the ones you need to forget).
(1) Don’t answer men’s ads or email them first.
Break this rule – occasionally. Although it may be tempting to fire off emails to all the cute guys in your zip code, wait a week or so. Chances are, some of the guys you thought about contacting will initiate contact with you.
If a guy you’ve had you eye on doesn’t contact you, send him a quick email. All you want to do is let him know that you exist – then leave the pursuing up to him.
(2) Create a good screen name – not too boring, not too sexy, not too marriage minded.
Follow this rule. The absolute worst choices for screen names are ones that include your name, ones that sound too steamy, and ones that make you sound husband hungry.
Also, follow The Rule’s suggestion of having a screename that describes your appearance… men are visual creatures after all. Ravishing Redhead and Petite Italian are examples of screenames that show off your best physical assets, without sounding trampy.
(3) Keep it short. When answering the questionnaires an online Web site requires, give the impression that you answered quickly.
Break this rule! While long answers about soulmates are a turn off, super short answers make you seem flippant and thoughtless. Aim to keep your profile shorter than average (keeps it easy to read), but make each word count. Saying you seek someone “friendly, fun, and free spirited” is much more effective than “cool to hangout with” and takes up about the same word space.
(4) Do not answer questions that you would not answer on a first date.
Follow this rule. Don’t talk about past relationships, how much you want to get married, your income, or your turn ons. Just select “no answer” – or say “Ask me later!” if it’s an essay question.
(5) Wait 24 hours to respond.
Follow this rule. I’ll never forget the time a new guy said I had too much time on my hands. the reason? i responded to his emails within a few hours. responding to email within 24 – 72 hours is considered prompt.
Anything earlier than that? Too desperate. And if he sends you more email while you’re waiting to respond, don’t buckle and write him early. Multiple emails from a guy are a good sign… it means your guy feels the chase is on.
(6) Don’t post three or four photos.
Break this rule! Posting multiple photos won’t make you seem desperate, but it will increase your chances of finding a match. Guys are first attracted to the physical, and the more photos you post, the more likely you are too hook him.
Posting multiple photos also cuts down the chances of a bad first date. If a guy has a good idea of how you look, he’ll know if you’re his type before he meets you. If you only have one photo, he’ll be less likely to know if he’s into you… until you meet.
(7) Do not respond to a man who sends his profile or photo only.
Follow this rule. If a guy can’t take a few minutes to send you a personal email, he’s not worth your time. Same goes for the form emails and “winks” some dating services offer.
(8) Don’t correspond with a man who won’t show you a photo of himself.
Follow this rule. It only costs a couple dollars to scan a photo at Kinko’s, and there’s no good reason for him not to have one up. If a guy can’t produce a photo, he’s got something to hide.
(9) Don’t answer on weekends or holidays.
Break this rule, but follow it’s spirit. Don’t ever answer email … or even logon to your personals sites… on Friday or Saturday nights. Same goes for saturday during the day, more or less. Just make sure to make yourself seem scarce – even if you’re not.
(10) Keep emails short – only three sentences.
Follow this rule, with an important modification. While The Rules for Online Dating suggest keeping all your emails to three sentences, this can seem rude and weird to a guy who’s taken the time to write you a long personal email.
A good rule of thumb? Keep your replies 1/2 the length of his emails. It will show you care enough to write a good bit, but you’ll leave him wanting more.
(11) Never email a guy again if he hasn’t responded to you email.
Follow this rule. It’s one of the most important ones. If a guy is interested in you, he’ll email you and eventually ask you out. It’s that simple. You don’t need to remind him you exist… if you do, you become the pursuer and will eventually turn him off.
(12) If a guy doesn’t ask you out within four emails, stop communicating with him completely.
Break this rule – more or less. Hmmmm, I like this rule’s spirit, but I think it’s a bit on the harsh side. I think after four emails, you should certainly evaluate where things are going with the guy you’re talking to. Is he about to ask you out? If so, continue to exchange email, but make sure that you mention being “busy” with your friends.
Also, after a few emails, space out your responses a little more. If he likes you, he’ll take the bait. I’d say a 6 or 7 email rule is okay – and certainly do not correspond with a guy for more than three weeks if he hasn’t asked you out yet. Period.
Like most of these dating rules? Want to meet more quality dates online? Then I highly suggest The Rules for Online Dating by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. The techniques in this book have proven to work well for many women in the dating phase of their lives.