As I sit here writing this first monthly article for JMag®, I feel strangely like Carrie Bradshaw, although I don’t own a pair of Manolo Blahniks (I do have a ridiculous collection of shoes though), and I’m not writing on a cute MacBook®.  I’ll be writing about topics related to dating, specifically online dating, both from my own successful experience with JDate® and from my experience with my clients, for whom I give A Little Nudge in online dating.

People join online dating sites for many reasons: To find an activity partner, a friend, a date, a long-term relationship, marriage, or marriage and children.  JDate is even nice enough to lay out all of these choices side-by-side for us.  All it takes is the click of a button or two to list what we’d like to find in our online dating adventure.  Curiously enough, “pen pal” is not an option.  In fact, nothing of the sort is listed – not “letter-writer,” “someone to keep me occupied at work,” or “e-mail buddy.”  Nope – it’s just not a choice.  Why?  Because people do not join online dating sites to simply e-mail back and forth.  People are looking to form a relationship, not an e-lationship.

The scenario always starts out the same.  As women, we find someone good-looking who fits the bulk of our criteria.  We send a short and sweet e-mail out into the ether just hoping for a response… and to our delight, we get one.  We write a witty response back, spell checking twice and editing a little more.  Finally, we send it off, waiting the requisite few hours or even a day  just to make sure it doesn’t look like we’ve been sitting by our computer.  Sometimes we get nothing back again (so annoying!), and sometimes we do… time to celebrate!  So, we e-mail back, sharing information about ourselves, our jobs, and our lives outside of the confines of JDate.  And lo and behold, we keep getting responses.  But response after response, nothing leads to a date request.

When it comes to online dating, the best way to play your cards is to ask someone out after just a few e-mails back and forth.  Chemistry is hard to gauge over e-mail, so a few extra e-mails won’t make or break it.  The best way to see if there’s any spark is to meet in person, and the sooner the better.  If you plan the first date quickly and like each other, that’s great – you’ll have more time to spend together!  If you don’t have that connection, you can move on without investing more of your time.  In fact, I don’t even recommend talking on the phone before a date.  Someone might be great on the phone and a dud in person or a bore on the phone and fabulous in person.  The point is that you never know whether you’ll have chemistry (which I call the “wild card”) until you actually meet, and no number of e-mails will change that.

For guys, it’s never too forward to ask someone out for a drink or coffee after one or two e-mails.  (I’ll explain why dinner is not the way to go in a later post.)  If a woman responds to your e-mail, she’s probably interested enough to go out with you.  But she’ll likely get a bit restless after about the fourth or fifth e-mail with no date in sight, so it’s best to lock in the date before that happens.  E-mails are nice, but in the end, we’re looking for something real, someone real, and not just some words on a page, or an e-lationship.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people find success in online dating and gets them excited about its possibilites. Her services include: writing unique online dating profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind e-mails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates.
  1. Erika: I have been on JDate,and I’m still looking,I did go on a date with a nice young lady,and had a coffee date,I thought the date went fine,and were to have friendship date again,I have called her several times and no response,I have also sent an email to another and the same thing,I’m not Jewish,I,m Catholic,and in my profile I explain I will convert to the Jewish faith,if she would like me to do,I will keep trying,Art DeNicholas(…@rt…

  2. Art, there are literally thousands and thousands of men of all ages who have been through the same thing you describe. It is a very common problem and we have no clue as to what women are looking for. Some I know expect to feel “Chemistry” on the first meeting. Chemistry almost never happens then but can develop once you get to know someone a little more and see what and who they are. They are making a decision whether you are “it” or not in the first 10 minutes according to studies. Heck, if you spend all day with me you do not know me or what I am; you will have some indications but that is about it, but 10 minutes – puhleeez! If you were to go out with me several times and I am not what you are looking for, fine. You took a decent look and tried me out but we are not even being given a chance. If I were to date a woman twice a week for a month I would have a fair idea of what I think they are as a person but I am not naive enough to believe anything other than that. The women are extremely judgmental, unfairly so to where this gets to be a disqualification contest just as it is when they and we sort through each other’s profiles. And after a while they are as frustrated by the process as we are. I see the same people year after year, still looking for someone. I could talk about this for days but I have no solution as I only can control my side. Exit interviews shed no light on this. If you figure it out let all of us know, we badly need a solution.

  3. A personal experience…I joined JDate after the end of a long marriage. It took a lot of mental prep even for that! I did e-mail back and forth with someone in my city but since I was so new (to JDate) and had been out of the dating scene for so long….I wasn’t ready. I felt pushed the 2nd time (within 3days) he asked especially because I was clear with him that I wasn’t quite ready. So generally, your advice make be on target but in context,my discomfort was very normal!
    Not everybody is out of the gate at the same time so please be patient.
    ( The thing is I most likely would have gone on a date with him (he was a nice guy) but he scared me away by not paying attention to what I had told him. Sad.)
    To the person commenting above me…reread the last few sentences of your posting….I feel your pain. The women you are dating may also see it and misinterpret it. It could be possible that they sense something and it could be undermining your efforts.
    Good luck.

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