Dear Evan

1. Should a person send a follow-up email to someone they have written to before and not heard from?
2: What do you think of expressing in one’s profile that you prefer emails to winks?

Thank you so much for your encouragement and help in our searches.

Ynez

Dear Ynez,

Allow me to answer your second question first, because it’s a lot quicker:

No. Don’t express in your profile that you prefer emails to winks. You wanna know why?

1) EVERYBODY prefers emails to winks. So, in essence, you’re saying something as cliched as “I like to laugh” or “I want a man who’s honest.” It’s a pointless point, and is one that’s bound to be ignored.

2) The fact that he winks instead of taking the time to write to you speaks volumes about him. A wink says either that he’s lazy, he’s illiterate, or, more likely, that he’s winking at 50 people at a time to see who responds to him. He may actually be a decent guy – but he’s a decent guy who is pretty indiscriminate about the women he contacts. Proceed with caution.

3) I just think it’s in poor form to tell anyone what to do. “Nobody over the age of 40! No cheaters or liars! Nobody who has addiction issues!” Feel free to ignore anyone who doesn’t meet your criteria, Ynez – including your desire to be emailed – but please, don’t issue demands in your profile.

Next…

I have two (and maybe even three) answers to your query about sending a follow-up email. One set of rules applies to men, another applies to women. And yes, there’s a logical explanation for this double standard.

Women have the simpler answer. No, you shouldn’t send a follow-up email to a guy if he hasn’t written back. It’s not that it’s impossible that he was busy, or accidentally deleted your email, or had an emotional crisis that caused him to abandon dating for awhile. Rather, it’s that, 99 times out of 100, a guy who doesn’t write back to you is a guy who isn’t attracted to you. If he is attracted to you but is dating other people, he’ll get back to you eventually, without any additional prodding on your part.

Men are faced with a different dilemma. Why are there different rules for men and women? Because women – especially younger women – receive infinitely more emails than men. Think about it: If a guy is doing great, he might get ten emails – and can manage to respond to the three or four attractive women in his inbox. If a woman is doing great, she might get 50 emails, or 150 emails, or 400 emails. Which means that there are definitely some quality guys who don’t get through the first screening process

I remember meeting a woman on Match.com in 2002. We dated for six weeks and I remember asking her about her experience. She told me that she received over 500 emails in her first week. How many guys did she write back to? Five. That’s 495 guys who got silence in return for their emails. This reinforces why women are NOT obliged to write back polite rejection letters AND it reinforces why just because older men want attractive young women, they are unlikely to get a letter back. If she has 500 potential future spouses in the mix, why would she date a guy fifteen years older? She could date a guy that’s just as successful and kind, but closer to her age. And she usually will. Doesn’t mean she’s bad. Just means she has choices. See my blog post “As Valuable as Your Options” if this isn’t clear to you.

But back to my point. … When a man’s dealing with such a competitive atmosphere, he might take a shot at writing a second or a third time. Plenty of women who are exasperated with the flood of emails delete their entire inbox just to keep things manageable. What they DON’T do, and probably should is HIDE THEIR PROFILES. But as much as the young women complain about all of the awful guys who write to them, they generally refuse to stem the tide by removing themselves or going without a picture. I wrote about this extensively in I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book and think that if your biggest problem is the volume of the “wrong men” writing, it’s really easy to fix. Take down your photo or profile and proactively contact men. Instead of spending half your day deleting profiles of men you’d never consider, you could be talking to one or two decent guys at once. Most women are not afflicted with this problem, but it is a real one, especially for the younger set.

Wait, what was your question again, Ynez? Oh, should you follow up with an email if you’ve been ignored? For you, as a woman, probably not. It wouldn’t cost much to try, but I don’t think the results will be that great. Men are looks-driven and I don’t know many who ignore someone who piques their interest. For men, it’s probably worth it to take a second shot a month down the road. But then again, there are enough quality women that I don’t see why you’d write to the same uninterested ones twice. Eventually, you gotta take a hint.

Or, if you’re like most people, maybe you don’t.