It’s no secret that online dating can introduce you to the pits of the Internet (and the universe at large). Sometimes, it’s easy to log off, ignore each and every message, and start looking for cats to buy. Unfortunately, now that dating online is the norm, it’s harder to meet someone in real life. So, what happens if you completely embrace dating app messaging? I tried replying to every message I received on apps/OKCupid for a week to see if putting in effort online pays off. This is what I found out:
Almost every guy has some kind of opening prepared. One of the worst parts of OkCupes is that you can’t tell specific guys not to message you since it’s not based exclusively on matches, which leaves you open to a whole slew of weirdness. A favorite message I received? On a particularly rainy day, a guy sent me the same copy and pasted message he sent weeks ago, “Hope ur outside enjoying this BEAUTIFUL day! ;)” when I replied that I was trying to stay out of the rain he just replied with “lol” and the conversation did not continue.
Guys will immediately ask for your number, which seems kind of sketchy. If you reply to a quick “hey,” most guys will try to move the conversation offline immediately. While it makes sense because apps can be glitchy, if you know almost nothing about the dude other than what he looks like, it can feel weird to give your number out. After all, it’s far easier to block someone on an app than it is in real life, especially when they can Google your number easily to find out more about you.
Dudes want to know why you’re on an app. Isn’t everyone dating for the same reason? Ideally, you find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with (no pressure), but if that doesn’t work out, you’re just looking to get to know someone over drinks/find a potential Netflix partner. You’re not necessarily looking for the love of your life, especially if you’re perusing Tinder, but you’re looking for someone you’ll actually like. When a guy immediately wants to know what you’re looking for, the pressure is on. After all, you’re not exactly going to tell him you want a Pinterest perfect wedding.
One of the worst messages is “Do you have any luck on this app?” While it’s probably sent by hopeless guys who are just hoping they’ll find love, if you were having any luck, it would obviously be deleted.
Most messages start with a compliment. I assume if we matched on an app, you find something about me not repulsive. So, when you start out by complimenting my face or body, it’s kind of a turn-off. I’d rather chat than receive empty compliments from a complete stranger.
Lots of guys want to meet up stat. If you respond to a boy’s simple “hey,” he suddenly asks when you want to get together for drinks. If you know you want to meet him based on his profile, that’s not that creepy. When you’re still deciding, it can be a little bit much.
The worst is when people get aggressive. Swiping and responding to messages takes time. If you have an actual life, it’s easy to forget about checking in for days, or even months, at a time. Sometimes that leads to inadvertently ignoring a message. The worst is when you return to find someone yelling at you in all caps about ignoring them. Just like when a guy buys you a drink and you don’t go home with him, when someone messages you and you don’t respond because you’re not interested, it’s okay — you don’t owe him anything.
When you put in effort, you do meet more people. If you know that you’re going to reply to all of your messages, you’ll be choosier about who you’re swiping. Instead of nonchalantly saying yes to everyone even vaguely handsome, you’ll read about them and consider whether or not you’d actually like to go out. After all, someone could be cute but not your type, or you click on a profile and find out they’re super creepy.
Being on OKCupid is like going alone to a bar. You can’t control who will hit on you, but you can decide who to respond to. While people on that site are sometimes looking for real relationships, especially since you can learn more about someone, the amount of strange messages you get counteracts the guys that are actually trying.
You’ll start to appreciate the guys who actually try. While you’ll reply to a “hey” or a “what’s up?” if you’re bored enough, the best messages are when they guy actually asks you about something you’re interested in. It shows that he actually took the time to learn about you and therefore has more to say than “nice smile,” or worse, “nice boobs.”