Silence happens a lot in dating — and not always for good reason. Maybe a match suddenly stops responding or someone ghosts you after a date. Neither of these scenarios feel good. However, there is a time to be silent — and that’s when someone you’re not interested in messages you on a dating site or app.
“I send everyone who messages me a response – even if I’m not interested – because I hate when people don’t reply to me,” a client recently told me.
Her logic isn’t wrong. “Treat others as you’d like to be treated” is something we learned in grade school. I agree with her that it doesn’t feel good to write a ton of messages … and then hear crickets from the majority of the people you contacted. But unfortunately, your blow off won’t always be viewed with these good intentions. Here’s why you shouldn’t hit send on that message:
Your message is actually a rejection. The fear of rejection is real — and that’s how many people will view your message. While some may appreciate it, many will also be offended. This also means you’ll get many replies from upset people, and your inbox may turn into a war zone. There’s no need to break up with someone before you’ve had your first date.
You’re screwing with the algorithm. Most dating algorithms work like this: Whoever you communicate with, it thinks you like, and then it will send you more matches like that person. So when you send a “thanks, but no thanks” message, you may be triggering the algorithm to send you different types of matches than you’d like to meet.
You’re giving someone false hope. Having a new message in your inbox is exciting — you’ve got another date coming to you! But when your match opens it and finds a rejection instead, you’ll bring them disappointment rather than joy.
You’ll never have the right words. I’ve seen people use different strategies for this message — from being vague (I’m just not interested) to super honest (you seem great but aren’t the body type I’m attracted to). Almost always, it still hurts.
Laurie Davis Edwards is the founder of eFlirt, an online dating concierge service, and the best-selling author of "Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating."