Little to no replies on Match. What am I doing wrong?

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ProtoBoss1 asks:

I am at a loss here. My profile is genuine, personal and well-written. My photos are good (I, at least, think I’m good-looking), and I write personalized messages. I have an opener (hi, how are you doing, etc.), as a question relevant to their profile, and sign my name. Nice stuff, really.

Yet the same thing happens: the message gets read, they look at my profile and then nothing. It’s confusing because, with some of these girls, I sound exactly like what they’re looking for. I don’t get it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I get way more messages on “free” sites that seem to attract the crowd I’m trying to get away from (POF, OKC). Really confused


Demetrius says:

Here’s a few things to consider when you’re wondering why you’re not getting messages:

  • Do these people actually want what they say they want?
  • Are my profile and messages as good as I think?
  • Why am I getting messages on free sites?
  • Is this just a run of bad luck?

So, this is kind of a big secret, but people tend to say they want one thing, but it’s usually a bit more complicated then what they say on a dating profile. Yes, it sounds good to say you want to meet someone who is warm, caring, honest, etc. but people tend to leave out a lot in their “what I’m looking for”. The people you message might be looking for someone with your characteristics, but they might exclude other pertinent characteristics that maybe you don’t posses. While you might think you’re a good match, remember that you’re a good match ON PAPER. You might share the same interests, you might be looking for the same things in life, you might even be perfect matches for each other personality-wise, but chemistry is not something you can capture through a dating profile. It’s possible that these people aren’t finding you physically attractive, or that you’re not tall enough, or maybe they just don’t like your haircut, or a countless number of other factors. Don’t get too caught up on being a good match on paper, because there’s a lot more factors that you’ll never be able to figure out.

Now you have to ask yourself, is my profile as good as I think it is? You mention that your profile is genuine, personal, and well-written, but there’s no way to know for sure until I see it. (Which, if you’re reading this and want me to look at your profile to give you some pointers, feel free to email me and I’d be happy to give you some pointers). Now, barring actually reading your profile, I think I can give you some quick tips on ways most people screw up their profile. For starters, people either tend to go full-on super serious, or full-on “online dating is a joke, I’m not taking this profile seriously”. It sounds like you’d lean closer toward the super-serious, in which case, make sure your profile has at least a little bit of levity. If you’re looking for a commitment, your profile should say it (though it doesn’t have to say it directly). If you’re a commitment minded person, having pictures that are more mature looking sends a clear message. If your pictures look more partying/drinking/rowdy behavior, then you need to change them. Relationship minded people tend to respond well to pictures of you and relatives (especially parents, grandparents, small relatives), and pictures of you with small animals. Avoid pictures of yourself with red solo cups or anything else that screams “Partying“. Your profile tells a story, and you get to control the story, so make sure it’s telling the story you want told. Including words like stable, committed, and longterm, even if they refer to non-romantic relationship stuff is a great way to tell the story of a relationship minded guy. Here’s a great example of how I’d do it.

I'm a lifelong New Yorker and I love where I am in my life. I've been working in healthcare for over 8 years and I love that I have such a stable career in a field that I'm passionate about. My long-term plans are to learn to ride a bike (I know, I know) and finally learn another language. I'm committed to pursuing my passions which include writing, traveling, podcasting, and being around people who enrich my life.

What that says to anyone who reads it is that I’m stable and thinking about my future. I also used words and terms that imply stability (ex. lifelong) and was able to mix in the fact that I enjoy my life, the fact that I am passion (two mentions!) and the fact that I’m looking to surround myself with people who enrich my life. I told a very specific story about who I am, what I’m looking for, and where my passions lie. If you can read your profile and say the same thing you’ve done a good job. If you can’t, give it an edit or two.

As for the quality of your messages, people tend to forget that message quality doesn’t matter all that much. Yes, sending a bad message will instantly torpedo your chances, but sending a good message doesn’t guarantee a response.  It sounds like you’ve figured out the simple formula for sending a good message (Opener + Introduction + Question/Comment relevant to their profile + Close) but I’ll tell you, that’s only going to *Maybe* get you a chance at a response. Once you send a message, here’s what happens:

  1. 50/50 odds your message is checked at all
  2. Quality of message is checked (ex. expect an immediate deletion for one word messages, invitation to casual sex EVEN if they’re looking for casual sex, etc.)
  3. Assessment of the attractiveness of your profile picture
  4. If checks are passed at step 2 and 3, click-through to full profile
  5. Attractiveness double-check by viewing additional photos, content of your profile is assessed (not necessarily in that order)
  6. If  steps 1, 2, and 4 are positive, you *MIGHT* get a response

Sending a good message will at minimum potentially get a profile view, but it doesn’t guarantee one. It definitely doesn’t guarantee a response. If you’re messaging women, your odds of getting a response are also very, very low. No way to change that, especially if you’re already sending good messages.

As for why you seem to get more responses on other sites, I’ve got some theories based solely on anecdotal evidence. Because Match is a paid site, people on that site are probably a bit more discerning and less open to dating someone who they feel is a “maybe“. Because it’s a little less casual, the criteria for acceptable romantic interests probably narrows a bit. A “Yes” on OkCupid would probably be a “Maybe” on Match. A “Maybe“on Okcupid is almost certainly a “No” on Match. If you’re using a free service you’re more likely to say “eh, why not” instead of “no, I’m looking for perfect and they aren’t perfect”. It’s just a theory, but I think that being casual about dating tends to get you more responses (hence the whole “Be Indifferent” thing I’ve got going). Also, I think that any dating app that needs you to pay to message people is probably going to include some profiles that may be, shall we say inauthentic. I’m not saying the level of fake profiles on Match is at the same level as Ashley Madison, but they’ve been sued in the past because of allegations that they use dishonest business practices to retain members . Maybe your lack of luck is just that, a lack of luck, but it’s also possible that you’re sending messages to fake profiles. Though, that doesn’t mean that you can’t just chalk this all up to a run of bad luck. Sometimes you’re hot and sometimes you’re cold when you gamble, and searching for the one is always a gamble. You could just be in a cold stretch. Try not to dwell on your lack of success too much. Your luck can always change.

I’d recommend that continue to use Match if you want to. I’ve never used it, but I’m always against a premium model so I wouldn’t recommend continued use of Match since using it and message people costs money, and you aren’t finding success on the site. You might be hesitant to use free dating apps, but I know plenty of people who’ve met and matched through free dating apps and sites, including POF, Tinder, OkCupid and even Hinge. OkCupid and several other sites allows you to select what you’re looking for and search by what others are looking for, so don’t be afraid to use it to try to meet relationship-minded people. They exist, even on the free sites.

If you’re not getting results on Match, explore your other options. Yes, that includes other dating apps, but also don’t be afraid to ask a friend if they know any single friends you might click with. Online dating is currently the 2nd most common way people meet. Number 1? Meeting through friends.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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