Dear Charly: what should I do when a match stops replying?
Our resident agony aunt, dating expert Charly Lester, offers advice on what to do when someone you’re messaging online suddenly stops replying
A match and I were exchanging messages but it’s now been a week since we’ve been in contact. She’s been online and viewed my profile but still not responded to my last message. Should I carry on waiting or send her another message? I don’t want to lose my chance or be left hanging anymore!
Thanks for your question!
Okay, so without seeing your full conversation, it’s a little tricky to analyse too deeply. But I hope these general pointers will help you.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that people correspond different on online dating sites than in other areas of life. Until you meet someone face to face, it’s a lot easier to be rude or dismissive of people and to act in a way that you never would in person. As a result, we live in an age of passive rejection – sometimes it can be easier to simply leave a conversation, rather than admitting that you don’t want to take things further.
Secondly, we all behave differently online. While some of us will only engage in conversation with people we see a real future with, others will chat to multiple people at the same time and exchange a number of messages before deciding they’re not interested and stop replying. You need to keep in mind that not everyone will behave the way you do, so just because someone is chatting to you, it doesn’t mean that she feels the exact same way that you do.
That being said; because we all behave differently online, we all have different online dating behaviour patterns. While some of us diligently dedicated time a site every day, checking our inbox, using pop-up notifications and replying promptly to every message, others might not visit as regularly. They might not have regular access to the site or feel that a week’s gap between messages is a long time. Modern technology also means that we can easily read a message and then completely forget to reply. I’ve lost count of how many WhatsApp messages from friends and relatives that I see, reply to in my end, and don’t actually get around to messaging back! Your match might just be busy and it’s slipped her mind to get back to you.
If you’ve only sent one unanswered message, then I would suggest messaging again. It’s been a week, so it’s a reasonable enough gap to check back in with her. Ask a question – something that requires a response – but don’t quiz her about why she hasn’t replied to your last message.
After that, don’t message again. If she fails to reply to two messages in a row then it’s unlikely that she’s planning to stay in contact.
Sadly, while it can be tough to get your head around at first, modern dating is a numbers game. You have to remember that people will be talking to other people as well as you. Try not to put all of your eggs in one basket by only messaging one person at a time. Chat to a few people and see how things develop. You can obviously then whittle them down once you’ve met up in person.
Talking to a number of people will also mean that you fixate less on one particular match. That way you can be a bit more relaxed and casual when they’re messaging you – more like you would behave if one your friends were to send you a text. One of the tough things about online dating is that it can be easy to build someone up in your head, especially if you chat to them too much before meeting up. By talking to multiple people online, you can stop yourself from messaging one person too much. And then, once you’ve established that there’s a connection, get out there on a date – that’s when the fun really starts!