Social Question

janbb's avatar

Online dating site etiquette; how do you end it?

Asked by janbb (51643points) November 12th, 2012

If someone has exchanged a few messages with you and you can see s/he is not for you, what should you do? I can see three choices; a) Just stop answering, b) Tell the person a white lie and c) Tell them they are not for you. If you tell them they are not for you, would you tell them why? I have felt lousy when someone just doesn’t answer an initial message and am wondering about the “etiquette” of that as well.

Also, how long would you engage with someone if it is likely, but not certain, that they would not be for you?

O Brave New World!

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28 Answers

Shippy's avatar

Ugh! I’m a chicken, I’d just say I’m going on a round the world trip with a millionaire I just met, so wont be around my computer for at least four years.

gailcalled's avatar

C. Please. You are such a good writer that you can think of something brief and tactful.

Subterfuge is always a bad idea, in my personal experience.

Ask the “unlikely someone” if he is interested in some casual friendly chatting for a while. Or, if you don’t want another occasion when you have to leave the building, say “good-bye” now.

CWOTUS's avatar

Having been on both sides of this, I can tell you with absolute certainty that he I would appreciate the hell out of a “Thanks, but no thanks,” response. And since I would prefer to get those than… the void of the abyss and the wondering if the message was even read or not, I write those, too, as much as I hate to.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Rip the band-aid as tactfully as you can.

rebbel's avatar

Feign a weeklong power cut? ~

elbanditoroso's avatar

Don’t dawdle. State the facts, say good-bye, and move on. Why drag it out for either of you?

gailcalled's avatar

@rebbel: You are still really incredibly annoying with your impeccable and aserbic wit in my native tongue.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Welcome to the “wonderful” world of online dating! Another vote for Option C here. Having participated in it for six months several years ago, I can say that the tactful responses were appreciated. One guy who said, “Why won’t you post a picture? You must be fat.” and ended the message exchange. It was rude, but insightful into what he was looking for. This was better than having him just disappear.

As for how long to continue the correspondence with a potential candidate, this is where there is an advantage with the online dating bit. Because a member is behind a computer screen, several friends have mentioned that they are more comfortable being upfront, versus how they would act in a face-to-face meeting. Your gut instinct is also critical in knowing when to end the correspondence.

Good luck and keep us posted!

tedd's avatar

Does it matter?

I have done all the methods you listed, and have had done all the methods you listed to me.

Everyone in online dating knows what the score is.

ucme's avatar

“I’m sorry, but it seems we don’t have a good online connection, it’s been emotional, but it’s over damn your eyes!”

marinelife's avatar

Definitely tell them.

As soon as you know.

FutureMemory's avatar

Tell them it takes two to tango, and your dancing styles are different enough it would be better to just look for different partners… ;)

gailcalled's avatar

@FutureMemory: Or, in some cases, three.

wundayatta's avatar

For what it’s worth, I always wanted to be told things were over, and given some feedback as well. I like to know how I come across. I tend to use the feedback to change my approach, if it seems like feedback that makes sense for me to respond to.

SomeoneElse's avatar

Pull the plug is my suggestion . . .

Ponderer983's avatar

I’ve done all 3 options with no rhyme or reason as to my decision to use each. But a lot of times if they have sent me a message that I didn’t respond to, then they send me another one, then I definitely tell them I’m not interested. But at the risk of sounding narcissistic, sometimes there are too many e-mails to be sending out “No thank you’s” to them all.

lifeflame's avatar

I don’t answer initial messages if they sound generic (e.g. “You look so cute!”) or are just plain leering/rude. If people don’t answer my initial messages, fair enough. I don’t necessarily need them for me to write me a specific “No thanks”.

However, after a few conversations, then it becomes a bit tricky.
If there’s a very clear reason for things being a dealbreaker, then I tell them straight out why I’m not interested.

What is trickier though, is if I myself can’t put a finger on why this guy is not interesting me even though we are talking about my favourite book. It’s worse if the guy seems sincere and genuinely interested and starts pushing for a meeting. That’s when I evade. For the past few months, I’ve had the excuse of putting things on deep freeze because theatre rehearsals have been getting intense. So I’ve managed to exit by “I need to focus on this right now”.. which is technically not a white lie, but it is evasion.

On the receiving end I appreciate when people do tell me if things are not going to work out instead of just disappearing off; but I will say that I’ve also had conversations that have somehow mutually dribbled out, and I’ve sort of let go of those without feeling that I need to have a clear cut closure.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Just say that you’ve decided you are not ready for a relationship. And wish them good luck that they are a very nice person you’ve just realized that you don’t think this is your time yet and wish them well with their future endeavors that they should have no problems finding someone. Its only online it is not in person it shouldn’t be too bad.


Good luck with your future endeavors

see its not that hard :)

hearkat's avatar

Before I began online dating I took some time to think this through, because I knew that I have always had self-esteem issues, and knew that I would have to deal with both sides of rejection. So I told myself that I could not take it to heart if someone turned me down for any reason. And that was when I developed my dating motto: High standards, Low expectations.

Turning them down was a challenging matter. I am a very strong proponent for honesty. I found that the method depended on the other party and their attitude. Sometimes, you just have to be blunt. Sometimes a little more delicate. But always honest.

I had an initial date with a physician – I deciphered his name from his email address and Googled to confirm that he really was a physician – then he showed up, clearly shorter than 6’ tall and clearly older than he had claimed (despite the hair coloring). Now height and age weren’t dealbreakers – it was the choice to lie about them. I didn’t have the nerve to say anything that evening, but I did email him and say that after some consideration, I find that if he would so easily lie about things that are so obvious, what else would he lie about?

glacial's avatar

Just tell the truth, simply and directly. Anything less is disrespectful to the other party.

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s kind of hard to say “I’m not ready for a relationship” when… you’re meeting people in an online dating site and your profile says that you’re “looking for a relationship”. I don’t mind people guessing sometimes if I might be lying, but I hate to be that obvious.

“I’m not ready for a relationship with you,” is a more honest answer, even if it is more difficult to verbalize.

mazingerz88's avatar

@rebbel Yes, but you would have to wait for a storm strong enough to make it sound credible. : )

creative1's avatar

I usually email them telling them that we don’t seem to have that much in common to continue talking. I feel its rude to keep someone looking for a response thats not going to happen. I do have to admit there are a few that seem not to get it that your trying to put them down nicely and come back why your should continue I will then get a little more straight forward then. There were a few that really didn’t get the hint and I had to block their messages but I would always email them letting them know at that point I would be blocking them so emailing me would be pointless.

janbb's avatar

Just did it. Told him he sounded like a nice guy but I didn’t wnt to string him along and that I was looking for someone who was more academically inclined. I also said that I appreciated his interest.

gailcalled's avatar

@janb; Good for you. Are you feeling relieved, guilty, grown-up?

janbb's avatar

Feeling fine. It hadn’t gone very far. He wished me well in my search and I him in his.

There are so many much more significant issues in my life than online dating but I try not to cause hurt when I can help it.

gailcalled's avatar

Good and true.

How’s the condition of your house?

janbb's avatar

My garage and siding have sustained some damage but I got a very reasonable estimate already for the repair. My psyche took the bigger hit; sleeping around and relying on “the kindness of strangers” is not as much fun as it appears.

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