A Glimpse Inside A Woman’s OkCupid Inbox
If you’re a man, you’re probably at least somewhat aware of the online dating tribulations most women experience, but to have any real insight you have to step into her digital shoes.
My friend Kate allowed me to monitor her OkCupid inbox for one week. She is 21 years old and most men would consider her attractive, therefore I think her inbox aptly represents the inboxes of many cute women you message on OkCupid, or any other online dating site or app.
First and foremost, Kate received 119 messages in seven days, an average of 17 messages per day. That’s basically one message for every hour she’s awake. So to develop effective openers in any online dating setting, you should understand what kinds of messages women get inundated with on a daily basis and are most likely to ignore:
23 out of 119 (approximately one in five) messages said little more than Hi, how are you:
Yes, perhaps we can get to know each other, or any one of the other hundreds of thousands of people on OkCupid. Send a woman a message that shows her why she should get to know you, not one that defines the purpose of online dating. This type of message is boring and easily gets jumbled with all the other ones exactly like it.
17 out of 119 (approximately one in seven) openers were too presumptuous, saying nothing more than You’re so beautiful or trying to set a date right away:
Just because people use online dating doesn’t mean they’re desperate for human contact. You can’t expect to materialize a date or a relationship in your opener; you have to message back and forth at least a few times to develop a sense of chemistry. And if you think she’s beautiful then there have probably been hundreds of other guys who had the same thought, so a message saying “Damn you’re so Gorgeous baby” won’t cut it.
Four out of 119 (approximately one in 33) messages tried to solicit sex:
This one below included a link to a picture of the guy wearing nothing but a towel:
There were some bad lines as well:
This guy’s profile said that he’s working toward a career as a “dating/lifestyle consultant,” so he’s probably some kind of PUA wannabe. I think this message supports that assumption:
While Kate’s inbox was largely a barren wasteland of uninspired, unvaried blather, there were a few bright spots. This message was my favorite:
*Kate’s On a typical Friday night I am section of her profile says: Watching tv, hanging out with friends or family, smuggling Somalian refugees into the country … you know, the usual.
I give this opener a nine out of 10. Omar demonstrated that he read Kate’s profile and he used something in it to start a lighthearted banter, which is a good way to stand out from all the boring and/or profane messages other men send.
I subtracted a point because the first sentence says “Hi Kate, I hope you are having a good day.” Don’t forget, when women scroll through their OkCupid inboxes, all they can see is the first sentence. For the purposes of this article, I read every word of all 119 messages, but it would be easy for a woman to glance at the first line of this one and assume it’s another Hi, how are you message and move along.
I would cut out that first sentence and the first half of his second sentence, so it starts off: I would like to inquire about your smuggling services.
As good as the message was, Omar undermined its effectiveness by sending these two followups after he didn’t get a response right away:
Sometimes women take a day or two (or longer) to respond. Your best bet is to wait. Nothing comes off as more desperate in the online dating world than sending message after message when you’re not getting replies. If you don’t get a response to your opener, move on. She would have replied if she wanted to. There’s no reason to get hung up on one woman’s profile when there are countless others you can turn your attention toward.
Here’s my second favorite opener:
It’s not as ostentatious as something I would use myself, but this guy also made the effort to read through Kate’s profile and attempted to relate to her based on something they both have in common. This opener was definitely refreshing, considering all the other messages devoid of substance I watched flood Kate’s inbox.
On the other hand, the guy above was a 33-year-old man wearing a Captain America t-shirt in his profile picture, which might deter some women from responding.
This guy had the right idea, stating his interest while adding the qualifier “not sure though.” It’s generally good to convey at some point, if not in the opener, that she has to win you over too. But this message could be dressed up a little to make it more compelling.
Maybe something like this: Hey, you seem like a cool girl, not sure though. My last girlfriend also illegally smuggled refugees into the country. She got me involved and we ended up getting caught and spending three years in a sub-Saharan African prison. Not trying to go through that kind of ordeal again.
But that’s just my style.
I would also leave out the “What’s going on?” at the end. If she likes the message and your profile, she’ll respond. You don’t need to add a frivolous question to try to generate a response.
I debated whether this message belonged in the “bad lines” category, but I decided I like the concept, even though the execution is flawed.
I’ll give this guy points for brazenness, but suggesting they’ll get married, even as a joke, solely on the premise that they’re both attractive comes off as a little too shallow and arrogant.
How about something like this: Look, it’s obvious we’re the only two people interested in [insert xyz band/movie and/or other nonsexual commonality], so should we just go ahead and get drinks and delete these profiles so no one can call us out on how we met when we get married?
This guy can keep most of the message intact, but changing its preoccupation with looks, which would probably be as off-putting to most women as the standard You’re so beautiful message, gives it better odds of inducing responses.
In closing, here are a couple openers where I wasn’t sure what the guy was going for:
Thanks, Buzz Killington.
Do girls leave you confused as to whether or not they like you?
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About Jordan Murray Jordan is a journalist who has written extensively about dating and lifestyle for multiple publications.