No Contact After the First Date

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This article is based off of a third incoming search “after first date didn’t call cancelled a meeting”. I had originally intended to included this with my previous post on phone calls but soon realized the discussion went well beyond that topic.

If you date online long enough chances are you are going to run into a situation where the person you were speaking to “drops off the face of the earth”. This scenario exists in all types of dating but seems to be the preferred method of ending relationships online.

Things normally go something like this: two people meet and one believes they had a nice time while the other thinks otherwise. The dater who enjoyed the date then attempts to contact the other person only to be met by silence. This situation is not limited to meeting on a date. I’ve had cases where I had thought I was having an excellent email conversation with a potential date only to have her go silent on me. I had this happen to me more than a few times when dating online.

In the beginning, I often made excuses for why they were no longer talking to me. I would think to myself, “They must have had to leave town, I’ll contact her again in a week”. Then I would follow through: I would contact her again in a week only to be met with the same silence. Now I know I was just drawing out a situation a week longer than necessary.
Later, when I had my act together with online dating, one lack of a response ended things immediately. I stopped trying to make excuses and started respecting my own time. That is not to say it didn’t bother me any longer (it never stopped bothering me) but I had learned to move on – it was one of the best decisions I made. Occasionally I was even surprised by someone who would contact me after a week or so with some excuse why she hadn’t responded. Interestingly, at this point my attitude had changed from one of excitement to one of annoyance that she hadn’t respected me enough to let me know she would be out of contact. It was my turn to be silent in these cases.

I suspect many people act as I initially did for a few reasons. First, rejection hurts even if it comes in a round-about way. Second, I feel that people are inclined to respect themselves less than they respect their dates. I would have never stopped talking to someone I was interested yet would convince myself it was acceptable for someone else to do exactly that to me. In reality, barring some personal tragedy, either they were not interested in me or they didn’t respect my time. In both cases, they were not worth my time (and aren’t worth yours).

Regardless of how often it happens, admitting that someone is not interested in you can be painful. Here are a few thoughts on reducing the pain of this situation:

  • Give this article on hurt feelings from dating a read. It is not specifically related to online dating rejection but I feel it is a good article to read. If you are basing all your hopes on some fantasy you are building about the guy or girl you haven’t even met yet, the pain will only be greater if/when things don’t work out.
  • As I covered in the guide, dating multiple people is some of the best advice I have to offer. When I had three or four first dates planned over a two week time period, a woman going silent, or rejecting me out-right for that matter, hurt a lot less. It also encouraged me to respect myself as I was no longer inclined to keep some fantasy about any one woman alive at any cost.



About the Author:

Brad initially struggled with online dating but over time became quite successful using it. He met his wife using online dating and has been giving advice and helping people improve their results since 2007. He has written a Free Online Dating Guide to help others find success with online dating. You can learn more about his personal experience using online dating and running this website here.


  1. Terri  June 29, 2011

    Very informative.

  2. Kirby  January 12, 2012

    In my experience (this has happened both to me and I admit I my self have dropped off the face of the Earth once or twice), the easiest way to avoid feeling rejected is to remind yourself that you have no idea what the other person’s situation is. For all you know they may think you are a great prospect but they’re on the verge of getting more serious with someone they met earlier. When you first contact them they are ‘available, but a week later they might not be. Or maybe they have a bad date and decide to take a break. Or maybe (and this is the one I’ve been guilty of) they are new to the process and have simply bitten off more than they can chew and need to drop a few contacts just to keep things straight. Sure it would be nice if they’d let you know that, but the fact is the wild reality of the internet is that most people don’t feel as though they have any sort of obligation to someone they simpy shared a couple e-mail messages with.

  3. Carol  December 5, 2012

    I think it’s really odd that you feel that someone you have only exchanged a couple of emails with owes you an explanation if they decide to not email you any more. Or even if they go out of town for week and come back and then respond to you… do they need to inform you, someone they do not even know, that they will be gone for week? My god, how silly. Of course it is your choice if you choose to continue talking to someone after they are gone and then return however, to expect that someone should tell you their where abouts and how long they will be gone is just nuts to me.

    I can tell you that I have just stopped communicating with men online before and the reason is because I use those emails to gauge whether I want to meet the person in real life. I’m all about meeting as soon as possible (ie. after 3 email exchanges or so). If the emails are boring or give off any vibe I dont like, I do not continue writing and do NOT meet them. I owe them nothing. The emails are screening process for me. Just because I write back doesnt mean I automatically owe you something or HAVE to meet you. It’s not a game I’m playing, it’s that my time is precious to me and I dont want to waste it going out on bad dates…. which I rarely have by the way….because I screen during the emailing.

  4. Brad  December 8, 2012

    Hi Carol – I didn’t feel that someone owes me an explanation when I wrote this. I really wrote this more for people unreasonably holding onto hope than to convince people like yourself to change their approach. I’ll admit that your approach seems a bit aggressive to me (you really wouldn’t let someone know you were going to be gone for a week?) but also admit it is within your right to take this approach.

    You talk about how precious your time is and I respect that. When I say that if a woman is interested but then just disappears only to re-initiate the conversation weeks later that at that point I would rarely respond, I’m really saying that my time is important. There are so many opportunities when dating online…do I really want to deal with someone who may just disappear again? In that sense, aren’t we both say the same thing: our time is important?

    Also, there is a lot of debate on whether we should tell people we’re not interested or just go silent and I have taken the stance that silence is okay.

  5. Sparkling Emerald  January 20, 2013

    I am getting very frustrated with online dating, and even now I have had a frustrating experience with speed dating. I have dates who e-mail me, and seem to want nothing more than a pen pal. I have instigated a 3 e-mail rule, if after we have each sent 3 e-mails (so, really it is a total of 6 e-mails) and I haven’t been asked for my phone # or a face to face meeting, then I simply stop responding. I didn’t join online dating to find a pen-pal ! I made this decision after I had exchanged about a total of 12 e-mails with someone and we were no closer to meeting face to face then when he first viewed my profile.
    Yesterday, I went to a speed dating event, I had 2 matches. One of my matches has not contacted me, and the other sent a very nice e-mail saying he enjoyed meeting me, was happy to see that we were a match and said he hoped I was having a nice weekend. But he did not suggest a follow up date. Since we have met face to face already , and we both selected each other afterwards, I would think it’s obvious that I would like to see him again. I e-mailed him back a nice e-mail saying that I enjoyed meeting him too, and that I was having a nice week-end. I haven’t heard back. I will apply the same e-mail rule here, he has 2 more e-mails to ask me out, otherwise, I’m moving on. I am old fashioned and will NOT initiate that first date, maybe that will hold me back, but I am looking for a take charge kind of guy, who is REALLY INTO me. If I were to suggest that we meet, I doubt that he would be that kind of guy.
    There is some bad advice out there for men (at least I think it is bad) that tells them to make the woman make the first move, or to wait 7 – 9 days after first contact to ask her out. The stated purpose of this behaviour is to confuse her and get her off balance in order to gain the upper hand. Since I have been back in the dating world, I have had men hand me their business cards and other behavior that suggests that they want ME to ask them out. It makes me wonder if they have been heeding that bad advice, or if they are behaving this way for reasons of their own. In either case, I won’t take the bait. If a guy doesn’t like me enough to pursue me, then he’s just not the one for me.

    • Brad  January 27, 2013

      Well…as you’ve probably picked up on my site here, I think waiting 7 to 9 days is a waste of everyone’s time. I’d rather my dates be “on balance” anyway!

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