Is Silence Rejection With Online Dating?

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Is silence a form of rejection with dating online? If you email a woman and she doesn’t respond, is she not interested? Sadly, yes, silence is rejection when you are dating online. Actually, silence is a pretty bad sign regardless of whether you’re using an online dating site or a more traditional method.

The standard dilemma with online dating is the question: is it better to email someone back and reject them forcefully or just remain silent and allow them to forget about it. Having experienced both forms of rejection more times than I can remember when I was dating online, I can say that the second is far preferable.

Many people remain a little too hopeful and look for excuses as to why someone might not reply to their contact. Silence, though, is an absence of a response. And an absence of a response means that there isn’t enough interest to encourage the response. This, however indirect, ends up being rejection.

Reverse the situation and imagine someone you were interested in contacted you. Would you wait a week to write them back? Normally, no. A very small number of people believe they have to play games to get dates and may wait for a week to respond but they are the exception, not the rule. The rule is that when one person is interested in another, they’ll respond in a timely fashion. Even if someone you contacted did wait a week to get back to you, you have to then ask yourself this question: Am I willing to play games with my dating life? In either case, the lack of response is a bad sign.

As I said above, silence was my preferred method of rejection. Actually, when people have asked me for advice on whether they should directly reject someone, I have suggested silence as the best option.

My advice is to forget about the silence. A lack of responses is not the end of the world and there are many reasons it can happen (many of which have little or nothing to do with you).



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. Amir  April 4, 2011

    I think silence is best on the first message received. If you’ve been corresponding for several weeks, and then decide you’re not really interested, silence is still okay (although maybe just letting it die naturally by “super slow” responses, works easier and politer).

    If you’ve been on a first date, and there was no rudeness or dislike , but you didn’t click….hmm. Personally I’d much prefer a simple polite message saying so, so that I didn’t worry that I offended or annoyed my date. Although I can see why some women would prefer silence as the easier way – it’s not rude, perse.

    The most awkward situation I ever had, was where a woman agreed to go out on a date with me, gave me her number, we worked out a tentative time – then she vanished and went silent because she changed her mind. (She finally told me a month later, when I inquired what happened :S). That kind of behavior is the surest way to make the guy uncomfortable, and to lead to potentially awkward messages/emails both ways. Be firm, be clear, be polite.

  2. Jake  March 7, 2012

    Silence can be rude and painful. I was communicating with a girl for a while, and she always responded with in minutes. So, when I finally sent her a message that I’d like to get to know her, and meet for a for a drink, she never responded. The website tells you when the person was last online, so it implies they got your message, but chose to ignore it.

    I guess you can’t create fantasies that women will be as forward as men, which I should have anticipated.

  3. Heather  December 9, 2012

    I feel very strongly about this – because rejection in any form hurts, and it’s only fair to do your best to not hurt someone. So the rule I’ve made for myself is that if someone sends me a ‘flirt’, I do not need to respond. They’ve made one click – they’ve invested nothing of themselves in it, so I’m not obligated in any way.
    However, if I have shared any emails or phone calls with them, or made any promises about writing or calling or seeing them again, silence is not sufficient. They deserve a quick note with any excuse in the book…then they are not waiting and wondering.
    I am appalled at the lack of manners displayed by many people who are online dating. I’ll call you Friday; I’ll call you at 10am; I’d like to see you Sunday; can you come out to dinner on Monday? These are all true – men said these things to me on the phone and did not follow through. I cannot imagine doing that to a friend in the rest of my life, and I would not do it to an online friend either!

    • Exagerado  July 24, 2016

      I wish there were more people like you.

      Nowadays, keeping the word means next to nothing to so many people, sadly. I blame their breeding, they learn from their educators (most times parents, I’m sorry to say).

      Regarding silence as a form of rejection, I refuse to do that. Myself, I rather prefer the kind of message “Thank you but I’m not interested”. For me it doesn’t hurt and it shows class. I write personal thoughtful messages, and receiving silence in return is rude and disheartening.

      We are all human, for god’s sake. Let’s play “being human for a while” to quote Robert Wyatt.

      If someone sends me a message and I’m not interested, I send the automatic rejection message meetic has for this type of situation. “Thank you for your message, I read your profile, but I think we are not compatible. Sorry and good luck.”.

      If the person insists I will just have to block her.

      But I will not let anyone with an answer. Ever.

  4. Tami  August 19, 2013

    This is really bad advice. You should never ignore someone if they write you. Winks and other clicks don’t count. There is nothing wrong with saying:

    Thank you for contacting me. I don’t think we’d be a good match. I wish you all the best in your search.

    It’s a nice way of acknowledging the other person and wishing them well. We’re not going to be liked by everyone nor can we date everyone we contact but we should, at least, thank them for their efforts.

    • Exagerado  July 24, 2016

      I wish I read your message prior to my comment. You’d save me a bunch of words 🙂

      Spot on my friend, Agreed 100%.

      It doesn’t hurt to be kind.

  5. Secrios  January 15, 2015

    Personally it is the opposite. People go crazy when they don’t receive a message, not the other way around. You just hurt people for your own benefit.

    • Exagerado  July 24, 2016

      I agree. It is selfish.

  6. it matters  September 5, 2015

    I dated online. silence works well in some situations but not all. If you are initiating a contact for the first time and there is no response that silence is enough.

    On the other hand if contact has been established and you are chatting and there is silence from the other party well that is sore.

    Telling, the fellow you do no longer want to continue the chat will be better as that gives the contact some kind of closure to move on.


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