Ask Ava

Ask Ava: Should a Man Message First?

Woman on Laptop

Q: Dear Ava. I’ve been online dating for a few weeks, just finding my way around a few sites but haven’t done anything yet besides create my profile. I still need a few more pictures, and then I think I’ll be ready to start looking seriously. I did put in my profile that I prefer older women and adjusted my search to only show women at least five years older. Since I haven’t had any messages come through yet, I was wondering if many women message at all or if most wait to respond to what comes through to them. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do all the work. lol. I guess I thought that older women would be more forward to going after men online because they’re like that in real life, at least from my experience. What do you think about this? – David

A: Hi David. I always tell online dating newbies not to rush when creating a profile. It’s all you’ve got to represent yourself and it needs to be good to stand out from the hundreds of others that come up in a woman’s search. So tweak away and have a close friend proofread or offer tips on how to make your best qualities shine through.

I’d like to have stats on the ratio of men-to-women first messages, but I’m going to say I do think men take the initiative more, a lot more. And I think this because of my own experience and that of both seasoned online daters I talk to . I think it’s natural for men to pursue women, and I think the majority of women like that, even us older ladies. A woman likes to know immediately that you’re interested and a first message indicates this. Of course some women, like myself, send messages occasionally, and some men like a take-charge kind of woman. It’s just more likely that you’ll get the dating ball rolling if you start sending.

So, get messaging. I recommend really scanning profiles, looking for your red flags (little things that turn you off) and making a list of your favorites. Send well-crafted first messages that are individually curtailed to each woman. No cut-and-paste! I still can’t believe men do this. Be ready for the low-ratio response rate. You have to know that women don’t respond to a man whose profile doesn’t interest her. Few women write back to say, “Sorry, but I just don’t think…” If you don’t have a tough skin, it will be hard at first, but online dating is so much better than hoping to bump into your next hookup or relationship.

Best of luck, David, in your new online pursuits!

Men: Do you think men should message first? Any messaging tips you can share?

Need advice on dating, relationships, or sex? SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION HERE, and who knows, you may appear in the next Cougar World newsletter. -xo Ava

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