Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thanks, but no thanks

When you get an email or a "wink" from someone on most dating sites (Plenty of Fish, Match, OK Cupid - I'm looking at you), there's usually an option to click "No Thanks" or "Not Interested" or whatever.

That click prompts a response that basically tells the person, "Thanks, not interested."

It's, like, the meanest form-email in the history of electronic communication.

I (think I) understand why the option is offered - so that the receiver can feel he responded without actually having to go to the trouble of responding. So he can feel he was "polite."

The thing is - I don't think it's polite at all. I also don't think it should be necessary.

If I saw an interesting guy at a party, and I winked, would he feel obligated to walk over to me and give me
Found Here
some line about how he'd just met someone, but he wishes me luck? No.

Would he need to get an objective third party involved to come over and and tell me he appreciated my interest, but doesn't think we're a good match? Certainly not.

He would turn his head and pretend he hadn't noticed. If we had established eye contact, he'd make sure it was broken. Then he'd purposely ignore me for the rest of the evening.

Is that particularly mature or enlightened? Maybe not - but it has been an effective way to communicate disinterest since Adam first starting ignoring Eve so he could pursue other options.

If I "wink" at someone, or send an email, or say I "want to meet" him or send a message saying "so-and-so is interested" and I never hear back, it's very reasonable for me to assume that person does not feel the same.

Which should be OK. I don't know him and he doesn't know me. Unless the interest is mutual, there's absolutely no reason I ever need to hear from him. He owes me nothing, and there should be no expectations. In fact, if I'm doing this whole thing correctly, I sent the "I'm interested" message, and moved on, practically forgetting about it as soon as I clicked send.

But if he feels the need to respond (or send the automatic response), I'm going to get an email. Then I have to go looking to see what he (or the site) had to say. Now not only do I have to actively participate in  my own rejection- I am going to be reminded that I cared in the first place.

Wouldn't it have been nicer (and more polite) to just to ignore me, and let me go along my merry way?

I know some people prefer a response, and some prefer to send one. I won't ever be able to do anything about that (other than write posts like this pleading with them to be more humane).

So I implore you, dating sites - please remove these auto-response options! Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.


  1. How about this as a compromise: when somebody wants to send a wink, they also get to choose whether the "no thanks" option is offered to the recipient of the wink. That way, people who don't like getting "no thanks" replies won't get them, because you won't enable the option when you send the wink, but people who would be interested in that confirmation of disinterest can still receive it (if the winkee chooses to send the "no thanks" option offered to them.)

    1. Brilliant! You're much smarter and more diplomatic than I.

  2. Great points! I always feel weird about sending something off that would be so rude, awkward, embarrassing in real life. I like Matt79's suggestion too. I wonder why that's not an option yet :/ This is Kristen Bright btw - for some reason blogger isn't letting me sign in to comment - yay technology!