A common complaint women have in online dating, is that men send them messages that ‘aren’t trying’. Messages like ‘Hey, how are you?’ or ‘DTF [down to fuck]?’.
Sending these kinds of messages are what I call a low-cost strategy.
On the flip side – it can be frustrating (and time consuming) for a guy to craft out a personalised first message that addresses the girl’s profile, only to receive no response. Remember there are potentially dozens of girls in the dating pool that he might consider dating matches, and he doesn’t necessarily have the time or the inclination to craft out messages to each one individually. From his point of view, it makes sense for him to prioritise putting effort into messages where there’s some level of reciprocal interest.
A low-cost strategy is sending a first message requires little effort, time, or emotional investment, and waiting to see if it gets a response. A more sophisticated low-cost strategy is to create a template message that one simply copy and pastes to every person they’re interested in talking to. For example off the top of my head a message like ‘Hey! You look really interesting and fun to talk to! How are you finding the online dating game?’ This message could be tweaked and tailored as the guy works out what works and what doesn’t.
What’s advantageous about this strategy from a guy’s perspective is the initial low cost of initiating contact and starting a conversation. If the girl replies the message then it’s an indication that she’s read his profile and she has some level of reciprocal interest, making it worthwhile for the guy to now put investment into the conversation.
The content of the first low-cost message also serves a self selection filter for the kind of person you’re wanting to talk to. Email scammers use this strategy – email scams are intentionally written in broken English and in a way that’s fairly obvious it’s a scam. This serves to filter out the people who are too smart to fall for the scam. The scammer doesn’t want to waste their time corresponding with people who will eventually work out it’s a scam and not follow through. So instead the write the email in a way such that only people who are stupid enough to fall for the scam, reply to the email in the first place.
This is essentially what ‘DTF’ messagers are doing. They’re not assuming that every person they’re messaging is there for immediate casual sex, they’re filtering for the people who are going to respond to such a lazy message. There are more sophisticated versions of the ‘DTF’ message. For example a friend received this message:
Which in my opinion is a bit more clever (with the exception of the unfortunate choice of abbreviation). If a girl responds to this message then he knows how to proceed. (My friend didn’t continue this conversation).
In my opinion ‘How are you’ and ‘What are you up to tonight?’ messages are actually pretty reasonable, and it’s a shame that they’re considered unattractive.
These messages can be interpreted as an invitation to start chatting. Presumably if you’re both online at the same time you’re bored or you have some free time, in which case why not engage in some banter? I also think that ‘What are you up to tonight’ or ‘What have you been doing today’ is a good conversation starter. If the person is an interesting and active person, they’ll have a good story to tell. ‘I’ve been surfing’, ‘I went for a run and then had coffee with my friends’, ‘I’ve been doing some writing’. This gives a good and attractive snapshot of the kind of person they are.
I suspect that the reason a ‘What are you up to tonight’ message doesn’t stand out from all the other ‘What are you up to tonight’ messages. That’s where pursuing a copy-paste strategy might be more effective.
Wrapping it up
If you’re at a point with online dating where you’re frustrated then you might be taking it too seriously. My intention for this post is not to suggest that sending copy-paste messages is absolutely the best the strategy (though it might be worth experimenting with, why not?). It does shed some light on why men may act the way they do on online dating.
Personally I find myself swinging between high-cost and low-cost strategies. Sometimes I’m in the mood and send a personalised paragraph or a clever joke, and other times I’m bored but impatient and send a message like ‘How do we start a conversation?’.
While I was writing this I decided copy paste a message to a few girls on OkCupid. However, I was switching between doing that, and editing this, and I accidentally copy pasted a line from here instead.
What I was meant to send: “Hey, so I’m interested to hear about your experience on online dating, are you wiling to to talk to me about it?”
What I sent: “From a guy’s perspective, sending these kinds of messages are what I call a low-cost strategy.”