My"Wanna go out?" email goes ignored. Standard operating procedure to blow a guy off?

I met a lovely woman at a neutral business-related event last week. We chatted after the gathering broke up and I got the impression that there was some chemistry between us. We exchanged business cards. I did not get, nor did I ask for, a personal email or phone number. (BTW, we don’t work together, nor will we, so that’s not an issue here at all.)

A day or two later I emailed her saying it was nice meeting her and proposing we go for a bike ride (we both like to bike) or something this past weekend. I never got a reply.

Obviously there is the possibility that she never checked her email, or that the note never arrived or it got sidetracked by a spam filter, so I’m reluctant to let the matter totally drop. Still, I suspect I’m just being boyishly naive. The odds are pretty good that she got the note, and simply is not interested, right?

I’m hoping the female Dopers can help me put my suspicions in perspective. How prevalant is the practice of blowing off a first date e-invitation by simply ignoring it?

Well, I wouldn’t ignore it completely, but I’m like that. I’d write a nice “Thanks, but no thanks” email.

That said, past experience has shown that most people don’t like saying no, and will ignore rather than decline.


Check out the various online dating threads, and the number of times men say that women never answer their email on Match, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, and so on.

Yeah, unfortunately there are a lot of rude people out there. Bummer, dude – better luck next time.

Yes, it’s SOP. It’s very quick and easy. Also, if she e-mails you back, it invites further discussion and wasted time. Not that you would argue with her, but a lot of guys would. Keep in mind that an attractive woman is normally bombarded with e-mails, telephone calls, and other advances from men (and women) who want to spend time with her and/or get into her pants. Particularly if she is between the ages of 18 and 30.

Most attractive women seem to develop a certain arrogance as a result of being so WANTED by everyone.

It’s annoying but understandable given the situation they are in. Which is that their star will fade in 10 years or so. By then, they hope to be married. So when they meet a guy, they immediately assess his long-term potential and if he doesn’t meet the test, they blow him off. She can’t afford to waste precious time engaging with some unqualified guy. And anyway, she knows that there will be another 5 guys next week, all eager to go bike riding with her.

In the case of a phone message in the old days I would say absolutely she’s blowing you off. With email it’s hard to be sure. I have four email addresses that I can think of off hand, and one of them I virtually never check (although I also wouldn’t give that one out, either). For any of the other three I might go a day or two without checking.

With a business card e-mail I wouldn’t expect someone not to check, in the context of a job, on at least a daily basis, but even there you can certainly get into the realm of her being honestly too busy deal with it right now (which is also not a positive indication regarding you). OTOH if the business card looked as if it was from an at-home single-operator business that she is trying to get started, then again she might not look at her email that often, if she’s still focused on building the product.

It’s not definite, but it’s definitely how the smart money is betting. Unpleasant as it may be for you, for her, it’s a pure win-win if she’s not interested: no uncomfortable note to write, no careful gauging of tone (cool, but not nasty; firm but civil) , no chance of a mixed signal (personally, I have to hear “Drop dead, creep” before I’m sure a woman’s not interested), and no time invested.

A followup note in a week or two may be called for, but that’s 100-1 against.

I don’t think this is the case, or that it’s very fair (ses she, chiming right in as an ‘attractive woman’ :rolleyes:). But I’ve dated on Plenty of Fish for some months, and as I have a good social life as well I get asked out or emailed by guys quite a lot. It’s not true that women (most, all, some, whatever) don’t answer emails because they’re arrogant or because they get so many they can’t be bothered - sometimes you just don’t know what to say and not hurt the other person. Or it’s because I’m, genuinely, just out of a messy relationship/busy at work/happy being single right now, and I think if I say that it will just sound like a line. (Not on PoF when I was on it, as it’s a dating site, but when guys chat me up or ask me out in the pub and I tell them I’m just not interested in anybody right now, they get this look like, Yeah yeah, I get it.)

In the OP’s case, the fact that it was a business situation and that you exchanged busines cards means even less than an email from a dating site. Kudos to the OP for trying, really, but I know if I got an email like that I would start thinking things like, ‘Shit, does he mean just a bike ride or is he asking me out? If I say I’d like to go on the bike ride, but add I don’t want to see anyone right now, but he didn’t mean it like that, I’ll embarrass him and come across as really big-headed. But, if I go on the bike ride, and he does mean it to be something else, then I’ll feel like I’m leading him on.’

So there are three aspects here - do I accept the bike ride offer or not?, Is there more to it or not?, and, Should I initiate a discussion on this beforehand or not? Given that I probably thought it was just a business chat, or I’m just chatting to someone in the pub because it’s fun, can you blame me for thinking it’s easier just to not reply?

I am genuinely a very polite person who would quite literally inconvenience myself rather than make someone feel embarrassed or awkward. (Idiots and rude people excepted :p.) I would not think I was being rude if I didn’t answer an email like the OP’s, I just wouldn’t know what to say and it would seem the lesser of two evils. YMMV etc etc.

I’d let it ride.

If she’s not interested, another email asking if she received the first won’t help

If she doesn’t check her email until next week for some reason and she is interested, she’ll write back, explain the situation and propose another meeting.

Once again, not sure why people think it’s acceptable to be rude in the dating/personnel relationship world. One wouldn’t blow someone off in a business context this way (if she is indeed blowing the guy off). It shouldn’t be acceptable here either. A simple “very nice of you to ask, but I’m interested in someone else right now.” isn’t that hard to type.

A little over 2 hrs. after I posted here, comes an e-reply from the young woman. It wasn’t very promising, I’m afraid. Basically it consisted of an apology for not getting back sooner due to work busyness, and a hope that I had a chance to go out on my bike ride (alone) since the weather was so nice. End of message.

Oh, well.

Too busy at work = not interested. If she really liked you, and she really was as busy as she might claim, she’d find the time.

I run a business and I disagree. For example, when people fax me an unsolicited resume, I usually just throw it in the trash without responding. I don’t think this is particularly rude.

Perhaps “arrogant” is the wrong word, but I think there is a definite power imbalance. The reason I can throw unsolicited resumes in the trash is that jobseekers need employment a lot more than I need to hire anyone. If I did need to hire anyone, I could just put up a small advertisement and get deluged with resumes.

Honestly, I think a lot of it is that you will face absolutely no negative consequences if you just ignore the e-mail. Whereas responding appropriately will take time and energy. If you really put some time and energy into it, I’m pretty confident you could come up with a response which would be nicer than simply ignoring the e-mail.

Let me put it this way: Suppose that a close girlfriend of yours introduced you to her cousin at a party; you talked for a while with the cousin; and the next day he sent you an e-mail asking you if you wanted to meet him. Assuming you weren’t interested, would you just ignore the e-mail?

Well, personally, as a chick I’ve been burned by doing the ‘nice respondent’ thing. I’ve definitely had some really aggressive guys that assumed that either a) any response had to be positive, and set out to convince me or b) became freakily hostile and called me names or demanded to know why they weren’t good enough for me.

Anymore, I just don’t respond. It’s easier to be a possible spambot than to get harangued.

In a business context? I’d probably send a response, but it’s a difficult position. Even if you don’t work together, she might not want to burn bridges.

Yeah, oh well. I agree.
Write this one off.
Or, you could stalk the hell out of her and keep us posted. Been kind of slow around here.

I’m tempted. She’s cute as all hell – totally my type.

(Kidding, just kidding. About the stalking part, I mean.)

By the way, you’re more likely to get a positive response if you ask in person, or at least on the telephone. It’s harder to say “no” to a live voice. Also, girls respect a man who is willing to put himself on the line like that.

Now THAT is helpful advice. I’ll keep it in mind. Thanks.

I know how guys can be when they are interested in a pretty woman (being a guy myself).

I use a rule for breakups with short term relationships (four months or less I’d say) that I think is appropriate. Be up front and direct with a response. Once. If that isn’t sufficient, the silent method is then acceptable. Not saying that you’re a bad human or anything, I haven’t walked in your shoes. I just think if people are putting their feelings on the line, that basic human empathy and politeness should be the response.

You feel better, he feels better.

Honestly, it’s hard to judge. I ran into a friend last week who berated me for not answering his messages (via myspace) I haven’t seen a single message from him in ages, but he swears he sent me some recently. I would point out that an email “hey, wanna go out” is kind of…even for me being the total nerd I am…odd. You should ask her in person or at the very least over the phone, IMO.

If she implied no by not responding, she’s still going to “not say no” to his face.