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Online Dating Etiquette: 37 Rules for Emailing, Texting & Calling

Online Dating Etiquette: Your Essential Handbook

Embarking on the online dating adventure resembles stepping onto a bustling dance floor full of potential connections. This guide is your shortcut to mastering the digital dance, providing practical rules to enhance your online dating experience.

From crafting that perfect first message to navigating unspoken rules and understanding red flags, we’ve condensed expert advice and real-world examples to equip you for success in the modern dating landscape.

This concise and comprehensive handbook is your go-to resource, offering the essential steps and insights needed to navigate the complexities of online dating. So, please put on your digital dancing shoes, and let’s waltz through online dating etiquette together.

online dating etiquette

Online Dating Emailing Etiquette

1. Craft a thoughtful first message.

Start with a personalized message that shows you’ve read their profile and are genuinely interested.

Example: Mention a shared interest or ask a specific question about something they mentioned in their profile.

2. Mind your grammar and spelling.

Avoid shortcuts and emojis; prioritize clear and correct communication.

Example: “Hi! I enjoyed reading about your passion for hiking. Have you explored any exciting trails lately?”

3. Don’t ghost – communicate responsibly.

If you’re not interested, it’s better to express that politely than disappear.

Example: “I appreciate our conversation but don’t feel a romantic connection. Wishing you the best in your search!”

4. Respect boundaries.

Be mindful of response times and avoid bombarding someone with messages.

Example: Wait for a response before sending a follow-up message and consider their schedule.

Expert Opinion on online dating emailing etiquette:

According to relationship expert Dr Jane Greer, “A great first email should express genuine interest, be concise, and leave room for a response. It’s crucial to make a positive impression from the start.”

Online Dating Texting Etiquette

5. Use emojis wisely.

Emojis can enhance communication but don’t overuse or rely on them to convey emotions.

Example: A smiley face after a lighthearted comment is appropriate, but a string of emojis may be overwhelming.

6. Timing matters.

Be aware of the time zone and the other person’s schedule.

Example: Avoid sending late-night texts or bombarding them with messages during working hours.

7. Be playful, but respectful.

Inject humor into your texts, but avoid offensive or suggestive language too soon.

Example: “Your sense of humor in your profile caught my attention. Got any jokes to share?”

8. Initiate and respond equally.

Balance initiating conversations and responding to maintain a healthy communication flow.

Example: If they initiated the last few conversations, take the lead in starting the next one.

9. No one-word responses.

Keep the conversation engaging by avoiding one-word answers.

Example: Instead of replying with “okay,” expand on your response to keep the dialogue flowing.

Expert Opinion on online dating texting etiquette:

Dr. Terri Orbuch, a relationship expert, emphasizes: “Effective texting involves a balance of initiation, response, and reciprocity. It’s important to be attentive and show genuine interest.”

Online Dating Calling Etiquette

10. Schedule calls in advance.

Respect each other’s time by scheduling calls instead of calling unexpectedly.

Example: “Hey, would it be convenient for you to chat on the phone tomorrow evening?”

11. Choose a quiet environment.

Ensure you’re in a quiet space with minimal background noise during calls.

Example: Avoid making calls from a busy café or a loud environment to facilitate clear communication.

12. Keep conversations balanced.

Allow both parties to contribute to the conversation; avoid dominating or excessive silence.

Example: Pose open-ended questions and actively listen to their responses.

13. Leave voicemails judiciously.

If leaving a voicemail, be brief, precise, and friendly.

Example: “Hey, it’s [Your Name]. I just wanted to say I enjoyed our chat. Looking forward to talking soon!”

Expert Opinion on Online Dating Calling Etiquette:

Relationship coach Jonathan Bennett says, “Phone calls provide a deeper connection. Planning calls, being present during them, and listening actively is essential.”

> Related: 8 Tips to Improve Your Dating App Etiquette

online dating etiquette for ladies

Online Dating Etiquette for Ladies

14. Express your preferences clearly.

Communicate your dating preferences and what you’re looking for.

Example: “I’m looking for someone who values communication and honesty. What are your relationship goals?”

15. Safety first.

Prioritize your safety by not sharing personal information too soon.

Example: Avoid sharing your home address or financial details until you establish trust.

16. Respond honestly, even if it’s a rejection.

Be honest and respectful in your responses, even if you’re uninterested.

Example: “I appreciate your interest but don’t see a romantic connection between us. Wishing you the best!”

17. Set boundaries and stick to them.

Clearly define your boundaries and communicate them assertively.

Example: “I prefer to take things slow initially. Let’s get to know each other before diving into deeper topics.”

18. Be proactive in communication.

If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to express it and take the initiative.

Example: “I’ve enjoyed our conversations. How about we plan a video call this weekend?”

Expert Opinion on online dating etiquette for ladies:

Dr. Christie Hartman, a dating and relationship expert, advises, “Women should be assertive in expressing their needs and desires. It’s crucial to communicate openly and honestly.”

online dating etiquette for guys

Online Dating Etiquette for Guys

19. Respect her decision.

Accept and respect her decision if she’s not interested.

Example: “Thanks for being upfront. I appreciate your honesty. Wishing you the best in your search!”

20. Be confident, not arrogant.

Exude confidence, but avoid coming across as arrogant.

Example: Share your achievements modestly without overshadowing the other person’s contributions to the conversation.

21. Plan thoughtful dates.

Take the initiative in planning dates that align with her interests.

Example: If she enjoys art, suggest visiting a local gallery followed by dinner at a charming restaurant.

22. Active listening is key.

Pay attention and actively listen to what she’s saying.

Example: Reflect on her comments and ask follow-up questions to show genuine interest.

23. Give her space.

Allow her the space to initiate communication and express her thoughts.

Example: If she hasn’t messaged in a day or two, allow her to reach out on her terms.

Expert Opinion on online dating etiquette for guys:

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, a psychologist and dating expert, emphasizes, “Confidence is attractive, but humility and active listening are equally important. It’s about finding the right balance.”

Online Dating Etiquette According to Reddit

24. Read the subtext.

Pay attention to subtle conversation cues to understand the other person’s feelings.

Example: If they mention feeling overwhelmed, consider slowing down the pace of communication.

25. Respect others’ opinions.

Be open-minded and respectful of diverse opinions within the online community.

Example: Even if you disagree, express your thoughts diplomatically without dismissing others’ perspectives.

26. Learn from others’ experiences.

Read and learn from other users’ experiences to improve your online dating approach.

Example: Take note of success stories and cautionary tales to refine your strategies.

27. Be authentic, not performative.

Be genuine in your interactions; avoid adopting a persona to impress others.

Example: Share your true interests and experiences rather than presenting a curated version of yourself.

Expert Opinion on online dating etiquette from Reddit users:

While Reddit may not have a singular expert opinion, the collective wisdom of its users provides valuable insights. Relationship expert Dr. John Gottman suggests, “Shared experiences and a sense of community contribute positively to online dating success.”

> Related: The 10 commandments of online dating

Online Dating Etiquette When You’re Not Interested

28. Be honest and direct.

If you’re not interested, communicate it clearly and respectfully.

Example: “I appreciate your time but don’t feel a romantic connection. Wishing you the best in your search!”

29. Avoid leading someone on.

Refrain from giving false hope or ambiguous signals if you’re not genuinely interested.

Example: If you know you’re not looking for a serious relationship, make that clear early on.

30. Express gratitude.

Acknowledge the time and effort the other person invested in getting to know you.

Example: “Thank you for our conversations. While I don’t see a romantic connection, I value our time chatting.”

31. Don’t ghost.

Ghosting is hurtful and leaves the other person in the dark; opt for open communication instead.

Example: If you’ve decided it’s not a match, express that respectfully rather than disappearing without a trace.

32. Maintain a respectful distance.

Once you’ve communicated your lack of interest, avoid unnecessary contact.

Example: Resist the urge to reach out casually, which may give mixed signals.

Expert Opinion on online dating etiquette when you’re not interested:

Dr Julie Spira, a cyber-dating expert, advises, “Being upfront about your feelings, even if they are not romantic, is essential to maintain integrity and respect in online dating.”

online dating etiquette multiple partners

Online Dating Etiquette for Dating Multiple People

33. Disclose if you’re dating others.

Be transparent about dating multiple people to avoid misunderstandings.

Example: “I want to be upfront; I’m currently exploring connections with a few people. How do you feel about that?”

34. Prioritize honest communication.

Communicate openly about your intentions and the level of commitment you’re comfortable with.

Example: “I enjoy getting to know you but also seeing others. How do you envision our connection evolving?”

35. Respect others’ time.

Avoid double-booking or cancelling plans last minute due to other dates.

Example: Plan your schedule thoughtfully to ensure you can invest time in each person you’re dating.

36. Assess your feelings honestly.

Regularly check in with yourself to understand your evolving feelings for each person.

Example: Reflect on your emotions and be honest with yourself about the nature of your connections.

37. Set clear expectations.

Ensure everyone involved understands the nature of your dating approach.

Example: Communicate whether you’re open to exclusivity or prefer a more casual dating dynamic.

Expert Opinion on online dating when dating multiple people:

Psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina suggests, “Honesty is crucial when dating multiple people. Communicate your intentions to avoid hurting others or creating confusion.”

Online Dating Etiquette FAQ

What are the Unspoken Rules of Online Dating?

Q: What unspoken rules should I be aware of in online dating?

A: While not explicitly stated, some unspoken rules include respecting privacy, being honest, responding promptly, prioritizing safety, and maintaining consistent communication.

What are the Do’s and Don’ts of Online Dating?

Q: What should I do and avoid doing in online dating?

A (Do’s): Craft thoughtful messages, be respectful, use emojis wisely, be transparent, and prioritize safety.
A (Don’ts): Avoid ghosting, overusing emojis, lying in your profile, pressuring for intimacy, and ignoring red flags.

What is the Online Dating 3-Day Rule?

Q: Is there a “3-day rule” in online dating, and should I follow it?

A: The “3-day rule” suggests waiting three days after the first date before contacting someone. Modern dating encourages a more responsive approach based on the flow of the conversation.

What is a Red Flag in Online Dating?

Q: How do I identify red flags in online dating?

A: Red flags include inconsistent stories, avoiding in-person meetings, pressuring for personal information, limited profile information, and overly aggressive behavior.

Start Following these Online Dating Etiquette Rules Now

Embark on your online dating journey with newfound confidence armed with the rules we’ve uncovered for successful digital interactions. From crafting that perfect first message to navigating the intricacies of texting, calling, and beyond, our guide aims to be your trusted companion.

Remember, the key to a fulfilling online dating experience lies in sincerity, respect, and effective communication. By incorporating these rules into your digital dance, you’re not just navigating the world of online dating; you’re mastering it, creating meaningful connections that have the potential to last a lifetime.


Picture of MyDatingAdviser Team

MyDatingAdviser Team

The team at MyDatingAdviser.com are relationship science experts, writers and dating coaches. They understand that human connection is the motive and result of a meaningful life. They believe the purpose of relationships is not to have another who might complete you but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.