Contacting a person on OKCupid a second time, after they'd left and returned?
October 9, 2012 2:45 PM   Subscribe

I messaged a woman, who seemed a fantastic match, on OKCupid. She didn't respond, and 2-3 days later deactivated her account. Some months later, she shows up again in my favorites list - same profile reactivated, again listed as single. The optimist in me thinks that last time I messaged her was perhaps just unlucky timing and she might be more interested now. Is this an exception to the general rule of "message a woman exactly once, and, if she doesn't respond, write it off and move on"?

In this case, would it be acceptable to send her a second message, without seeming desperate or creepy? And should I send an entirely new message, as though the first never happened, or something just along the lines of "hey, I see you're back, and I'd still be interested."

If it matters, we're both attractive late-20s heterosexual professionals in a major city - i.e. we both presumably receive a good amount of OKCupid traffic.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is totally fine. I think the so-called rule about messaging women exactly once is just a shorthand for "don't be a creep and if you're not sure how to not be a creep, follow these guidelines". I'd replace "I'd still be interested" with something brief and relevant to her profile, but still acknowledge that you've messaged her before.
posted by tapir-whorf at 2:48 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

The fact that you actually remember her from browsing several months ago is pretty great. Tell her that in your message.

Which you should send.
posted by phunniemee at 2:48 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, totally agree with tapir-whorf. I wouldn't have any problem with this.
posted by randomname25 at 2:49 PM on October 9, 2012

"Oh, hey, you're back. I tried to write you a while ago, but your account was down. Why the virtual fan dance?"
posted by mochapickle at 2:49 PM on October 9, 2012

I most emphatically would NOT send mochapickle's message, however. I can see where a few people might find it funny, but to me it comes off as intrusive and entitled.
posted by randomname25 at 2:51 PM on October 9, 2012 [100 favorites]

The fact that you actually remember her from browsing several months ago is pretty great. Tell her that in your message.

I would actually suggest NOT doing that. I would feel slightly weirded out by that- like, has this guy been thinking about me every day for months? It is 98% likely that she does not remember who you are, and it's been several months, so you may have changed in that time anyway. Just message her as if for the first time.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:52 PM on October 9, 2012 [33 favorites]

I would be creeped out that you had been, like, keeping an eye on me if you mentioned it. I would just send your usual charming message as if you'd never spoken to her before. But do it -- worst case, she will just ignore you again, you know?
posted by Countess Sandwich at 2:54 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd hazard a guess that you were unlucky in your timing last time: she may have found a relationship and deactivated her account as a result. I think you're OK to message her again (once) now that she's back on the market. If she declines to respond, then don't follow up.
posted by asnider at 2:55 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would message her again as if it's the first time. Chances are she might have only a vague memory of your message, especially if she was about to deactivate her account for a bit.

Don't acknowledge that you remember her profile, since as others have said this might be misconstrued. Also no to "fan dance" type comments that imply she disabled her account as a strategic attempt to be coy, rather than something she just felt like doing.
posted by sweetkid at 2:56 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Message as if it's the first time. Creepiness thresholds online are way low, and that could easily come off as... off.
posted by verbyournouns at 3:00 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I most emphatically would NOT send mochapickle's message, however.

Er, this exact message actually did work on mochapickle once. Entitled, sure, but I found it a cheeky and appropriate opener. The rest of the message was good on its own, and I wouldn't have responded if it hadn't been, but it was flattering to know that someone had noticed and remembered me.
posted by mochapickle at 3:03 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh god. Maybe I should have been creeped out.
posted by mochapickle at 3:04 PM on October 9, 2012 [16 favorites]

Seconding that the "fan dance" comment gave me an immediate visceral feeling of creepy ew. I would leave that bit out at the very least.
posted by KathrynT at 3:04 PM on October 9, 2012 [20 favorites]

A counter-anecdote:

Back when I tried online dating, I was messaged twice by the same person and the second message did not mention the first attempt. My conclusion was that the person must send so many messages that he cannot remember messaging me earlier, and is therefore a player and not actually interested.

However, I recall that the messages were generic in tone, so the advice above about picking something out in her profile and making the message current is a good counter to that pit-fall.

Good luck!
posted by girlpublisher at 3:07 PM on October 9, 2012 [12 favorites]

See, and I would be a little put off if I did remember your first message and you didn't acknowledge it (on preview: same reaction as girlpublisher). I would not be bothered by you remembering me, regardless of whether or not I remembered you. I mean, heck, OKCupid tells you the last time you messaged a particular person, so mentioning that does not make you a creepy stalker. I see the same guys in my matches all the time, so my first assumption would be that OKCupid thinks we'd be good together, not that you've been searching for my username for the last 12 weeks until I came back up.

I'd probably open with something like, "I tried this several months ago, but hopefully the timing's better now..." and then go on with a typical first message.
posted by natabat at 3:08 PM on October 9, 2012 [25 favorites]

It's not that she would be more interested now, just possibly interested again. That is, she probably dated someone for a bit, and now is back. I think you can message her again, but I wouldn't put it in terms of being interested, just "Hey, I remember you! How's it going?" Light, man...light. If she doesn't respond to that, then move on.
posted by rhizome at 3:27 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

The "fan-dance" line's effectiveness depends on who you are, in general. If it came from someone like my boyfriend (who had a fantastic, fantastical profile on OKC, through which I met him), it would be appropriate and amusing, and fit his style of whimsy. If it came from someone who did not come off as fun-loving/quirky in their profile, then it's creepy/trying too hard.

Send her another message, mention that you reached out to her in X month, and keep the rest of the email light and casual, maybe mention what you've been up to in the interim. Expect to be recognized, but don't assume you will be.

The "still interested" phrase bugs me, though. The "still" implies holding a torch was held while she was gone, and you didn't look for other dates.
posted by itesser at 3:40 PM on October 9, 2012

Whether or not you use the virtual fan dance line, it's so particular that you shouldn't use it because if it is what wins her heart, and she does a Google search for some odd reason later on, you will be busted. And then we'll all be sad and somewhat culpable.

Here's the thing... if I was interested in someone and they showed that they had been paying that much attention to me, I'd be flattered. If I wasn't interested, I'd be creeped. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing how she feels, and any advice to the contrary -- especially which way doing something like that would swing her if she "wasn't sure" -- is so personal to that person that it's a crap shoot.

Personally, given your explanation, I'd try "I think I messaged you before but then I haven't seen your profile around since" or some version of that. It acknowledges something she may be aware of (and offended if you don't remember) It's a bit of a white lie but it also doesn't come across as "I'M WATCHING YOU."

(but I'm not a woman, and women may have much more finely tuned (for good reason) creep-o-meters than I do.)

But however you do it, I think a second message, given the circumstances you described, is a-ok.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:40 PM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

I definitely think you can feel free to send a second message - worst case, she doesn't respond again. Believe me, women on okcupid get tons of creepy messages, and so if she happens to be slightly creeped out and not respond, it's not going to, like, ruin her day or anything. I would briefly acknowledge the previous message, but not make a big deal of it - I've had guys on okcupid do this, and had no problem with it. Just back off if she doesn't respond or if she asks you to, and you're totally fine. :)
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:49 PM on October 9, 2012

Feel free to send a second message. Don't do it a third time, but it sounds absolutely exactly like you just had bad timing the first time and a second message isn't at all creepy. I think you can be okay mentioning the first time or not, depending on the exact wording you use. Some people might find one weird, some the other, so just go with your gut.
posted by jeather at 4:16 PM on October 9, 2012

I'd do most of it like a normal first message, and then add something like "Oh, by the way, I messaged you a few months back but haven't seen your profile around lately. Hope the timing's better this time around." Unlike natabat, I'd put this at the end of the message. Also, go back and read your original message if you haven't deleted it to make sure you don't say the same thing twice.
posted by breakin' the law at 4:35 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd strongly recommend starting off on a "fresh" start by not acknowledging that you sent her a message that long ago. It comes across as creepy and not endearing. Not to mention that it might be awkward if she doesn't remember at all...

Just wait to see what she says, who knows she may remember you! But, don't say anything unless she says anything and then you two can laugh about it.
posted by livinglearning at 4:41 PM on October 9, 2012

Send a message, but to another, fresh profile. Make it several profiles. Broaden the horizon.

In reality, you have baked in a high level of expectation, and that's why you "want to get it right." Rarely does it work out like that, and more importantly, it also limits you looking at other possibilities out there.
posted by Kruger5 at 4:42 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's OK to send a message that mentions you'd noticed her before as long as you keep that mention really casual -- "just wanted to say 'hi', happened to see you before and liked your profile" etcetera. Something that indicates that you like her and are interested in getting to know her, but nothing that makes it seem like you're already envisioning some kind of relationship with her without even a response from her end. (You don't really know what she's like one-on-one if you've never exchanged messages with her.)

Whenever a guy messages me a few months after a first message and acts like it's the first time, I feel like they've propositioned a ton of women and are coming in a desperate circle back around to me. It's probably not the case. But it's where my mind goes to first when they don't acknowledge individual interest in me. Just a thought FWIW.
posted by houndsoflove at 4:46 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

This happened to me! I had deleted my account, then started a new one with a different name, and a guy recognized me (come to think of it, another person ended up recognizing me from when I was on there two years ago, too, so I guess I must have some kind of face). Say something like, "hey, I was disappointed to find that you had deleted your profile a while back, but when I noticed you again, I remembered how [smart, funny, attractive, blah blah whatever] I thought you were, and wanted to contact you one more time." Just be up front about it and genuine about your interest, and it can be very endearing. (I went out with the guy, because it was just a really sweet, honest note that showed he was actually interested and not just spam-messaging dozens of women or "hay girl ur so cute"-ing at me.)
posted by so_gracefully at 5:23 PM on October 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

The only reason I am married today is because my husband messaged me twice. So there's that.
posted by lydhre at 5:28 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I used to use OkC I recall this happening a lot; I'd message someone with a really high match and we'd send a message or two before they'd deactivate their account (and then reactivate without continuing our conversation).

Conversely when high matches messaged me first I'd feel really pressured to be cool and funny which would create this anxiety spiral where I'd just shut down my profile and hide out for a week or two.

Mostly it was much easier to converse with people on OkC that had not terribly high matche percentages with myself. I've since come to the conclusion that because I can be incredibly neurotic and over think things to death, OkC was matching me up with similarly neurotic over thinkers.

So there's always that.
posted by french films about trains at 6:04 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anecdote: I didn't respond the first time the other fish wrote to me because i was sick of dating and didn't want a LDR. I went offline for a year and moved districts. When I went back online I was contacted again, with a mention of the first contact but not in a snarky way. This time I wrote back because the other fish seemed nice. We are soon to celebrate 5yrs of sharing our pond.
posted by the fish at 6:48 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine married the boy he sent a second message to once the latter was available again. I So I say message again, mention the first time.

Do not mention a fan dance. If nothing else, it gives a kinda stripper-y dance-of-veils vibe. Gah.
posted by maryr at 6:55 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Whenever a guy messages me a few months after a first message and acts like it's the first time, I feel like they've propositioned a ton of women and are coming in a desperate circle back around to me.

That's kind of how I always feel as well when this happens. So I'm in the 'send a quick message showing you're still interested and remember her' camp.

Also, I have on two occasions been moved to disable my account precisely because I received a really quality message and realized I didn't want to respond to it because I was dating someone else. I'm okay hanging onto my account when people are just sending me worthless one-worders, but when someone who is a good match sends me a well thought out first message and I don't respond because I'm already seeing someone, it reminds me that I'm wasting people's time and possibly confidence. In that scenario, I probably wouldn't message the person back if several months had passed, but I would respond if they sent another message.

But honestly, who knows? No harm in trying, really, as long as you don't badger the poor woman to death.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:07 PM on October 9, 2012

She probably started seeing someone exclusively around the time you first messaged her.

You should message her again. Firstly, what, do you think she's going to come to your house and shame you for sending two messages? The worst that can happen is that some anonymous stranger thinks you're weird. So what?

Also, I'll say, as a serial internet dater, that I have no concept of who has messaged me in the past or what I thought of them back then or anything like that. If I like you, I like you. If I don't, I won't reply. Period. If somebody kept sending message after message in an obvious way, I would think they were creepy, but so what? It doesn't sound like you're doing that. And again, who cares if somebody out there thinks you're a creep?

There's also a strong chance that when you sent your first message, she was in a limerance period with someone else and never even saw your message.

I would consider mentioning it in an offhand tongue in cheek kind of way, if you know for damn sure that she knows you've messaged her before. But I don't think it's necessary.
posted by Sara C. at 7:08 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think you should totally write to her again.

And should I send ... something just along the lines of "hey, I see you're back, and I'd still be interested."

That sounds really perfect. I would suggest something like, "Hey, your profile really stood out to me when I first saw it a while ago, and I just noticed it was active again. I'd totally still love to get to know each other, but either way, I hope you have good luck here!"

And yeah, I think it's probably not good to go in the direction of "why did you leave and come back/why didn't you reply to my other message/etc." even if it is just totally a joke. It can make people think, sheesh I don't even know this person and they already want me to explain myself to them? Too demanding.
posted by cairdeas at 7:54 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Self-awareness is your friend here. Message her again, and mention the first time in a friendly/non-prying manner only in that you remember her from earlier in the year and you're still interested. If I were still internet dating, I'd find it nice that the guy remembered months later, as long as he didn't start asking me intrusive questions about why I didn't respond or where I was during that time.

I think the "message a woman exactly once" thing only applies if the woman seems to be consistently active on there, without a months-long break.
posted by wondermouse at 8:26 PM on October 9, 2012

I don't see what would be wrong with saying what you said here. "I messaged you and put you in my favourites, you deactivated so perhaps my timing was unlucky and now I notice you are back listed in my favourites. Care to try again?" (or somesuch) . If she does remember you (or finds you in the account history) and you try again as though it is the first time you will come across as creepy or suffering from dementia.
posted by epo at 5:54 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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