What's your online dating hit rate?
March 9, 2013 6:46 PM   Subscribe

How often should I expect to not click with someone? How often should I expect to not hear from the person again?

I just turned thirty and I ended a ~10 year relationship in April of last year. I have quite limited experience dating because I met my former boyfriend in college spontaneously and I didn't date much in high school. I went on about three dates since I broke up with the person and it feels like foreign terrain to figure out the expectations and subtexts and just the whole thing, really.

Anyway, two of the dates were with men I met online. In both cases, it wasn't like instant super-attraction but I thought they seemed like nice people who I'd have been open to getting to know better and seeing again. Anyway, nothing came of it in either case - The first date kind of ended abruptly after dinner and it was like, "Well.. That was fun. Have a good night! [Hug]" and I didn't hear from him again. I'd sent him an email the next day to say thanks for dinner, that I'd enjoyed meeting him, etc. In the second case, there's only been a week to over-analyze everything, but we did a bit of chatting over gmail and after he didn't ask me out Thursday for the weekend or beyond I figured I would most likely be cutting my losses on this one.

Anyway, I'm still trying to sort of figure out where I stand post- the big breakup in terms of one day having a successful love life (it's been optimistic so far, but I'm a bit worried about keeping it that way). I find the rejection part of online quite difficult, and wondering what it was, and not knowing. I was trying to decide how much to continue to pursue online dating, because I'm a bit afraid of going on, say, 15 unsuccessful first dates and then just not knowing where I stand. At one point should I start questioning my self-presentation or trying to figure out what I did wrong? 2 dates with that result in no second date? 15? What kind of hit rate should I realistically expect? I guess on some level it would make me feel better to know that it's normal to never hear from people again, but I don't know if that is normal? Advice?
posted by mermily to Human Relations (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of hit rate should I realistically expect? 

Approx 1/5 under optimal conditions.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:15 PM on March 9, 2013

Depends on what's a "hit."

I find it to be about 80-90% I never see them again, whether it's their choice, mine, or mutual.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:30 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Not knowing anything about you or the guys you're meeting, it's hard to say what kind of success rate you "should" expect. However, I think it may be counterproductive (not to say catastrophizing) to think of three dates that didn't go anywhere as some kind of year-long dating shutout.

In the case of the guy you met last week, just ask him for another date. If he says no you can stop worrying and trying to read his mind/gchat tea leaves.

This answer brought to you by the department of advice I could probably stand to follow myself
posted by zeptoweasel at 7:31 PM on March 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best advice I think is to expect a lot of dates that go nowhere and so you have to make sure you have a good time during the process. If dates are something you Have To Do, they're going to grind you down. But if they're a fun way to spend part of an evening, then life is good, regardless of how many of them are 2nd or 3rd dates.

Fortunately, the more dates you go on, the less you'll feel out of your element and easier it may become to just enjoy yourself.
posted by anonymisc at 7:38 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think Kruger5 gave you a pretty good answer.

When I was your age and between long term relationships, I went on about 75 first dates during a calendar year. I asked about ten for a second date. Out of the other 65, probably 50 were quality women but just not for me (perhaps vice versa!) while the other 15 were not relationship material.

So reversing the perspective, if you are getting a second date for every five (as Kruger5 said) to six (from my numbers) dates then you are doing fine. If you go on ten to a dozen first dates without getting a second date, then you might want to self-assess. But I was doing this in person (90%) or through friend matchmatching (10%), and internet dating might be more challenging (never tried it), so your proposed number of fifteen is a solid "line in the sand" as well.

So that'd be my final answer -- if you go 0/15, then you might need to step back and reflect on what you are doing. Until then, date as much as you can and try to seek out what you want.

Good luck!
posted by 99percentfake at 7:38 PM on March 9, 2013

I was probably 1/3 on okcupid for second dates, but I wasn't particularly picky about calling people back if the date was only so-so. I really should probably have followed up on 1/6 of them.
posted by empath at 8:28 PM on March 9, 2013

This answer depends so much on where you live, what you're profile's like and what you're ultimately looking for.

It is normal to never hear from people again, even though it's kind of shitty of them (even though I've vanished on cool people myself, just because I liked them as cool people but I feared it would be too datey next time I saw them and I didn't want to date them).

You can also throw The Rules away and call them for a second date. Then if they say no, you don't have to wonder where you stand, you know the guy doesn't want to date you and you just move along to the rest.
posted by mibo at 7:07 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would say 1/10. However, I'm not overly picky about who I will go on a first date with, and much more so about who I'll go on a second date with.

What works for me:
- Keep the first date short and sweet - get coffee or a drink, not dinner. If you hit it off, you can always extend the date. If you're uncomfortable for any reason, you can politely walk away after one drink.
- Don't get too worked up about the dating process - every dull boring date that goes nowhere brings you one step closer to meeting someone you will hit it off with. Enjoy it for what it is.
- Sometimes you think you hit it off and then nothing happens. There are guys who never followed up after what seemed like a lovely first date - no idea why. Maybe his ex called him later that night. Maybe he was afraid I would never accept his foot fetish. Maybe he thought I wasn't into him.
- If you want to go out again, let them know. If they don't respond, don't fret.

After a long string of blah dates you might want to re-assess, but that's another askme.
posted by bunderful at 8:37 AM on March 10, 2013

Like others said, there are a lot of variables, but it's safe to say that for most people a majority of 1st dates will not result in a 2nd date, and a large majority of 2nd dates will not result in even a short-term relationship.

But that doesn't mean it's hopeless. That just means that to increase your chances of finding a relationship you just have to meet as many people as possible.

Also I think it helps to try to reframe a 1st date from this high-stakes thing where you could end up meeting your next love (even though you could, it's just not helpful to think of it that way), to meeting someone you have things in common with for coffee and conversation.
posted by Asparagus at 9:37 AM on March 10, 2013

> Fortunately, the more dates you go on, the less you'll feel out of your element and easier it may become to just enjoy yourself.

Yeah, you need to stop thinking "This may be the one! (And if so I won't have to do this stupid stuff any more!)," which will just lead to depression, and treat it as a crapshoot where the odds are pretty decent (so it's worth keeping on) but you're still going to have a significant number of misfires. Try to enjoy the process. I forget how many dates I went through—quite a few once-only, several multiple dates, a few semi-relationships that lasted for a couple or few weeks—but at the end of the process I met my wife, and it all became worth it. Persevere!
posted by languagehat at 11:30 AM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


A: Is it because you were asked to go on a date?
B: Is it because you find them attractive?
C: Is it because you have something in common that you enjoy doing together?

A: That's throwing a dart at a dart board. A HUGE dart board. Your odds suck.
B: That's throwing a dart at an attractive dart board. Your odds still suck.
C: This is more like walking up to the dart board and putting a dart on a spot labelled FUN to see if it sticks. Having fun increases your odds dramatically. Who doesn't like to have fun?!

Meeting for drinks is fine, but meeting for drinks and a game of Fiction Scrabble tends to be hilarious, and for me, it pretty much guarantees a 2nd date. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

If I'm meeting someone who is into photography, I'll suggest meeting for a photo walk around town. Even just a camera phone is more than good enough. A photo walk is a lot of fun, and it makes for a less stressful first date than sitting across the table from someone at a bar and doing the typical (and often generic) first date chit chat. Eventually, we do head to a pub to look over the photos, which leads to more conversation, more sharing, and the entire experience creates a much easier way to bond with someone.

For a lot of people, dating can be stressful. Find a way to make it fun and... at the very least, you'll have more fun. And you'll find it easier to connect with someone too.

So, to answer your question directly: "What's your online dating hit rate?"
...did we meet for drinks? LOW.
...did we meet to do something fun? HIGH

Who doesn't like fun?!
posted by 2oh1 at 2:42 PM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

The first time I tried it, I went on 1 second (and third) date out of 9 first dates and then had a long-term relationship with #10.

The second time, I went on 3 first dates and ended up marrying one of them.

No idea if this is typical. I'm male.
posted by callmejay at 9:07 AM on March 11, 2013

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