These guys made an effort. I'm impressed. Do I respond?
September 17, 2006 8:13 PM   Subscribe

I posted a hookup ad on Craigslist and got 200+ genuine, funny and long responses (along with 40 or 50 immediate deletions). What's the norm here for responses? Do I respond and say "no thanks", something more or just leave dead silence? Which would you prefer?

I'm a woman who posted a first time hookup ad ("casual encounters") on craigslist yesterday and found exactly what I needed. I worded the post very carefully to try to be funny and normal and project that I wanted someone with a good sense of humour about themselves & the situation so it would be a laugh. I guessed I'd get a lot of responses, judging by what other people have written, but I got A LOT. I don't know why, but I am sort of amazed that a good proportion of them are witty and charming notes with funny pictures attached addressing exactly what I'd written, which the senders had obviously put some thought into. Some of them projected a loneliness that kind of touched me.

I don't really give a damn about the guys who responded with four words and well-lit photos of their privates, but what's the etiquette with the nice guys who took the time to craft the sort of response I wanted?

I'll probably do this again, so I'd love to know what you guys (or girls) would prefer as a response - dead silence, a copy and pasted "great response but I got it elsewhere" sent over 200 times or a couple personal lines? Does it matter? Am I overthinking this given we're all just a bunch of people looking for one night stands?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
To the people who you honestly have no intention of ever hooking up with, don't send a reply. If there are some that you don't want to hook up with now but would like to hook up with later, try a "Thanks for your reply. I can't do it now, but I'd love to stay in touch for another time...".

However at the end of the day it really doesn't matter. A lot of people (men especially, given their low low success rate) would go into it without expecting much, so you're not going to severely dash anyone's hopes.

Enjoy! Brandz's advice is wise, but you seem like you have the right attitude about it all. And of course even though they seem like nice guys, be safe!
posted by teem at 9:37 PM on September 17, 2006


you know, there are a lot of people (especially in casual encounters) that will send off the same response to basically any female they can find. if it smells like the person wasn't really talking to you directly, don't respond.

that being said - I did respond a few times to ads and there were cases in which I would have loved to hear just a line or two letting me know that someone actually read it.

so you'd be nice if you did respond. but hey, it's just a post. if you don't - people will get over it.
posted by krautland at 9:46 PM on September 17, 2006


Stories like this (the informal "survey" the article opens with, not the sex-baiting clusterfuck it leads into) indicate your experience is par for the course: the number of genuine ads by women seeking casual encounters is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the number of men interested in them (big surprise).

Consequently, any guy who is responding to an ad like yours has to know that they are competing in a very big pool and are most likely not expecting a response unless you are interested. I don't see any point in bothering unless, as teem notes, you'd like to keep a line of communication open with some. You can bet most if not all respond to a lot of ads and expect very slight returns.
posted by nanojath at 9:50 PM on September 17, 2006


Do *not* respond to the ones you are not interested in. There are many, many, many, many, many creeps, weirdoes and stalkers who use Craigslist -- and some of them will not take "thanks but no thanks" for an answer. Any response from you will only get them excited and you will find yourself harrassed and possibly stalked by the crazier ones.

I hope you are staying as anonymous as possible in your communication with these guys. Just be careful and use your common sense.

To be fair, there are also many nice and normal guys who use Craiglist. Ignore the ones who reply with dick pics. They're probably not what you are looking for anyway.

Lastly, if you really want to weed out the bulk of them, post two different ads in one day and discard all the responses from the men who respond to both ads with the same form letter response.
posted by camworld at 9:52 PM on September 17, 2006


In any case, it's well-understood that you are the commodity in demand and it's other the people's job to win your attention, approval, trust, and, ultimately, consent for sex.

Really well-crafted responses deserve a response, even if it is a one-line form letter. It's up to you to decide how much effort on the man's part is worth a response for you.

Silence is not more devastating than rejection, IMHO. You might feel like he's not going to be able to scroll down to the next ad until he gets your highly-anticipated response, but trust me, he will.
posted by scarabic at 11:04 PM on September 17, 2006


Once upon a time, I used to respond politely to everybody who sent a non-form-letter, non-dick-pic response... but I stopped when guys started arguing with me about how I really did want them and my preferences were unreasonable. :)

One thing I will echo from other posts is that it's vital to keep your real name & real/primary contact info from strangers at least until you've met them in person (not just over the phone). Good luck / use latex / have fun!!
posted by allterrainbrain at 11:14 PM on September 17, 2006


Do whatever you need to do to keep safe, but keep in mind that not everyone on craigslist is totally jaded and knows the score. Out of 200 responses, I'm sure there's one or two that aren't up your alley but the guy really put his heart on the line. There is nothing worse in the world than rejection via silence, because there's always that doubt that the email never went through or that something might still happen because the suitee is too shy or two mysterious to respond right now.

Use an anonymous, untracable, throw away email account and at least respond to the ones that were touching or funny but not compatible. "Thanks for your response, but I've found what I'm looking for elsewhere. I think you're going to have luck in the future, though, because the ... part of your letter was really witty." This isn't really an ethical necesity or anything, but it would put one hell of a lot of good karma back into the world.
posted by Skwirl at 12:57 AM on September 18, 2006


You're not obliged to reply; as Skwirl says a few newbies will be disappointed to not get anything back but that's something they will have to get used to sooner or later.

If you do take the time to send a couple of lines to the best/most personal ones from a throwaway account then you're doing a very nice thing.

Lastly, please don't send out form emails, I would have hated that when I was doing this kind of thing!
posted by teleskiving at 5:35 AM on September 18, 2006


the guy really put his heart on the line.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but I thought this was about one-night stands, not lifelong relationships. I don't think these guys are "putting their hearts on the line," just trying to get laid, and I don't think they expect to hear back unless it's to arrange a rendezvous. (Note: No negative attitude implied; I spent a lot of time trying to get laid back in the day.)
posted by languagehat at 5:56 AM on September 18, 2006


Having done the CL thing, I echo not responding. If anything, I'd be mystified to get a, "Thanks, but no thanks," message. Just delete and move on.
Or, wait to see how the others you respond to pan out and respond 2 weeks later that you'd still like to meet if needbe.
posted by jmd82 at 7:48 AM on September 18, 2006


languagehat: it is, but people will still take the effort to write up a thoughtful reply even if it is just a casual hookup.
posted by drstein at 1:15 PM on September 18, 2006


Sure, but that doesn't really count as "putting their hearts on the line." Otherwise, we'd all be putting our hearts on the line every time we try to craft a thoughtful MeFi comment.
posted by languagehat at 1:29 PM on September 18, 2006


I am someone who has not had a relationship in quite some time; I could very easily see myself in your respondents' place. Easily. So my very emphatic advice to you is that if you have no intention of ever meeting someone, do not reply, no matter how sweet their message.

For one reason, it prolongs their contact with you, making you more charming to them; it then makes the missed opportunity rather bittersweet. Another reason is, well, imagine this: They've sent a reply to your ad. Even if you don't name yourself, they suddenly see your message arrive. What are they briefly going to think, before actually opening your message and reading the bad news?
posted by WCityMike at 5:24 PM on September 18, 2006


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