Would you rather be rejected or ignored?

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GUYS: on OKCupid (or any other online dating site), if you message a girl and she’s not interested would you rather she:

a.) Message back that she’s not interested


b.) ignore you.


Ladies, you can answer this too, but I’m especially interested in what the guys have to say about this.


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60 thoughts on “Would you rather be rejected or ignored?

  1. Some Guy.

    I’ve never used a dating website, but in the hypothetical situation I think I rather get a message from the girl saying she isn’t interest than being ignore (and maybe she could say why she is not interest, some feedback is always good).

  2. Diary of Why

    See, in my experience, like Some Guy up there, guys on those websites always SAY that’s what they want, but lord help you if you actually do that. Without fail their response is a diatribe of whiny “but why’s,” rationalizations/justifications/maybe-I-can-change-your-minds, and passive aggression, if not straight-out aggression and insults. Not worth it. Also, and maybe this is a girl thing, but if a guy is not interested in me, I don’t want to know! I sort of figured it out from the non-response anyway, no need to dwell. But this is a good question and I’m glad you brought it up. I’m interested to see what people say, because it has always kind of baffled me.

    1. Kelly L

      I tried to politely turn down a guy one time and we went round and round with him wanting to know why and then I think eventually he called me fat and then I was like, Ok, fuck you, i’m not even going to try to be nice anymore, also, you’re a douche. The end.

    2. I wish I were a lesbian

      It is NOT a girl thing. Guys are worst, I think… Their egos get hurt so bad: they are very fragile.
      Girls have more of a “fuck that shit” attitude I guess, and just move on

      1. Michael

        That is not my experience at all. I think there are a lot of guys who THINK they want to hear the truth and cannot really handle it, but they generally at least BELIEVE they want it. It is way more common in my social circle for a women not to want to lay feelings out on the line, lest the person either not reciprocate or they have an oddball notion that women “aren’t supposed to do that.”

      2. Vitality

        Probably right. I’m a dude here; and while I’ve had literally zero experience with online dating, I’ve been though both rejection and being ignored. To say the truth; most people who haven’t been through both make unjustified opinions on which they’d rather have happen to them. Think of it this way: If you’re ignored, the person (depending on whether you’re “straight” or not, no offense either way) is probably trying to make you get their attention, rather than speak to you directly. And even if they’re not, you could also say you still have a slight chance, considering you haven’t been told a perfectly laid-out “No.” Rejection’s different, though — They likely have no feelings whatsoever for you, and it’s unlikely you’ll have any chances ever again (If you even did before rejection..)

  3. Matthew

    The honesty of being told is something I can respect :O. Being left wondering what if can be the suck.

  4. Beta Max

    I’ve had women (yes multiple) laugh or giggle in my face when I’ve asked them out before. I could handle that because it was at least a reaction… albiet a cruel one. I have also had a few women just turn and walk away as though I didn’t even exist or the question was never uttered. That was far worse considering guys are supposed to be the ones putting themselves out on the line to ask women out, and when the response is a complete lack there-of…. it feels all in vain.

  5. Keith

    A simple “No, thank you” is sufficient. I personally hate being ignored. If i spend the time to write you a pleasant email, it isn’t too much to ask for a short response. Now, if the guy is a turd, don’t waste your time.

  6. Boston Single Girl (@BostnSingleGirl)

    As a female, I’d prefer a guy simply not respond then to write back telling me he’s not interested and why. I’ve tried being nice and saying “thanks, but no thanks” and guys tend to get all defensive. They have to know why and/or they get aggressive and try to talk you in to liking them. Acting desperate isn’t going to change my mind. I think it’s easier on all of us if there’s no response at all.

  7. Subhadip

    You ask a question: “Are you hungry?”. And you get the answer:”Yes”, “No”. You get into a bus in France, full of complete strangers, and say “Bonjour!” and you will at least get a nod back.

    Those replies actually complete the communication cycle. If you don’t get get a reply, acknowledgement, receipt, “noted”, “appreciated”..anything.. communication is incomplete. Incomplete things are bad. They can give rise to confusion or pessimism or hope.

    And most guys, I think, think like me. And for us, it is not really “rejection”. She is just uninterested. Which is cool. We will just close the browser, start playing “The Smiths” and feel like a part of a community.

    By the way, ignoring someone on the basis of how he constructed few sentences, is that really a smart thing to do? Replying back can create that “you-never-know” situations. Just saying.

  8. Girl's Got Shine

    I prefer guys not respond. No response is a clear-enough indictor that there is no interest. I don’t really need it spelled out. Also, sending the reply will trigger a notification and/or email, which I have to now read. Making me work for a rejection just adds injury to insult.

    I echo what other women have said. I ignore when I’m not interested because most guys can’t just let it go at “thanks, but no thanks.”

  9. Chris

    In regards to both dating sites and real life, I think it is better to be rejected than ignored. I totally understand why people choose to ignore but it is not the best route. It’s hard to hurt someone’s feelings but, and I can only speak for guys, when someone is ignored they create all kinds of fantasies and false realities in their head about why it is happening. When you reject someone out right, there is no room for such fantasy and even though it hurts, you will get over the rejection faster and the rejector will have the person out of their love life quicker (even if the rejection is not taken well, the resolution will still almost assuredly come quicker) Rejection sucks and it can hurt but for anyone who has lived past their 23rd year they need to realize that it is a fact of life and it is going to happen again and again. C’est la vie. Ignoring someone may seem like the easy or less painful way out but people need definitives and closure.. always. Much more so in real life than in online dating though.
    To play the devil’s advocate though, if someone ignores you on a dating site then just move on and don’t push it. In real life ignoring an issue about love or whatever is pretty much always wrong, online, ignoring an issue is someone’s right so if you are ignored on ok cupid then get the fuck over it, you never met that person in real life any way.


  10. Neil P

    When I clicked through, I thought you meant in real life. On a dating site? Ignoring is fine. It means she’s not interested. Why I should expect a stranger to go out of her way to reject me. In real life, I’d much prefer the rejection, as long as it’s polite or a believable lie.

  11. Michael D.

    Respond she’s not interested. Especially on something like OK Cupid, where you can IM the person. Not responding to an IM is the equivalent of someone asking you a question in real life and just staring in return. There is an etiquette involved.

  12. Almie Rose Post author

    This is so interesting. It seems like women would prefer to be ignored, whereas men would prefer to be rejected. You bet your sweet bippy there’s going to be a follow-up post to this.

  13. ANON.

    Like Neil I thought this was going to be about IRL so I’m going to answer both ways anyway. On OKCupid? Definitely ignore. IRL? Reject.

  14. Smurf

    Agree with Neil and Anon. here. On OKC, I’d rather be ignored; it’s the internet and no one has the bloody time anyway. IRL, I’d prefer a genuine ‘No.’, or at least a slap to the face.

  15. Lidia

    IRL, a rejection is absolutely appropriate and needed and ignorance is just plain out rude. On a dating site, it’s to everyone’s benefit to just “ignore” and move on. No point in wasting his time with your “no thanks, not interested” (How sad would it be if he logged in and found all 50 girls he messaged writing that same message? He sees an inbox of 50 and takes the time to read it all, only to realize he just wasted time on nothing). Also, no point in wasting YOUR time with that. It can give a guy false hope too and some of them will try to keep the emails going or get aggressive and defensive.

    1. Michael D.

      Not to be contradictory, but it seems as if the majority of men would prefer some type of acknowledgement, even if it’s a firm “no.” Did you ever think that maybe most men think differently from most women on this issue? And is it really that much of a waste of time to write out “not interested, thanks?” I have done it for OK Cupid ladies. Of course, I also enjoy talking to new people even if there is no dating in the cards. That’s why having the (free) IM function is the best part of that site.

      1. Anonymous

        You seem to have missed that we all have the experience of firmly and politely telling men no, only to receive a barrage of insults, excuses, defensiveness, self-pity and accusations. From a total stranger. Not worth it for our own safety and security.

  16. G.

    I prefer rejection, although if you send a message to someone in your okcupid “quiver,” and then all of a sudden, shortly after sending a message, and there’s a new person in your “quiver” and the messagee is gone, well, that’s a good indicator.

    Still, I’m really annoyed with my gender. Mature guys like me perfectly capable of handling rejection and moving on are having it ruined for us by immature/aggressive dudes.

  17. Jim

    Forgive me if i speak out of turn but ‘would you rather she’? Did you join to make a young lad happy or to find happiness for yourself? A better question is how best to politely but firmly decline a guys advances. In that respect tell’em and be blunt, guys can handle it….

  18. Morgan

    I’d much rather be ignored than get a rejection message — most of the time I’ll just forget that I sent the message in the first place and never think about it again. When I still had an OkCupid profile, I stopped sending rejection messages because it was almost inevitable that I had the same experience as every other girl replying here — the guys would message me back with passive aggressive, whiny, or angry messages. They either continued trying to get me to go out with them, or they said they just wanted to be friends and then made it clear when we met that they do not, in fact, just want to be friends. Also, to all of the guys saying that you want a rejection with a reason: do you really want me to say, “sorry, I’m not attracted to you,” or “sorry, you write like a 13-year old girl sending a text message,” or “sorry, your profile is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen”?

    1. Michael D.

      Any of those would be better than no message at all, and (especially) unanswered IM’s, which are (as I said earlier) the equivalent of staring silently at someone who asks you a question in person.

      A bigger issue seems to be dealing with pushy people on these sites. It’s sad that the ladies have had such bad experiences (I have met a few total lunatic females on there myself). However, the converse is also true. I have had more than once where the lady seemed unresponsive (no answer for weeks, or even a “not interested”) that ended up with a date/hookup after a few convos.

  19. Almie Rose Post author

    Guys, if you would rather hear something like, “I’m not interested” at what point does one say that? If someone messages a girl with something harmless like, “I see your favorite movie is Reservoir Dogs. Are you excited to see Django Unchained?” (I’m pulling this example out of air) then if were aren’t supposed to ignore you, do we respond with, “Yes” or “No” or do we respond with, “I am, but I’m not interested” or WHAT? My question is, if you don’t want to be ignored, then at what point during the banter do you want to know we’re not interested, if your first message isn’t asking us outright to go out?

    1. Michael

      For me, the time to say you’re not interested in when he suggests meeting up/ expresses actual interest. Don’t string along, but spending time chatting with someone who took the time to message you can be fun and illuminating. Online dating is not a race. How long do you usualy talk to someone appealing online before you move to phone convos and a date? I would be weirded out if someone’s first message asked me out via a message, especially if it was her first one to me. Red flag.

      1. Michael

        First message asked me out via e-mail, that is. IM would be even weirder, although asking to meet after the end of a lengthy IM convo would be OK in my book,

    2. Subhadip

      If the girl is not interested, then the ideal reply is, “I don’t like Tarantino, and you shouldn’t care whether I like him or not.” Even if the girl likes Tarantino, a small lie won’t change anything. And the guy will get the hint.

      If he doesn’t, then he deserves getting ignored after that.

      1. Anonymous

        Lying is a shitty way to get out of a socially awkward situation. One should only resort to that if someone is in danger, like the guy/girl is clearly unhinged.

        1. Noelle

          I think it’s shitty that women are expected to come up with a good reason to not being attracted to a guy they didn’t decide to have contact with from the get-go.

          The guys were able to search and go through the database of hundreds of profiles and judge the women by picture and profile before even sending their messages. They truly filtered out the “uggos” before they sent the message. A woman could have any number of messages in her inbox, without searching through the database, without filtering out the guys who might or might not be her preference, and has no obligation to the guys she wouldn’t want to talk to.

          The only way that would be fair is if men sought out the women on OKC that they didn’t find attractive, and message, “I’m not interested in you, so don’t bother,” or some other explanation for not liking them. People put their pictures and profiles up like a fishing line to see who will bite. I think it’d be best if all men, and indeed, all women who send out the initial message, acknowledged that they might be one of many, and that just because they find someone hot doesn’t mean that person will find them hot. It’s semantics of date-game etiquette mashed with a little bit of junk-mail culture.

          It should therefore be acceptable that a woman can use her inbox as her profile search, and that she can filter out those she has no interest in, and need only respond to those she is. It’s fair. Guys get to choose who they’d bone, women do, too. And if they do choose to respond and say they aren’t interested, they should be polite and not insult or spite the guy. Just say they aren’t interested. And guys should accept that. And everyone should be happy and given ribbons for acting like reasonable adults.

          Maybe OKC should make a “poke” system, only it notifies the sender when their “poke” is rejected. For obvious reasons, they probably shouldn’t call it a “poke”.

  20. Chris

    I think the bottom line is you just gotta shut it down as quickly as possible and with us guys that means being blunt early, and often if need be. You gotta be so blunt that it’s like a bludgeon type of blunt, a bludgeon right to the balls with no remorse. Both parties will appreciate it when all is said and done. Seriously, a bludgeon right to the balls, gotta do it. No shame

    1. Luke

      Yeah, Chris is on the right track here.
      There’s obviously a reason why you want to ignore/reject this person even if they haven’t actually put forward a proposition yet.
      Don’t let yourself get passive-aggressively corralled into being accused of leading him on.
      Shut it down and do it bluntly. “I’m looking for something other than you here….”

  21. Chris

    A lot of times what happens is that women think they are being blunt but in reality, or at least from a male perspective, they are sugar coating their bluntness and thus being too nice and thus leaving the door open for all kinds of male fantasy. Things like, I don’t want to date you but I think you’re a good guy or whatever don’t work. You literally have to slam the door in our faces and make sure it is completely shut if you want us to back off. And who cares if some loser dude says you’re a bitch or whatever. Those guys are asses anyway and at least you get them totally off of your back. My metaphors may be brutal but you just have to be harshly blunt with guys if you want us to back off, it’s just the way we work. The scene from dumb and dumber comes to mind when she says 1 in a million and Jim Carrey’s character says, so you’re saying there’s a chance!! That’s how our brains work.

    1. Lady

      This is bullshit. If men have fantasies, its our fault? If we’re actually blunt, we’re bitches. If we try to be polite, we’re inviting fantasy. It’s not our job to make you feel better about being rejected. If you see 1 in a million as a chance, that’s your problem.

  22. A gay man

    What about taking this scenario a few steps further? For example lets look at planning for a 3rd date. Specifically when you thought both dates went great and you have some real awesome vibes going, then your texts stop getting responded too and he doesn’t ask you out again. Not hearing from this person again can become painful. The unknown kills you. Your biggest struggle is not to let you brain go down that rabbit hole of; “what if I had..” or “was it something I did..”. Not knowing really really sucks. So given the option I would much rather know that he/she just isn’t into me and I don’t need to know why. It’s hard to be honest with people. You feel like you are hurting them. But honesty really is the best policy. It saves the other person time and energy. And it allows everyone to just move on.

  23. Matt

    Definitely rejection over ignorance. Doesn’t have to be a harsh rejection – just a simple “No, thanks – you’re not my type”. You may get weird guys who persist, but I’d love a simple, honest rejection over just no reply.

  24. D

    While I would prefer to be rejected, I always recommend to my lady friends they ignore because most male egos will elicit a rather unkind kneejerk reaction to said rejection.

  25. Tany

    I havent’r read all the comments yet but, in my opinion, I prefer to be ignored. Just because sometimes it can be quite rude the way people might say no to you.

  26. Rae

    I’m a girl. I don’t really think it matters if you reject or ignore online because unless they are persisting, you won’t have to deal with them again. In real life, though I think its definitely necessary to outright reject a guy you don’t like that is interested in you. Unlike girls, they take a non-response or cold shoulder as a green light. You really have to spell it out for them.
    Another peice to the OKC response thing is that maybe you would want your response status to be “replies often”? In that case, you should respond even if you say “No thanks, not interested.”

  27. Martin

    Late to the party but anyway my 2c. Does it have to be so black or white.
    If it is a c&p or no effort message like “Hej, you look great want 2 chat?” you might as well ignore it. But if the person in question has put some thought into their message for example refers to something in your profile (means they have read it) I think a reply is in order. Even if it is short and sharp. If they don’t take the hint and start pestering just use the block button.
    Personal I appreciate a reply, respect them and try to lean from any feedback.

  28. Josh

    It was obvious that a lot of blog-responding guys would say they’d prefer to be rejected here — and maybe they would — but all anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s not worth women’s time/energy to do so. Too many women I know have received hostile responses to rejection (and actually, any response at all at that point is uninvited). And just engaging in conversation on innocuous topics, on a dating site, can potentially be seen as “leading someone on” way too often for it to be worth it.

    Anyway. I’m a guy, and while I can’t quite say I’d *prefer* to be ignored if there’s no interest (I mean, sure, I’d be curious to know which parts of my profile were the turnoffs, or what, and even a rejection without explanation avoids the “was she just busy? should I send one followup message?” wondering), all things considered it doesn’t matter that much. And basically, given the stories I’ve heard, it doesn’t sound worth putting in the effort–and risk!–just to be slightly nicer to Internet strangers you don’t want any further interaction with.

    From the other end, I don’t respond to messages from women I’m not interested in, b/c of the leading-on factor, and because saying “well, [response,] but unfortunately I’m not interested” seems needlessly mean–and unlikely to lead to anything positive, on a dating site.

    (Way late to the post here, but I’m procrastinating and it’s an interesting discussion.)

  29. ???

    Ooooh. I think I misread the post (or just read the headline, go me). I’m okay with being ignored on OKcupid. It’s just a fucking website. It’s when there are real-life meetings and dates or the like where I would have issues being suddenly ignored (which HAS happened to me in the past).

  30. Lady

    Please listen up, guys who say they want a rejection response. Do you think you are the only person who emailed me today on that dating website? You are not. I’m not trying to be egotistical or mean or elicit some “you aint all that” diatribe. It’s just the truth. I might get forty messages a day at times. Or maybe it’s five. But how on earth am I supposed to respond to each one? And here’s the thing – rejecting someone, even politely, ALMOST ALWAYS results in a reply back from the guy. Usually it is an insult! Usually it is along the lines of “oh please fatty, you aint all that.” I mean, I guess it’s just an affirmation that yes, that guy is a jerk. But those things sting and add up. While I would always be polite in person, a guy would also in person be able to recognize my genuine embarrassment and politeness, and would not then yell “FATTY” in my face, or whatever.

    On dating websites, giving a guy you are not interested in EVEN AN INCH is ALWAYS a terrible idea.

    And to the guy who said you should always write back because “you never know.” Actually, we very often do. Many many profiles have GLARING red flags. Or you KNOW you would never be attracted to that guy. There are LOTS of guys whose profiles I’ve looked at and thought “meh,” or “not really my type”, but messaged anyway because they nevertheless seemed nice/not an ax murderer and I thought I’d give them a chance. This is especially true for guys with great profiles who are not really that cute. Why not see if there’s chemistry, because “you never know.”

    But when it is REALLY CLEAR that you will have nothing to say to this man, it is best to ignore. You say you want a response, but you are wrong. You want an in.

    On some occasions, I have written back to very nice-seeming guys who I’m not interested in, along the lines of “thanks so much for your nice message! Great profile!” but even that feels cruel

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  32. PJ

    Ive seen plenty of both in my time :) but I know the latest results from the former for me……two weeks ago, I officially checked myself out of the dating game for good from my last rejection.

  33. Robington

    Some messages I ignore, others I thank and wish them well on their search. Yesterday, I got a nice message from a lady and when I checked out her profile it was clear that we were politically incompatible (she’s centrist, I’m lefty). I replied that I supported a different politician than her and that she’d hate me and then I thanked her for her not and told her it made me smile. I thought I’d let her down easy, but not 5 minutes later she replied asking if I’d ever heard of James Carville and Mary Matalin and that she isn’t looking for someone to parrot her. I didn’t reply because those braying donkeys are not my model.

  34. desbest

    Only men with deep underlying psychological issues who need Cognitive Behavioural Therapy would think offended if a woman replies with “Sorry, I don’t think you’re attractive, bye.” What they fail to realise, is that even the men successful with women face rejection many times. Girls stalking me and flirting with me so I have a hareem doesn’t stop me from getting rejected from other girls. They’re looking at it the wrong way. There’s no man who is immune to rejection, no matter how good he is with girls, In a perfect world, it would be great if women responded with rejections, but there are many men who will call the girl a heartless bitch in response, so that choice is taken away from them.

  35. CeeJay

    I rather get rejected straight up instead of being ignored. At least I know when I get a rejection response, I get the answer, but being ignored is worse in my opinion. Makes me wonder and remained confused

  36. Lauren

    I would rather get rejected then I’d ignore the guy as I can’t be friends with a guy who friend zones me I’m not selfish though any guy who puts me in the friend zone is selfish

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