Ask Russ: Time or Day of Online Dating Messages?

An interesting e-mail question I got about time of day you send your online dating messages:

Does the time you email someone matter? Currently I make it a
rule not to respond to or send emails over the weekend (Friday night
until Sunday night). Does the time I send the email matter?

View Photos of Singles at I think that it does make a bit of a difference, but I don’t worry about it too much. Not e-mailing on the weekend is an interesting strategy – I know professional marketers try to send out e-mail blasts on Tuesday mornings – I would think that with online dating it would be different though. People may be reluctant to visit online dating sites while at work, so weekends might actually be good. Weekend e-mails are probably better when the weather isn’t so nice (such as in winter).

Overall, I would say don’t worry about it. Time or day of e-mail isn’t nearly as important as quality. Send good opening messages, and keep the conversation interesting. If there ever was a time to send a message, it would be while your target is online. Don’t IM though – it’s very dangerous territory!


  • Hi Russ, you’ve got some solid pointers on your site so I try to keep up with new posts. We should connect sometime.

    We did some analysis of messages we’d sent on behalf of our clients and found that the day that you send the first message is pretty important. Check out this post for more about our findings:

  • russruggles

    Hey Scott, great blog, and great post – thanks for sharing! Yeah, like I said in the post, I would have imagined (and you have proven) that day and time of day *does* matter.

    I just want to caution about worrying about it too much and making perfect the enemy of the good. Ultimately, when you date this person, your lives are going to have to harmonize. If you’re someone with more free time on Monday and Tuesday, it’s probably better that your match has time and attention to respond to a message you send then. Additionally, what if it’s a “catch” that *just joined* on Monday and will soon be bombarded by messages? Even with the data, do I think you should wait until Wednesday to message her? No.

    The data that you have reflects the rhythm of most of the working world. Since you’re servicing professional clients, it’s a good thing that you have that data to send messages on the schedule that they would probably send them if they were doing it themselves.

    People managing online dating on their own, they’re individuals – sending messages to other individuals. The numbers are great to have, but these people all have their own complex patterns of living.

    I still feel that it’s more important to focus one’s energy on communicating effectively in their profile and writing thoughtful and engaging opening messages, than to paralyze oneself over whether they should wait to send that message.

  • I can’t argue with that… we tend to look at things from a high level and there are a lot of exceptions to the rule.

    The day and time you send a message is a lot less important than well… not being an idiot. As we serve women, I truly know the extent to which most men are complete idiots online. It’s pretty frustrating having to cut off communication with a guy that a female client of ours is interested in just because he has no online dating etiquette and common sense about the rules of male-female interaction.

    I’m sure that the vast majority of your readers are ahead of the curve but, as you’ve pointed out, before they focus on when to send the messages they should indeed master the art of ‘communicating effectively in their profile and writing thoughtful and engaging opening messages.’

  • Jo

    Why not IM girls on Match?

  • Long story short, Jo: you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and when you IM her, anything could happen: she could be busy, she could be getting bombarded by IMs at that moment (few women leave it on because of this), or the IM client, which is very buggy, can just go haywire. You have no way of knowing if she’s really rejecting you, or one of these things is going on, and you’ll be in a weaker position if you do try to re-open in another way.
    .-= Russ Ruggles´s last blog ..Why You Should Lie in Your Online Dating Profile =-.

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