When do you know it’s ‘The Rules’ with a guy online?

Perhaps you’ve received a flattering message online from a guy who’s asked you to contact him and given you his contact details.

What to do?

This is where you should have you trusty copies of:
The Rules for Online Dating and
The New Rules (British title of ‘Not Your Mother’s Rules’)

Before you respond at all you should screen the email and check the following things:

  • Is the message specific to you? (if it’s a generic message he could have sent it to 20 other women so do not respond),
  • Has he got a photo? (if not follow E & S’s advice and write a short polite message asking for one and just write a thank you when he sends it through, if he doesn’t send you one and / or makes an excuse then it’s next!)

If his message passes this first screening then you can…

Wait 24 hours to respond:
“So to give men the right impression – that you are a busy CUAO with hobbies and lots going on and hardly any time for chitchat – check your ad-related mail only once a day.  Respond to any e-mails from potential dates met online or offline 24 hours after you receive them.”  (Fein and Schneider, 2002: 47)

Remember “Rule 6: Don’t Answer on Weekends or Holidays” (Fein and Schneider, 2002)

And what should you write?

Something short, light and breezy, a thank you to his comment and give him your contact details – but only if he asked for your contact details!  So if he sent you his email and said “contact me” – just send your email in return.  Do not ask him to email you, this is saying too much and telling him how to date you, it is a form of initiating which is not ‘The Rules’.

If he doesn’t contact you in a few days he’s really not that interested!

If he doesn’t ask you out within four email exchanges then it’s next!  Check out my previous blog on this: https://debbiesedgley.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/rule-11-if-he-doesnt-ask-you-out-within-four-e-mails-deletenext-fein-e-and-schneider-s-2002-the-rules-for-online-dating-capturing-the-heart-of-mr-right-in-cyberspace-new-york-sim/

When it’s ‘The Rules’ a man will see your photo and say to himself “I want that one” – and he will pursue you!  Remember men love a challenge and you need to set boundaries online just as you do in person.

If you would like help with an online dating situation or a Rules problem you do not know how to handle then you can contact me for Rules Coaching.  Here’s my consultation page for my list of services: https://debbiesedgley.wordpress.com/consultations/


Fein, E. and Schneider, S. (2002) The Rules for Online Dating, Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right in Cyberspace, New York: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.