Beth Cook is a dating coach and wing-woman who throws private dating events for San Francisco’s most awesome and unattached. She also writes and draws about her own dating experiences and would love to hear from you. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.

If you’re gonna date, take it seriously.

It seems that these days, emailing random people on OkCupid with hopes of getting a response is like playing the lottery. A couple of really cute, mid-twenties guys I know have recently complained that women never write them back.

They both insist that they are following all of the rules, crafting personal notes with good grammar and thoughtful questions.

I told them both that women get a lot of crap messages online (i.e. "i was looking at your pics…do you realize that you have a unique way of teasing the camera?") and perhaps theirs are getting lost in the shuffle.

This might be true, but on further contemplation, I think it's more likely that they are emailing girls who are disengaged, half-hearted or fake (hot bots that make sites look full of potential).

So, what gives? A few things:

1) Take responsibility for your online profile. Disable it when you start seeing someone, get bored, or feel even the slightest twinge of bitterness*. You'll save people a lot of reading and writing time.

*If you're afflicted with boredom or bitterness, date in spurts. Pound out several dates a week for a month and then take a break until you get your energy and optimism back—that is if you haven't already found someone to canoodle with!

2) Take online dating seriously. Give it your all by going on lots of dates and treating people with respect while doing so. Respond to nice messages that people send, even if it is just to say "Thanks for your note. I don't think we're a good fit, but best of luck to you." At least he/she will know that you read the email and are a living, breathing person.

3) Approach people offline. The best use of your time is to talk to people you are attracted to in real life*. Get yourself a social strategy: pick a new neighborhood to hang in every weekend, a new activity to try each month, and organize social events with extended networks of friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

*Online dating companies do not monitor their sites very effectively. Inactive profiles are not taken out of rotation (and you know the algorithm exists) and users are not encouraged to disable or hide unused accounts. Makes sense; why would an online dating site ever want you to leave? They want your money (save OkCupid), your data, and to dangle your profile in front of other users. They’re successful when you lose.

Ok, do you think you can do these three things for the good of humanity? I know it's radical shit, but I believe in you!

Photo by michi003