What’s Up (& What to Do) With the “Hi” Drive-By?

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Hey Wendy,

I’ve read your book a few times now (it’s worth referencing frequently!), done a few of your courses, and finally had the focus, energy, and intention to get online a few weeks ago.

I’ve had several men email me and I’ve also emailed a few men with about a 75% response rate. But I find that many of the emails I receive from seemingly interested men tend to leave me dead in the water. They don’t ask questions, they don’t move anything forward, they don’t encourage a further response from me. I’m expecting that once I respond to them they’ll show additional interest in continuing the conversation, or suggest a phone call, or a Zoom meet? Instead I get details about their day, their projects, or the current situation.

So my questions are: Is this just typical of men, and therefore should I write back again? Or is this perhaps more a sign of men in these uncertain times when they aren’t sure how to move things forward when we can’t necessarily meet right away (again, deserving more patience from me)? Or is this a sign that these men aren’t particularly interested and I should move on?

I know there’s certainly not a one size fits all answer here. But any suggestions based on your experience?

Andrea S.


Hey Andrea,

The subpar engagement you’re encountering, hear me when I say that it’s not you, it’s them. This is not atypical behavior. In fact, this is the current trend with most guys online today. I’m with you—it’s annoying.

The good news is that, initially, the hi-drive-by is not a sign that men aren’t interested.

Some guys think online dating is exactly the same as meeting a person IRL. Face-to-face, you say “hi there” when you talk to a stranger. You don’t show up out of nowhere and blurt out two or three paragraphs of introduction and dialogue until you get a “hello” back from your audience.

Hint: They say “hi” because they need to know that you’re a real person the same as you need to know they’re real too.

Given this, let’s look at a scenario you could try out when you’re faced with an email exchange that leaves you wondering where to go next:

First connection: He says, “Hi there!” and little (or nothing) else.

You look at his profile, and one of three things is likely to happen next:

  • A) You read what he’s written, and yeah, you’re interested (enough).
  • B) You open his profile to find it’s blank, so you have no data to go on.
  • C) You open his profile and see a way-too-old-for-you Jonah Hill lookalike who’s super into cosplay—and that’s just not your thing.

Response A: Pull a tidbit you read from his profile and incorporate it with a question in your response.

Example: “Hi there back! I see you like cycling—me too! What’s your longest ride?”

See? Simple. You’ve wasted very little time here. Not too much effort on your part, but a ball has been successfully lobbed on over to his side of the court. What will he do with it? Doesn’t matter right now, because you’re going to forget you’ve even written—you’re already moving forward until he responds.

Response B: Tell him you need more.

Example: “Hi! Thanks for reaching out. Did you know your profile is blank? What’s the first thing you’d like me to know about you, and what would you like to know about me?”

Now, you’ve just given him a challenge. Watch what he does with that! But only watch after he’s made his move. Just like option A, forget about this exchange and keep moving forward until he replies.

Response C: Swipe left.

As you engage with guys you like, if you notice they’re not asking you questions or moving it forward, that’s when you pivot with, “Would you like to move this to Zoom or meet up sometime?” Light the fire to get him to move (or flee).

The balance is tricky. It’s one of the hardest parts of dating—not getting buried under ten tons of fluff, but also not bailing before the substance shows up.

Good luck out there!