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To Wink or Not to Wink? Online Dating Advice

To Wink, or Not to Wink

With over 200 million people worldwide looking for love online, it becomes a crowded digital marketplace. Singles want to find a meaningful connection and often find themselves with an unexpected shopping cart mentality. It often can’t be helped as online dating is a numbers game.

As an online dating expert, I hear from both men and women who want to connect with more people, more quickly. But is more always better and can this expedited way of connecting actually backfire on you? I say yes.

When *Jim, a successful guy in his 40s came to me frustrated with Internet dating and was ready to finally settle down, he wanted to use the “wink” feature on He felt that he was a good catch and the women would be thrilled to receive his winks. I disagreed.

A wink, flirt, poke, or anything that is not engaging is like old-fashioned broadcasting. It’s unilateral and frankly, quite lazy. In the time that Jim could carve out to wink to 100 potential women waiting for 10% to return the wink, he could have crafted a personalized email to 10 women that would have made a difference. Sure these features make it easy to be fun and flirty, but a serious woman, the kind of woman who was beautiful inside and out and also wanted to settle down and find a meaningful relationship, wouldn’t settle for just a wink or a canned introduction. Would you? Jim shifted his technique and in the third month of his membership, he met a woman that he decided to date exclusively. She wasn’t the recipient of one of his winks.

Sure winks can come in handy. Take *Jane for instance. She’s never been married and is adorable. She noticed that *Mike had viewed her profile and thought she’d like to meet him. She wondered why Mike hadn’t written to her after viewing her profile, so she sent him a flirty wink and went her merry digital way. Mike recognized Jill’s profile and hadn’t written to her as she specifically said she wasn’t interested in meeting someone with children. Jill had hoped to find someone to have a family with and didn’t think being a step-mother to three girls fit in with her plan. Mike winked back and the two have been together for several years now, where Jill now adores Mike’s children.

Does this mean that a woman can wink to a man to give him the cue that she’s interested, but a man can’t wink at a woman as she’ll find his behavior lazy?

Online dating, or any type of dating for that matter, has a double-standard. Men like to pursue women. Women like to be courted. At the end of the digital day, when in doubt, I say don’t wink. Take the time and effort to put into a smaller group of people who you think you have enough in common with to warrant a conversation, both online and offline.

Do you or don’t you wink? Do you think it’s gender specific?

Your comments and thoughts are welcome.

Photo Credit: ? kebox –

*Names have been changed

Julie Spira is top online dating expert, bestselling author, and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. She creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more dating advice, sign up for the Weekly Flirt newsletter and like us at

Julie Spira is America's Top Online Dating Expert. She's an award-winning dating coach who's been helping singles find love online for 25+ years. Follow @JulieSpira on IG.

7 thoughts on “To Wink or Not to Wink? Online Dating Advice”

  1. I think the difference here is the man wanted to just put out a line to as many women as he can and see if any caught. The woman’s use of the wink was specialized to the one guy who looked at her profile but didn’t make contact. I think the intentions behind the wink are the difference in this case. Thanks for the article!

  2. I’m not dating online anymore, but I have done a TON of it – on MANY sites. I hated when men winked at me. I see it as lazy or lacking any confidence. It makes me ask “are you friggin’ interested or NOT?” If I perused your profile and didn’t write, well, feel free to write and ask why… Yes – there is a double standard. Women can wink and it’s an attractive thing to most guys – almost seen as demure – men do it and women are so overprotective of themselves and their online presence it’s either seen as smarmy / slimy or simply the above (lazy/lacking confidence)… that’s all. LOL

  3. Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience with online dating. Sure it’s fine to look at the winks, but most women don’t take them seriously. As an advocate of digital dating, I still think there are some good chivalrous traits that will capture a woman’s heart.

  4. Thanks for chiming in. Yes, online dating is a numbers game, but it can be overwhelming as well. Dating too many people or having too many conversations at once can often backfire. Narrow down your list of what you’re looking for and focus on the traits that you’re looking for in a date or a mate.

  5. You know, I agree about “winks” from men seeming a bit lazy. They kind of remind me of “pokes” on Facebook – what exactly are you doing, and how on Earth am I supposed to react? It’s like a guy winking at you in real life, and then leaving. Am I supposed to follow? Wink back?

  6. I work with several clients who are using on line services. I advise the women that unless a guy takes some time to send a personal email, one showing that he read your profile and is making a “connection” to the profile, he’s not worth it. Winks, or emails such as you’re Lovely, love your smile, etc…are a BIG NO! Not worth the time.

  7. Two of Us Dating Service

    Whether you wink or not, you figure not too much is invested either way. I don’t feel it is gender specific. If it works, why not stick with it, but if it doesn’t, then it’s best to change your plan of attack.

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