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Making contact

Just when is it time for a photo?

Chris (41) doesn’t like being obliged to show his photo straight away - he’d prefer to message a little first. We have him some tips and asked some of our other members what they think.

Just when is it time for a photo?

Hello, Parship

This has happened to me a number of times: women send me a contact request with a photo and just a few words. I then tell them that I would prefer to exchange a few mails before I send them my photos, and ask them what it is they like about my profile. These women - who certainly look attractive enough in their photos - respond by asking if I am afraid to show them what I look like. I don’t want to be thought unresponsive, but on the other I’d rather take a little time before I release my photo. It’s a bit of a dilemma. What do you think? Chris (41), screenwriter

Dear Chris It’s fair enough that you don’t want your recommended partners to think you’re either a coward of unattractive, but it’s not advisable to start off by releasing your photo if it’s against your better judgment. We made a survey of just over 700 Parship members, asking them what they thought about the scenario of receiving a contact request with a photo: 31% of men would be happy to release their photo, while for women the figure was 20%. 18% of men and 28% of women would answer the contact request, but would not yet release their photo.

24% of male and 17% of female respondents would go as far as rejecting a contact request with a photo. The rest didn’t feel especially happy about the unsolicited photo, but 13.4% of men and 10.8% of women would release their photo in return, purely as a courtesy. 10.5% of men and 21% of women would follow your example, Chris. They would respond to the contact request, but not release their photo, while a third of all respondents - both sexes - would not answer at all.

What’s behind it all?

Women are more careful about pictures than men. A man often tends to regard receiving a photo as something of a compliment, and perhaps as evidence that his profile prompts women to take action. It’s understandable, Chris, that you have been disappointed by the reaction you receive when you don’t release a photo immediately in return - but think of it this way: the woman in question has emerged from under cover with the aim of making an impression on you, and she is assuming that you will be open with her in return. Her assumption may be wrong - you are one of the comparatively few men who prefer to stick to words in the first stages - but she’s not to know that. You know how it is when you give someone a present and they don’t seem very happy about it. If your response, quite legitimately in your view, simply comprises: “I don’t have a picture yet, I hope that’s acceptable to you,” it’s still not the answer she was hoping for.

Our advice

If you get an approach with a photo, respond openly: say that you were pleased to receive it, but would prefer to wait a little before you reciprocate. (“I’d prefer to take things a little more slowly.”) Try not to make a big deal of it and add a few lines to your response, perhaps describing your appearance or picking up on some of the points that the woman in question has made in her ‘About me’ page. Keep it brief, though, and see how she reacts. You will be pleased to hear that many women would prefer, like you, to take things step by step. Perhaps you should think about referring to that on your ‘About me’ page. But you should always remember that anybody who shows their photo straight away becomes more vulnerable: if they receive a refusal, which might have nothing to do with the other person’s reaction to their photo, the chances are that they will take it personally. But no-one should wait too long before presenting their photo: it’s another important test of the other person’s interest in you.

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