The abandonment wound, stored deep within the limbic brain, is easily triggered.
You feel its raw nerve twinge when you fail to get recognition at work, a friend forgets to invite you to a party, or a date you thought was special did not call back.
You might think it would be more likely with the dudes whose initial messages are already a little sketchy, but it’s not uncommon to also receive abusive responses to rejection from the guy whose first message was polite, unassuming and/or charming.
Given that, it’s just the smarter option for women who don’t want to field a bunch of hostile and insulting messages not to respond to people to say “thanks but I don’t think we’re the right match.” Now, it’s certainly true that some job applicants also respond to rejection with hostility, but (a) they’re far less numerous than in online dating, (b) the intensity of the hostility seems to be lower, and (c) it’s part of the job in that situation to deal with the occasional whacked out response to rejection.
Every time I tried to take a step in her direction, my mind would lock up again and I couldn't move or say anything.