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How to Write your First Perfect - Online Dating Message

July 25, 2013
Online Dating

If you are like most people, sending the first message to a potential online date can be a daunting moment. You worry about what to write without it sounding boring or contrived or, even worse, causing offense.

First impressions certainly count when it comes to writing to someone you are interested in and, although it's impossible to guarantee a reply, the tips below should at least ensure your message is carefully considered before being deleted.

1. Use proper spelling and grammar.

This is probably the most important thing to consider when crafting your online dating message. Whereas in real life people make instant judgments about a potential date based on their appearance, in the online environment the tone and format of our writing shows how much we care about making a good impression.

So just like turning up to a date with ripped jeans and unwashed hair, using short-hand or 'internet-speak' such as 'luv', 'wot' or 'u' shows that you don't really care enough about yourself or your date to present yourself well.

Now don't think that you have to sit with a dictionary and thesaurus open next to you as you write your message, but be sure to use proper wording and double check your grammar before hitting the send button.

2. Don't 'cut-and-paste' your messages.

You might think you are being really clever using the same message over and over again to save time. But honestly there is nothing worse than receiving a message that appears to have been sent to a dozen or more people. It's generally always obvious to the receiver and this is a sure way to have your message deleted without a second thought.

Sure it may take longer to write individual messages to each of your potential dates, but this way your writing will come across as spontaneous and make that person feel like you are only interested in them.

3. Prove that you have read their profile.

This is related to the above tip and basically ensures that each message you send will be unique and personalized. If you comment on something that they have mentioned in their profile it shows that you are actually interested in this person (as opposed to anyone in a 10 mile radius with a pulse).

If they say they like salsa dancing, mention how you've always wanted to take lessons (only if this is true of course). Or if they say they've a burning passion for Star Trek, ask who their favorite character is. The key here is to demonstrate that you have taken the time to read their profile and have considered what it is about them that has inspired you to want to connect with them.

4. Give them a reason to respond.

People are much more likely to reply to your message if you ask a question about their interests, likes or personality. We all love talking about ourselves, so who wouldn’t want to engage with someone who appears interested in us.

Just don't ask questions that are confusing, political or require an essay response, such as, "Do you think global warming is real, or do you believe there is life outside our solar system?”. These type of questions will likely get your message deleted faster than you can say "so how about coffee?” or click send.

5. Don't write too much (particularly about yourself).

Don't give it all away before the first date. If they want to read your profile, they will (you have a great profile, right?). The idea of the first message is to spark their interest, encourage them to review your profile and respond to you.

A prospective date will be put off if you send a novel complete with your school qualifications, every country you've traveled to and a complete rundown of what you ate yesterday. Instead, keep the message short and engaging - no more than four paragraphs. Provide a little bit of information about yourself, comment on their profile and ask a question or two. That's all you need.

6. Avoid mentioning physical characteristics.

You may think that you are paying your prospective date a compliment by mentioning something that you find attractive about them. But this rarely comes across well in a message. At best, you will look shallow and too focused on physical appearances. At worst, it'll appear that you didn't bother to look beyond their profile picture and vital statistics.

If you are still breaking out in cold sweat thinking about how to craft a thoughtful, personalized yet concise first message just remember that the ultimate goal is to get them interested and encourage a response so that you can both find out if you are compatible.

As long as your personality shines through then you are on the right track.


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