Online Dating: Sending the First Message
Sending the first message on an online dating site is intimidating—it's your first impression! If language is not at all your strong suit, you might want to visit Chemistry.com, eHarmony, or PerfectMatch.com, which do not allow you to send free-form messages. But if you want to show off your individuality (in a way that will land you dates, of course), check out Match.com, Date.com, or Lavalife. Here are some tips for that all-important first message:
One sentence probably won't cut it, but pouring your heart and soul into a 3,000-character message to the object of your desire is overkill. Your recipient responds to a clear, concise message. Begin your message by introducing yourself, then make a case for why you should start communicating, and wrap it up with a thanks for reading. Try to encapsulate in a short paragraph the reasons you're interested.
Don't let those reasons be the other person's looks. Lewd praise for his or her body ought to wait for a later date. And don't say anything mean about his or her profile; would you agree to date someone who criticized your hair, your dress, your views, or your favorite activities? (Answer: No.) So stick to the positives! Use spellcheck, and avoid Internet speak, like "ur" (instead of "your" or "you're") and "FAIL." Also, don't harass your recipient if you don't get a reply, or you'll seem desperate and/or psycho. Take it as a sign that you weren't meant to be, and move on.
Narrow your message to three to five of your recipient's profile points. Try to choose the ones that seem most significant. Does he refer to being a vegetarian who cares about animal rights? Has she decided to have 15 cats instead of children? This will take a bit of profile studying, but ten minutes of that plus two minutes of writing will get you more responses than the other way around. You don't want to be the chump who sends the same exact message to everybody.
Profile studying comes in handy here as well. If you know she likes zombies, you could open with "BRAINS!" If he's a Star Wars fan, try closing with "May the Force be with you." Online daters are bored with the standard lines, so get creative! Suggest the subjects of your future chats, e.g., "We could share the places we've hiked in Northern California." Individual quirks or sayings you have IRL might translate well, too. Here's an example of a short, sweet, targeted first message with a splash of quirk:
So take the plunge! Click around, find a few friendly looking faces, and get to messaging!
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