Figuring out what to say at first contact when you’re online dating is crucial. If you screw up the first message then you’re probably not going to get a good response. Accordingly, if you know what to say in that first message, you’re more likely to generate some interest and, eventually, hook that fish.

If you’re going to be successful in the online dating game, the first message you send is even more important than any pick-up line you’ve ever used. To maximize your odds of success, keep these principles in mind:

  • Literacy is attractive. If you can demonstrate a basic command of grammar and spelling, you’re ahead of a lot of folks in the online dating scene. As it turns out, intelligence (or at least the appearance of intelligence) is a quality that many folks are looking for in a date. Avoid netspeak and slang, although there are some exceptions to this rule — using expressions of humor like LOL or haha, but generally speaking, you want to avoid it. Oh, and punctuation is an important part of the overall grammatical picture, too.
  • Watch out for physical compliments. Guys are much more likely to mention looks in that all-important first email than gals, but some of them do it too. Unfortunately, telling someone they’re gorgeous via an online dating message comes across as shallow, at best. It sounds like a pick-up line. And, there’s a subconscious implication there that says, “You’re beautiful, (but I’m not.)”
  • Pick a unique greeting. “Hello” is probably the worst greeting you can use, at least if you’re hoping for a response. The same goes for “hi.” Even choosing a less formal greeting like “howdy” will often do better than the standard “hello.”
  • Don’t try to move outside of the online dating realm so soon. Invitations to chat or asking for an email address tend to be turn-offs. People on online dating sites like the anonymity that it affords them, and while you do hope someday you’ll take it offline you don’t want to start with a proposal to do so.
  • Mention common interests. One of the great things about online dating is the access to information about the other person. Find a common interest, and ask an open-ended question that engenders a response. If they like sci-fi movies, tell them what your three favorites are and ask about theirs, for example. Capitalize on those common interests early and often.

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The Worst Online Dating Email Headers You Can Use

by Online Dating on May 23, 2012

First impressions are everything, and it’s especially true when it comes to online dating. Your first email to that potentially-special someone can make or break it! You need to make sure it’s appealing, inoffensive and, most of all, interesting to the person on the receiving end. Every element of that first contact is important, and requires a good deal of thought.

Your email subject line or header is the very first part of what that person is going to see. If the recipient has a profile that tends to generate a lot of responses, they might not even open up every email. They might find an email subject that looks interesting and focus on that one, leaving the rest of you to atrophy in the inbox.

While we can’t tell you what will work for sure when it comes to your online dating email header, we can give you some idea of what won’t work. Here are some of the most commonly-used email headers, guaranteed to get that special person to pass you by each and every time:

  • Blah, Blah, Blah. OK, while this might catch some potential mates by invoking the song of the same name from party girl Ke$ha, the fact of the matter is that most people who receive a message with this subject will assume you’re talking about yourself.
  • Could you be the one? Really? Relax. Sure, you want to find a long-term companion. But let’s not jump right into commitment, shall we? Give them some room to breathe.
  • My partner in crime. Mentioning crime is never a good way to make a good first impression.
  • Seeking to meet new people. No, you’re not trying to meet new people. You can do that on forums or blogs or Facebook. Here, on the online dating site, you’re looking for a date.
  • I never do this. Um, yes. You do, actually. You’re doing it right now, as a matter of fact.
  • I’m the one your mother warned you about. Sure, you’re kidding, but they don’t always know that. You might really be the one their mother warned them about.
  • Are you Prince Charming? Nothing like putting your high expectations out there from the beginning.

What’s the worst online dating email header you’ve seen?

After a breakup, it can be hard to get back onto the dating scene. Relationships represent a huge investment of time, energy, hopes and dreams, and when it doesn’t work out, we need time to heal before moving on. Rebound relationships can be tricky, especially for the conscientious dater who doesn’t want to see anyone else get hurt. Ask yourself the following questions when trying to decide if the time is right:

  • How serious were you about your last relationship? If your heart was fully invested, chances are the breakup was hard on you, too. Friends may suggest online dating or blind dates as a way to encourage you to heal, but their advice may be missing the mark. Only you can decide when it’s time to start seeing new people again.
  • How often do you think about your ex? If the answer is more than once a day, chances are you’re not ready to move on. Questions linger in our minds long after a relationship ends. We may be unsure of ourselves, doubt our choice in partners, or wonder if the right one is even “out there.” If you’re still mulling over every detail of your last relationship, meeting someone new will only divert your attention temporarily. It may not be kind to “use” someone this way, and you aren’t very likely to find that special someone when you’re still hung up on past mistakes.
  • What are your reasons for wanting to date? If your primary reason is to forget about someone who once meant a lot to you, your energies might be better invested elsewhere. Take a few night classes or plan a vacation instead, renting a beach house from twiddy rentals by yourself for a couple of days might be just what you need. It will give you something to focus on without jeopardizing your emotions.

There’s no set amount of time that one must wait after ending one relationship before starting to date again. Any attempt at quantifying the “right” amount of time for someone to heal after a breakup is pure speculation, and not usually helpful. Getting back in the game is a very personal choice. Just make sure you’re making the decision for the right reasons, and you aren’t likely to let yourself down or hurt someone else in the process.

Many people have been hard-hit by the down economy, and saving money is nothing to be ashamed of. Most folks think you have to spend a lot to impress your date, but the reality is you don’t. Of course you don’t want to appear cheap, and you want to make sure your date feels important, but spending a lot of money isn’t the only way to achieve that. Consider these ideas for dating on a budget:

  • Go out for ice cream instead of meeting for dinner. When you’re just meeting someone new through an online dating site or even if you’ve been seeing this person for a while, a simple ice cream outing can be a fun way to spend a date, and it doesn’t have to empty your wallet.
  • Go to the skating rink. Indoor and outdoor skating rinks offer a fun way to connect with your date regardless of the season. They also give you a special ingredient, nostalgia, which can make any date feel more special.
  • Make dinner for your date. If you have cooking skills, this is a great time to show them off. You’ll also be able to set a romantic mood and limit distractions at home, in addition to saving a few bucks.
  • Go for a hike. Many state, city, and national parks have ridiculously low admission fees and plenty of space for hiking. Take along a picnic lunch and spend some time in the great outdoors. You’ll probably learn a lot more about the other person than you could sitting in a movie theater, and the exercise will get your blood pumping.
  • Double dating can be a lot of fun, and doesn’t have to be expensive either. Invite another couple over for a night of cards or board games. Make an inexpensive but appetizing meal and ask them to bring a bottle of wine or dessert.
  • Check out a museum. There are so many different kinds of museums, and every state has its own specialties. The admission costs are generally low, and you can save even more money when you buy a year-long membership.

Getting spendy on a date has been taken as a sign in the past — it signaled financial stability and showed that you were willing to spend a little money to make sure your date had a good time. These days, however, reining in the spending isn’t likely to offend, since everyone knows that times are tough. And hey, financial responsibility is nice to have in a partner.

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They Don’t Have A Facebook Profile: 3 Red Flag Reasons

by Online Dating on May 14, 2012

You meet a great guy or gal while you’re out and would like to connect online. Facebook has almost 1 billion users now, so it may come as a surprise to meet someone who doesn’t have a profile. What if they don’t? It could be any number of reasons, most of them good ones. You don’t need a Facebook profile! But what if they don’t have one for the wrong reasons? After asking a few friends about their dating adventures online, we picked up on three red flag reasons why someone wouldn’t have a Facebook profile.

  • Lack of self-restraint – They may be the type of person that just can’t help but share everything about their wild nights out — risque photos, drunken status updates, you name it. What we won’t know is whether they’re doing it to hide the fact that they’re a wild child, or that they genuinely don’t want to enable themselves. This type of person may be fun to hang out with, but they may say or do things before thinking. And that could end badly.
  • Player gonna play – This type may want to stay off Facebook to avoid revealing their player status. How will they date multiple people if they can all find him or her on Facebook? Even keeping a private Facebook page would be too much to keep up with. Private message here, hidden status there… If you’re not looking for anything long-lasting, this may be the perfect type of person for you. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little fun. Just remember to not get hurt.
  • Tech scrooge – This type is uncomfortable with technology. It could be that they don’t have enough time to keep up with Facebook, and that’s fine. It’s a whole different story if they lack the patience or interest in learning about it. Will they have the patience or interest in learning about other new things? Again, with Facebook, it’s not always a bad thing, but if you are way into Facebook, then the two of you may butt heads. It could even extend beyond Facebook, and they may not be interested in technology at all. If it’s important that your date be into it, then you should probably move on. To each his or her own!
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