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.