You’ve had a great photo taken, you’ve created your account and crafted a wonderful profile text.
But what to actually message someone on a dating site?
Now you have reached that point of needing to make contact, it’s essential you follow some basic ground rules to maximise your chances of success and not waste your time sending messages into a void.
Craft A Good First Message For Online Dating
The truth that you need to understand is that you only usually get one chance to message someone.
Your opening message to them is your first, last and only chance of success with them. If you don’t manage to encourage them into responding through the content of your first message, then it’s best usually to move on.
Statistics from within the online dating industry suggest that less than a third of first messages ever receive a reply. Within those messages that are successful, one strong trend stands out.
Messages that are seen as intelligent, casual and respectful get more replies. If they are well constructed to include gentle questioning or mentioning things that provoke a question, then that first dating message stands more chance of being responded to.
Learn To Write Good
The first thing people will see when they read your message is how well it is written. Poor grammar, spelling mistakes and structural deficiencies will immediately turn them off (Unless they are dyslexic or an idiot as well).
Another increasingly prevalent trend is that of using text speak in online dating messaging. This is partly due to the growth of text messaging generally, but it also down to the increase in online dating apps available.
The key thing to remember when communicating on a dating site using an online dating app, is that you are not texting someone. You must still think of it in the context of writing them a letter.
The only exception to this rule about not using text speak is in expressing emotion. It seems to be perfectly acceptable to use abbreviations such as haha, or LOL, and they are quick and easy ways of showing that you are positively engaged with the person you’re communicating with. They are also a good way of highlighting that something is a joke, if you are unsure if that joke will be seen as one.
Unless they are unaware, or also have poor grammar and spelling, it will send a message that you are basically unintelligent, lazy or both. If you can’t be bothered to check your spelling, would you ever be bothered to bring them breakfast in bed?
You Only Have One Message – Use It!
Your first message should be a starter and nothing more.
If you are a man contacting a woman, remember that she is receiving 50 emails a day. Make sure you structure your message to have a great opening paragraph, and don’t make it overly long.
If you are woman contacting a man, don’t just say something like “hiya” or “how u” and expect a response. You may think this is okay to do, but to most guys it just demonstrates a lack of confidence, and most guys don’t want a wallflower.
Keep your written tone conversational. Right in the same way you would if you were talking face-to-face. It may even help to get a recording app on your phone and talk the message out before then typing it up, so that you can more easily achieve a conversational tone.
You need to show the recipient you are friendly, casual and polite. You can also add humour, but be careful of jokes that can divide opinions or create impressions that may be unfavourable.
Jokes are also a good way of weeding out people who may be incompatible with you though. I often send jokes in my first message to gauge their reaction. If the joke receives a positive response and embellishment, then you know that you are on the same wavelength over a certain topic.
If you are a guy, vulnerability is good. Smashing out a confident first message may seem like a great idea, but it can actually work against you. Using vulnerable trigger words like sorry, apologise, awkward can actually increase response rates. This is backed up by industry surveys which have shown the same results.
If you are a woman, vulnerability is not so good. Men don’t want a woman they are constantly trying to assess. So a bright and breezy first message will send the message that you are someone a guy can feel confident in talking openly with, rather than having to put on an act with.
Saying Hello Can Mean Goodbye
An OKCupid survey of more than half a million messages found that generic greetings such as hi, hello and hey, lowered response rates. Counter intuitively, greetings such as how is it going, what’s up and howdy actually increased response rates.
The message seems to be that people, especially women, were bored by seeing the same generic greetings time after time, so even stupid greetings can grab attention and create a casual atmosphere.
This is borne out by simply browsing female online dating profiles. You will quickly spot the same additions to profile text, along the lines of “If you are going to message me say something more interesting than hi!”
Make Sure Your First Message Says Something About You
Online dating is anonymous. Everyone puts on a bit of a persona and nobody is sure the person they’re communicating with his real.
You can do a lot to lower people’s defences by making sure you build something of yourself into your first message, that comes across as completely genuine and personal to you.
A great way of doing this is to make sure you actually read the person’s profile before sending them a message. Find something in that profile which you also like and connect with and mention it in the message.
This has the dual effect only showing that you have taken the time to read a profile, but that you have contacted them on the basis of a shared interest. This immediately creates a connection and shows that you are contacting them for the right reasons.
It’s never great to hit on someone in a first message, instead demonstrate you are contacting them because you admire what you have read so far. Paying a small complement related to that profile text will send them an indication of why you have actually contacted them.
Leave A Fishing Hook At The Bottom Of Your Message
Always make sure that you close your message in such a way that you are invite a response.
This especially applies to ladies, who tend to just send one word or a wink if they contact guy. There is nothing for the guy to respond to. You are basically just asking them to do the hard work because you couldn’t be bothered to.
To try and close your message with a question, or make a joke that invites a comeback.
Finally, remember the old saying that enough monkeys and enough typewriters will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare.
Make sure that once you have completed your online dating profile, you don’t send out the message that you are simply one monkey with one keyboard, who is not capable of spelling Shakespeare.