When it comes to online dating, you only get one shot at starting a conversation with someone.
If you send a message and they don’t reply, you can follow up. Maybe one time in ten this might provoke a positive response, but mostly you will just continue to be ignored.
I am mostly talking to the guys here. Women don’t tend to send messages on dating sites.
Yes I know, it’s the 21st century and we are all meant to be equal now, but don’t believe the hype.
Women still like men to lead, they still like to be a little bit coy and submissive and they are far more visual than they would lead you to believe.
So as well as having great photos, you need an instant hook in your message to get it read and replied to.
Netspeak Is A Big Turn Off In Online Dating Messaging
Any netspeak, or textspeak, bad grammar or bad spelling, will all turn recipients off. Research shows that abbreviations such as ur, r, u, ya, cat, luv and wat all provoke a negative reaction in the reader.
Basically, language like this is a massive deal breaker when compared to just typing the correct words.
Perversely however, expressing emotions through text speak actually works. LOL and HaHa both elicit positive responses. For example, OK Cupid data showed that using haha prompted a 45% increase in response rates.
Less successful, although more successful than not implying humour at all, was the use of HeHe. This abbreviation seems less successful because it sounds slightly less mature, and maybe a little more evil sounding!
Do Not Deliver Physical Compliments
This again is mostly aimed at the guys. If a woman messages you and says that you look hot, most guys will be so stunned that they will be leaping round the room, or be massively suspicious.
Women on the other hand hear it all the time. If you have to tell a woman she is hot, fit, sexy, beautiful or gorgeous, it actually suggests you are not quite on the same level as them in terms of physical looks.
By not giving compliments, you imply that you feel you are equal to them in terms of looks, raising subconsciously their view of you.
More general compliments do work. Describing something someone says as “cool” for example, is proven to raise response rates.
Your Online Dating First Message Salutation Is Vital
How you open your initial dating message to someone is key. You will probably be surprised to know that data suggests more traditional openings such as “Hi”, “Hello” and “Hey” all create a negative response.
Especially for women, nearly every message to them opens that way, so there is no uniqueness to hook them in and hold interest. In extreme cases, data suggests that no matter how well formed the rest of the message is, opening it with one of these introductions can create an almost automated response in deleting that message.
Bizarrely, silly openings such as “How’s it going” and even “Howdy” create a much more positive response in the reader of the message. “How’s it going” for example, using the OkCupid data, created a 50% increase in response rate.
If you are not sure which opening to use, you may still achieve nearly a 30% higher response rate simply by not using a salutation at all. Looking the recipient in with a strong first sentence seems to work equally as well as worrying about how to say hello.
Bring Up A Specific Topic In Your First Online Dating Message
Again, data from OkCupid suggests that you can create a stronger connection by quickly mentioning a shared interest, or showing an interest in a topic discussed on their profile.
Words such as band, tattooed, literature, studying and vegetarian all displayed massive uplifts in response rates. Basically, you need to spot something in their profile which is core to who they are, and raise interest in it within your message.
As well as hitting this personal angle, mentioning something that they wrote in their profile shows you actually read it and took an interest in it, rather than just messaging because you thought they were “fit”.
Online Dating Messaging Is Counter-intuitive For Men
Despite all the old flannel about quality, we all know as men that women want us to be a bit edgy, grumpy and dominant. They will deny it, but everyone knows is true.
Offline, they still want us to pay for things, fill up the car with petrol and demonstrate confidence, well most do if they admit it.
Perversely though, online they seem to like vulnerable traits in men. Online dating messages that contain words such as “awkward”, “sorry”, or “kinda”, all illicit positive responses in females when compared to more confident language structure.
It appears that women like that less threatening approach, probably because they don’t have the chance to size you up visually at that point. By appearing slightly vulnerable you send out a signal to them that they can lower their guard.
So get out there and write those first online dating messages! But make sure that you think carefully about how you construct them, using the tips we have outlined here.