Setting: Bedroom. Evening.
You are cruising dating profiles on Zoosk, hoping to find your match, when all of a sudden you come across THE profile. Her profile is not only amazing, but her photo is calling to you. You are beside yourself with excitement and immediately click Message. You think of a few first impression one-liners, then you being to type.
Setting: Park. Sunset.
The two of you walk into the sunset, slowly getting used to the ring fixed between your interlocked fingers.
It’s crazy, I know! That this is the exact fantasy you had when you signed up for Zoosk. But the thing is, the only way to ensure that you turn that fantasy into reality is to send a first-impression message that sparks her interest. In order to help you do that, I created this list of my top Dos and Don’ts of online messaging.
Do: Greet Them
As with any real life interaction, you want to start with a greeting. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and say “So, wanna meet or what?” So why would you start that way online? Say hello and introduce yourself politely.
For example, you can say something like, “Hi there StarFruit78, I’m Paul. How are you doing today?” Be sure to keep it stress-free and easy.
Don’t: Copy and Paste
I know that you’re reaching out to a few different people online. After all, this is one of the perks of online dating . However, knowing that this is a perk doesn’t mean it’s a one size fits all environment.
Saying “Hi I’m Steve. I just wanted to drop in and comment on how beautiful the scenery is in that photo of yours,” won’t fly for everyone. Sure it’s generic enough, but copy/pasting is a dangerous trap to fall into! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. She probably knows it’s the same message you sent to AngieNYGirl23.
Do: Show You Read Their Profile
“Hey hottie, how are you?” Please. No. She knows you’re only sending her a message because you think she’s hot. She will decline you. She’s most likely online because she wants someone with more depth.
Find something she mentioned in her profile and run with it. “I see you like skiing. That’s awesome! I hear Whistler is amazing this time of year.” This shows that you are knowledgeable about something more than a pretty smile, and you take interest in her interests. It’s a win-win.
Don’t: Write a Novel/Haiku
According to neuro-psychiatrist Louann Brizendine, women use about 20,000 words a day while men use roughly 7,000. This is something I relay to all of my clients.
What does this mean for the online dating scene? Great question!
Women: when you’re contacting men, don’t share your life story off the bat. Keep it to somewhere around 75 characters.
And men: give her a little more to work with than “Sup?” She wants to feel your interest through the words she is reading. Try to say hi with about 200 characters.
Do: Ask a Question
The first few messages should feel a bit like an easy game of tennis. I’ll lob over a quick and easy one, you send one right back. Ok, that’s just figuratively speaking. What I mean is that you should keep the questions and excitement going until you agree to meet. Don’t: “When and how did you become politically active?” Do: “Have any fun plans for the weekend?”
Don’t: Antagonize Them
I know you think her love of Zac Efron is a little ridiculous, or maybe it’s a little funny that his Camero is in every photo.
But don’t antagonize her/him for it. Of course you’re teasing, but sometimes teasing doesn’t translate when there aren’t any facial or body expressions to go with it. So don’t antagonize or tease them. If you do, they might just skip past you and leave that fantasy as part of your dreams.