|You may have
a great personal ad... and a wonderful smiling photo to go with
your ad... but things can still fall apart if you are sending out
an awkward first message in response to other people's ads. What
can you do to make that first message work for you?
Write in advance. This
lets you think about what you want to say about yourself and, more
importantly, check your spelling and grammar. Have a friend read
and react to your draft message.
Spellcheck. Yes, this
counts. It shows that you are serious about finding dates and
willing to pay attention to details. Some people are just natural
bad spellers, but it can make you look less smart or less educated
than you really are. Most websites do not offer spellchecking of
recommend writing a general template of a first message, but you
have to personalize it for each person you contact. Mention
something from their profile, ask a question that refers to
something they wrote, or describe how you would be a good match
for them. Mention what attracted your attention to their ad. No
one wants to think they just received a form letter.
Write more than one
line. "Liked your profile... want to chat?" This may be
the most commonly-sent message on a dating website... and the most
ignored. You need to say something else. Set yourself apart and
say something interesting to get a reply.
Use humor. If someone
with a great personal ad is receiving lots of replies... what will
make yours stand out? A funny line might help. But if you have
noticed that people do not respond well to your brand of humor...
save your jokes for later.
Keep track of whom
you've contacted. Don't write a series of letters to someone who
has not responded... you'll look desperate or like a stalker.
Don't demand personal
info immediately. Certainly not if you have failed to offered any
details yourself. Go for a balance between talking about yourself
and asking about them.
Don't open with your
last failed relationship. Sure, you have a dating history. But
talking about "game players, liars, and cheats" makes
you sound a little bitter. Don't sound like you are obsessed with
past partners... or that you think everyone will hurt you.
Don't open with sex.
"Hi. You look sexy." Unless the person's ad specifically
says they only want a casual sexual relationship, it can easily
sound vulgar and rude. Women, in particular, typically delete
those messages. When men get letters like that, they often expect
a link to a porn site to follow. Even on a website that focuses on
"adult activities," you need to do more than describe
your body or fantasies.
Don't write a novel.
Sending out your life story as a first contact is going to look
odd. You need to write enough to sound like you have a life, not a
book you'd like to publish.
Don't open with "I
hate online dating." It is amazing how many people open a
note with a line that condemns online dating sites and the people
that use them. You are talking to someone that uses a dating
website! Do you really want to immediately imply that they are
desperate, dumb, or dangerous?
Don't ask for a phone
number, address, or last name before you have even gotten a reply
from someone. You may be mistaken for a serial killer or a
telemarketer. Go slowly in asking for that sort of information;
you don't want to scare off prospective dates.
� Dateable.com LLC 2002
About the author: Tracy Brant is a freelance writer and an editor
at Dateable.com. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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