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9 Crucial Tips for Composing Your First Online Dating Message

Online dating now accounts for one in two marriages in many Western countries. People now turn to the Internet when they can’t find a suitable partner through the traditional methods. But while online dating is relatively easy, you will still need to put some hard work and deep thought into the process. And the first big job after creating your online profile is to send your first online dating message to the person that has attracted your attention.

Attractive lady texting on the bed
Starting a great conversation is key for getting good results

The simple truth is that there is no perfect first message. What you send to your potential date should depend on your personality, the recipient and what you want out of the experience. For instance, a message relating to casual sex will look very different than a message to a potential life partner. The big mistake most men make when sending their first message is being generic and vague. Indeed, a lot of men make the ludicrous decision to cut and paste a widely used message. Others simply say something like: “Hi. How are you?” If you send these types of message, don’t expect much in the way of success.

So, to help you in your quest for romance or a casual sex date, here are some tips for that all important first message.

1. Find Some Common Ground

The most logical place to start any conversation is by finding something you both have in common. Find some common ground, and start your conversation from there. Among the issues you might want to look out for are:

  1. Your job
  2. Your hobbies
  3. Your family
  4. Your relationship status - particularly important if you’re looking for an extramarital date
  5. Your hometown

This list is not exhaustive, but you must take the time to read the person’s profile in full before sending your message. If you are asking a question that has already been answered in their profile, the person you’re trying to impress will think you’re a timewaster.

2. Research and Focus on Quality

Women who use dating sites are usually bombarded with generic, cookie-cutter questions by hundreds of horny men. They know when someone is being genuine, but equally, they know when someone is being insincere. Take your time searching for people you’re compatible with, and create a personalised message that is relevant to the recipient. If you mention interests and points raised in their profile, people will be impressed — and much more receptive to what you have to say.

Handsome man texting on the kitchen
Make the right move by asking a thoughtful follow-up question

3. Focus on Interests and Personality

The last thing your initial dating message should convey is your shallowness. This is why you should never make reference to a person’s looks. If all you’re looking for is a pretty face, both men and women will question whether you’re worth spending any time with. Make your first message about a common interest, or a personality trait you find attractive. Finish off with a question to get the conversation moving. Don’t use words like ‘fit’, ‘gorgeous’ and ‘sexy’ — unless you’re on a casual sex dating site.

4. Demonstrate Your Own Personality

Avoid being generic with what you say in your first message. You need to let your true personality shine through in order to stand a chance with the person of your dreams. A great way to show off your personality is to pick up on an interest in a user’s profile, and share your own opinion on it. Inject a little humour, and then finish off with a question to continue the conversation.

5. Take Things Slowly

Your very first message needs to be simple. While you shouldn’t be generic and brief, you need to stick to a maximum of one or two main points. Too many people make the mistake of firing off 10 or more questions immediately. This is overwhelming for the recipient, as responding takes time and a whole lot of effort — especially for a complete stranger.

Here are a few examples of questions you might like to ask:

  1. You mention you’re into movies. What’s your favourite? I love Jaws and anything about science fiction.
  2. I see you’re a keen cyclist. Have you been out on the bike recently? Where do you like to cycle?
  3. We both love Coldplay! I saw them in concert last year, they were amazing. What’s your favourite song?

These three questions should follow a brief introduction about yourself. Highlight a common interest, share a thought or two, and ask a sensible, unintrusive question.

6. Don’t Use Predictive Text or Emojis

The use of predictive text, generic messages and emojis demonstrates that you haven’t put any effort or thought into your initial message. If you were to receive a message like this, would you feel compelled to reply? Don’t ‘nudge’, ‘wink’ or ‘flirt’ until you have had a conversation, as this could come over as creepy to a complete stranger. There is no substitute for a good, old-fashioned conversation to fire up the flames of romance.

7. Don’t Make Everything About You

While you should take the time to tell your potential date a little about yourself, avoid the temptation to go into too much detail at first. You need to appear caring, empathetic and selfless, and these characteristics will not come across if you’re constantly talking about yourself.

When you receive a reply to your first question, analyse it, and ask a thoughtful follow-up question. This will show you listen, and that you’re capable of putting the feelings of someone else above your own. If you’re engaged in a meaningful conversation, the questions about your life will eventually come.

8. A Little Mild Humour Can Go a Long Way

While you shouldn’t be cracking jokes at every opportunity, a little mild humour will allow your personality to shine through. In addition, levity is a great way to break the ice and get the conversation flowing. After all, the first stages of any potential relationship can be a little awkward. Keep things simple, and steer clear of controversial issues such as politics, religion or sex. The humour in your first message should be an attempt to put the person at ease. A little self-deprecating humour is ideal.

Couple on bed getting the action started
The right messages will lead you exactly to what you are looking for

9. Check Your Message Before Sending

Receiving a message strewn with errors will make the recipient question your sincerity. This is why it’s important to proofread your message for spelling and grammatical errors. It’s also important to be absolutely sure that your message can’t be misconstrued or taken out of context, as offending someone or making them feel uneasy at the first hurdle will cut dead any potential relationship before it’s had time to develop.

All nine of these points are hugely important when composing your first message on an online dating site. However, the most important advice anyone can take into the process is to be honest and open. You can tell lies to impress and create a false persona very easily, and this might get you a few replies. However, there will come a time when your lies catch up with you. If you’re looking for a committed relationship, or a long-term arrangement for casual sex, you should take an honest approach to your first messages.

Be yourself, read your potential date’s profile, ask questions and demonstrate you’ve listened. Follow these crucial steps, and there’s no reason why your foray into online dating shouldn’t be the start of something beautiful.

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