9/5/2012 11:49 AM
Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before: online dating is a numbers game. You’re going to send quite a few messages that don’t get a response, and engage in a lot of chats that seem to go nowhere, and go on many first dates where nothing seems to click. But, there are things that you can do to stack the odds in your favor when you are dating online.
Start by making sure that you have an attractive and approachable profile. A few musts:
1. Pick an inviting face picture for your main picture. And, smile! This isn't a mug shot.
2. Make sure that your pictures are flattering. More than one picture is preferable.
3. Go over your profile thoroughly to check spelling and grammar. Even if you don’t care, lots of people do.
4. Got a lot of requirements listed for those who want to date you? Take them, or at least most of them, off. A long list if rules can be off-putting.
5. Lead with something interesting and unique. Your profile is often someone’s first taste of what you are like. If it’s too generic, there is no reason for them to stick around.
When you send your intro message:
6. Do not write a generic message that you fire off to everyone. No one is going to respond to a form letter.
7. Do not just write “hi” or “what’s up?” Few people will respond when you’ve given them no reason to.
8. Reference something on his or her page. For instance, if you are both Doctor Who fans, ask them what they think of the Eleventh Doctor.
9. Do not write a wall of text, especially in a first message. It’s not just oversharing; it’s an imposition of someone’s time. Who has the time to spend reading long missives from a total stranger?
10. Stick with three to five charming lines.
11. Don’t mention sex unless you are only looking for casual hookups. And even then, be prepared to get blocked. A lot.
12. End with a question. This gives the object of your interest a prompt for a reply, which makes it easier for them.
To keep the conversation going on follow-ups:
13. Don’t send a second message if you’ve received no response to the first. Sometimes people get busy and don’t have time to respond right away. Sometimes they are not interested. But, you have guaranteed that you will not hear back if you bomb them with messages.
14. Keep it positive! Do not talk about how little luck you’ve had with online dating, how bad your last breakup was, or how many commitment issues you have.
15. Ask a question to keep the conversation going. But, do not interrogate your new acquaintance. One or two general questions is fine. A list is a little much.
16. Remember, it's a conversation. Don't write an epic screed. Send a few lines, leave an opening for your new friend to respond.
17. Don’t linger forever on messages. Try moving to chatting by phone or even meeting in person quickly. Too much time messaging online before meeting leads to overblown expectations that can be hard to meet.