Updated: January 30, 2023
Breaking the ice—in any situation—is no easy feat. Whether you’re approaching someone at a bar, a party, or online, putting yourself out there can be an awkward and scary experience, even for people who are naturally outgoing. Next time you log in and start meeting people, consider these five online dating tips for writing a first message:
1. Don’t be nervous.
Even if your stomach is tied up into knots and you’re so nervous you can barely type, try to stay calm. Go splash some cold water on your face, look in the mirror, and ask yourself, “What do I have to lose?” Really, it’s not like the person on the other end of the message is going to publicly reject you, and you’ll never have to see this person in real life if nothing comes out of your attempt.
2. Do your homework.
Actually take the time to read someone’s profile before sending that first message. I know a lot of us are quick on the draw when it comes to messaging people who catch our eye, but it helps to actually know something about that person before you message them. And, from the feedback I’ve gotten from real online daters, we know that’s exactly what most online daters want you to do.
3. Cool your jets.
“Cool it down,” isn’t just a lyric in one of our favorite Velvet Underground songs. It’s also basic advice when it comes to dating. Online dater, Nathaniel elaborated for us, “Girls get tired of cheesy compliments like, ‘you are so beautiful, you have such beautiful eyes, I think I’m in love, I’ve died and gone to heaven, if I’m sleeping don’t wake me, I must be dreaming, let’s do it, your so hot, etc.’ Don’t use pick up lines ever. They don’t work.”
4. Avoid TMI
TMI, or ‘too much information’, about yourself is a no-no on a first date, and it’s also a no-no with a first message too. Generally, when people talk too much about themselves it reveals a real problem with listening, which is a turn off. If things work out between you and your prospective match, they’ll find out everything about you in due course. There is no need to tell someone everything about your life right away. Also, keep an eye on the scale of your letter.
5. Spellcheck. Prease. Please.
Never underestimate the power of a typo-proof message. Typos and grammatical mistakes are ugly blips that detract from the sincerity and sweetness of what you’re saying. Can you imagine what Sonnet 18 would be like if instead of “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” Shakespeare wrote instead, “Shlal I compaer the 2 a sumur’s dai?” If you feel uncomfortable with the grammatical integrity of a message, why not run a simple grammar and spelling check on it?
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