In an EliteSingles survey, our members were asked how they decide whether they want to go on a date with someone they’ve met online. 59% of Canadians surveyed said that the decision came down to one major factor: the quality of the messages exchanged.(1)
There’s no doubt that, when it comes to online dating, first message success counts – but how can you make the most of it? To help make it easier, EliteSingles explored the dos and don’ts of the first approach, discovering everything you need to write a humdinger of a first message.
The four first message dos and don’ts
That first interaction is vital. Therefore, you want to break the ice in the right way. If you want to truly make an impression, you need to send an original first message. Here’s how to get it right.
1. DON’T copy paste your messages
Fans of Ctrl + C, listen up. The harsh truth is that your message recipients can tell what is a genuine attempt to say hello and what is a copy paste template sent out ad nauseam. To make the best impression when online dating, first messages thus need to be original: it’s about making the recipient feel special.
TRY THIS: You want to demonstrate you’ve read their profile so point out what it is you liked in the text. Share a love of hockey, a passion for food or a love of literature? Let them know what you have in common and ask a few pertinent questions.
2. DO run a spell check before you hit send
Msgs wit por spelin r relly hard 2 reed. Baffled? The same goes for your message recipient. This is why a hard-to-read, misspelled message can only be bad news. The truth is, legibility goes a long way – a quick and easy read lets your intended spend less time deciphering your message and more time daydreaming about your first date!
TRY THIS: The quickest way to make your message easier to read is to avoid drastically shortening words – write ‘are’ instead of ‘r’ for instance. A quick spell check doesn’t hurt either – not using alot can get you a lot more attention!
3. DON’T be too forward in your messages
While a bit of profile flirting can be very endearing, there is an art to striking a balance between flattery and over-familiarity. A basic rule to follow is to avoid overtly physical compliments in your online dating first message as this can send the wrong signal – in fact, our Canadian members voted sexual innuendo as their biggest online dating no-no!2
TRY THIS: To avoid being taken the wrong way, you are best off chatting about your compatible personalities – you may truly mean your compliments but, until you know each other better, it is safer to keep such flattery to yourself.
4. DO stay on the sunny side!
Just like the most successful profiles are those that are upbeat, so are the most successful online messages. Remember that you are here to sell yourself; so, rather than illustrating why someone probably won’t message you back, think like a salesperson and show off your best side. Not only will this make a great first impression, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you yourself are wonderful, you are interesting and you are definitely worth dating.
TRY THIS: If positively selling yourself feels too much like boasting, try focusing on your recipient’s good qualities. Remember that listening to what someone has to say and reacting warmly can be hugely attractive3 and a great way to secure your next date!
Frequently asked first message questions
What should my message say?
In brief, the ideal online dating message is concise, personal and yet not too invasive – you are looking for that perfect balance of wit and interest without coming across as too intense. The tips above will give more clarity!
Why didn’t I get a reply?
Sometimes users won’t reply to your attempts at chat. Try not to lose heart – it’s very likely that this has nothing to do with you! Often, a user simply won’t have seen your message yet: our members are mostly busy professionals and not all of them have time to check their profile daily. If it’s been a few days, then it may be that their Premium Membership has not yet been approved (and thus they cannot view messages), or it may be that they have recently met someone wonderful on our site and are yet to cancel their account.
What do the coloured circles mean?
The chances of a swift reply to your chat are far greater when you contact an active user of our site. You can easily check this on their profile by taking note of the coloured circles next to the names in your partner suggestions folder. A green circle means that they will have logged on to EliteSingles in the last 24 hours. A blue circle means that they have logged on in the last 28 days (and you can see precisely when by hovering your cursor over the dot). A grey circle means that they have not checked their account within the last 28 days – as can happen when, for instance, a user is on holiday.
Is there anything I shouldn’t say during a chat session?
We are passionate about keeping our customers safe. That’s why we have a Validation Team who manually approves all new profiles. However, it’s always important to keep your wits about you when talking to a new person on the internet. Do not give out personal details such as your address to anyone you’ve only talked with online and, if a match asks you for bank account details or for money, help us keep you safe by stopping all contact and reporting them to our Customer Care team. For more advice, please see our Staying Safe guide.
How long should I wait before asking to meet in person?
The aim of all this chatting is, of course, to find someone with whom you can go on an offline date – perhaps kick starting a relationship with real, long-term potential. However, for your own peace of mind and sense of comfort, it’s usually wise to wait a while before suggesting that you meet in person. How long should you wait? As discussed in our online dating tips article, researchers at the University of Florida recently hypothesised that the ideal period between first message and first meeting is 17 -23 days.4
Ready to put your new first message skills to good use? Join EliteSingles today to meet your matches and get communicating! Just click here to register.
EliteSingles editiorial, April 2015
Do you have any questions about the art of the online dating first message? Let us know below or email us at email@example.com
1 EliteSingles ‘Dating profile’ members’ survey, 2014
3 Susan Heitler, Ph.D, writing for Psychology Today, The Art of Listening: How Open Are Your Ears? Found at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201111/the-art-listening-how-open-are-your-ears
4 Claire Cohen, writing for the Telegraph ‘Online dating tipping point: When should you meet in person?’ Found at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/online-dating/11302495/Online-dating-websites-When-should-you-meet-in-person.html