You’ve created your profile and filled it with witty and charming tidbits of information like how arty you are, Game of Thrones is your favourite show, you love your family and friends and you have an adorable cat. You’ve perfected the art of the selfie and carefully picked out your most flattering pictures from your last holiday, showing how fun-loving you are but also how you’re a self-actualised modern woman who’s looking for someone to share adventures with.
Or you maybe you skipped all that, put up two boring pictures of yourself and only uploaded one text box that says, “Ask me.”
Whatever your approach, at some point you’ll want to start having some conversations with people about how much you love long walks on the beach or something. You’ve visited a few profiles, sent some Likes and even Wishlisted a couple of people that you thought were really cute, but now the time has come for you to send a message. Here are our tips for sending the first message:
- Think about what kind of interaction you want to have with this person – are you looking for friendship, romance and would that be long term or short term 😉 One style of language will suit one and not necessarily the other. If you want to make friends, it’s probably not a great idea to tell someone how sexy they are in their pictures, so just give a thought to your intention.
- Cut it with generic messages – How special do you feel when someone messages you and says, “I loved that picture of you at Comic Con last year, I’d love to go this year. Did you enjoy it?’ That’s nice, right? They showed an interest, actually looked at your profile and want to talk to you about a common interest. And how special do you feel when someone says, ‘Hi, how’s it going?’ Er, not very. Stop sending messages that are generic, copy and pasted to 20 different people and actually try to have a real conversation with someone.
- Take your time – Remember, you literally have all the time in the world to look at someone’s profile and think about what you want to say, so if in real life you often feel flustered, just take your time.
- Don’t admit to awkwardness – If you really are awkward in real life, you don’t actually have to tell everyone that and the first message is definitely not the time to do that. Feel free to tell them later but talking about your social awkwardness right off the bat puts the other person in the position of feeling responsible for carrying the conversation and trying to make you feel comfortable – they don’t know you yet and they shouldn’t have to do that!
- You are allowed to message ANYONE YOU WANT – Online dating is all about sending messages so it doesn’t help to say anything along the lines of ‘I hope it’s OK that I messaged you.’ You’re allowed to message whomever you like and you don’t need to pre-apologise for doing it.
- Show your funny side – If you feel confident enough to, it never hurts to open with a joke or a line that’s just on the right side of cheesy; you’ll show you have a sense of humour and you’ll break the ice, erasing any first message awkwardness.
- Don’t come on too strong – you might be lonely, desperate and looking for your future wife but who wants to hear that straight away? It’s super overwhelming to get a really personal, intimate message as the start of the conversation – again, you’re putting a lot of responsibility onto the other person before they know you.
- Be prepared for the response or lack of one – Know that if you don’t get a response that there are a million reasons why and you shouldn’t take it as confirmation that you are the worst person ever. What if they’re busy, they’re not sure what to say to you right now, have forgotten that you sent the message, have decided they’re not ready to date right now and they were just checking out the app? OR what if they’re just not into you? All of these reasons need to be accepted because everybody’s got their own story. Put it this way, when you walk into a bar there is a relatively small number of people in there and when you’re face to face with one of them, they’re more likely to actually talk to you. Online there are thousands of people and you’re all using a phone to communicate, so there isn’t the urgency or the social etiquette that requires them to reply. At some point, you may find yourself not wanting to reply to someone and you’ll have your own reasons for doing that.
What’s your favourite thing to message somebody to start a conversation?
Emily is the Community Manager of Dattch as well a part-time film reviewer and full-time cookie monster. She can’t walk in heels, is a cross-breed of Essex girl and Londoner and makes cupcakes like nobody’s business. Find further nonsense from Emily on Twitter @moulder5000