Messages that work for online dating

I’m a big believer in efficiency when it comes to dating. Y’see, online dating can seem for folks, especially people who have a touch of approach anxiety or hate the bar and club scene but don’t necessarily want to try hitting up strangers at Barnes and Noble.

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Almost every online dating site out there has some form of a low-stakes “hey, so and so wants you to talk to them” notification – often given a cutsey name like “wink” or “flirt” or “send a flower” to make it seem more acceptable. Most dating sites let you set up a profile for free but require that you pay money in order to be able to message people.

Some, back in the early days of online dating (lo those dark days of the late 90s and early 00s), were evil and would sell a limited number of messages; if you sent out a message and didn’t hear back, well, tough shit Charlie, you just blew a buck (or whatever the per-unit cost was). were intended as a way of trying to get someone to message so that you could chat without wasting your hard-earned money.

Needless to say, it was kind of an insult even back then; nothing screams romance more than “I’m interested in you but not enough to actually to join the site.” Fortunately most sites seem to have wised up and charge a subscription fee instead, but the vestigal organ that is the “wink” hangs in there like an appendix and does nothing but cause trouble.

Here’s the thing: everybody knows exactly what it means when a guy sends one of these.

It’s a way of saying “I know you’re probably not going to write back to me, so please notice me noticing you and do the hard work for me…” If you’re interested in them, send an email already!

Much like stressing about the opener, the first email is there to get them interested enough to write back.

The key is to be short and sweet; the longer the email, the more likely it’s going to seem as though you’re too desperate. if you’re already assuming that they’re not likely to write back time writing out a sonnet?

I’m a fan of the dating site email template – less of a form letter and more of a very easily customizable email that you send out in order to save time.

I’ve used a longer one in my day, but over the years, I’ve streamlined it down even further.

The structure is simple: Greeting, a little about what it is about them from their profile that you like, a question to prompt a response, a little bit about you, and then “I hope to talk to you soon.” Two or three lines for each section. But I have to know: what’s your ultimate escape from the world when you need a release? I’m always looking for a potential partner in crime…

Feel free to write out the “about me” section in advance; it’ll save you time in the long-run and it allows you to fine-tune it rather than hitting “send” and then kicking yourself because you realized you could’ve said something wittier. If you had a chance, what would you do to wind down after a long week? A little about me: I’m $AWESOME_ATTRIBUTES_X, Y and Z… Like I said: you seem like you’re a really interesting person and I’d love to get to know you.

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