The first personal message is what every man and women remembers most. “He had me at ‘hello’” is more common than, “That sixth message was spot on!” Were it not for an incredible first message, there would not be a sixth one, mind you.
Yes, saying “hello” is always a great way to initiate a conversation. However, writing a nice compliment about someone’s photo without sounding crass is another. “You have beautiful curls” is a nice touch as opposed to, “Great ass!” Both men AND women should curb their crudeness.
Another tip? Make some small talk but don’t keep it too general. Making reference to the other person’s on line profile is a great way to show interest. Instead of, “How’s the weather?” why not write, “I heard there is a storm in your city, are you keeping dry?” A question is best asked when there is some substance and research behind it. And the recipient feels as if he or she is looked after with interest.
Speaking of questions, when making initial contact, do not ask too many questions. No one wants to feel interrogated. Not everyone enjoys talking about him or herself either. A few questions are a nice way to extend a virtual rose but too many questions is a rather large bouquet.
Another tip? Do not ask for a phone number or provide one. Do not ask for a full name or give one. Just don’t ask for personal details and don’t offer any either. BE DISCREET. Truth is, for every great partner out there, there are quite a few weirdoes. You never know if that great guy or gal is a good catch or not after just one conversation. You don’t want to politely retract your interest only to find your new cyber friend at your doorstep with a suitcase, telling your mother named Barbara that her son or daughter has an STD and $500 dollar shoes on. There is such a thing as too much information, too soon.
Do not lie about the person you truly are. Don’t try to be someone you are not because your potential partner is. If you don’t read Proust but the person you are writing is a fan of his, don’t quote the guy. It will catch up to you in the future. You will find yourself having to quote Proust every time you converse or worse, you might have to actually read the guy in order to keep expectations high. Who wants to do that?!
Finally, initiating conversation through online dating is a lot easier than doing it in person. However, the first message is harder to do through the computer. The proof is in the writing and may be opened any time in the future whereas an initial conversation in-person is a distant memory, etched in someone’s mind for prosperity’s sake. You might not realize that your message may also be shared among friends (let’s hope that is not the case). Women and men have a tendency to forward messages to others with a click of a mouse so what might be private to you, might not be so private in the world of online dating. Therefore, it is best to be prudent yet honest in your first message and at the same time be able to show a level of yourself.
Online dating is fun. The first conversation is a heart fluttering, pulse beating moment. Keep it real and keep it magical.