Of all the aspects of online dating, sending the opening message is the part we often overthink. In a face-to-face situation, approaching someone can be really tough. You don’t know whether they’re single. You don’t know they’re intentions. You don’t know who or what they are looking for.
By contrast, approaching someone online should be a lot easier. You already know far more about them than you would in a bar – you know they’re single and looking, and often you will also know their name, age, sexual persuasion, and a whole host of other details about him or her, before you even speak.
There’s also the fact that approaching someone online is a lot less awkward than speaking to someone face to face. Online, if someone isn’t interested in you, they simply won’t reply – making rejection a lot more passive, and less awkward than it is in real life. But how can you try to minimize the online rejection, and strike up conversation online?
1) Make sure you have a strong profile
Online, the success of a message is often far more reliant on who is sending it, than what the message actually says. Ten different people could say ‘Hello’ to you, and you might respond completely differently, according to who was approaching you. When you send someone an online message, he or she will click on your profile before deciding to reply. So make sure your profile is a good representation of you.
The first hurdle is always the profile picture. When your message appears, so too will a thumbnail. Popular online daters may not even get past your thumbnail, so make sure it’s is a good one. Stand out from the rest. Bold colours and backgrounds work well, and remember to smile!
2) Message a number of people
The online game is a numbers one, and it is important to remember that. Whilst you may have favourites, you should never restrict your approaches to one person at a time. Not everyone online is actively using the service, and you shouldn’t place all your hopes on one person at such an early stage. Spend time exploring one or more dating sites, and approaching a whole range of people. This is just stage one of the dating process, so don’t restrict your options too early on.
Try to keep note of who you’ve approached, if the website hasn’t done so for you. It can be embarrassing approaching the same person repeatedly. And don’t copy and paste messages. If you accidentally send the same person the same message twice, it will look lazy and as if you don’t actually care.
3) Don’t overthink things
In my experience, people overthink the online approach. In reality, what you’re doing is showing that you’re interested in the other person, and testing the water to see if he or she might be interested in you. As a result, you need to stay true to yourself when chatting online, and remember, that if that person doesn’t respond to you in the way you want, then maybe they’re just not the right person for you. Be friendly, casual, and above all normal! Don’t use contrived chat up lines, unless that’s genuinely you’re sense of humour. Compliments about how someone looks or their noted achievements are likely to come across as tacky or slimy. Avoid talking about what the other person looks like, and if you refer to something noted in his or her profile, don’t overthink it. By contacting them, you’re already showing an interest, there’s no need to suggest you’ve memorized their profile!
Questions can work well, as they give the person answering something to base their reply on, but try to avoid turning it into an interview. Don’t be afraid to make the other person think. Rather than asking about him or her, ask their opinion on something, or try a fun ice-breaker, like ideal celebrity dinner guests.