One of the main obstacles encountered by people using online dating platforms for the first time is coming up with the right first message to send to the other user.
You have set up your profile, you have browsed through other users’ profiles, and you have finally found a match.
How do you send a first message that maximizes the chances of a reply and sets the conversation in the right direction?
More people than you think literally freeze when it’s time to send the first message on apps like Tinder or sites like OkCupid.
Others send corny, boring, or other types of ineffective messages that receive no reply or worse a negative one.
Therefore, in this article we are going to explore tips and tricks to send the most effective first message and start the interaction on the right foot.
If you follow this advice, the probability that your first message in online dating will generate a positive response will increase significantly.
Don’t forget to also check our articles on how to keep the conversation going after starting it and on safe online dating and travelling.
Don’t Start with an Overtly Sexual Message
This is one of the biggest mistakes online dating beginners do. To overcome approach anxiety they send messages like “You look so sexy”, “Your body is very nice” or variations of these cheesy and corny (if not horny) openers.
This is not a good way to start a conversation with a new person on online dating platforms and will reduce the chances that she will reply.
The reason for this is that they will feel objectified and know right from the start that you are only interested in a quick hook-up.
And even those who wouldn’t mind a quick hook-up may still perceive your first message as being inappropriate and in very poor taste.
Of course, a small percentage of users may be receptive to that type of message but it’s a rare occurrence on online dating platforms.
The Same Goes for Excessively Theatrical and Romantic Messages
Everything that is “too much, too early” is usually bad when sending your first message on online dating platforms.
This is not only true for an overtly sexual message but also for very platonic and emotionally involved messages.
Writing things like “Your eyes are the most beautiful that I have ever seen” or “I was looking for you all this time and I finally found you” can be perceived as very creepy by the other user and yet you would be surprised to know how many people try them.
Putting a potential dating partner up on a pedestal is never the right thing to do but it’s particularly harmful in the early parts of the interaction.
The emotional investment you put in interactions should be gradual and especially mutual. You should raise it gradually as you see the other side investing too.
Try also to avoid excessively clownish messages. It’s ok (and even very good) to solicit a laugh but your goal should never be to be “the entertainer”, which may kill attraction very early in the interaction.
Let Your First Message Convey Genuine Interest in the Other Person
The first thing users, and especially women, are looking for in a potential dating partner is the ability to connect to who they truly are.
Carefully read her profile and get an initial idea of what type of person you’re about to approach. You can learn much more than you think by reading a Tinder or OkCupid profile. Try to imagine the person beyond that profile.
Making your first message a display of genuine interest towards aspects of her personality or her favorite hobbies and activities greatly increases the chances that she will reply positively.
It’s important that such a message doesn’t come across as fake, artificial, and manipulative. Consider the difference between these two messages:
1) “Jazz Music really rocks!”
2) “Finally, a Jazz appreciator on Tinder. Been to any concerts lately?”
The second one has a much higher chance of generating a reply than the first one, which looks like a lame attempt to copy and paste what you saw on her profile.
Avoid manipulation. Most women can smell it very early on and it will only lower the chances of actually dating them.
Even Better If It’s About a Shared Interest
If you read something on her profile that is about a shared hobby, interest, or trait, make sure to use it in your first message.
Nothing has the same rapport-building potential as common human experiences. She may have posted a picture from a location you also visited and love or she may be interested in the same type of books as you.
In this case, all you have to do is present that share interest in a way that’s friendly, personal, and original enough. Here are some examples:
“That’s a great pic from Barcelona. Did you spend many days there?”
“Saw you’re some kind of movie expert Seen anything good lately?”
“How come literature lovers always look like nice people?”
This is the kind of message that:
1) revolves around something she is interested
2) touches something that you two have in common
3) comes across as kind and yet original.
And that’s exactly the type of vibe you’re looking for when crafting your first message.
If You Want to Use Compliments, Do It in The Right Way.
As we said before, first messages that are too overtly sexual or romantic, as well as excessively clownish comments, can lower the chances of a positive reply.
The reason is that women, especially the most attractive ones, receive dozens and dozens of such messages on a daily basis.
Yet if the compliment is in good taste, creative and original, the chances of it generating a positive reaction from the other user are much higher.
The message could be something on line of:
“Your pictures give me very positive energy. You look like a joyful person”
“You look like somebody with style. You must have a great fashion sense”.
These types of compliments are effective because they both communicate interest to the user and avoid her putting on the same defense she puts when she receives overtly physical and sexual remarks.
It’s important that you compliment her on something that is not too directly related to her body’s sexual attractiveness. This can be her fashion style, her haircut, her smile, or the type of vibes her pictures give to you.
You can also put a little humor in the compliment, like:
“You should look for a ‘best smile” competition because you’d win hands down”.
Witty and edgy humor is much more effective than clownish and theatrical humor, both when sending the first message and in online dating conversations in general.
Engage Her Emotionally Rather than Rationally
As with dating in general, effective online dating is more about evoking the right feelings in the other user rather than having rational and linear conversations.
Women can be very rational (sometimes more than men) but what makes them interested in a man romantically and sexually doesn’t really have to do with the topics that you discuss with them as much as it has to do with the type of emotions that she feels when interacting with you.
A first message should first and foremost convey positive feelings and make her think: “Hey, this guy seems friendly and interesting. I want to know more”.
This is not something you can convey with logical thought so, after reading her profile, try to understand what’s most likely to solicit a positive emotional response for her.
Of course, this approach doesn’t guarantee 100% effectiveness (nothing in online dating, or in dating in general for that matter, guarantees such results) but it’s definitely the best shot.
Don’t Make the First Message About You
A lot of guys think that the best way to get a woman’s attention is to impress her and make her see how cool you are.
In reality, “impressing a woman” is never the right approach. Attracting (which is very different) and building rapport is what you should aim at.
A woman doesn’t feel attracted and doesn’t open herself up to you if you tell her how successful, handsome, strong, or wealthy you are. That is not how it works, although many guys seem to believe that.
Your attractive traits (confidence, emotional intelligence, life experience, and so on) are conveyed through your behavior, and rapport is built when she feels like she can openly talk about herself to you.
So don’t try to make the first message about you. Avoid first messages like:
“I have a big villa and you’re invited any time”
“Do you know that I am a swimming champion?”
These messages will only attract gold diggers at best and turn you into an object of ridicule at worst.
Make the comment about her (or something you have in common) and try to elicit that original, down-to-earth, warm gentleman’s vibe, that is definitely the most effective one for guys (unless they look like Leonardo Di Caprio and can get away with almost any first message).
Don’t Overthink It.
While you don’t want to write the first line that comes to your mind, it’s also not advisable to overthink it.
When you spend too much time thinking about the right message, the final text may be too sophisticated, elaborate, or just plain weird.
Women don’t like to read overcomplicated texts. What you’re looking for is something that is short and goes to the point.
For example, if you noticed that she mentioned her passion for traveling in her profile, the right way to use this information in the opening message would be:
“Hey traveler, what’s the farthest you have ever ventured?”
In contrast, this other message would probably be too long for her to read and the chances that she’ll reply are much lower.
“So, I was thinking about a weekend in London or a weekend in Dublin. Have you been there? Did you like them?”
Try to Put Yourself From Her Perspective
This is one of the things that guys rarely do when using dating apps and sites, that is, making the effort to understand what it is like to use dating apps for a woman.
Most women, including averagely looking ones, receive tons of messages weekly, including messages from very good-looking guys.
This means that they have plenty of choices and that only profiles and messages that come across as very interesting based on her personal preferences are being selected as those “worthy of a response”.
Imagine you are a wealthy investor, and you are bombarded every day by proposals from companies (or their brokers) who want you to buy their shares.
Do you buy shares from each company or broker that contacts you? Or do you just select a small percentage of them based on the perceived quality and what you’re looking for?
The answer is obviously a no-brainer.
When you’re “crafting” your message try to picture it on the screen of the other user as just one in 40 or 50 that appear during that week, some of which will be by very good-looking dudes, some of which will be boring, some of which will be funny, some of which will be right down creepy.
Try to come up with a message that feels like a breath of fresh air. Something that will make her think: “Oh, this is interesting and unexpected, let’s answer and see what type of guy he is”.
Don’t Get Discouraged if She Doesn’t Answer
You can improve your online dating skills but it’s still a number’s game meaning that to be successful you need to accept a certain rejection and non-reply rate that’s way higher than 50%.
The worst thing you can do is to let non-replies and rejections affect your mood and make you upset, sad, discouraged, or bitter.
This negative mood will then affect your next approach and create a vicious circle.
Try to see each attempt as part of the learning process. The more you use online dating, the more you understand what works and what doesn’t, as well as what works in specific situations and for specific types of women.
Also, don’t stop trying too early. Some guys don’t hit success after 10 days using dating apps and give up already. It may take much longer than that before you start seeing results.
Guys who are consistent, humble, and have enough will to learn will at one point get dates, even if takes several months.