How to Write the Perfect First Message on an Online Dating Site
First impressions count -- especially when you're writing to someone on an online dating site. These research-based tips will help you pen the perfect introductory note.
Step 1: Keep it brief Keep it brief. Research shows that online dating site users are turned off by first messages that are longer than 350 words -- especially men, who respond well to notes as short as 50 characters.
Step 2: Ask "How's it going?" Start your message off with "How's it going?" People generally respond more favorably to that greeting than "Hi," "Hey," or "Hello." "What's up?" does well, too.
TIP: Diving right in without including a greeting is also acceptable.
Step 3: Be grammatical Make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect; sounding illiterate is a huge turnoff. And avoid texting shortcuts like the letter u for the pronoun, and the letters u-r; they don't fare well in first messages, with the exception of "haha" and "LOL."
Step 4: Be specific Include a few specific interests of yours; messages that do almost always get more responses than those that don't. And work in a positive reference to one of their passions; showing you read their profile can score you major points.
Step 5: Avoid physical compliments Avoid physical compliments, especially if you're a guy writing to a woman. Women don't like being told they're "sexy" or "pretty" by someone who's never met them; it comes across as insincere. Instead, use complimentary words like "cool" or "fascinating."
TIP: Guys, don't use the word "please." It hints at desperation, which women find off-putting.
Step 6: Don't sweat it Don't worry about trying to write the perfect first message on an online dating site if you happen to be very good-looking. The genetically blessed get the highest rate of responses -- no matter what they write.
FACT: On Okcupid.com, about 32 percent of messages receive a response.