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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, about 32 percent of messages receive a response.

You Will Need

  • Brevity
  • Literacy
  • And specificity

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