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A lot of pressure goes into writing a message to someone on an online dating site.

Online Dating Messages Tips and Capture His HeartNot only is talking to strangers downright daunting, but using a paid service like Match.com or eHarmony has the added incentive to get your money’s worth and rather than sending your words into the void with no return on investment.

Well-meaning friends might tell you to just “be yourself” and “not overthink it,” but there are some strategies to keep in mind as you converse with potentials online that will help maximize the responses you receive.

Here are six Dating With Dignity tips to master the art of online dating messages and start scheduling some promising dates:

1. Stay Short and Sweet

Unless the guy you’re talking to is a literary scholar, hefty, unbroken blocks of text will have his eyes glazing over. There’s nothing wrong with writing out what you want to say and editing it down, but save that motherload of information for the first date. Only include enough information to keep the conversation interesting and engaging, and break up the text to keep your message digestible.

2. Be Response-Worthy

Asking vague questions like “What’s up?” or “How are you?” and nothing more will leave your conversation falling flat before it even gets off the ground. Online dating profiles are there for a reason, so cull the tidbits that made you want to message him in the first place and spin it into a question or a fun, flirty comment. Similarly, when answering questions in a message, don’t just grant short, curt responses. Give him something to work with.

3. Keep It Clean

Even if you curse like a sailor in real life, rein it in for those first few messages – and dates, for that matter. You never know when you’re going to offend someone, not to mention excessive use of profanity when making that crucial first impression can distract a guy from what you’re actually saying. Keep it clean until you know each other a little better.

4. Stay Positive

One of the most commonly asked questions between users on online dating sites is why you’re there in the first place. People join online dating sites for a variety of reasons, but even if you joined up for the loneliest, most gut-wrenching of them, keep it to yourself for now. Sharing your dark hatred of singledom or last-ditch attempt to get over a particularly wretched break up benefits no one in these very early stages. So keep your reasons light, positive and casual until you’re ready to ease into the heavier stuff.

5. Tame the “Me-Talk”

While you might be completely enthralled with the dissertation you’re working on for law school, your online love interest likely won’t be… at least not yet. Barraging him with things he’s not familiar with and drama between people he’s never met without asking much about him will make you appear narcissistic. By all means, mention your dissertation or allude to a tense work environment, but don’t dive into the nitty gritty just yet. You’re here to get to know him too, so ask questions and engage in his responses.

6. Be Original

Form messages are not sexy, nor are they flattering in the least. I know writing and responding to online dating messages can be time-consuming to the point where it feels like a second job, but if you’re heart’s really in it, it pays to be original. Utilize that dating profile as a tool to craft a thoughtful, custom message and let him know why you found him interesting in the first place. Setting yourself apart from other girls who are enticed merely by six pack ab mirror shots or trying to rack up as many dates as possible will get you far.

Marni Battista

As the founder of Dating with Dignity and with more than 25 years of personal relationship and dating experience, Marni Battista has dated, was married for 17 years, divorced, and then successfully dated again (and married!) in the 21st century. She has undergone professional training in dating and relationship coaching as well as training in the Core Energy Coaching Process from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). Marni also has extensive training as a Facilitator with the Hoffman Institute, one of the world’s foremost organizations in personal development. A guest co-host on Dr. Drew Pinsky’s Loveline show, Marni was called LA’s best dating coach after her appearance on On Air with Ryan Seacrest. More importantly, as a divorcee for more than five years, Marni truly understands what it feels like to be lonely and sick of wasting time on dates with men that go nowhere. A woman who is not your mother, best friend, or therapist, Marni is the professional relationship and dating expert who will stand behind you to provide love, compassion, support and honest guidance as you embark on one of the most important, fulfilling adventures in your life.

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