You Had Me at…Wait, No, You Didn’t

By:  Nicole Honchariw

A Few Tips for Sending the Best First Message

You see the picture, you read the bio, you chuckle at the clever but charmingly self-deprecating tagline. You like/swipe/buzz, and maybe immediately or maybe five hours later, you find out that, BAM: it’s a match. Your next date (and possibly your next wife) is now conveniently separated out for you, blinking and waiting away from the masses, a tangible name in what can seem a very intangible space.

The beauty and genius of dating apps is they help instigate meeting new people, right? They allow you to filter through, cutting out the figurative fat from the more literal meat market. Yet, despite the easier segue into an introduction (and despite confirmed proof that your interest is also interested,) the actual introductions themselves often go awry. The initial contact leaves something to be desired, and many guys are dropping the ball before the game even starts.

It’s almost reassuring to know there are still some natural nerves about making the first messaging move online (we’re not all robots, after all!) but there are a few simple things to keep in mind when you’re gearing up for that oh-so-important introduction.

  • Cut the middle man(s). This means the “Hello,” “Hey,” and “What’s up?” of the world. Part of the appeal of dating apps is the easier segue into introductions and communications, but starting and ending your introductory message with a flat, one word (ok, two in “What’s up,”) greeting will leave your match feeling in limbo and waiting for more.
  • Avoid leading with her looks. Clearly you think the girl is attractive, otherwise you wouldn’t have selected her. Show that you’re interested in more than just a pretty face and save the compliments for after you’ve gotten to know her a bit.
  • Leave the emojis be. Embrace your literacy and don’t rely on modern hieroglyphics. Getting a first message full of silly icons will generally result in one reaction from the recipient: “WTF.”
  • Show that you’ve actually read her profile. Hopefully, you’ll already have found clues into common interests, providing ample material for a customized first message. She can’t get enough of her pug? Ask her its name and ask if she likes to walk it in Lafayette Park, like you do every Sunday with your own pooch. Even if there’s no common ground to instantly relate on, finding some way to acknowledge or ask about her listed interested show that you will genuinely take the time to get to know her.
  • When all else fails, unexpected humor can’t be beat. Skip the knock-knock jokes, but if you’re truly feeling flustered about what to say, try asking a funny question that will break the ice and calm the nerves. Silly things like, “What would I find if I opened your fridge?” or “Was Jeff Goldbum better in Independence Day or Jurassic Park?” will at least get you some points for creativity, and will definitely get your match’s curiosity.