Mai Tai Group

Does it ever feel like you’re saying the same things on repeat? When it comes to online dating, you probably are. Lots of singles suffer from “online dating fatigue”, especially when it comes to that all-important first message. Without an effective first message, you won’t get a response and, even after that, you need to understand the etiquette involved with the messages that follow.

If you’re already getting bored just thinking about it, here are our top tips to make your first message spark some interest and how to keep that attentiveness going.

How many times have you logged in to your dating profile to find that someone has simply said “Hey”? As far as openers go, that’s the worst of the worst. There’s nothing to suggest the sender has any interest in them beyond spraying a heap of profiles with the same one-word intro to try and snag a response. Most of the time, that’ll be ignored because you’ve given the other online dater nothing to work with. But if you ask a question? Well, you’re hugely increasing your chances. However, there are a few caveats on this too. It’s very easy to ask about plans for the weekend which is acceptable but something like how would you describe yourself in three words is much more fun!

Different dating websites and apps are used for different things. It may have a reputation for being a good app to find a text buddy or to meet someone random the next day. If you’re on an app that’s know for hook-ups, the etiquette is a little but different compared to a site when you’re mutually looking for something longer term. If you ask a question about wanting a quick hook-up on a site that isn’t geared towards that, don’t be surprised if you don’t get many replies.

So, when you’re looking for inspiration for that captivating first message question, where better to look than their profile? If they’re serious about dating, there’ll be something on their profile you can latch on to. Perhaps one of their pictures shows them participating in a sport you enjoy or they list films they like. Ask them something about that! If you spot a nice pic send a compliment over.

Compliments are funny things, aren’t they? To some guys, telling a woman that she’s too pretty to be on a dating website feels like the right thing to say, but it can have the opposite effect on the woman involved. From the start, you’re essentially telling her that you think there must be something wrong with her in another way because she’s attractive and so doesn’t need the services of a dating website. That might not be how you meant it, but it might be how she interprets it!

If you’re messaging via the app, there’s no need for you to instantly ask for her number. Please, don’t use online dating as an ego boost with your measure being how many numbers you can get each week. The only reason you’ll need a phone number is when you’re making plans to meet in real life. Asking too quickly makes you seem pushy and usually feels like an invasion of privacy.

30% of people active on dating apps don’t want to meet in person, and they’re happy just messaging back and forth, probably in quite a flirtatious way. If you’re looking for something seriously, however, you don’t have time to waste texting back and forth. Work out their intentions and move on if they don’t match yours.

Reveal as much about your personality as you can by letting the other person know that sort of things you’ve been up to and what you have planned. Find out about their interests and the sort of things they would like to do if time and money weren’t holding them back. In terms of time management, it might not matter to you if someone doesn’t respond within 24 hours, but it can be a deal breaker for someone else. No one’s saying you have to be glued to your phone, but definitely try to respond within a day and, if you can’t, apologise for it. That’s polite, and it’ll serve you well as you try to gauge whether this text chat could turn into something more.