Howdy-Do! The Best Ways to Introduce Yourself on an Online Dating Site

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Signing up for an online dating site is the easy part and you only have to write your profile once. But once you see someone who looks interesting, things get a whole lot harder. On most dating sites, the next step is an email through the site and it’s this message that will decide if you get a response, create a relationship, fall in love and live happily ever after. No pressure!But just in case that first impression does make you sweaty under the collar just a little bit, here are some tips you can rely on.

5 Suggest a Game Plan

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Fair warning: This is not an easy thing to pull off. But if you do it right, it can be the perfect icebreaker. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you send them a wedding date in the first email. Instead, this goes back to the idea of noticing the details in the other person’s profile. Find something that interests your date and mention a future event that you know of. You can try something along the lines of “I noticed you also love Ethiopian food. There’s a new place opening up and I’ve been looking for someone to try it out with” or “There’s a Ren Faire coming to town in a few weeks, so I figured we should get to know each other now and maybe we can meet up there. I’ve already got my costume planned.” Be careful with this one because it’s easy to come off pushy. If you’re in doubt, save it for a second, third or fourth email.

4 Don’t Apologize

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Of course you want to come off casual, modest and not pushy. But you don’t want to present yourself as an insecure doormat. Be honest and don’t brag but this isn’t the place to list all your faults. Self denigrating humor can feel like an easy way to seem like a nice person, but if you go overboard (which is very easy to do) you instead seem insecure and needy. One of the most common ways that newbies tend to do this is they offer some kind of apologetic excuse for being on an online dating site. When you say “I don’t usually do this kind of thing” you may think that you’re saving yourself from looking uncool but the person you’re addressing is also using an online dating site. Your apology is actually a bit insulting.

3 Ignore the Picture

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Yes, we did say earlier that you should reference the person’s profile but don’t mention the picture, even if it is to offer a compliment. There is almost no way to say something nice about someone else’s personal appearance without coming off as shallow at best and creepy at worst. As much as it can be flattering to have someone compliment your looks, save it for the second date. In the meantime, make sure your date knows that you’re interested in them because they sound like an interesting person who you have things in common with, not because they had a good picture. The one exception to this is if the picture is set in an interesting place, or shows one of their interests. For example, if your potential date is shown posing with their dog, or by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, then you can mention that you also have a black lab or ask when they were last in Italy and that you’ve always wanted to go.

2 Use Good Grammar and Spelling

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Bad grammar and spelling may have nothing to do with how good a boyfriend or girlfriend you might make but people will still judge you for it. It’s easier to prevent than ever before (thank you spell check!) and so letting your message go out with major errors doesn’t just make you look uneducated, it also makes you look lazy. You don’t have to be too formal but at least proofread. And the most important thing of all: Do NOT use any form of internet shorthand! No writing “L8TER”, “CYA” for “see you” or “u” for “you.” Don’t do it. It is not cute. It is not informal. It is just juvenile.

1 Reference Their Profile

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The best possible thing you can do is notice what the other person decided to write and use it to start a conversation. A person’s profile is their initial presentation of himself/herself and they will want to know that it is what sparked your interest. Otherwise, your message may look like a form letter or like you noticed them only from the picture they posted. If you show interest in the details of their profile, you immediately come across as someone who is considerate and attentive. Profile details are also a great way to start a conversation. Find a shared interest and mention it, ideally with a follow-up question. For example, if your potential match says that they love sci-fi movies you can tell them about the last one you saw and ask if they’ve seen it yet and what they thought of it.

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