Personal profiles are sort of like online billboards,
advertising you. Once you've created your profile, now
it is time to actually reach out to a stranger and try
to establish a good rapport - preferably right off the
Unfortunately, this is easy to screw up.
There will be two situations when you'll be writing
to someone: either you will have found a man's personal
profile, and intrigued by it you will seek contact;
or you will be answering a note from a guy who found
one of your own profiles and he's decided he wants to
know you better.
In either situation, you'll want to review some of
our tips about what to say, or at least how to say it:
Don't use form letters when making contact
means you don't keep a copy of the same message and send
it to all the guys you want to meet. Generic e-mails like
that just aren't impressive, and come off as impersonal
and somewhat thoughtless.
Because they are so impersonal, you CAN use a form
letter when politely rebuffing some unwanted attention
and the recipient won't take it personally.
Customize your message.
Say something you'd like
to say to the guy if you met in person: pick out a few
things out of their ad, or out of the message you receive,
and add some of your own personal thoughts. Try commenting
on the guy's picture if there is one or highlight an area
of common interest, "Hey, I like action movies too!
Have you seen...."
Write a concise headline and put it in the
"Subject:" line. If your recipient receives
a lot of messages, he will be more likely to notice
yours if it stands out from the crowd. It's good to
use a little humor here - wit is always compelling.
If you aren't naturally witty, don't force it and go
for something simple instead.
Structure the message like a conversation.
By creating a conversational flow, you add an important
personal touch to the communication. In addition to
writing about yourself, comment on your recipient's
profile, or previous emails and ask open-ended questions.
Let them know you are interested in who they are, and
that you want to know more about their beliefs, thoughts
and interests. These connections will be the beginning
of any future relationship.
If the guy is only looking for a short-term connection,
keep the communication short too. A lot of back-and-forth
messages are not required when you're serious about
meeting for a short-term adventure. The first contact
will establish a mutual attraction with stats or a few
sentences about what you want to do together and will
end with 'check out my profile'. The second round of
contact will give all the relevant hook-up information.
Stay away from heavy subjects. Having
a shoulder to cry on is great, however you barely know
the person you are writing to, so keep the intimacy
at an appropriate level. Comments about problems with
your e-mail software are ok; details about a recent
illness are not. When the friendship is strong enough,
you can gradually disclose personal information that
may be difficult to hear or understand.
Remain Upbeat. Keep your emails upbeat,
positive, optimistic and fun. Think about the feelings
you want your email to convey. Make your reader smile
and want more. Positive emails are more likely to receive
a return message. Avoid complaining, putting people
down, feeling sorry for yourself or any relationship
drama. Negative people are perceived to be unattractive.
Know that your honesty will be rewarded.
As in writing your profile, when making first contact
with others, honesty is the most important aspect of
communicating. Eventually, you may be asked to live
up to your own advertising. It's fine to emphasize your
winning attributes or life accomplishments. The trick
is to embellish without significantly exaggerating or
making the whole thing up. Fantasy is only fun when
you're honest about it, otherwise it's not fantasy it
becomes fraud. If you're having trouble pinpointing
the real you and what makes you special, ask a friend.
Remember that healthy relationships both short-term
or long are built on a foundation of trust.
Don't say anything that might inadvertently
spook the reader. Watch for words or concepts that
might make your reader concerned or uncomfortable. Sarcasm
doesn't translate well online and if you're not adept
at emoticons ;-p don't use them. Be aware that certain
expressions may be misunderstood. You may think "living
in solitude" suggests a quiet, contemplative life.
The reader may think it means being lonely and out of
touch at best and pathetic and trollish at worst.
Avoid whining, swearing and any expressions of anger
or desperateness. If you suspect that something you
write might be misconstrued, then it probably will be.
Presentation Is Important! The details
do matter. Grammatically weak, misspelled or incorrectly
punctuated profiles convey a sense of ignorance or thoughtlessness
and general sloppiness - not a terrific first impression.
Show that you care enough to proofread your profile.
Avoid run-on sentences, writing in all caps (Online,
it's perceived as yelling) and over-using tired emotions.
It's OK to play with language to show your uniqueness
and creativity, but make sure your efforts are obvious
and won't be perceived as a mistake.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you put your
best foot forward when communicating online.