After you have signed up at a dating site and completed your profile it is time to get down to the real business of online dating and start getting in touch with new people. Depending on which dating site you have joined you will either be sent a list of potential matches or it will be down to you to browse through the profiles of other members and pick out those that interest you. Either way, the next stage is the same – identify the profiles that appeal to you the most and then get in touch.
Opening the lines of communication can be quite scary, especially if you are completely new to online dating, but it is something you really need to be able to do. You do have the option of waiting to see who contacts you first, but if everyone did that then nothing would ever happen. Just remember that people join dating sites specifically to meet new people, so no one is going to resent you getting in touch, even if it transpires that they don’t have any interest in taking things further.
It is, of course, very likely that you will be the recipient of the first message from plenty of other members too. Therefore, you will also need to respond to those messages. It usually feels a little bit easier to respond to others than it does to make the first contact, but some people still find it difficult to know what to say. Below we have offered some advice on contacting others at dating sites, whether sending the first message or responding to others.
Winking and Receiving Winks
Before we get on to sending messages, we should mention a feature that you will find at most dating sites – the wink. This feature basically just lets someone know that you have seen their profile and want to show a bit of interest. Different dating sites use different terms, such as nudges or flirts, but winking is the most commonly used. Some people prefer to go right ahead with a message, but a wink can be a useful way to break the ice.
If you send someone a wink and they wink back at you that could be seen as an invitation to get in touch with a proper message. If someone sends you a wink, you could wink back if you are interested in further contact or you could choose to seize the initiative and send a message yourself.
Sending the First Message
Most dating sites have some kind of instant messaging system that lets you make contact with other members without having to reveal any personal details such as an email address. Some even have the facility to send audio or video messages, and these can add a slightly more personal touch. The vast majority of people probably stick with writing the first message though. There are a few things you should keep in mind when sending the first message and we have some advice to offer on this subject. Remember, though, that there are no hard and fast rules and ultimately you should say whatever it is you want to say.
We would suggest that you keep the first message relatively short and simple. Don’t be tempted to simply repeat all the information you have in your profile, as whoever you are contacting will be able to see that anyway. Also, bear in mind that the other person may receive a lot of messages and may not be inclined to read through anything too lengthy. You should absolutely ensure that you make your message personalized, and not just copy and paste a generic message every time you contact someone. People will usually be able to tell if you have put any thought into your message and are unlikely to get back in touch if they think you have just sent the same message to a bunch of others.
The best approach is to include a couple of reasons why you decided to get in touch or what caught your attention in their profile, and you could also mention any shared interests that you have. Be careful not to go overboard (something like “I’ve finally found my perfect match” could be a little strong for a first message), but don’t be afraid to make it clear that you would like to get to know them better. A compliment or two is a good idea, and try to say something that will encourage them to respond if they are interested.
Responding to Others
Firstly, you should make an effort to respond to any message that you receive even if you have no desire to take things any further. Sending a quick reply will only take you a moment, and it is basic politeness to just say thanks for the contact and explain that you are not interested at this time. You would hope for the same from anyone who contacts you, so you should extend the same courtesy yourself. If you receive a message from someone that you like the look of like too then you will want to spend a bit more time on your response.
When replying to a message you have received it is a good idea to respond in a suitable manner. If someone has sent you a brief message saying that they like the look of your profile and are interested in getting you know you better, then you should probably respond in a similar fashion. A simple response saying that you’ve had a look at their profile and are also interested in taking things further will suffice. From that point, you will hopefully start exchanging more detailed messages.
If someone has taken the time to send you send you a detailed message, and you are interested, then you should really send a detailed message back in response. You should make sure that you answer any questions that you have been asked, and also ask some questions yourself. You shouldn’t necessarily try to move things along too quickly, but if it seems like you have a lot in common and it is clear that you both have an interest in each other then don’t worry about slowing things down for the sake of it. There is no right and wrong about how to proceed at this stage, just try and do what comes naturally.
Taking Things Further
The time will almost certainly come when you want to take things further with someone and really get to know each other a bit better. Sometimes you might hit it off straightaway with someone after a couple of messages, sometimes things will happen more slowly over a period of time. Either way, just make sure that you proceed at a pace that you are both comfortable with. You don’t have to move straight from exchanging messages to arranging a date – you might like to have a few chats on the phone first for example. Once you are ready to make the next step though, don’t be afraid to suggest it.