Photo: Don Hankins via Flickr
If there’s one thing that everybody can agree on it’s that the internet is full of weirdoes and undesirables, and you’re one of them until proven otherwise. Online dating can be a cumbersome process and a brutal waste of your time if you don’t represent yourself well in your profile or fail to communicate effectively in emails.While most of us barely have time for a life outside of work without having to review countless personal ads in an attempt to discern who may be somewhat normal, enhancing your online “flirting” skills will minimize your disappointment and maximise your response rates. Here are some pointers that professionals from Virtual Dating Assistants (www.virtualdatingassistants.com) and readers who have extensive experience online recommend to set you apart from your average worm on a hook.
Keep your audience in mind: Just like marketers shape a branding campaign with their target audience in mind, online daters need to write a profile and post photos that will attract the type of person that they desire. If you need some feedback, send a message to people outside of your area that share the characteristics of your ideal date and ask for some pointers. No need to be shy, many people will be more than happy to help.
Show, don’t Tell: Avoid clichés and lots of adjectives. Instead of telling everyone you are “funny”, “love to travel”, and “live life to the fullest” etc. show them with your words. Describe the time you lost your Passport in Mexico and had to sneak back across the border like Ben Stiller in The Heartbreak Kid. OK, not many people can say that, but if you dig for a while you’ll think of something unique that will leave readers at the edge of their seats, wanting to know more.
Attention-grabbing subject lines: If your email doesn’t get opened you have a 0% chance of getting a response; therefore, your first goal is to grab the other person’s attention. Again, this is especially important for men sending emails to highly-desirable women, who can get well over a hundred emails a week. One way to do this is by presenting an incomplete thought in the subject line that makes the other person want to know what could possibly be waiting inside.
Reel him or her in (a call to action): Industry professional Scott Valdez observes that the trouble with a lot of people’s emails is that they don’t make the reader feel anything. Tickle their imagination a little, put them in a spot where they have to prove themselves. Men that can make women laugh or feel challenged (but at the same time not offended) in the first message will have a leg up on the competition. Likewise, if the recipient of your email asks the question “So what now?”, you’ve got room for improvement. Make it easy for your romantic interest to respond by asking them a direct question or telling them what you’d be interested to know about them, ideally at the end of the email.
If you are interested, truly: Take the time to send someone an email but keep it short. Many people (especially attractive women) will not respond to winks. If you are really interested, take the time to send a note that makes it clear that you read the other person’s profile. For women reaching out to men (first), a wink may be better so the fellow still has the option to be the pursuer.
Lastly, as with offline dating, don’t appear desperate: Sending a second email when someone doesn’t reply to your first one is OK but not when it’s a) obnoxious (that is, you reveal that you are annoyed and feel rejected) or b) on the same day. Wait a week or so and then give it one more shot (guys especially since women get exponentially more emails and their emails can fall through the cracks more easily). Persistence can be good but harassment will definitely work against you.
There are several resources on the Internet for online dating and it is worth reading the tips included on each particular site. Whatever you do, don’t give up! There really is someone out there for everyone.
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