Dating Email Introductions

by Jason Tudor

Unlike the real world where you can walk up to someone and introduce yourself, online dating is a bit different. At the beginning, email and instant messaging is your only way of communicating with someone you might like to get to know better.

 If you don’t have a paid membership, you probably will be limited to using “winks” or “smiles” or something similar. These really limit your ability to pique a member’s interest… remember that some of these people get great numbers of contacts, so you don't want to have to rely on your strong profile to snag them.

Email is preferred, because it allows you a little more control. What you’re doing with not only your first but all subsequent emails is, well, flirting. Yep, I just heard a bunch of you go Ack! I can't flirt! I'm too shy. True, and this is the toughest part of online dating, similar to walking up to someone on the street and sparking up that conversation.

But the anonymity of being online is really quite empowering, and you can get over a lot of the initial awkwardness quickly. So how do you write that first email? Much of the principles of profile-writing apply to email, such as staying positive, being honest, and paying close attention to spelling and grammar. But there are a couple of other things that can help.

Firstly, compliment or make reference to some thing or things you found interesting in the person’s profile. I wouldn't suggest telling them you think they're “hot” or “beautiful”… maybe that you liked their smile or their sweater (basic flirting tips, folks). It’s best to stay away from commenting on the picture at all, and find something that they said in their self-description.

Secondly, and this is related, find a way to continue the communication. Ask questions, presumably about whatever you found interesting in their profile. Try and include something personal at the same time. It might be “I see you're in NYC, what do you like best about being in the city? I like just being able to walk everywhere…”, “so you listen to electronic music… I like house… what styles do you like? or “A seven year old, huh? What does she think of you dating online? My daughter's always trying to give me tips.

Hopefully, if you work this right, the person will contact you back. Remember, even if you get a response, you’ll have to work at keeping their interest. In the emails that follow, keep asking questions and keep complimenting (while remaining honest and positive). When you feel comfortable, you can move on to more intimate forms of communication… instant messaging, the telephone, and eventually, meeting in person.

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