What To Avoid in Your First Online Message

By Krissy Dolor, Jill of All Trades


From perfecting your username to avoiding the ‘adjective list’ in your About Me section, you know that first impressions on a online dating site are everything. But while it’s right to be concerned about what your profile says or how you look, you shouldn’t forget about another important part of dating on the Internet — messages! After all, you can’t get offline without reaching out to your perfect match first.

What you say in a first message can either make or break any shot with a potential match, so choose your words wisely. Here are my three top things to avoid when reaching out to someone you like. And if you don’t think it’s been done before, think again — I’ve seen these shenanigans first hand!

1. Don’t diss or dismiss: If a match mentions Per Se as a favorite NYC hot spot, don’t tell her that you think it’s pretentious and way overpriced. In fact, don’t mention the restaurant at all. Putting down someone’s top choice leaves a bad taste in his or her mouth and to be honest, it’s just plain rude. Pickup artist strategy from Neil Strauss’ The Game doesn’t translate to the digital world. Instead, focus on something that you do have in common — like your love of fine dining.

2. TMI is always a no-go. While you want to let a potential match know that you like visiting museums too, you don’t want to ask them to go down the three-story slide at the New Museum in a first message. And then give your number. And your email address. And your work schedule so they know what time is good to call you. And by the way, did you get my phone number? Here it is again. Coming on too strong is both irritating and a bit unnerving, and it will definitely ensure a phone call — and a date — isn’t in your future.

3. A flat out marriage proposal. Yes, I’ve seen guys do this. No, it wasn’t a joke. And even if it was, I don’t think the second email sent two days after the first with another marriage proposal was a joke, either. Remember — your first online message should offer a taste of you are, not the whole entrée. Let them take a bite before giving up dessert.

Have your own creepy online dating message stories? We’d love to hear about them in a comment below!