Online dating: How to write good opening messages – Part 1

Posted: March 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

At some stage, probably in the quite distant future, I want to write some kind of comprehensive guide to online dating. Although I have had some success online, I don’t think I’m quite good enough at it yet to write a complete guide. I need to do a lot of tweaking to my profile (especially the pictures), I need to do much better at converting dates into lays, and I need to bang hotter women.

I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of online dating now, that is not the purpose of this post. All I’m going to do is share my knowledge of the one aspect of online game that I think I’ve got down: the opening message.

The opening message is the first message you send to a girl on a dating site. Your response rate is determined by the quality of this message combined with the quality of your profile (especially your pictures).

There are 4 common types of messages guys open with online, and you should avoid these types of messages.

Generic copy pasted messages I never send copy pasted messages. Each message is unique and personalized to the girl. apparently there are some “can’t fail” messages out there that you can just copy paste to a girl and get a good response from. This has never worked that well for me, but to be honest I haven’t experimented with many. All I will say is that girls are very aware that guys will use copy pasted messages, and if a girl thinks you’ve done this she’s likely to hold it against you. It stops you coming across as genuine, and it stops the girl feeling like an individual, and hence special. If there were some really amazing copy pasted messages out there on forums, they’d soon become overused by guys spamming all the hot girls with them.

Standard chode messages These are really short, fairly generic, really low effort openers. “Hi”, “You’re sexy”, “How’s it going?”, “Up to much this weekend?”. Girls literally post on their profiles that they’re sick of getting these types of messages. If a girl’s only getting a couple of messages a week, or you’re picture looks like a male model, then you may get a response. The truth is girls that are OK looking and fairly active on the site (meaning they’ll appear near the top of search results) can receive dozens, sometimes hundreds of messages a week. From what I can gather, probably half of the messages they get are standard chode messages. The problem here is that girl sees the lack of effort from the guy, and in addition to that there’s nothing that helps him stand out from all of the other guys messaging her. The result will be a (very) low reply rate.

Overly sexual messages Going sexual right in the opening message may work if you look like a male model, but it won’t work for most men. Girls get many messages like this, and it just comes across as pervy guys who only have the balls to say sexual stuff to a girl while hiding behind a monitor. Don’t bother.

Ridiculously long messages Some guys send opening messages that are well over 100 words long. This is wrong on a couple of levels. Firstly, at the opening stage a girl probably can’t be bothered to read a message this long. Secondly, it’s investing way too much way too soon. As well as being a waste of time, this also means you come across as desperate. Only a desperate man spends 10 minutes writing a message to a girl based on a quick read of her profile.

Around 90% of messages which girls receive are probably one of the four message types just listed.  Once you know not to send messages like this, this is great news as jumping into the top 10% of guys becomes trivial.

So, I’ve covered what not to do, now for what you should do.

In a nutshell, a good online dating opener is:

a short, direct, personalized, qualifying,  push-pull opener which is congruent with the personality you present in your profile.

Now I’ll go through all the points in this description, expanding on each one so you know what I mean.

Short An ideal opening message is no more than a four lines long. This means it’s quick for the girl to read (increasing the chance that she will read it), plus you’re not investing too much time in writing it which makes it efficient.

Direct I’ve heard of some guys trying to use indirect openers online. This is pointless. You’re messaging a girl on a dating site. She knows you have some form of romantic interest in her, as that’s the whole point in the fucking website. There’s no point in trying to pretend you aren’t interested. This isn’t a bar where not all the girls are in the market for a man. The girls are on the site to date, so they’re interested in guys who make it obvious that’s what they want too. There are some time wasters online. Both men and women who message a lot but are too shy to actually go out on a date with someone. Being direct encourages the girl to think you aren’t a time waster.

Personalized You should make reference to small details from the girl’s profile (the images and / or text). This lets the girl know you’ve actually looked at her profile in some detail, which many men don’t. It also shows you view her as an individual, and not just another girl out of hundreds you’ve spammed.

Push-Pull A push is when you say something which pushes the girl away from you, the pull is when you show interest and pull her towards you. Doing this allows you to compliment her and be direct while still appearing a challenge. All pull comes of as weak and soppy. All push makes you sound like an asshole. This is strongly linked to qualifying, as the qualifying often is the push part.

Congruency The personality you convey in the message must match the personality displayed in your profile. If you’re profile makes you come off as an arrogent asshole, then the opener should reflect this. On the other hand if you’re profile makes you seem like a romantic you’d do badly if you sent arrogant messages. I tried some messages a guy on a forum used to swear by. They made him seem like a bad boy, which is what his profile did too. They worked poorly for me because my profile didn’t make me come across as a bad boy. Different women online will be looking for different things. You’re personality which is reflected in your profile will attract the girls who are looking for the type of personality you present. When you present one personality in your profile and a different one via messages, you will struggle to attract anyone, because the girls who like your profile will be put off by your messages, and visa versa.

Qualifying Since you’re being direct and displaying interest up front, you should qualify the girl a little so she knows that you’re challenging for her, which most men aren’t. You’re overall frame should be: “I’ve got some initial interest in you, but I’m not convinced”. The qualifying should be quite subtle and use humour to take the edge off a bit. Really strong qualification like, “You’re attractive, but tell me, what else have you got going for you?” is just too obvious, and you’ll come across like a bit of a cunt. A decent girl’s not going to qualify too hard this early on, so if you try and make her she’s less likely to bother replying.

So far this has been quite theoretical. Although you may have learned something from this post, many of you will still be wondering, “So what the fuck do I actually write”. In part 2 of this post (coming soon) I’ll show you the exact process I use to construct an opening message. I’ll show screen grabs of girls’ profiles, and walk you through constructing a message for that girl, complete with the finished message. You’l then see all of this theory put into practice.


Stats since 1st March:
9 number closes
4 kiss closes
0 f closes

  1. M says:

    Cool, can’t wait for part two. I feel like my messages have been fine, but maybe congruency is key. I think my profile maybe sounds a bit try hard. Do you have an email I could send you mine so you could give it a look?

    I haven’t gotten any responses from the 25 girls I msg, and they are all really hot.
    I did have one girl chat me tho.

  2. MikeG says:

    I do decent with online dating and this post is on target. You have to put yourself in a girls shoes. Imagine going through an inbox of creepy guys saying lame things. Generic message after generic message. That’s why saying “hi my name is Joe schmoe, I would like to meet you” doesn’t work. Unless she clicks on your profile and your pro baseball prospect who looks like a model, then she’s probably not going to respond.

    Messages should be relevant and not canned. Don’t write crap that’s lame and obvious. If her profile pic has her with a bottle of wine and she references how much she likes wine in her profile, then don’t mention the wine unless it’s really witty because she has an inbox full of wine comments. I went for drinks with a girl off a site and she mention this exact scenario about all these guys sending her wine comments. Those guys where automatically deleted.

    Though to clarify canned comments can work if they are relevant. Like if you have a witty canned Dane cook line, and she says she likes him… That can work as an opener. But you have to be careful and only use that when you got nothing else.

    • betatopua says:

      If I was going to mention the wine thing, it would be something along the lines of, “I can see you like wine a lot… but the question is how much? Is it just the odd glass or are you going to drink two bottles when we go out so I have to carry you home?”.

  3. Tan H says:

    One thing I can’t stand is when a guy sends me a message and the first thing he says is “I like you” or “you’re sexy”. I can’t take anything else he writes after that seriously. In fact, I often don’t bother reading any further.

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