We're just like you.  We connected through an online dating service--OK Cupid, to be exact.  Our first date was at a fun Seattle tapas-and-sangria bar.  We fell in love.  We are engaged to be married.  We know that you, too, can find love.  Let us help you.

Guys: How To Write The Best Online Dating Message (And Not Blow It)

Guys: How To Write The Best Online Dating Message (And Not Blow It)

Hint: Thou Shalt Not Send Messages Without Reading Profiles!

As graduates of OKCupid, we maintain dating profiles strictly for medicinal purposes. From the first sentence, we're honest about why we're there (re-writing profiles and sharing our take on the online dating scene and relationships). Our profile status clearly says "Seeing Someone". Despite this disclaimer, our female guru receives messages every day from fellas who don't read a word of her profile before sending an online message.

Any woman who has been on a dating website for longer than 3 days is on to this, and nothing makes them growl more.

Trust us, if you can't be bothered to even skim a profile, your washboard abs will get you nowhere. Of course, if you're just into image-based connections, you might like to read our review on Tinder, here.

Before sharing suggestions for killer first-contact messages, we illustrate our point from the "How to Blow It Before Even Starting" department. Identifying info has been changed to protect the ignorant:

Thou Shalt Not Send A Message Without Reading the Recipient's Profile

  • Hello and hope you r having a great day!  I had to look at your profile a few times, because I cant figure out how yer still single!  Drop me a line--Anthony from Portland
  • Hello and Good Evening! Since we live in the same city, why don't we just meet in person for coffee or a drink and see if we have any chemistry? I'm kind of an old fashioned guy living in the modern prefer to just meet up. Your photo kind of jumped out at me from the page, and I thought, why not-- SC.

Thou Shalt Not Send Cut-and-Paste Messages to Multiple Recipients

  •  well hello their my names Dan over in Shoreline . Lets get to know one another
  • Please take a look at my profile and see if it resonates. I think we've met in a dream. Do you believe in destiny?
  • G morning. How your day is going well
  • Hi how are you. How is your day going? It seems that we have alot in common. Check out my profile and tell me what you think. Lol.

As is painfully obvious from the messages in both categories, the authors of these snippets have not read any of Miss Guru's ever-so-thoughtfully crafted profile. Her reaction? Really?? Look, we get it. Profile pics are the honey that attract the bees, but if you don't at least glance at the profile, you won't even get close to snaring the attention of that cutie.

Without Further Ado: Keys To Writing The Best Online Message

1. Greeting. Reference her user name, so she knows you aren't sending the same generic messages, like bait. Comment on her name or ask her about it. We've discovered that most people have a good story behind their user name. Our female guru has an ambiguous name that references her love of The Grateful Dead, her dreaming nature, and unintentionally, a college football team. Countless suitors asked about it, using it as an opportunity to break the ice, or learn more about her.

2. Get Personal.  After reading (skim if you must, but get down to the bottom) her profile narrative, see if you can find a few things that genuinely interest you. Maybe she collects garden gnomes, or has an antique globe collection. Maybe she's discovered Warrior Dashes.. or is searching for her next ethnic food fixation.  If you find something you have in common, score! Comment on the specifics using phrases like, "I noticed" or "You mentioned".  Then, write a line or two about your search for the best Dim Sum in the International District, or while you love playing in the mud, you haven't tried a warrior dash yet.

3. Message length. Write enough to capture her interest, but not so much that you sound needy or too invested in her. More than a line, but not more than a paragraph is just fine for starters. Remember, this is an initial email exchange designed to snare her interest, not to tell her your life story. You want to give her just enough to let her know you're interested in her particularly, and to give her some reason to check out your profile.

4.  Be colorful.  Use language that feels alive. Instead of telling her that you, too, like the outdoors, tell her you love hiking, but that you promise that everything in your closet isn't made of gore-tex. Instead of saying that you're into riding motorcycles, mention that you took your bike on the ferry and checked out the coastline last weekend. Using adjectives to describe, rather than just a bland statement, draws people in. Instead of "going to the neighborhood pub with friends", try "working my way through the seasonal ales at The Elysian. Pumpkin Ale? Nasty stuff".

5. Close the deal. End your email without a namby-pamby comment or a question about whether they'd like to get together or to check out your profile. Assume they will be interested.

Tips to consider:

  • Don't lead with the negative.  "I know you probably get a lot of messages, and you may not be interested in someone who doesn't live in your city", or "I may be a bit too short for you, but...". Instead, set up positive expectations, such as, "I don't usually look outside the parameters of the city, but your profile kept jumping out at me".  In the case of being vertically or horizontally challenged, it's better to say nothing than to draw attention to a quality that you aren't confident about.
  • Don't use your first message as a re-tread of your bio.
  • Keep compliments to a minimum. If you must, one is fine, like, "Beautiful pic by the lake, by the way", or weave it into your message, such as, "Great description about taking the train to San Fransisco.  I've often thought of the passengers as short story characters".  Women don't need to hear that you find them sexy or gorgeous. They are already steeled against these kind of messages and much prefer that you send a short, confident message.

For even more about sending the first message, check this out.

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