sex & relationships

A guide to dating websites: how to message women online

Online dating has become hugely popular in the last few years, and it looks like it’s only going to get bigger. According to Jessica Bridgeman of Marie Claire, an eHarmony survey last year found that “more than half of couples are expected to meet their partner over the internet within 20 years. With that figure rising to about seven in ten by 2040.” 

Even so, taking the plunge can be scary, and if you try it and then struggle to connect with people it can be very disheartening. 

Luckily for you – if you’re a man interested in dating women – I’ve made this guide to help you maximise your chances! Most of this advice comes from my own online dating experiences as a woman interested in men. This is why I’ve made men sending messages to women the focus, but a lot of the suggestions are probably applicable for people of all genders and sexual orientations. Finally, I can’t guarantee that following this advice will get you a date, but it should hopefully improve your chances. Read on to learn my top tips…

Start a conversation

When messaging people on dating sites, the main aim is to have a conversation so that you can find out whether the two of you might be well-suited for a relationship. So if you’re interested in someone, make sure to make it as easy as possible for them to reply to your message so that you can get the conversation flowing! This applies to everybody on dating sites, but is especially important if you are a man messaging women.

Why? Because according to popular dating site OkCupid, messages from men to women are “only about half as likely to get replies as similar messages from women [to men].” Regardless of why this is, it’s clear that if you are a man and you want to maximise your chances of getting a woman’s attention, it’s doubly important to make your messages both interesting and easy to respond to.

Imagine that a woman has four messages from guys in her inbox, and three of them say something like ‘hey’, ‘how r u?’ or ‘wanna chat? :)’, whilst the fourth guy introduces himself a little, says something interesting, and/or asks her some polite questions about herself. I think that the fourth guy is the one most likely to get a reply or a lasting connection. So what’s the formula for a good message? Read on…

Be interesting

The first crucial thing to do is to read her profile and make a mental note of the things she mentions about herself or her interests that are either similar to you and your interests or simply sound interesting. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to send your first message.

As I said before, the idea is to get to know each other a bit, so if possible each message should tell her about you and also ask her about herself. So first of all, tell her about yourself! I don’t mean a brief bio of who you are. That’s what your profile is for! Instead, tell her things about you that you think she might be interested to hear about, judging from what you’ve learnt about her so far in her profile.

This personalised touch will go a long way, trust me. Make it interesting, but don’t worry about going into loads of detail; if she wants to know more then she can ask you, which will help to keep the conversation going. Finally, don’t worry about trying to make it look like you’re an amazing catch; just be yourself and be honest, as this will help you to find somebody who likes you for who you really are. If you are a good match for her, this will shine through without you having to act like somebody you’re not! 

But this isn’t the only thing that you should include in a message. It’s also important to…

Show an interest in her

Make sure to ask her about herself. Did she mention something in her profile that you think sounds really interesting? Ask her about it! Does she have interests similar to yours? Ask her about them! For example, if there’s a band that you both like, you could ask her what her favourite songs are, or whether she’s ever been to see them live, and so on.

If you noticed something on her profile that she seems to be really passionate about, asking her (respectfully) about that is probably a good starting point; people tend to enjoy discussing their passions, so this is likely to help with encouraging conversation. And if it’s something she really cares about then it will also reveal fundamental things about her personality, allowing you to find out what she’s about and whether she’s likely to be compatible with you. 

If possible, ask a total of maybe two or three questions about different things. If you only ask one, there’s a danger that for one reason or another she might not be that interested in answering it, and will thus be put off from replying to your message. By asking more than one, you will hopefully avoid this problem by allowing her to pick and choose the things that she most wants to talk about. But ask too many and it starts to look daunting, so stick to two or three per message!

Note that I haven’t recommended focusing on a woman’s looks or how attractive you think she is. This is because – whilst the occasional well-placed compliment can be nice – a lot of the time this can come across as superficial and make a woman feel like you don’t care about who she is as an individual. Think about it this way: is your comment something that she might have heard from creeps and strangers in public? If so, it’s probably best to avoid it if you don’t know her very well yet, or you’ll probably remind her of those creeps, and that’s not likely to help your chances.

Good luck!

Let me reiterate: doing all this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get responses – let alone an actual date – but it should hopefully improve your chances and help you to find people who are a good match for you. When you do manage to start up conversations, be responsive: make sure that you respond to and show interest in what she has to say before going on to talk about other things. Good luck and happy dating!

If you missed last week’s guide, you can find Kirstie Keate’s guide to getting over your ex here.