The Online Dating Message Strategy that Works

Messaging can be one of the most daunting parts of online dating – especially if you’re on the shyer side, like I was back in my dating days.

Once you get to messaging potential matches, you’re actually DOING IT. You’re meeting people. You’re allowing yourself to be seen – and judged. Oh! And when you receive messages, you have to decide based on nothing but a few sentences whether the person who messaged you is a creep or a sweetie.

When I’m getting started with something new and scary, I like to put some structure on it so I don’t find ways to chicken out. If messaging feels more like checking items off a to-do list, it takes some of the fear factor out of it.

So here’s the message-sending strategy that I used when I was dating:

  1. Message 5 people per week. Block off 30 minutes, 5 days a week, to scroll through matches and send one message. Remember, this is a numbers game – the more people you contact, the better the odds of meeting YOUR person.
  2. Spend about 15-20 minutes per message. And heck, as you get good at this, spend about five minutes! The point is, you’re not writing a novel. You don’t have to get this perfect. In fact, if you’re spending too much time per message you’re gonna burn out – because most messages don’t ever get a reply. Just send ‘em and forget ‘em.
  3. Schedule time to send your messages. Okay, okay, I know I mentioned this in #1, but I’m repeating it because it’s really important! At least at first! If you don’t schedule time to actually flip through people’s profiles and send messages, chances are pretty high it’ll fall off your radar because it’s hard. Set an alert on your phone to remind you to do it, at least for the first two weeks.

And here are some guidelines for replying to messages:

  1. Only reply to messages that reference some detail from your profile – and not just how much they like your smile in your profile picture. If they didn’t take the time to read your profile, they’re NOT worth your time.
  2. Only reply to messages that ask a question. Like, why are they reaching out if they don’t want to know more about you?
  3. Only reply to messages that make you giggle – or at least smile. There should be a warm, fuzzy feeling when you read the message, like this is someone you’re vibing with.
  4. If there’s anything in the message that creeps you out or makes you go “huh…” – that’s a HARD PASS. Don’t waste your time wondering if maybe they were TRYING to give you a compliment when they said they “like this little body you got going on here,” or they’re “really into big girls.” Trust me.

So there you have it – happy messaging, lovely! You’ve got this! Getting going is the hardest step, and once you’ve done this for about three weeks, you’ll be an old pro.

Don’t forget to schedule some time for messaging this week…did I say that already?