Do you have any tips on initiating online contact in a way that will get someone’s attention without sending them running for the hills? I’ve tried commenting on common interests or similar life situations with little success. In the last 3 weeks I’ve contacted 6 potential dates and had one response, who said he was seeing someone.
What are some things to avoid when making contact with a hot prospect? I’m looking for men in the same age range, comparable level of activity and attractiveness. I must be missing something.
What are your suggestions for online pictures? Most seem to be digital self portraits.
I don’t claim to be an expert in this, but let me share my observations.
Generally, my experience is it’s nearly futile to initiate contact (See “Don’t initiate“). I know, it sounds antiquated for an assertive, confident woman to not use these attributes in the online world. I’m just reporting my findings: When I’ve initiated, very few men have responded, and those who did, didn’t last past a coffee date even if I was interested in more. All of the men with whom I’ve had second dates and beyond have initiated contact. Perhaps our men readers can illuminate why this might be, as I can only speculate.
That said, when I do decide to make contact, here are some of my strategies.
Make an initial email short, upbeat, and comment on items he mentions in his profile that you found interesting or you have in common. If he’s got the trite “I like sunsets, dining out, and chilling at home,” I don’t say I, too, like what 90% of every profile states. (In fact, if he’s that clichéd, I probably won’t be drawn to him in the first place.)
The key is to not be too short, e.g., “You’re cute. Call me.” But also don’t get verbose telling him all the reasons you think you’re a match. If you have a humorous personality, let it shine through and be sure to add the smiley emoticon so there’s no confusion that you’re trying to be funny, not whacked.
I’ve also learned from the men I’ve gone out with that many find it a turn off to be told to call you, and they don’t want you offering your number too soon. In “Don’t give your phone number too soon” I share that guys have said they want to be invited to call after the second, third or fourth email. So don’t give it on the first email or you’ll appear desperate or easy.
I have a standard email template that I adapt to the individual. You don’t want to spend too much time crafting a specific email as you’ll only hear back from 10% of those you contact. I figure they don’t respond because they are 1) uninterested and don’t know how to say that nicely, 2) are involved with someone, 3) aren’t a member of the site so can’t respond without joining. Whatever the reason, don’t take it personally and just move on. If you want to try again in a few weeks, you can, just don’t give it more than twice or you’ll seem desperate or like a stalker. For the second email, see “Use funny emails for unresponsive contacts” for one approach.
Even following these guidelines, you’ll still only hear back from 1 in 10 contacts — if that. It is somewhat of a numbers game.
In terms of photos, I always scratch my head when I look at men’s profile pics. All but a few are too small, too dark, out of focus, over 5 years old, or with a hat and sunglasses, not showing the guy’s face. Please, no self-portraits taken at arm’s length or in a mirror. That screams that you don’t have at least one friend who is willing to take a picture of you in a suitable surrounding when you’re dressed presentably and in good lighting.
I suggest having a professional pic taken, but not a glamour shot. You don’t want to have professional hair, make up, lighting, and Photoshopping if you rarely look that way. You want to present yourself at your best, but also how you are likely to look when he meets you. One of the most pervasive complaints about online dating is that people don’t look at all like their pictures. (See “Is that you? Pictures are just a rough facsimile of the real thing.”)
I recommend posting several photos, some in casual settings, some in more professional attire, and one or two in formal togs. Make sure you choose ones that show your attractiveness, not whatever you happen to have around. Also, avoid showing too much skin, as men interpret that as you are easy.
My friend Rachel Sarah, author of Single Mom Seeking recently said in her blog that single moms should avoid posting pics with their kids because there have been some psychos who get to the kids through dating the mom. Ugh! Generally, I think it’s probably a good idea to not post pics of your kids anyway.
And no matter how much you love your favorite location, too many pics of landscapes make me wonder if the person doesn’t want to show their own face. One or two is okay, as is one of your pet, but if there are too many pics without you in them, it makes me wonder. And please, please, please don’t post photos over 5 years old, ideally within the last 3 years. No one wants to think they are showing up for the 25-year-old babe who now is 50.
For those who feel they’ve had more than 10% success in initiating contact, what can you share that works?
Technorati Tags: dating Internet, dating online, senior dating, bbw dating, mature dating, dating over 50, dating over 40, online dating advice, dating after 40, dating after 50, over 40 dating, 40+ dating, dating after forty