Dos & Don’ts of Online Dating Messages

A lot of limp letters come to my online dating inbox. And not many responses go out.

Speaking as one chick who receives upwards of sixty messages a week and only responds to maybe three, here’s what I’ve found works best to start a conversation.

Do compliment them about something other than looks.

Stand out from the “Heeey beautiful”s, the “you’re drop dead gorgeous”es, and “those green eyes of yours make my knees go weak.”

Example: Your profile made me smile. I hope we can get to know one another.

Outcome: Skype date the very next day.

Don’t drone on and on. 

Most long messages either come across as desperate or daunting. Remember that the point of the message is to invite a conversation. Start small.


Outcome: Shut down, reported, and blocked.

Even though I try not to reward bad behavior, I have been known to respond to a terrible message now and again. Check more of the The Best Comebacks to the Worst Online Dating Come-Ons.

Do read their profile before writing a message. 

Profiles don’t write themselves. So when I receive a question that’s answered in my profile, it ticks me off a bit. If you were really that interested, why didn’t you read the information I’ve already provided about myself? Like that I’m addicted to PowerPoint?

Example: What is the best PowerPoint you’ve ever created?

Outcome: Even though I wasn’t attracted to this guy, I still responded to him.

Don’t make it about them.

It can be a intimidating and discouraging to receive emails from old perverts and or the young guys who obviously live in there parents’ basements. A nonthreatening email automatically makes you stand out.

When you ask a genuine question, people can’t help but want to answer.

Example: (Someone once commented on my picture) “What is the lake behind you?”

Outcome: We connected and talked for weeks after that.

Clarification: this is not the green light for small talk. This is about asking a genuine question that the object of your affection will feel drawn to answer.

Do be playful. 

Let’s be real. Online dating is work, but work with no play makes for a dull love life.


Outcome: We did not get married, but we did have a lot of fun.

What words did your relationship (in person or online) start with?


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My name is Nichole—Nichole Parks. Not to be confused with Nicholas Sparks. Nicky boy handles the drama. And me? I take on the trauma. Dark humor is my specialty.

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