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What To Say In First Emails


Searching for the right words to say to your match? Break though the writer’s block with these tips.

By Randy B. Hecht

sn’t technology great? You sit at your laptop, checking out who’s available. You don’t have to wash your hair, get dressed up or risk rejection when you cross the room to make your move.

You need a good opening line, though—an email with a subject line that stands out in a crowded inbox, followed by a message that makes replying irresistible.

Try these seven simple suggestions to help you get started:

Flirt a little
Everyone likes a compliment. Whether you say you were smitten by her
Give your match a chance to discover that the feeling is mutual.
smile or that you love the way he expressed himself, you’ll win instant points for your amazing good taste.

Take your time
You’re making first contact, not closing a business deal. Even if you’re already positive you want to meet someone, give him or her a chance to discover that the feeling is mutual. Pushing too hard, too soon, is a turnoff.

Start from scratch
Form letters are impersonal and easy to spot, so avoid sending the same introductory email to everyone you want to meet. Add something special to each message: What inspired you to write? What will he or she like about you? What’s unique about you, and why should someone respond? Investing the time to personalize your message almost guarantees you a positive response.

Be positive
Too many emails have gone unanswered because someone began them with, “I can’t believe I’m doing this” or “I’m not sure if you’ll like my profile, but…” Start your conversation with a dash of confidence and a pinch of personality. Serve it up warm and watch the responses roll in.

Be polite
If you doubt he’s as handsome as he says he is and need to see a second photo, or if you’re wondering whether she’s really a 20-something blonde, don’t chunk away your chances by being too
Work your questions into the conversation naturally.
demanding. People deserve to be treated politely—online and off. Work your questions into the conversation naturally (so when your suspicions turn out to be unfounded, you won’t have ruined a potential relationship).

Emphasize common interests
What common interests, hobbies or attitudes did you describe in your profiles? Feel free to mention how much more you’d enjoy rock climbing, photography, chamber music — whatever — if you could share the experience with someone.

Don’t provide or request direct contact information
The anonymity of online dating gives you time to get acquainted safely before you decide to talk on the phone or meet for lunch. Displaying a disregard for your mutual security is more than unattractive; it’s a red flag that savvy online daters will consider fair warning to stay away from you.

The best advice, though, is simply to be yourself.


Randy B. Hecht is a New York-based writer and editor.
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