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Last updated on June 7, 2014 | by Aet Suvari


6 Online Dating Message Fails & How To Turn Them Around

If you’re an online dating site user, I’m sure you too have been in a situation where you get a message from someone you might have been interested in – if it wasn’t for the quality of their first message letting them down.

You know what I mean?

You’ve checked out his/her profile, perhaps sent a wink and the next thing you know, an email pops into your mailbox but the content is sooo disappointing.

You just don’t know what to reply – should you even reply? Perhaps you should better leave it. Right?

Wrong. The fact that someone isn’t good with words, witty, funny and original doesn’t necessarily mean they wouldn’t be great in every other sense.

They might be amazing listeners, good in eye-to-eye conversations, fun dates, great kissers – you get the point.

The best thing you can do is to give them a chance.

So, let’s take a look at the seven most typical email messages that might put you off.

1) The copy & paste generic message

It probably runs along the lines of: “Hello! I came across your profile and I think you sound really nice and fun. If you want to get to know me better, get in touch.”

Doesn’t sound so bad, really…

But then you start thinking that he or she probably sends dozens of emails like that to members online.

Doesn’t really make you feel very special, does it?

Why should you get back to someone who didn’t even bother to make one original remark about your profile?

If you think you could actually like the person, you could still reply but make sure that your answer is anything but generic and impersonal.

Look into their profile, read it carefully, show them that you actually made an effort to get past the initial introduction phase.

People who send generic copy-paste messages are usually pretty insecure.

They think that if they send out loads of messages, someone’s bound to get back to them and this way they won’t feel rejected.

They may just need a little nudge to show them that someone has taken an interest and is willing to get to know them.

2) Let’s chat! Let’s meet up!

Some people want to take their time when it comes to online dating.

They like the whole getting-to-know-each-other-through-emails phase when they’re compiling witty messages and are feeling butterflies in the stomach while they’re waiting for the reply.

They are often romantic types.

Others are more pragmatic: they don’t want to waste their time and energy on a website, they’d rather just get on with business and find out quickly whether there is a spark or not.

Both ways are equally legit in online dating but it’s unfortunate when those two types meet online as both of them are probably feeling a little frustrated.

So, what to do if you’re the romantic type and you get the “Let’s chat!” or “Let’s meet up” message from the pragmatist?

The best solution is to try and find a compromise. You could say you’re not quite ready to chat or meet up right away but that you would be keen to do it soon.

Then add a question or a joke, and see what they say or do. Chances are that they’re intrigued enough to get back, and this way – before they even know it – you have enticed them to revealing some more, which is exactly what you wanted in the first place.

You probably won’t be able to escape chatting or meeting up at some point, but you can certainly try and postpone it a little if you feel more comfortable with emails in the beginning.

3) Have you got any other photos?

Quite often there’s someone on a dating site who doesn’t think your photos are quite enough.

However, it might seem off-putting to you if the very first thing they ask in an email message is for more pics.

Sounds kind of shallow. Well, yes, it could be shallow but let’s not pretend we don’t give a toss about the appearance of our date ourselves.

Besides, there are enough fake profiles out there or just profiles with fake or outdated photos.

You can’t really fault anyone for being careful and wanting to know whether you really look the way you do on your main profile pic – which, we assume, is the best picture of you.

What can you do? You could send them one extra photo and a nice friendly email.

Or you could tell them that there are more photos, but you’re only sharing them with people that you know a little better.

In any case, stay polite and friendly – that will help to break the ice.

4) Want to have sex?

Let’s face it – some people join online dating sites only looking to hook up with someone.

We’re far from judging them but it is annoying if you’re there looking for something serious and long-term.

Mostly you’d do well to just ignore messages like that or send back a curt but polite NO.

However, let’s say you really do like their profile and it sounds like there could be some potential there.

What would be the best approach to get them interested in a little bit more than just sex?

Our advice would be: be flirty.

You could get back to the booty-call message with a little joke or something light-hearted and see how the situation unravels.

5) Obscure joke

Another type of message that you might occasionally get on an online dating site is an obscure joke that you just don’t get.

Are they trying to be witty or are you just a little bit stupid?

Well, it could be neither. It might be just their peculiar way to hide their insecurity.

But how could you respond to it?

Well, how about trying your hand in making your own obscure joke?

That could just get the ball rolling and before you know it, you’re talking like two normal human beings.

Or then you’ll be sending obscure jokes indefinitely.

6) Insult

Yep, even this happens.

When I had only just started online dating myself, someone wrote to me: Hi honey, you’d look a lot better wearing a paper bag over your head…

Needless to say, I never responded although it might have been just his attempt for a witty opener. Some people just do that.

So what should you do if you get an insult in the first message? Ignore it?

Most probably, yes. Or you could outwit them and beat them in your own game. We would advise that if you’re really good with words yourself, otherwise the best approach would be either responding to them with resounding silence or an ironic remark.

Insult is never the best way to break the ice, even if it is meant as a joke.

The golden rule in online dating is still the same: in 9 times out of 10 situations it pays to be polite, nice and kind in your responses.

Kindness goes a long way and is always the best medicine. In the end you don’t know what kind of insecurities or previous fails lead to that message that you were sent, no matter how lame it may sound.

But if you think that there’s even an ounce of a potential there, why let it go to waste? Much better take it, turn it around and try to build on it.

Online dating message fails needn’t necessarily result in communication failure if you keep an open mind about the message behind the message.

About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+

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