You have pondered if online dating is for you, bit the bullet, signed up, spent hours crafting the perfect profile, and are finally ready to start conversing with your many matches. But there is just one problem – you don’t know what to say!
First impressions are critical in the online dating world. A great profile can get your foot in the door, but the first message can dictate whether there’s any progress. Online dating comes with its own set of stereotypes, stigmas and skepticism. To shatter these barriers and set yourself up for success, it’s important to take time to craft a meaningful first message. Use the following tips and examples to help break the ice and start a quality conversation online.
Shift Your Focus
So, you have found a really cute guy or gal with the perfect profile. But you are reluctant to send a message, because you are worried that if you don’t say just the right thing, they are not going to respond back to you.
The barrier here is mindset. By focusing on the fear of what may not happen, we shut down our creative thinking skills and begin to act untrue to ourselves. To overcome this unproductive mindset, shift your focus to something positive. Here are some examples:
- Think of something you enjoyed doing recently, or something you saw or read. Think of something that you feel confident you could message back and forth about, until you feel less anxious and more relaxed. A great way to incorporate this is commenting on a profile picture or two (don’t go crazy, though). Maybe there is a place or a hobby you can relate to featured in the photos. Turn that connection into an ice breaker. For example: “I have never been to Italy, but this reminds me of an amazing trip I had in Colorado. Would love to have experienced this.”
- Most people like someone who can make them laugh. While everyone’s idea of humor can differ, try to relate your humor or wit to things that most people would likely understand. You could say something like: “I am convinced that I really paid thirty dollars a month to convince my mom that there was hope that one day she might actually be a grandma. She has agreed to give me a dollar back every day that I remain single.” This type of message won’t stir butterflies in everyone, but don’t underestimate the power of humor (even if it is a little cheesy).
- Another alternative would be to send a message asking for an honest opinion. If you are working on a home project, deciding to buy a car, or trying to pick out a gift for someone (the possibilities are endless), you can strike up a quality conversation quickly by asking someone for their opinion. This worked in real-life for me.
Whatever method you choose, the goal is to shift your focus to something that has a positive emotion attached to it. That will keep your mind in its creative space, as opposed to shutting down due to fear and worry.
Use Your Imagination
This idea is more of a concept, and may seem somewhat odd at first, but bear with me …
Until you meet the person behind the profile, they can theoretically be whoever you want them to be. Why is that a good thing? And why would I want to think that way? First off, you cannot lose something that is not yours. Worry, anxiety and pressure to make the right impression is rooted in the fear that we will be rejected and won’t produce the desired outcome.
So how does this idea work? Here is one example (of many) that you could use. Imagine that you have known this person a long time. Imagine you know them extremely well already, and you have a positive history. Take three to five minutes, and actually day-dream a skit in your mind. Imagine you have gone on a lot of really fun dates. Visualize some of the moments, where you talked, explored, laughed, prayed, etc.
Once you are done day-dreaming, let the emotion you felt when you visualized be the creative force you begin writing your message from. If you didn’t really feel much of anything, try the exercise again, and focus on feeling what the “imagined” moment really feels like.
I used this technique with great results as it made me feel like I knew the person for a long time. So, I felt comfortable writing to them the same way I would a close friend.
I hope these ideas help you think about different ways you can think outside of the box. Focus on the positive, and even if you don’t get the outcome you desired, if you stay at it, you will eventually succeed.
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