The question is – what next? As per my recommendations, you will have kept your first message short and sweet, asking just one or maybe two questions relevant to the potential match’s profile. So what happens now?
Remain Short and Sweet
Just because your first message was short doesn’t mean that subsequent ones should be essays. Quite the opposite in fact – as a general rule of thumb, I think you should only write as much as (or slightly less than) your match.
The logic behind this is simple – you have only exchanged one message. Your match is not particularly invested in you, and your potential for going beyond an initial exchange hangs in the balance. If your next message is five paragraphs long, your match is going to have to decide whether or not they can really be bothered to respond. Make sure you never put them in that position.
Keep it Simple
I don’t care if you’re communicating with a checkout girl or a rocket scientist – make it easy for them to read your message. Stick to two simple principles:
- Write conversationally
- Use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs (if it gets that far)
Of the messages that a match has to trawl through, you want to make sure that yours is easy to read – not a burden.
Don’t Challenge Your Match
Don’t leave it to your match to figure out what they have to do next to keep the conversation going. Your message should make it absolutely clear what your match should do next, so be sure to always include at least one question.
Also, make sure that your questions are specific and easy to answer. An unspecific question would be something like, “Do you enjoy life?” (actually, that manages to be both unspecific and a little creepy). A question that is difficult to answer would be something like, “What are your top 10 horror movies?”.
However, do not go overboard – if you include too many questions, your match will probably be overwhelmed and move on. One or two questions will do just fine.
I know – easier said than done, right? Even if you are a genuinely interesting person, it can be difficult at times to convey that in words.
Just focus on keeping it light and breezy, and don’t be afraid to get a little playful (whilst remaining well within the bound of normalcy).
A good example of this would be a recent message I sent to a potential match, who had asked me what my favorite 80s song was. My response was:
There are definitely too many awesome 80s songs to pick a single favorite. Love Shack is pretty amazing though. It is, after all, a little old place where we can get together.
Speaking of which, would you like to meet up for a drink or two sometime?
A little cheesy? Perhaps – but it worked. (By the way, if you’re not familiar with the song “Love Shack”, check out the lyrics here and you’ll understand the reference.)
Consider How She Will Perceive Your Words
This is my last piece of advice, and perhaps the most important.
It is all too easy for the written word to be perceived in an entirely different way to the manner in which it was intended. So when you have finished writing a message, take a moment to put yourself in your match’s shoes and read it over again. Make sure that there is no ambiguity present that he or she might take in a negative manner.
Once you’ve done that (and checked for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors of course), you’re good to go!
Creative Commons image courtesy of etharooni