Online dating - what not to say

WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?! Cam Diaz seems like a down to earth lass, but even she'd be put off by most online dating messages.
WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?! Cam Diaz seems like a down to earth lass, but even she'd be put off by most online dating messages.


'What's up, sexy?'

'I like you. Let's chat.'

'You must be tired because you've been running around my mind all day!'

If you've ever sent someone (or received) an email like any of the ones above, then you know the outcome: crickets.

No respectable woman (if that's what you're going for, of course) wants to receive an email that not only shows that you didn't read her profile but also turns her into a piece of meat rather than acknowledging the real, and likely wonderful, person she is.

I made up the lines above, but below are several real, unedited emails that female clients of mine have received from men on various online dating sites that were appalling and certainly not the right way to get someone to respond favourably:

'Your profile caught my eye and I am a little embarrassed to tell you why. You look just like.. You look like the mum next door, but I can't help but think you're super naughty. It is really hot. You are innocent and sweet looking, but it is like you are thinking something less than pure in your head. I don't know why I got that feel, but I did. It just makes me think you are very sexy milf! haha Okk, sorry! That was too forward! hah'

'Wow ok. So u probably get alot of bull crap messages so I'm just going to be real. I would like to know u and take u out lol. U wanna know more about me, write me :-) hope to hear from soon'

'Shut up and let me take u out'

'Too bad for me that I am married!!!!'

These are bad, and I hope I don't have to explain why.

Now that we've gotten what not to do out of the way, let's look at the top five creative ways to get women to message you back:

5. Speak like a human.

This one admittedly isn't terribly creative, but it is necessary. Please check for grammar and punctuation, and don't use text speak. If you want to say 'you,' then write it out rather than using "u" instead. It'll go further than you think.

4. Make sure she knows you read her profile.

This is another boring one, I know, but it's important that you don't just comment on her 'sexy smile.' Rather, comment on how she completely beat your time in the marathon or how impressive it is that she actually practiced the piano when she was little, unlike someone you know (aka you).

3. Use a creative subject line.

Would you rather answer an email with 'Enjoyed your profile' or 'Martian invasion - take cover' as the subject line? Unless you're actually concerned about beings from Mars (or don't like people with a sense of humour), then I'm guessing you'd choose the latter. So will she. Another fun one I saw recently was, "Tell your boss to give you a raise" to a woman who was self-employed.

2. End your email with a question, preferably a fun one.

Not fun: "How are you enjoying the weather these days?" (Seriously? Already resorting to conversations about the weather?)

Fun: "So your friends say you're loyal, funny, and adventurous ... that's great! But what I want to know is: How would your enemies describe you? ;-)"

Another fun one: "I love the fact that chocolate chip cookies were listed as the first thing on your 'can't live without' list. Now, I have a very important question for you: With walnuts or without?"

And No. 1 ...

1. Joke with her in a way that makes her want to joke back.

"I see that you're a Hurricanes fan. Hmm ... that doesn't bode well for us considering I love the Chiefs. It's a good thing you also mentioned that you like single-malt Scotch. Redeemed!"

"You don't like sushi? Okay, I'm going to have to work on that one with you. We won't start out with eel or anything raw. Deal?"

Much of the advice above is geared towards opposite-sex couples, but the same concepts apply for same-sex couples. If you're looking to start a serious relationship with someone, then spend some time on that first email. Obviously, no one can ever guarantee a response, but if you follow these tips rather than your usual "What's up?" email, then you're at least off to a good start into online dating bliss.

- Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.

- MCT News Service