If you’ve ever dabbled in online dating you’ve likely received an email or two that was less than perfect– maybe even sent one. It’s easy to become lazy, or over eager, come on too strong or not strong enough. But if you know what the common mistakes are before you make them, you may be able to avoid an online dating disaster.
1. ONE WORD DOES NOT AN EMAIL MAKE.
During my online dating stint, I received so many emails that simply read “hey” or “hi” I started to hate the casual greeting altogether. If any guys are reading this I just have one question: why? Why is it so hard to include a few other words after your generic greeting? Also, I have a warning: most women will not respond to your email if you only extended enough effort to write one word. I know I wouldn’t. If you can’t take the time to write an actual email, I won’t take the time to write you back. Although this mistake isn’t made entirely by men (come on, women! Get it together), they are the majority offender. If, after much deliberation, you STILL can’t think of any other words other than “hey,” here’s a hint: Hi, how are you? I love [blank] about your profile. [Insert question that requires her follow up email] Say goodbye, maybe tell her you hope she has a wonderful day and you look forward to getting to know her better. Your first email doesn’t have to be crazy clever, but it does have to be more than one word.
2. SAVE THE EX TALK FOR IN PERSON (IF EVER).
For some reason a lot of online daters feel the need to have the “ex talk” via email before the initial date. Sure, some people discuss their past relationships early on, maybe within the first three dates, but sending emails back and forth does NOT count as a date (shocking, right?). Maybe you’re thinking, what’s wrong with clearing the air and getting the conversation over with before date number one? It’s simple: besides being too soon to drop the ex bomb, it can be difficult to convey tone and emotions in an email. Your potential date will have a hard time gauging whether or not you’re over your past if they can’t see your face or hear your voice. So typing “I’m over that crazy bitch” with a teasing, sarcastic smile, will NOT come across in your email, but will instead make you sound bitter and NOT over it. Which brings me to…
3. USE SARCASM SPARINGLY.
I’m a VERY sarcastic person, sometimes to a fault, and my sense of humor ranges from dry, to dark, to downright goofy. In person, I can be funny and charming, especially if we share the same kind of wit. In email, however, I’ve realized I have to be careful. The person I’m emailing is usually a complete stranger and doesn’t know my type of humor. I can’t just assume they will understand or “get it.” The solution? I’m afraid it’s not that simple. Over time, I’ve realized there are only three ways to avoid offending someone with my sarcasm: 1. If you can tell from the other person’s profile and previous emails that you are on the same level, let your sarcasm flag fly high. 2. At the risk of appearing juvenile (depending on your age), you can insert lots of “lols” and winkey faces to get your point across. 3. You can avoid it altogether until you meet in person (which, admittedly, isn’t very fun). Usually, I went with option 1 or 2.
4. GO BACK TO GRADE SCHOOL.
One of the biggest turn offs EVER is poor spelling and grammar. Even in this age of texting, do NOT be lazy when writing an email. Use complete words and sentences (there’s no need to abbreviate everything- or anything, really), and for the love of the internet, use spell check! It takes two seconds and you’ll avoid looking like a complete imbecile. Also, Google common English rules most kids learn in elementary school so you won’t mix up “your” with “you’re” and “there” with “their.” Trust me– you need to know the difference.
Overall, use common sense when crafting an email to a potential date and take as much time and consideration as would when talking to someone on an actual date. Because if you don’t, you may never even get that first date.