How to Get a Response to That First Email

Writing QuillIf there’s one thing every Dating Ninja knows it’s that first impressions are everything in the world of online dating. That first email you send to someone on an online dating site can make or break your chances of getting a response. But with a little thought and little effort you can increase your chances of getting a response.

These are the DO’s and DON’T’s for that first email:

  • DO personalize the email and mention something from the person’s profile and tie it back to you. For example, I notice you like Green Day. Did you see them when they were in town last year? It was a fantastic show.
  • DON’T start with, “Hi, how are you?” It’s an empty question with a one-word answer – “fine.”
  • DO keep it short. Three to five sentences is about all you need in a first email.
  • DON’T send the same email to every person you write to. It’s impersonal and lazy.
  • DO check for spelling errors before you click Send.
  • DON’T ask a question that is already answered in the person’s profile. It is a big red flag that you never actually read the person’s profile.

The Formula
If you’re not the best with words and you don’t know where to start, use this formula:

  • First sentence is about the person you’re writing to.
  • Second sentence is about you.
  • Third sentence is a question that gives the person a reason to respond.

Example:

Dear Dating Ninja,

I love the photo of you in front of the Trevi Fountain. I was in Rome in June, and threw a couple of coins in the Trevi myself. What was your favorite spot in Rome?

HappyGuy1

While the above email comments on a photo in the profile, an email that comments on something that you read in the person’s profile can increase your chances even more.
Example:

Dear Dating Ninja,

I see you have a passport story…me too. I learned that you should always know the expiration date of your passport! What’s your story?

HappyGuy1

The bottom line is be authentic and engaging. Good luck!

Online Dating is Like Test Driving Volvos

A very good friend of mine in the UK called me last week to tell me he had finally found the lid for his pot, or as they say in Cockney Rhyming slang his perfect China Plate (mate).

We have both been single on and off for the past 10 years, and have had many Skype sessions discussing the various reasons why. But it wasn’t until this past week that we came up with the perfect analogy for our unsuccessful dating histories.

Test driving Volvos when you want to buy a Ferrari.

That one phrase pretty much sums up both of our online dating experiences. Online dating sites are chock full of Volvos. There is nothing wrong with a Volvo. It’s a sturdy, stable, reliable car, but there’s really nothing extraordinary about it. And it’s just not sexy.

There are plenty of people who want to drive a Volvo, and plenty of people who want to drive a Ferrari. Me, I’m more of a Tesla girl. The Tesla is a one-of-kind car, a unique driving experience, and very adventurous. Here are some real comments from the Tesla website:

“It’s one of the most fun vehicles I’ve ever driven.”

“There has simply never been another car like this one.”

“…my eyes are wide and my jaw has dropped.”

That is exactly what I’m looking for in my China Plate. Someone who makes my heart pound and my jaw drop.

I have been lucky enough to test drive a few Tesla’s in my life, and I’m still hoping to find the perfect model. But for now it seems like I’m looking for a Tesla in a city full of Volvos.

***********************************

What’s your perfect model?

Dear Dating Ninja – Why no profile picture?

Dear Dating Ninja,

I just got an email from a guy on Match.com who seems really interesting but has no profile picture. Why would someone post an online profile with no photo? Do I hit Delete or answer the email?

Please advise.

Kate, Age 37

 

Dear Kate,

It is my experience that in the majority of the cases where someone doesn’t post a profile picture it is because they are either married or in a relationship. However, there are actually some very good reasons why some people can’t post photos in their profiles. Some people in high profile jobs or in industries where posting their photo may be a danger to them just can’t take the chance.

Don’t be shy. Just ask. You can start with, hey I notice you don’t have a photo posted. Are you a) Married, b) A public figure, or c) A Member of the WItness Protection Program?

He could be a judge, a school principal, or a prison guard. Or he could be married, in which case you hit the big DELETE and BLOCK button immediately.

♥Dating Ninja

Dear Dating Ninja – The Wedding Ring

I get phone calls and emails all the time from people who run into situations in the online dating arena and need some advice. I’ve decided to start publishing those here so you can all reap the benefit of the answers.

 

 

Dear Dating Ninja,

I’ve been exchanging emails with a woman online who has no profile picture, but offered to send a photo via regular email. When I opened the photo I noticed she was wearing a wedding ring. What do I say in this situation?

Sean, Age 47

 

 

 

Dear Sean,

The wedding ring in the picture raises two red flags. One, she may still be married, and she’s online seeing if there are better fish in the sea. Or it’s an old picture. Either one is unacceptable.

Write back to her and say, I noticed you’re wearing a wedding ring in your photo. You said you’ve been divorced for quite some time. Do you have a more recent photo you could share?

You’ll soon find out what her real story is.

♥ The Dating Ninja

If Age is Just a Number Why Lie?

thumb_What is your age dating rangePeople often say age is just a number.  However, there are two things I know to be true about online dating: men often lie about their height and women often lie about their age. And when you get into the 50-55 age bracket the men start lying about their age as often as the women do.

So if age is really just a number, why do so many people lie about it?

Middle aged women lie about their age because most middle aged men won’t date someone their age or older. Period.

Men lie so the younger women will find them when they search the dating sites. We all know the big 5-0 is the death knell in all online dating search engines. It’s rare to see a 50-year old man who’s dating range includes women 50 and over. In general the only men searching in the over-50 range are the ones who are over 60.

To all of the men and women out there who are lying about their age on their profiles, know this: if there’s one thing most people are looking for in a relationship it’s honesty and integrity, and you just blew it. If you lie about your age it makes your potential match wonder what else you may be lying about.

I list my true age on my online profile, and if the men my age don’t find me in a search it’s their loss.

And guess what, not everyone who’s near 50 looks like the Crypt Keeper or your Grandma Celia.

The Skype Coffee Date

In the prehistoric dating world we dated people at work, in the neighborhood, or in the same zip code. If we were really adventurous we might venture to a neighboring zip code for a date. Well online dating has expanded that dating radius to every zip code, area code, postal code and country code in the world.

That’s great, right? Sure, if you have unlimited vacation time and a bottomless bank account.

What happens when a guy in area code 503 (Portland) meets a gal in area 206 (Seattle)? They exchange a few emails, maybe a phone call, and then one of them offers to make the 3-hour drive to meet for coffee (more likely dinner because it’s such a long drive). They meet and immediately realize there’s no chemistry. She thinks he looks 10 years older than his profile picture. He thinks she looks 30 pounds heavier. And they are both right. They could have saved themselves a lot of time and money if they would have done one thing: had a Skype coffee date.

All of the emails and phone calls in the world won’t show you what Skype will.  Skype adds the dimension of body language that you can’t get via email or phone. I highly suggest you skip the lengthy emails and phone calls and go straight to Skype.

The First Skype Date

Do yourself a favor and treat the first Skype date like you would any other first date. That is, take a shower, put some clean clothes on, brush your teeth, and pretend you’re actually meeting in person. I suggest “meeting” for coffee first, and following the suggestions below:

  1. Pick an area in your home that is free of clutter, and doesn’t have any personally identifying information in it.
  2. Set your computer on the table facing where you plan to sit, and then walk around to the back of the computer and take a look at what your date will see. Is there some hideous art in the background? Pictures of your kids? Your ex? Take them down or pick another spot.
  3. Check that the light is flattering. Fluorescent lights and overhead spotlights are the worst.
  4. Take a picture of yourself with your webcam so you can see the environment and the lighting before your date.
  5. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea before the date, and off you go!

The Second Skype Date

If you’re still not quite sure if you want to drive the three hours to meet your date in person, or fly 5000 miles as was the case with my first Skype coffee date, have a second date. In fact, make it a lunch or dinner date. You think I’m kidding? I’m not.

Have you ever been annoyed by the way someone eats a salad, munches their popcorn, or slurps their soup? Yep. Have a date that inlcludes food. Set your laptop on the kitchen table and have a meal with your date.

Once you have had a couple of Skype dates you’ll know if you actually want to make the effort to meet in person. You will also get the added bonus of not having first-date jitters when you have your first real date, because you’ve basically already met.

Happy Skyping!