5 Online Dating First Message Tips to Help You Stand Out

A woman who listened to these online dating first message tips smiling and texting while on the couch with her dog.

Walking up to an attractive stranger and opening with a, “Hi, how’s it going?” is pretty bold. It shows that you have the kind of confidence to go after what you want. But when you’re online dating, using those same four words as an opener is boring.

Depending on the person you messaged, your message may end up getting lost in a sea of unread messages that sound just the same. If you want to find success online, you need to go the extra length to stand out. The first message you send can help you do that.

“In a world where options are virtually unlimited, you need to take the time to filter out those who are clearly not good fits and craft individualized messages to those you’re interested in,” Darcie Czajkowski, associate marriage and family therapist, tells The Date Mix.

Singles who are serious about finding a meaningful connection, will see messages like “How was your day?” as generic and low effort. If someone took the time to write out a thoughtful profile and pick out photos that showcase their life, there’s nothing wrong with expecting more than just a “Hey!”

So here are some online dating first message tips you should try in order to stand out.

Make a thoughtful compliment.
“Don’t go for the low-hanging fruit,” Christine Scott-Hudson, MFT, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, says. For instance, if someone has incredible hair, compliment their eyes. If they have a good body, compliment them on their wit. “Don’t let your compliments be the easiest thing they hear 99 out of 100 times,” she says. Get a little deeper and be above average.

Be playful and flirty.
When you’re meeting someone online, your messages can easily get lost in translation. It’s hard to accurately read someone’s tone and personality when you haven’t met them in person yet.

“You want to be sarcastic but not mean-spirited or biting, complimentary but not shallow or gushing, charged but not lewd or harassing,” Tom Ella, dating expert and host of The Undesirables dating podcast, tells The Date Mix. “Find your balance. Make it a goal with a few matches to try actively to keep things flirty and fun.”

It’s going to take some practice, but once you’ll nail it, making a good first impression online will come super easy for you.

Act as if you already know the person you’re messaging.
If you want to stand out, don’t be afraid to be a little weird. Make an odd joke or observation, or just jump right in to a story about your day as if you’re already familiar with the person.

“Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t,” Ella says. “But this needs to be fun for you, too.”

If it does work, you’ve found a great match in someone who shares the same sense of humor as you.

Don’t stress too much.
Maybe the person you want to talk to will be the love of your life, and maybe they won’t. According to Ella, it’s super easy to obsess over what to say to the point that you end up chickening out and send nothing at all. But don’t do that.

“You’re not there to impress someone; you’re there to start a chat and see if you click,” he says. “Sending something is better than sending nothing.”

So don’t stress. If you’re thoughtful, genuine, and make an effort, you’re going to be fine.

Kristine Fellizar

Kristine is a Los Angeles-based writer who specializes in topics related to sex, dating, health, and wellness. Her work can be seen on Bustle, HelloGiggles, AwesomenessTV, and Brit.Co, among others.

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