You Sent Generic Message #14
So let’s say she did actually open your email… is she going to be charmed by what she sees? Or is it going to be yet another guy who thinks that she’s not going to notice that you’ve used a cut-and-paste message that he likely sent out to every other woman on that dating site?
Now to be sure: online dating is a numbers game. Men tend to treat it like stalking a wiley and elusive deer when they should be treating it like dynamite fishing – instead of spending all of their time trying to get that ONE person to go out with them, they should be messaging as many women who interest you as possible and seeing who bites. When you’re sending out all those emails, it can be incredibly time-consuming to craft a new and unique message to each and every person… so why not simplify things with some all-purpose material that works on everybody?
How about because most of the women you’ll run into on dating sites are already wise to that trick?And frankly, it’s kind of insulting. No matter what you think you’re saying, it tells her that you couldn’t be bothered to come with something original or even read her profile in the first place.
Why should she want to respond in the first place? This is another message that goes straight to the trash, if you’re lucky.
How Do You Avoid This?
If you want to message many women as possible in an efficient manner, you want to use a template for your email, not a cut-and-paste job. The benefit of the template is that it provides you a structure to work with, streamlining your process without going full-on cookie cutter. You do have certain beats that you want to hit in a first-contact email: who you are, why you’re interested in her, why she should be interested in you in return and a little bait to get her to respond. You can change and update a template as you need, making it longer or shorter, working with more detail as necessary or even keeping it short and direct. You don’t want her to think that you’re just messaging people at random in hopes that you’re going to get lucky… and there are a lot of people out there using that exact approach.
U t4lk lik thz
You’re on the Internet: a primarily text-driven communication medium. Your words are how you convey your charm and intelligence. You need to be able to seduce a woman with nothing but words. Men have been wooing women successfully with nothing but beautiful letters and witty messages full of spark and meaning, conveying their passion through text. On the other hand, nobody has ever gotten laid with “u r SOO hawut”.
I can’t emphasize this enough: using text-message abbreviations, l33tsp3ak or other cutesy, non-standard English1 grammar and spelling makes you look like a goddamn idiot. This all but ensures that your message got deleted without being read in the first place.
If I seem to harp on this issue a lot, it’s because I do. Poor grammar and spelling are one of the top mistakes people make in online dating and it cripples your chances of hearing from anyone. For fuck’s sake, every browser out there automatically highlights misspelled words. Sending a message full of misspellings, abbreviations and non-standard contractions is going to make you look you were too lazy to run the goddamned spellcheck before you hit “send”.
How Do You Avoid This?
Proper spelling and grammar. Proper spelling and goddamn grammar. Tattoo this backwards on your forehead, so you can see it whenever you look in the mirror.
You Sound Desperate
One of common issue that crops up when nerd guys try online dating is that they end up sounding… well, more than a little lonely. And needy. They have a tendency to be so submissive and eager to please in their messages to women that they come across as a mangy lost puppy rather than a potential fun Friday night. Their messages are full of praise and compliments and deprecating humor that ends up screaming “I have no self-esteem whatsoever!” They make mention of the fact that they haven’t been on a date in who knows how long and their last girlfriend dumped them and… and… well, it’s kind of pitiful, really.
And pity is the date-killer. Pity is the death of sex that brings nights alone at home, masturbating and crying, using your tears as lube.
How Do You Avoid This?
I’m all in favor of paying women compliments, but there’s a line between “compliment” and “obsequious”. You need to enter into any interaction with a woman you hope to date with the attitude that you’re awesome, you think she may be equally awesome and the two of you need to get together to see just what an amazing time the two of you could have together. There’s a certain value to be had in being a little challenging even, in a playful and charming manner; trying to supplicate your way into a woman’s pants just makes it look like you’re just hoping for a pity date… followed by pity sex.
You Were Insulting And/Or Creepy
There are the guys who are so desperate as to be sad, then there are the ones who swing around to the other extreme. There are an astounding number of people who mistake being an asshole for being charming. They’ve absorbed all the wrong lessons from The Game and have convinced themselves that “cocky-funny” means acting like a dick and that negging2 a woman is how he shows her you’re a big swinging dick who isn’t worried about what a woman thinks about him so she should totally fuck him. After all, nothing gets a woman hotter under the collar than being told that she’s almost cute or that her hair looks great… for extensions. If you don’t want to be seen as supplicating to a woman and acting like all the other chodes who’re trying to tell her how pretty she is, you gotta neg! Right?
Then there are the guys who go sexual right off the bat. They’re the ones who ask incredibly personal questions about a woman’s body or sex life in the very first email. They lead with “I luv ur ass/titties”. They’ll talk about what they imagine doing to her in incredibly vivid detail – often making us wish that there was a way to blind the mind’s eye.
Now admittedly, if you’re sending messages like this, you are providing a valuable service: these are the ones that get shared so that everybody can point and laugh and properly appreciate the horror.
How Do You Avoid This?
Remember whenI said there’s some value in being a little challenging in your approach? There’s a vast difference between some good-hearted gentle ribbing and being a complete cock. The idea of being cocky-funny as a way of getting girls tends to get translated as “act like a Jersey Shore extra” and turns women off. It’s one thing to be a little teasing in your first email, especially if you’re challenging her to, say, competitive air hockey or a Super Smash Brothers competition. It’s another entirely to “jokingly” call her a slut, insist that she make you dinner or joke about showing her your pimp-hand.
Similarly, I don’t care what she implied in her profile. I don’t care how much cleavage she showed in her photo. I don’t care if her answer to “What is the most private thing you’re willing to admit to?” is “I give mindblowing head”. Keep all sex talk out of your message3 . Your initial message to someone on a dating site is how you make your first impression and the last thing you want to is lead with your dick. You need to build to that shit, son.
Also: no rape jokes. Ever.
Your Profile Sucks
What’s the first thing you do after you get an e-mail on OKCupid from a woman? Well, if you’re like me (and I know I am) you immediately head to her profile to check her out. Then you reply, or not depending on how you feel about her profile.
So what makes you think that she’s going to be any different, Shakespeare? You got her to open your email instead of deleting it and she liked what she saw… but if your profile is weak, she’s still not going to reply.
What makes for a weak profile? Well, to start with, when have you last updated your profile? Have you been keeping it fresh, or did you set it up years ago and never touched it since? Are your pictures recent, and do they show your best self? Is your profile full of self-deprecating humor or other red flags of low self-esteem and confidence like whining about ex-girlfriends or being dateless? Complaints in general will ruin your profile – negativity is going to turn the vast majority of people off; very few relationships are built off mutual hate. Then of course, there’s this wave of horror:
If your dating profile resembles anything on this tumblr, then… no. Just… no.
How Do You Avoid This?
You need to go over your dating profile with a fine toothed comb. To start with, read over my guide to crafting your online dating profile. Again: make sure you’re using correct spelling and proper grammar; you think I’m joking, but this will make women pass you over. Then get some trusted female friends to look it over and give you their honest opinions; the things that you think are cute and funny may not be coming across the way you intended. Make sure your pictures are recent and actually look good.
Look, I understand that dating can be hard, even maddeningly frustrating. It takes time and commitment, and online dating is no different. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have a lot of false starts and connections that seem to start wonderfully and then trail off for no apparent reason. You need to hang in there and work at it. The time and effort you put into sharpening up your game will pay dividends. The empty email boxes of the frustrating early days will be a thing of the past and you’ll be well on your way to having the love-life you’ve always wanted.
- or Spanish, French, Finnish, Japanese, what-have-you [↩]
- If there was any concept that I wish I could make disappear from the PUA communies… well, it’d be the misogyny and tendency to view male-female relationships as defined by combative conflict. But the second concept would be negging. [↩]
- obvious exceptions can be made for Adult Friend Finder, FetLife, Grindr, etc [↩]