Erika Ettin: How To Write Online Dating Messages That Get Responses

By Erika Ettin
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Find yourself stumped when it comes to crafting an online dating message? Online dating expert Erika Ettin has some great suggestions on how to get the conversation rolling.

Tribune News Service

You’ve joined an online dating site or app, that’s great! But, as you’ve heard time and time again, it’s not enough to simply sign up; you have to be proactive.

Being proactive means searching for people and sending a message, and I recommend that both men and women make the first move.

Many women think that initiating contact might make them lose the upper hand at the get-go or seem less feminine. That couldn’t be more wrong. We need to go for what we want in life, and it starts here. If you don’t send the first message, that perfect match you’ve noticed may never find you. Plus, who wouldn’t be flattered?! (And on the dating app Bumble, women have to make the first move!)

As for what to include in the message on a “traditional” dating site, like or OurTime,, it’s actually fairly simple:

1. Something about his/her profile that caught your attention;

2. Something about you and how it relates to him/her; and

3. A question.

A few sentences are more than enough to get the ball rolling. No one wants to read a novel-esque email (and they probably won’t) after a long day of work. It’s also very clear when people copy and paste the same email from person to person. That’s a surefire way not to get responses. Finally, humor and proper grammar go further than you might think.

Now that we know the rules, let’s look at a couple sample emails that work:

First of all, congrats on finishing the MBA! That’s an amazing achievement, especially while holding down a full-time job.
Now about that tennis match … we obviously need to stoke that friendly rivalry, right? What about the loser has to buy the winner a McDonald’s Bacon, Egg and Cheese? (Kidding, of course. Although they ARE serving breakfast all day now.)

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