First Impressions Are Everything, Especially In Online Dating

By Erika Ettin Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dating coach Erika Ettin says it's important to make the first line, on any site from eHarmony to Tinder, memorable in order to catch someone's attention.

Tribune News Service

When you go to a bookstore, would you rather buy the book with the first line on the back cover, "This book is about a woman's journey and coming of age," or the one with the line, "Read a rare tale about a woman's 16-month trek through the Amazon to learn about love, hope, passion, and most importantly, herself"? I know which I'd buy, and I'd venture to say that you would, too.

It's no secret that people have short attention spans, and that trend will only continue as technology (and internet) improves. Just like the book has to catch our attention immediately, so does your online dating profile.

For that reason, it's important to make the first line, on any site from eHarmony to Tinder, memorable in order to catch someone's attention and make him or her want to click, swipe, or send a message.

Believe it or not, when perusing online dating profiles, people are often using the same criteria as those from the bookstore.

I'm not saying that you have to include mystery, intrigue, and drama all within one sentence. What I am saying, though, is that you should consider the first thing you say in your profile (and yes, you need to write something on the dating apps too... if you want to do well, I recommend 20 to 40 words for apps like Tinder and Bumble) as a "hook."

It should be something to draw people in. With so many people using online dating sites and so many profiles to weed through, it's best to take that one extra step to make sure you're catching someone's eye.

Below are some real examples from popular online dating sites of opening lines that will likely not capture someone's attention (aka boring). And then I'll show a few examples that make the cut.

-Yes, I am single. I am throwing it out there! I sure hope you're single if you're using online dating!

-For the past few years, I've lived under the assumption that I'd meet someone in my normal circles of work, friends, and activities. I'd say most people would have made that assumption. No need to say it.

-I have never done this online dating thing before, and I'm still kind of against it. This one is not only lackluster, but it's also negative.

-I enjoy life and like to have fun. This is the worst! Who doesn't?

-6'1 Seriously, is your height all you have to offer the world?

Ready for the examples of some great first lines? Here we go. -Pick me, pick me! As a teacher, this seemed like the right thing to say. Not only does this line show that the online dater is a teacher, but it also shows that he has a sense of humor ... A+.

-Engineer, fan of a dry martini, dog owner, and adventure traveler. We just learned so much about this person in one short line. Might as well pack it in there!

-I like my snacks salty and my dessert sweet ... even better when together. She sounds like fun. Heck _ I want to get to know her! (Or maybe I'm just hungry as I write this.)

-Most people say that they don't want drama in a relationship. But, what if your partner's a theater teacher? I think I just found the loophole.

This is hysterical. Not only is it a commentary on dating, but it also shares what she does for a living and shows that she has a clever sense of humor.

Even if two profiles were identical except for the first line, would you rather read one from the first grouping or one from the second?

Don't let people pass you by simply because your first line bored them to sleep or turned them off. Remember: When they go to the online dating bookstore, you want them to leave with your profile ... or at least smile and send you a message to say hello. ___ (Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating)

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