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Ask Ava: Write a First Message that Gets a Response

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Q: Okay, so I haven’t been online dating that long, but I’m getting frustrated already. I send out a ton of messages to older women, cause that’s my thing, but I hardly ever get a response. I’ve tried writing different kinds of messages: a joke, a poem, a hi… how was your day? but nothing. I think I’m average looking, and I had a female friend help write my profile, so I think it’s pretty good, but I can’t have her write my messages, or can I?

Oh, and I always have my IM (instant messaging) turned on, if they want to talk in real time, but no one has done that with me yet. Help! What am I doing wrong? Is there any kind of perfect message women are sure to respond to?
-Roy in Sheffield

A: Hi, Roy. You’re not alone. Don’t let the lack of responses deter you from using online dating to meet mature women. It’s really the best way. You may just need to refine your skills a little. I’m sure your profile is good; I always suggest asking a friend to help write it and/or proofread to make it shine. But no, you definitely can’t ask your friend to write your messages. The women who WILL meet you don’t want to get the surprise of, “Hmmm… you seem/sound so different online?!?”

Think about a first message in three components: length, content, and mood.

Length – “Hey, how are you?” isn’t going to cut it. Keep the casual tone, but aim for three to four sentences.

Content – Jokes and poems are too cheesy to throw a stranger’s way. If you’re funny and romantic that should come across in your profile. Focus on making a connection. She’ll like that you’ve picked up on details in her profile and that you share something in common.

Mood – Don’t go all “hot to trot” in a first message or ask a question you would only ask a close friend. Keep it light and friendly.

There is no perfect message as all women are individuals – what might attract one woman may turn another off. I do like your idea of sending out lots of first messages though; it’slike fishing (you’re dropping many lines in the water, waiting to see what bites.)

And only a small percentage of women use IM, so don’t use that as a barometer for how many women are interested.

Best of luck, Roy.

And when you do get responses, read: 10 Steps to a Great First Date

Cubs: Any tricks of the trade you can share for writing first online dating messages?

Need advice? SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION HERE, and who knows, you may appear in the next Cougar World newsletter. -xo Ava

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