Sophie Watson

Four tips for online dating: first message success starts here

In an EliteSingles survey, our members were asked how they decide whether they want to go on a date with someone they've met online. 48% of UK singles surveyed said that the decision came down to one major factor: the quality of the messages exchanged.

There’s no doubt that, when it comes to online dating, first message success counts – but how can you make the most of it? To help make it easier, EliteSingles explored the dos and don’ts of the first approach, discovering everything you need to write a humdinger of a first message.

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The four first message dos and don’ts

Because that first interaction is so vital, EliteSingles offers our members the option of using our guided communication services. While this can really help break the ice, the time will come when you'll want to truly make an impression and send an original message. Here’s how to get it right.

1. DON’T copy paste your messages

Fans of Ctrl + C, listen up. The harsh truth is that your message recipients can tell what is a genuine attempt to say hello and what is a copy paste template sent out ad nauseam. To make the best impression when online dating, first messages thus need to be original: it’s about making the recipient feel special.

TRY THIS: You want to demonstrate you’ve read their profile so point out what it is you liked in the text. Share a passion for food or a love of literature? Let them know what you have in common and ask a few pertinent questions. 

2. DO run a spell check before you hit send

Msgs wit por spelin r relly hard 2 reed. Baffled? The same goes for your message recipient. This is why a hard-to-read, misspelled message can only be bad news. The truth is, legibility goes a long way – a quick and easy read lets your intended spend less time deciphering your message and more time daydreaming about your first date!

TRY THIS: The quickest way to make your message easier to read is to avoid drastically shortening words – write ‘are’ instead of ‘r’ for instance. A quick spell check doesn’t hurt either – not using alot can get you a lot more attention!

3. DON’T be too forward in your messages

While a bit of profile flirting can be very endearing, there is an art to striking a balance between flattery and over-familiarity. A basic rule to follow is to avoid overtly physical compliments in your online dating first message as this can send the wrong signal – in fact, our members voted sexual innuendo as one of their biggest online dating no-nos!2

TRY THIS: To avoid being taken the wrong way, you are best off chatting about your compatible personalities – you may truly mean your compliments but, until you know each other better, it is safer to keep such flattery to yourself.

4. DO stay on the sunny side!

Just like the most successful profiles are those that are upbeat, so are the most successful online messages. Remember that you are here to sell yourself; so, rather than illustrating why someone probably won’t message you back, think like a salesperson and show off your best side. Not only will this make a great first impression, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you yourself are wonderful, you are interesting and you are definitely worth dating.

TRY THIS: If positively selling yourself feels too much like boasting, try focusing on your recipient’s good qualities. Remember that listening to what someone has to say and reacting warmly can be hugely attractive3 and a great way to secure your next date!

Ready to put your new first message skills to good use? Join EliteSingles today to meet your matches and get communicating! Just click here to register.

If you have any questions about online messaging, please leave a comment below or write to us at

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