It’s sad, but true: If you’re out and about, looks are probably the most important factor when it comes to attracting people. If you see a not-so-hot guy, there’s a good chance you’re not going to go over and strike up a conversation. In the online dating world, appearances are important, but it’s often difficult to tell whether people are attractive from their pictures — strategic camera angles can do wonders. What really makes me want to get to know and meet a guy is if he gives good email, and I think they feel the same way.
Guys who have written me short messages that say things like, “you look like an interesting person” or “you have a great smile” never got a response. While it’s nice to know strangers think my years of orthodontia were worth it, I wonder whether every girl they start a conversation with has a great smile. Maybe that’s their line. This is the grapeshot technique: Writing a standard email doesn’t take much take at all, and it can be sent to any number of people, but the chances that any of them will write back are low. I know, because I tried this and never heard a word from any of the guys who received a short, impersonal message from me.
I also didn’t respond to the guy who wrote “getting crunk on Belgian beer” as his subject line.
Subject lines are like headlines. They should be interesting and say more than “hi” or “hello.” “Is it Friday yet?” and “You Know, I’d Like To Steal A Dog, As Well,” totally worked on me. The latter probably sounds a little strange, but it makes sense in the context of my profile – and it showed that he’d actually read what I’d written.
The guy who gave me the best email I’ve ever had started things off by writing a long message relating something very specific in my profile to something very specific in his own life. He didn’t make any general statements or give any quick compliments, and it was obvious he wasn’t sending the message to anyone else, because no one else would have understood it. And since he emailed me more than a sentence, I had plenty of material to draw from when I responded.
Before him, I had never realized how good an email could be, and he may have ruined me for every other guy who sends a message that comes up short. At least he taught me that the sharpshooter technique is the most effective way to attract someone online. Spend the extra time writing one person a message just for him – who doesn’t want to feel special? Bonus: When you actually meet, you’ll feel like you actually know each other because you’ve talked about more than your perfect teeth.