When a friend of mine who’s dipping her toe back into the world of online dating recently asked for three quick rules to remember when emailing potential matches, it occurred to me that if she needed a bit of a refresher course, some of you probably do too. After all, as convenient as it is, email is rife with opportunities to shoot yourself in the foot and hurt your shot at making a real connection. So after the jump, eight dos and don’ts to remember when emailing a potential online dating match.
1. DO keep it short. Think of an email as an appetizer. Don’t ruin his appetite by feeding him entree-sized portions before the main course. Keep him hungry for more.
2. DON’T double-email. One email for each email received, OK? Writing two or more emails before you’ve gotten a reply to the first not only makes you look a little obsessed, it also makes it seem like you don’t have anything better to do with your time.
3. DO ask at least one question in each email. Some people have a hard time figuring out what to write in an email, so make it easy by giving at least one question he can respond to. Unless he’s got the personality of corduroy, he should be able to carry the conversation for at least a paragraph from there.
4. DON’T rant. A quick, funny line about people in your building taking the elevator for just one floor is one thing; composing a five-paragraph essay on the growing laziness and general self-absorption of people today is just obnoxious.
5. DO wait at least half a day to reply. Not only do you risk looking like you’ve got nothing else going on besides waiting by your computer for an email from him, replying too soon can make him feel a little stressed over keeping up with your pace.
6. DON’T confess all. This isn’t therapy — save your secrets, insecurities, and stifled anger at your mother for your best friend or shrink. If you want to confess something, confess that you skipped your weekend workout to hit a fringe theater fest in your neighborhood instead. At least that gives him an idea about your hobbies and interests.
7. DO be cautious sharing personal info, including your last name, off-site email address, and, of course, home address. This should go without saying, I hope.
8. DON’T give details about where you work. It compromises your job and your personal security.