You’ve spotted a cute guy online. You’ve “liked” him, so he knows you’re interested, but he hasn’t written to you yet. You’re about to move on, assuming he’s just not that into you, when a thought occurs to you…
Should you take a risk and write him a message?
The short answer is YES!
When you’re dating online, you need all the extra help you can get to stand out from the crowd.
Letting him know you like the look of him is a great first move, because of what’s known as “reciprocal liking.” The more someone likes us, the more WE tend to like THEM.
But people are busy, and he may not have paid much attention to your like. That’s where messages come in.
When he sees a message from you in his inbox, he’s almost certain to check out your profile. But be warned: men only respond to about 1 in 4 of the messages they receive. (Women are worse: they only respond to 1 in 6 messages.)
So what can you write to maximize your chances he’ll reply?
A study of over 150,000 first messages found that the messages that were most likely to receive a reply had a few features in common:
- They talked about “you” more than “I.”
- They included few leisure words, like “movie.”
- They included more social-process words, like “relationship” and “helpful.”
Another trick is to avoid investing a lot of time writing custom messages to each guy. The co-founder of OkCupid, Christian Rudd, recommends writing a short introductory message that you can send to every single guy you’re interested in.
How does he define “short”? Well, the messages that get the highest response rate are only 40 to 60 characters long. (That’s characters, not words!)
If you can’t come up with something that short, don’t worry. The average first message on OkCupid is slightly longer, at 100 characters.
Because you haven’t invested a lot in writing a long personalized message, you’ll be able to send out more messages to guys you like the look of, maximizing your chances you’ll get a reply.
Last but not least, if he does responds to you, should you write him back right away? Yes, according to the research. Being online at the same time and messaging back and forth creates a sense of connection, almost like you’re on like a virtual date.
So go ahead, make the first move!