Online Dating & OKCupid Tips: How to Use Form Messages in a Classy Manner
Online dating is a numbers game. This labor-intensive truth becomes particularly clear to guys, who quickly find that the onus is on them to send out messages to potential dates (however girls, too, are frequently hit with this tedious realization).
It can be incredibly frustrating to compose a thoughtful message to someone on an online dating site such as OKCupid only to receive nothing in response, or to find that all that effort was for nothing because the person on the receiving end of that message is not interested.
To deal with generally low response rates without wasting a ton of time and emotional effort, many gentlemen (and no doubt ladies as well) resort to form messages, blasting as many matches as possible with generic missives.
While sometimes these messages are met with a response, the majority of people with even an ounce of online savvy will realize that they have been sent a generic greeting, and will naturally ignore the person who sent it.
That's no good! Let's address this issue, shall we?
Why are form messages bad?
Form messages are less than ideal because:
- They are typically boring
- They are typically generic, and may not even apply to the recipient of the message
- They don't encourage interesting responses
- To those who realize they are form messages, they are an insult
That said, some form messages are better (and worse) than others.
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What are some examples of really bad form messages?
While some form messages are actually tolerable, many (in fact, most) are terrible. The worst thing you can do in a form message on an online dating site is:
- Be incredibly short or boring (e.g. "Hey.")
- Offer shallow flattery (e.g. "You're beautiful") (this is an especially bad idea if you don't actually think this is the case with the person you're reaching out to)
- Offer really weird, obtuse, trying-to-be-provocative messages
- Include spelling or grammar mistakes in your messages (you don't need to be formal; you just need to demonstrate that you're capable of writing above a fourth grade level)
If you would like to read more examples of bad online dating form messages, stop by my OKCupid Form Message Wall of Shame.
Can you do better? Absolutely! There are several ways in which you can write form messages that both save you time and spark the interest of those you send them too.
How to Write GOOD Online Dating Form Messages
Writing a form message that is genuine, friendly, and personal is not impossible. All you have to do is:
- Create a customizable template
- Use proper grammar and punctuation
- Demonstrate a clear, direct interest in each unique recipient by referencing a personal detail outlined in his or her profile
- Offer a REASON for your recipient to reply to your message
This is not hard to do at all. Believe me.
Sample Customizable Form Messages
Here is an example of a customizable template you might use:
Hey! I noticed you're a fan of ___. Me too! Have you seen/read/listened to ____? It's amazing. I'd be interested in hearing your take on it!
This message is short, but friendly. It demonstrates that you care enough about the recipient to send a customized message his/her way, and it asks for his/her opinion on a matter of interest to him/her, creating a somewhat compelling reason to respond.
Here's another example:
Hi! I see you just moved here from ____. Welcome to ____! If you'd ever like to have someone show you around the area, let me know. If you haven't done this already, I recommend checking out ________, especially since you're interested in _______. What do you think of it here so far?
I've come to realize that many people on online dating sites are new to an area (hence they rely on algorithms to introduce them to new people). Why not leverage this common status by offering your services as a local tour guide and catering to potential dates' needs to settle in and make new friends?
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Take that extra 30 seconds!
Creating a couple of customizable templates written in your own personal tone and style will take minimal effort and should make a big difference when it comes to response rates.
The gist is this: you need to show genuine, personal interest. You don't have to spend a ton of time on each message you send to adequately demonstrate this interest; all you have to do is create a couple of formats and fill in the blanks for each new person you reach out to. It's like mad libbing, but with the added benefit of sex and a potential relationship waiting for you as a potential reward!
Now, that must certainly be worth the 30 additional seconds it takes to read over someone's profile and fill in a couple blanks, right?
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