The OKCupid Form Message Wall of Shame
Everyone knows that dating, especially online dating, is a numbers game. The most successful people in the dating world engage in a LOT of trial and error, and most guys on online dating sites have to send out a high volume of messages to girls before they get any responses, let alone any agreements to meet in real life.
To contend with the time-consuming task of sending out a bunch of messages, some gentlemen have taken to spamming ladies' profiles with generic form messages. In addition to being bad form, this gesture is also a waste of time, as any even moderately dimwitted woman is able to sniff out a generic online message (This isn't 1997).
Unfortunately, few men realize that this behavior is less-than-ideal. I would like to change that by posting real-world examples online form messages here, in what shall now be known as the OKCupid Form Message Wall of Shame.
My goal is not to belittle those who sent these messages (believe me, they're 100 times more date-worthy than your not-so-gentle author), but to startle form-message senders into seeing a potential error in their methods of approach. You see, if one wants to take the form message route, there are much, much better ways to go about it.
Let's have a look at the bland, the creative, and the downright sad, shall we?
See How You Torture Her??
Classic and Boring Form Messages
Most low-efficacy form messages sent by OKCupid dudes include the following two elements:
- Shallow flattery
- A call to action (be it a reply or in-person meeting)
These are the easiest generic messages to spot, and are also so overwhelmingly boring. It is difficult to read them without slipping into a coma. What makes them particularly insulting is that when the recipient is not "beautiful" or "pretty" as the shallow flattery suggests, she has the added disquietude of knowing that she is not only being lied to up-front, but that those lying to her don't have the time to even send her a custom-made message.
I'm just saying this to point out to gentlemen hoping to make a way in the world of online dating so that they don't anger potential dates. But I digress! Let us have a look at some examples:
I'm a pretty blunt person, so l will get to the point. I think your beautiful, and would love to get to know you better. If that sounds good get back to me...
Have you ever resorted to form messages on an online dating site?
Failing-To-Be-Provocative Form Messages
Some gentlemen writing form messages make a point of being less conventional and more provocative by sending off generic, but creative missives. These are somewhat better than using the same old "you're pretty, let's chat" platitudes, but they're still form messages, and should not be sent. Here are some examples:
If I made you feel like a little girl just by my presence alone would you consider that a positive or negative?
No comment on this one.
Hello. I'm a comedian and I'm going to try something new right here right now.
I want to solicit a subject or a reference for a joke. I will write said joke, perform it three to five times and tell you the results.
Of course you can decline to offer up said premise. That is okay. But then the universe would never have that joke, which would be a shame.
Sort of intriguing, but still generic... and also a bit perplexing.
Good job you won... after extensively analyzing your profile... you are the lucky girl I chose to get to know me better... But seriously you have a beautiful smile that melts the heart and penetrates the soul. im gonna put you in this new colgate commercial that im making, when can you start.
This may lead recipients to view the sender as a bit... self-involved. Not an ideal first impression to make.
Friendly But Still Generic Form Messages
I'm personally quite fond of online messages with a friendly, informal, cheerful tone, but adding said tone to a generic message doesn't suddenly make that generic message OK:
OMG you live in San Francisco!!! Me too!!!! What a co-incidence!!!! ;)
What did you do on new year's eve?
From this I can indeed deduce that the sender might have a friendly disposition, and was thoughtful enough to include a slightly specific question in his form message, but I unfortunately have no evidence that he took the time to glean even one personal detail from my profile, and am therefore less likely to reply- cheeriness and all.
What's Your Response Rate
Roughly what percentage of the online dating messages you send out get responses?
Downright Sad Form Messages
Some form messages sent to me on OKCupid are so poorly composed that they make me want to cry- not only because I wasted seconds of my life reading them, but because I know that the dudes sending them must be getting so little action. It's tragic!
Perhaps by sharing these embarrassing little ditties, I can encourage people to at least edit their form messages before sending them out, if they really, absoutely MUST resort to such de-personalized measures.
With no further ado, I present you with the lowest of the low:
how are you?
Though I would have liked to have thought that this is widely understood, sending over messages like this is not likely to illicit interesting responses. As any parent of a teenager might tell you, such questions, if answered at all, typically get nothing better than a "fine" in response. And what sort of achievement is that? Congratulations, you have managed to replicate one of modern society's most meaningless exchanges.
Just when I think nothing can get worse than "how are you?" I discover that, sadly.... it can. Perhaps people revert to these messages because they assume online dating sites are simply digital replicas of, oh, say, a bar, where it might (emphasis on the might part) be enough to start a conversation.
Please, please do not send these over. Give the recipient of your online missives something to work with. Please.
There are some rare instances in which generic messages are SO GREAT that it doesn't matter that they're generic.
Here is one strong example:
I am writing to cordially invite you to an internet get-together box social at the esteemed inbox of yours truly. While there will be singing, dancing and merriment there is a distinct possibility of knaves. Accordingly, you should bring your most rapier wit and no less than three pairs of clean socks, in the inevitable event they are blown cleanly from your body by the sheer magnitude of my sesquipedalian sudden rhyme battles.
-Lord high chancellor of the realms, mars, the 7-11 down the street and your mother
If you're human, that probably brought you to your knees.
I therefore end this overview with the concession that, in some cases, even non-customized form messages can be awesome. Sigh... my battle to make the world black and white is once again lost.
There is a better way!
Let's be honest with ourselves. If we resort to generic form messages, our online dating missives are likely to be met with... crickets.
We can avoid these low response rates (while still maintaining a high level of efficiency) by using customizable templates: mad lib-like messages that allow us to fill in the blanks, making it seem as though those messages were designed from scratch for each unique recipient.
For some tips on making efficient but savvy online dating form messages, check out my special video guide.
And good hunting!