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Online Dating & OKCupid Tips: How to Use Form Messages in a Classy Manner

Updated on January 31, 2012

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?

Fetching Blonde Lady would much rather eat strawberries than respond to your generic messages.
Fetching Blonde Lady would much rather eat strawberries than respond to your generic messages. | Source

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.

Speak up!

Have you sent out batches of form messages before?

See results

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.

Pretty Lady on Antiquated Phone is amused by your customized form message. "Oh! He cares about my interest in knitting and cats!" she exclaims.
Pretty Lady on Antiquated Phone is amused by your customized form message. "Oh! He cares about my interest in knitting and cats!" she exclaims. | Source

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?


Do you think you'll give customizable form messages a go?

See results

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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    • Manny Lopez profile image

      Manny Lopez 

      3 years ago

      Hey, Simone so what you tell a nerdy/cosplayer decent looking guy with man talents but no car and no apartment how to find a gf. Seems to me that i should live in a different country, i dislike money how it affect people finding someone to care for and be with. Its very hard to find a person that like oh yeah look past that, are society built on mobility and wealth it seems. I guess i could always just get another job to make more money, to afford that. I wish Companion Ship was a right for everyone it seems its a only for a few. I like your advice thought it is helpful, i guess all try the site you mentioned one more time.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      You know, all things considered, those are pretty good percentages!

    • Garrett Mickley profile image

      Garrett Mickley 

      6 years ago from Jupiter, Florida

      It's going okay. I would say about 30% of my messages get replied. I'm also really picky, so I don't send a lot. I don't do form messages, everyone gets a unique message. The 30% that do get replied I usually only get 1 reply, then they never answer again after that.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      So Garrett Mickley, how goes it?? I'm glad you signed up. LOVE that site.

      And lil boosie, I love that comment just about as much as I love your name. Which is, in all honesty, a lot.

    • profile image

      lil boosie 

      6 years ago

      HELL NAW

    • Garrett Mickley profile image

      Garrett Mickley 

      6 years ago from Jupiter, Florida

      I just signed up for this site today...We'll see what happens.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      It is quite amusing, Sooner28, especially when one considers how many people still do it- in SPITE of that fact!

      Grammar is so key, innit Jeannieinabottle! I'm glad to read I'm not the only stickler on this one.

      Thanks ever so, CloudExplorer. I'm a fan of the color. I really am hoping that people realize that, as you point out, communication plays a huge role in relationships- including fledgling online romances :D

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Nice one here @ Simone, I love the pink laptop there, its cute. I never thought of creating messages for dating, nor done any online dating, but who knows right.

      Communicative efforts is key to all relations for sure, I think this hub will help many looking to get a good date for sure, & hopefully help to spark a great relationship too. Voted up!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thank you for mentioning proper grammar and punctuation. Sometimes a perfectly nice guy approaches me, but if the spelling, grammar, and punctuation is terrible, I will not respond. One error or even two is OK, but a sentence I can barely understand is not acceptable. Voted up and awesome!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You know, I didn't think anyone, guys or gals, would really think that sending out generic messages would actually attract interest. It's slightly amusing actually...


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