Maybe I should do a more generic post about the pitfalls of online dating. I do think that there are solid advantages to online dating websites (such as not having to be in a dodgy club with awful music to be approached by half-drunk dimwits you’re not interested in), along with some aspects that are on a par (most people who approach you will be half-drunk dimwits that you’re not interested in) and some disadvantages (it’s harder to spot the dimwits, because they lie on their profiles). However, this is a more specific anecdote.
If you choose to approach someone, be it online or in real life, you should have a sort of opening line to establish a connection. And no, I’m not talking about lines like “You’re dad must be a thief, because he stole the stars from heaven to be in your eyes”.
I’m referring to a simple conversation opener. It’s hard to be creative with this, and most of the time, generic lines like “Do you come here often?” or “What do you do?” work fine. However, when you’re on a dating website, both of these options are out and instead it’s common to refer to a fact about the other person’s profile (“So you enjoy white water rafting, eh?”). Be as original as you must, although that can backfire (“White water rafting sure gets your pants wet, eh?”). It’s even better to show a connection between your profiles (“Wow, we both like white water rafting and the Welsh countryside – have you ever tried the Gnolyawiollhtryhcegh?”), which prompts a reply.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a strong point, and not something blatantly obvious (“So, we, urm, both use the internet, heh?”). Also, make sure the connection is about something positive, not something that will just antagonise the recipient (“Did you know that white water rafting is really bad for the environment? I’m surprised your other hobbies don’t include clubbing baby seals”).
The very worst thing to appeal to, however, is someone’s sympathy.
Point in case a message I received a few days ago. A little back story: He had messaged me once before, but I hadn’t replied to him. I’m aware how this sounds, but it is rather common for girls on dating sites to get very high volumes of messages (most of them amounting to “Hi, you sound really nice and your pretty, kthxbye”). It’s therefore customary to simply not reply to signal lack of interest.
Here is thus the second message (verbatim):
I sent you a message once, I am trying my luck for the last time. I hope you will respond as I think we could have interesting conversations.
I am no player at all and I want to be happy, and I am aware it is so difficult to meet a nice woman here in London.
I assume you think so as well, otherwise you would not be here on this site.
Wow. So your strongest selling point is the assumption that we both must be quite desperate.
Rule: Scaring me with the alternative of dying alone should never be the strongest argument for going out with you.