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The Do's & Don'ts of writing a good first email.


At a loss for words? No matter how witty, smart and sexy you are in person, it’s not always easy to come across that way in an email message. But if you take the time to plan your prose, you’ll boost your chances of engaging your crush in an e-conversation — and lower the chances of your messages going unanswered. Read these tips before you click “send”:

DO keep it simple. A couple of short paragraphs or even a few well-crafted sentences will make a better first impression than two pages of stream-of-consciousness musings. Don’t spill your life story to someone over email; save deeper or controversial topics for the first few dates, when you’re discovering more about each other face-to-face. Email messages should highlight what makes you unique and leave the reader wanting to know you better. Plus, giving too much information can overwhelm or repel someone who’d be a great match.

DO keep it honest. Nobody is perfect, and it’s human nature to shine a light only on your good qualities. But keep in mind that, above all, trust is just as important in building romantic relationships as that initial attraction. If your email sounds vague or impersonal, your match may feel as if you’re hiding something. In the initial stages of conversation, even the slightest hint of dishonesty could bump your standing down from “meet” to “delete.”

DO mention something specific from the person’s profile. We know you’d never send a generic “Hello, you seem cool, write back” message to your match — right? A better approach is to show real interest in the other person by commenting on something that caught your eye in his or her profile. Does she mention loving dogs or display a photo with one? Then mention Buffy, the cocker spaniel who never left your side when you were a kid. If the guy you’re interested in loves cooking, ask him for his favorite date-night recipe. Writing a personalized message shows sincere interest, demonstrates that you read his or her profile and will make the recipient feel special. Remember: The love of your life won’t be won over by a form letter.

DO let your own voice come through. Do you feel nervous about writing the first message or two, before you’ve established a rapport with your match? Lighten up! Keep it casual and conversational rather than formal. It’s easier than it sounds to let the words flow naturally. Don’t believe us? Try this tip: Just write how you speak. Once you’ve got a first draft (remember to keep it simple!), read it out loud and, as you go along, reword anything that sounds stiff or forced. If you stumble over a sentence, it needs a little more attention. Your final draft should sound like you and show off your personality. Don’t worry about coming across as hip/sophisticated/smart enough; if your message sounds like the real you, it will resonate with the right person.

DO have fun with the format. If you don't fancy yourself a traditionalist, don’t write a formal letter. Why bother with a stuffy salutation, intro, body and conclusion (complete with "sincerely yours") when you can showcase your creative side by sending your match a top 10 list of reasons the two of you should meet? Try something unconventional! Not only will you stand out in your match's mind, but if your relationship progresses, you might also start a fun trend that could carry over for years to come.

DO check your spelling.Typos are definitely a turnoff. You wouldn’t send a cover letter that was riddled with errors, would you? Finding the right person is far more important than landing a job, so treat it that way! For some, poor language skills are a deal-breaker; for others, a little typo here and there doesn’t hurt. Still, first impressions count, and you don’t want to give your match an easy excuse to move on to someone else. If spelling isn’t your thing, run your message through a spell-check program. Still worried? Have a friend proofread your email. Trust us: It does make a difference.


DON’T focus on your match's looks. Sure, there’s a good chance you're writing because the person’s photo is attractive, but an email that says little more than “You’re hot!” won’t exactly charm the recipient. In fact, for many people, that type of message is an instant turnoff.

DON’T go on and on. This is a first email, so avoid overwhelming your match with TMI (too much information) or the gory details of your life story. It can seem like you’re trying to rush into an intimate relationship with a stranger, and that approach might scare people away. Remember: If you and your match hit it off, there’s plenty of time to share those things with each other.

DON’T ask a billion questions. Repeat: You’re just letting the person know you’re interested. That’s all, and that’s enough for this stage of the game. Wait until you know that the feeling is mutual (in other words, you have verbal confirmation) before you start trying to determine whether he or she passes your “Are we compatible?” tests. Take things slowly and let the relationship evolve.

DON’T send the same message to all your matches. You may be tempted to write a general message and fire it off to a bunch of people who caught your eye, but instead of saving time, you’ll lose your chance altogether. Your goal is to make your match feel special and unique; sending romantic spam accomplishes exactly the opposite.

DON’T forget that edgy humor doesn’t always work via email. Sometimes thoughts that seem funny while they’re in your mind can wind up sounding harsh, scary or just plain weird when you put them into words, especially to a stranger. Scrutinize your message, and if there’s even the slightest chance it could be taken the wrong way, think twice before you send it. Don’t rely too heavily on your sense of humor until you know you and your match are on the same page.

DON’T indulge in sexual innuendo. This should go without saying, but maintain a sense of decency. Remember: This is your first email — it’s hardly the place for lewd language! For safety reasons and more, please don’t do it.

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Article details
Article ID: 74
Category: General
Date added: 2013-01-15 12:44:07
Views: 235
Rating (Votes): Article rated 3.0/5.0 (2)

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