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How to reply to an online dating message

Friday March 20, 2015

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Er meh gerd! You so, like, totes got a message!

So how do you like, y’know, respond n stuff?

Congratulations. You’ve clearly been reading my advice and written an awesome profile, your photos look good and you’ve been rewarded with a message!

I’m going to assume it’s not spam or a one liner in the frame of ‘u is ht. wd luv 2 hk up!’
How do you respond in order to extend the conversation into more engaging realms?
Listen carefully because I’m going to guide you.

First up:


You’ve heard of the 3 day rule? The idea that 3 days is the perfect balance between not wanting to appear over eager and your correspondent losing patience?

It’s rubbish. Ignore it. We live in the internet age. Sometimes we’re too busy to respond for days. Other times we can respond right there and then. But please do reply as soon as you can. If it takes a while to reply then say so and perhaps why. If you’re worried you’ll seem to keen try “Perfect timing. I’d just logged in.” Playing games before you’ve even started chatting is a little, well, dim witted.


You’ve got the easy part of the deal here. Whoever sends the first message has done the hard part. Everything you need is in the message you’ve received (see my previous assumption).

Answer them. Someone has taken time, after seeing your profile among the thousands of others, to work out a way to try and pique your interest. Answer any questions they’ve asked. Ask them a few back. Feel free to expand a little but don’t ramble on. Remember, it’s early days. Oh, and be honest!


Key word: Briefly. I don’t mean yup, nope, good thanks. But you have to leave something for that all important meet up. Because you’re an optimist and this is the point of dating online.

Acknowledge that you do indeed have great affection for Ken Dodd and his comedic brilliance. You don’t need to write a theoretical analysis of clown theory. And yes, Wolverhampton is a wonderful place to live with its small but impassioned Goth scene but there’s no need for an entire thesis on northern sub-cultures from 1985-present.
Be nice. Be succinct.

How now?

Okay you want more on the how. Fine.

Be positive. The person has contacted you because they’re curious and want to know you better. What they don’t want is an electronic Victor/Victoria Meldrew whingeing about everything that makes this world so dark/painful/depressing.

Be friendly and woo with your wonderfully wistful self. And that’s pretty much all there is to it. Obviously, write properly. If you have to, get a friend to check it over. A brilliantly written profile and then a grammatically grotesque reply will ring alarm bells. Consistency is important. Just don't let it become mundane.

The rest is up to you.

And if you're finding online dating and Tinder to be a total bore you could certainly do a lot worse than coming speed dating in London. You'll actually meet people and that's a great start!