This is step 5 of my patented 6-step series on How to OkCupid. This step focuses on sending messages.
Step 1: Get Out There
Step 2: Be Good-Looking!
Step 3: Be Interesting!
Step 4: Find Other Good-Looking, Interesting People
Step 5: Make Contact!
Step 6: Date!
STEP 5: MAKE CONTACT
Now that you’ve found some excellent people to message, it’s time to initiate contact. This is one of those areas where your experience is going to be vastly different depending on whether you’re searching for men or for women.
If you’re searching for men
Men send a lot of unsolicited messages. Your inbox will likely fill up with tons of messages. Most will be 1-2 sentences, and many will be sexually explicit or disrespectful. If you ignore them or reject them (even in the nicest way possible), they may dick stump you. I will reiterate my advice from Step 1 that you should adjust your settings to filter out messages from matches below 85%. If you’ve answered your questions properly, this will filter out most of the awful messages.
You may be tempted to primarily search for partners by reading through your inbox and selecting the best matches from there. I advise against this. It’s a passive way to find partners. The better way is to go out, do your own search, find the people that appeal most to you, and proactively message them. Don’t wait for them to message you.
The good news is that if you’re messaging men, the bar is pretty low. Men get far fewer messages than women, so our standards tend to be lower. As long as you clearly express your interest and have moderate social skills, one message is probably as effective as another. If you’re a woman seeking men, your response rate averages around 35%. Men seeking men’s response rates are even higher.
If you’re searching for women
If you want to meet women, you’ll probably have to proactively initiate contact yourself. As noted above, women get a lot of unsolicited messages, and so most of them don’t send a lot of first messages. The response rate for men seeking women is 27%. The response rate for women seeking women is higher as well.
Your response rate will probably be lower than average. Most people aren’t all that honest and transparent in their profiles, so even if you follow all of the advice in Step 4, you’re still going to end up messaging plenty of people who aren’t actually good matches for you, but didn’t give you the information you needed to see that. If you’ve followed the advice in Steps 2 and 3, the majority of these people aren’t going to write you back because they will be able to tell that you’re not right for them. This is a good thing! It means you’re not wasting time messaging back and forth, or going on dates with bad matches. It does mean, however, that you should send a lot of messages, and try not to get discouraged when people don’t respond. It just means that the system is working.
- The longer your message, the more likely you are to get a response. Don’t overdo it, but in general, longer messages are better (note: this only applies to women; men do not respond more often to longer messages).
- Make sure that your message is unique and personalized. NO CUT AND PASTE! It’s really easy to spot a cut & pasted message. Your message should be made up on the spot and should be personal to the person you’re messaging.
- Mention something (or multiple things) from her profile. This demonstrates that you actually read her profile, and that you’re interested in her for some actual reason, not because you just think she’s cute.
- Speak an actual language. You don’t have to speak English, but whatever language you speak, make sure you speak it well. Pay attention to spelling and grammar. Proofread!
- Don’t mention her appearance. Women get messages all day about their looks. If you want your message to be effective, talk about her interests, personality, or pretty much anything but how she looks. If you’re messaging her for a date, she knows you’re attracted.
- Use an effective greeting. The 3 most effective are “how’s it going?” “what’s up?” and “howdy.” Messages beginning with those have much better response rates than “hi” and “hello.”
- Don’t be a dick stump! If she ignores you or sends a polite rejection, accept it and move on.
PROTIP: if sending unsolicited messages seems daunting to you, there’s another option. If someone rates you 4 or 5 stars, you will get an email that they like you (though this is unreliable. You only get it sometimes). A friend had some success putting the following in her profile:
As I said, this method isn’t the most reliable, but it can be a good way to establish some mutual interest before jumping right into messaging.
Next up: Date!