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8 Tips for Texts/Messages that Lead to a First Date Online

As I discussed in the article last week on why your messages are not leading to a first date, let’s tackle the flip side!

While I mentioned messaging for a first date is both an art and science (I won’t bore you with the details—if you missed it, here’s the link), yes, you need to put some effort into messaging. Ok, not contemplating a quirky, witty message for 30 minutes---you’ll fall off the online dating wagon after one evening of this. And, remember, practice makes perfect. The more messages you send, the easier it will be.

Some of you who work with me know my initial system where I have you send me your daily messages for a quick critique---and we quickly polish them up and get on the right track leading to in real life dates.

So, here we go---and make it fun!

1. You just cannot read every single word of every single profile out there. So, to get started, let’s say your search/app offers you up 60 men or women meeting your criteria. Not to be shallow, but you will do the first round just based on thumbnail photos of singles you find attractive.

2. Set a daily goal: You are sending 6-8 messages today. I don’t want burn-out or frustration or exhaustion. The first thing you will do as you choose a person is to quickly scroll through their photos. Any of them odd? Like a bathroom shot? A car shot? Photo looks like 1998? Block them. No need to read their profile or delve further.

3. Read their Profile/Summary If they didn’t bother with one, block them and move on. Otherwise read for interests, personality and what they are looking for. Example: As Mark (name changed) and I were looking for high potential matches yesterday, we happened upon an upbeat cute woman. One of her comments was “Travel is my thing! 48 states checked off and 14 countries. Oh, so much more to see and looking for a LTR with a man with a similar travel bug”. Mark’s response: “HI Tanya, you stopped me in my tracks---not just your photos but your travel. Ok, I’ve been to 31 states---my favorite was New Mexico---the food, scenery and culture. Sort of surprised me! Countries—I’ve visited 18 so far. Marrakesh (well, I guess really Morocco) won me over. I felt like I was blasted back into Paris of the 60’s with a North African twist. Friendly, gorgeous boulevards, the souks, the hammams and the tagines were delicious. One local even gave me his mom’s spices! Ok, your turn---love to hear your favorites??? Warmly, Mark While Mark’s response was much longer than I usually advocate, before our hour was up---Tanya had responded. Yep, a date forthcoming Friday. My fingers are crossed.

4. Common Interests (again) Another client on Saturday, Susan, 52 from NYC is a baseball addict. One line in her profile read “Oh, I love Spring Training with the Grapefruit League---saw 8 games this season in Florida. Can’t wait until the MLB season starts in April”. Wow, did she get responses! And she also wrote back. Of course, she was challenged by New Yorkers on the Yankees vs. Mets rivalry. After reading one avid Mets fans profile she responded : “Hi Jack, Hmmm, not sure about your Mets. We just got Anthony Volpe—will he be the new Derek Jeter? Ok, I’ll go to a Mets game if you’ll go to a Yankees game. How about we start with a coffee? I’m sure we won’t strikeout. Warmly, Susan Susan nailed it. And, I liked her short, sweet and less than 5 sentence response. She reached out first and men absolutely love this! Jack and Susan are having coffee Saturday and I’m sure they will have much to chat about.

5. Be Specific When messaging, be specific about what you are interested in. NO: I like your profile. YES: Wow, the cooking class in Italy sounded awesome. I had no idea of the difference between Northern and Southern cuisine. The pic of your twirling the pasta with red sauce on your face was so funny. Favorite food? Mine is Eggplant Parmesan. We may have to try an Italian restaurant here in Boston’s North End---want to start with a drink?

6. Be you What do I mean? Don’t think too hard---pretend you’re texting a friend. Use informal language and always spellcheck. It just takes a moment and first impressions count.

7. Be Positive Ok, yesterday I was working with a lovely woman from Atlanta, crafting messages together. She had received a few messages from men, and we looked them over together. One man who was quite attractive in all 5 photos had sent her this message (and yes, I’m paraphrasing): “You are quite stunning. I want to be forthcoming. I lost my wife last year, though it was not a good marriage. Shortly thereafter, my son died in a car accident. As a result, I am in therapy 4x a week and the meds are helping my depression. Would you like to meet”? (There was much more to this message but you get the picture). We both agreed while we felt for this man’s tragedies, it was just too much information. Please don’t spill too much information before the first date….or even on the first date.

8. Be Patient There is a learning curve to crafting good messages. And a good reminder, it just takes one. Please don’t get frustrated as I know from almost 30 years as a dating coach, there’s a lid for every pot. If you find yourself exhausted, take a two week break and don’t get online at all. Come back refreshed!

After starting It’s Just Lunch in the 1990’s and growing it to 110 locations globally, I sold to private equity about 10+ years ago as I saw the writing on the wall. The largest pool of singles is online and you can’t argue with the statistics. One in three got married last year online. There’s been countless ongoing relationships. You’ll meet interesting people outside of your everyday life.

After being married for 24 years, it took me 4 years to begin online dating! (Yes, I guess I was living vicariously through my clients!!!)

But when I jumped in, no, I dove in, the first week I had 5 dates. Love at first site? Nope! But met some very interesting people---one rock and roller who invited me to a concert, one podcast guy who leant me his studio, one doctor who had written a book about vitamins and supplements and boy, did I learn a lot. Ok, no sparks but a lot of fun. Two months later, I met the one. Did I know on the first date? No. But the third was it!

Stay happy, stay positive and have fun with dating!

Andrea McGinty Founder,

Founder, It’s Just Lunch


Dating Coach/Dating Counselor

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