What First Message Should You Send?

Send Fun First Messages That Create An Impact Using My Messaging Templates »

  • 00:00 What First Message Should You Send?
  • 01:27 The "arm twist" message
  • 05:18 The "perfect first date' message
  • 09:54 The "appreciation" message
  • 12:51 The "ball in their court" message
  • 15:54 What to write when their profile is empty
  • 19:07 Key takeaways
  • 20:01 Questions from our members
  • 20:07 I feel I get very few likes and very few answers to my messages even if I'm trying to follow all the advice I can find. The answers I do receive often very short, no, yes. And maybe just a few more words, whereas I spend quite a bit of time thinking through what I'm going to write in order to be funny and interesting without being ridiculous or overwhelming. This can sometimes be really discouraging or even depressing. How do I keep my motivation?
  • 22:46 What question is a good icebreaker when sending a message online?
  • 24:23 How do you make a decent impression in a few words?
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Hayley Quinn is the UK's leading dating coach: she has over 2 Million views on her TED talk and over 100,000 YouTube subscribers. She is also a spokesperson for Match and regularly contributes to international media.

What First Message Should You Send?

Okay, so in this section we're going to be looking at all about first messages.So, dare I say it, if you got a pen and paper to hand or notes on your laptop or on your phone, time to start writing these down because these could…I'm hoping it could really help you to write messages much more quickly and easily.

So, remember with all the tips I'm about to give you, even if you write that great first message, we can't guarantee someone's going to respond to you because that really requires them to be showing up and looking for the same things in dating.But these templates that I'm going to share with you will hopefully give you some really solid places to start if you find it a bit hard or especially after a long day at work to think on your feet and be creative about first messages.


The "arm twist" message

So, the first message I'm going to share with you, I'm calling it the arm twist message.So this message is all about actually drawing attention to things that you don't have in common with someone, which might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out.So often, what makes for that bantry, sparky, exciting messaging exchange that we all like to have when we're writing to someone, a bit of contrast can help with that.So instead of saying, "Oh, you like Tennis, I like Tennis," it can actually be good to pick up on something that perhaps you don't want 100% agree with or like.
Caveat, as long as you do it in a way that's really playful and fun.

Because remember, we're not here to have a disagreement with someone, we are here to create an opportunity for there to be some playful banter.

Also, by not necessarily agreeing with everything someone says, again, provided it's done in a really positive and lighthearted tone, this is really good, because it shows that you are not trying to change who you are and what your preferences are in order to please someone else.

So for this example, we're going to use Love Island.
So, we're going to imagine that someone has written that they love Love Island on their profile, and for you it's just not the kind of show you like.
So, couple of examples of templates you could use. "What's it going to take to convince you to skip Love Island for a night and go out on a date?"
So, this is quite a cool message because first of all, I want you to listen to the template." What's it going to take you to skip blank for a night or for a day and go out on a day?"
So, really it doesn't have to be that someone watches Love Island, it could be something else that they do.
And what's fun about this arm twist message is you're trying to negotiate with someone in a really playful way.
So, you're not being serious, you're being playful.

Also, you could move straight onto the topic of going out for a date, even if it's in a hypothetical negotiation, this is a really great route for your messages to go down.
Another way of expressing the same thing, you could say, "Be honest with me. Is that a major problem if I confess to hating Love Island?" Or, "Be honest with me, is it a major problem if I confess to hating blank?"
Now, even though you've used quite a strong word, like hating because you've said, "Is it a major problem if I confess," it's obvious that you are being playful.
And of course you can always use a little winky emoji on the end to make that even more clear.
So, it could be, "I confess to hating peanut butter."
So, you could choose literally anything from someone's profile."
I confess to hating the football." So, all you are trying to do there, again, is set up this opportunity for the other person to start to negotiate with you to say, "Oh, it is a problem. Oh no, that's fine, I can forgive you."

Often by writing to people in a way that is playful and informal, you get the whole thing kickstarted in the right way.
Because rather than having a message that does feel a bit like writing a CV, you're immediately writing to someone in that playful and warm way, like you'd write to a really, really good friend.
So, go for the arm twist message.
So, highlight a contrast or something that you don't have in common with someone, but doing it in a way that's really playful and lighthearted that shows again, you got that self-esteem and those values.


The "perfect first date' message

So, the second template that I'm going to share with you is called the perfect first date message.

And again, we're going to be a bit playful and a bit creative here.
The reason that this message is so good is it allows you to create quite a fun message, even if someone's profile doesn't give that much away.
As a dating coach, I've seen a fair few profiles in my time, and sometimes people do just write a list of stuff that they like.It could be, "I like running, I like pop music, I like chocolate."
And I would suggest if your profile does read like that at the moment, the best and easiest thing you can do is just substitute those more general words for something that's more specific.
So, instead of saying sport or running, you'd say 10K.
Instead of saying pop music, you'd say ABBA. Instead of saying chocolate, you'd say Rolos.
So it's all about learning that a more specific profile is actually easier for someone to write a good message to.

But if someone has written a profile that is slightly generic but you'd like to message them, you can actually take this list of stuff that they're interested in and create an over the top scenario about how you could meet in real life based around the ideal first date.
So you could write something like, "So I'm guessing your perfect first date would involve crushing a 10K whilst listening to Waterloo, all rounded off by a packet of Rolos."
So all that you've done is going, "So I'm guessing your perfect first date would involve blank, blank, and blank." So whatever are these three things that you pick up from someone's profile, you again string it together in a list, but it's creative because you're saying, "So I'm guessing your perfect first date would involve."
Again, we're going for an over the top scenario where you were asking the other person to imagine what it would be like spending time with us.
And again, it offers a bit of room for negotiation here.
So they could say, "Oh no, I wouldn't listen to 'Waterloo,' but maybe 'Money, Money, Money' is a better shout for me."
So, again, it gives the opportunity to start that back and forth with you.
So it involves you being a little creative, but using sometimes even details that are a little bit bland on someone's profile and you can still put that together into quite an exciting first message.

Another example of a way you can use something that's just quite a normal thing detail from someone's profile, and weave it into your first message is actually an example that I took from my book, "The Last First Date." You may not know this, but my side hustle apart from being a dating coach, I actually write romcom.
So I put the best of my dating knowledge and how to write good messages into this book.
In the book, "The Last First Date," which is a romcom, the main hero of our story, Brody, sees that on Helen's dating profile that she is interested in baking. So he writes to her "Banana bread, any chance you'll bring a slice to your first date?"
So again, we can steal our romantic hero's line here, "Any chance you bring blank to your first dates?"
So again, noticing a detail on their profile, even if it's a football, if they like the football, if it's a rugby ball, it could be some crochet, doing some knitting, it could be a pile of books, or, "Any chance you always like first dates in a library?" If they like reading.
So again, it's not meant to be for real, it's not meant to be your actual suggestion for a first date, it's just an opportunity to get the conversation started in a way that is creative and inviting.
Because when you start off with the first date thing, then you might have a bit of banter and negotiation about what a first date would involve.
And then suddenly you may find yourself setting up for a real first date.
So again, you can use these templates simply by filling in the blanks, and remember getting onto the topic of dates is actually a great fun and playful plus strategic way to get your messaging interactions started.


The "appreciation" message

Now, my third example is for those of you out there who, when I say things like, "Be playful, be creative, be over the top," are like, "No. No, Haley, that's not me."

So for some of you out there, if I tell you to write a silly, over the top, imaginary scenario message, you will feel that that really represents your personality and you'll be like, "That's easy, I get it, I can do this."

For others of you out there, you just might think, "That's actually just not really me."

In which case, I want to give you an example of a message that you can use, which you'll probably feel is closer to who you actually are, because, of course, all good dating is about being congruent to yourself, it's about choosing to write in a way that really represents who you are.
So a good thing that you can do is actually just draw attention to things that you liked on someone's profile.
So this is a really great way to kickstart a conversation because it shows that you are not just cut and pasting and messaging people at random, it actually shows that you are really choosing who you're going to message.
This actually shows that you have self-esteem because it's like you are looking at people's profiles and when you see that they've demonstrated a quality that you like, that's what's prompting you to reach out and message them.
So when you're writing a first message, it can be good to highlight this.
So you can use a template like, "So I really liked your profile.You've got loads of great values, a great smile, and the fact your signature dish is lasagna is a major bonus."
So again, it is a bit of a fill in the blank, this one."
So I really liked your profile. You seem like you've got a lot of blank, a great blank, and the fact your blank is a major bonus." So obviously keep that clean people and we don't want to write any rude first messages to people.
But it's about acknowledging things that you like on someone's profile.
So if you see that they've either got a great smile, or you like some of the values they've expressed, or perhaps they've got a hobby that you are really into as well, acknowledging that is a great place to start.
And again, it can feel really nice when someone receives a message.
They're like, "Oh, someone really liked that," or, "They really liked how I said that thing."
Because it really gives them that really nice appreciation of showing that you've gone into the world of dating, you've had specific things you're looking out for, and they've demonstrated some of those things to you.
So it shows your self-esteem and is a really great way of making the other person feel valued.
So if they're perhaps the more over the top creative messages, just don't feel like you, the appreciation message could be a really solid way to also start your interactions with people.
So the messages that I've sent so far, I think they can be really good templates.


The "ball in their court" message

However, I do understand that sometimes you might actually really, really like someone to be the person who messages you.
I'm all for being proactive, but I also know that sometimes in dating we have a role that we prefer to play.
It could be that you like to initiate and you like to be the person who's sending out those first messages.
For some others, others of you out there, you probably actually would love to receive more first messages and you want to be proactive, but still in a way that's creating lots of space for the other person to lead that conversation.
Perhaps you've been looking at someone's profile and they've been looking at your profile, and this has been going on for a while, and you'd like to just give them a little bit of a nudge to send you a message.
So what are some relatively low effort first messages that you can send to initiate while still giving them room to take the lead?
I call these the ball in their court messages.
So it's just enough to get a conversation started but still enables you to be in that role in dating where you are more of the recipient.
One that I've said to you before I think, of an example of a template, is, "This is me cheekily leaving the bull in your court…"
So again, using the word cheekily shows that you're being playful and fun.
It's quite warm and inviting.
So whoever reads that message understands that you are being playful and that's a really, really attractive quality to bring into your messages.
If you are not so keen on that one, other examples for how you can achieve this are, you can say, "Oh, I really like that you are into blank," or, "I really like that you are into blank," or, "You like blank too, that's awesome."
So again, these messages are really, really short that all you are doing is just drawing attention to one thing that you like or you appreciate on their profile.
And again, when you write, "Oh, it's great that you are a fan of," or, "I like that you are into blank too," again, it looks genuinely I hope that you are looking through people's profiles and when you see something you like, that's what's prompting you to message them.
It also is so low effort that if you are hoping that they're going to now take the lead, it gives them space to do that.
So, this won't be appropriate for everyone, but I bet there's some people out there who would love to be, receive more messages or perhaps want to get on more people's radars, but want to do it in a slightly subtle way.
And this can be a good show as a way of doing that.
Remember, these messages really act like an appetizer and they're there to say, I'm going to have a conversation with me if you want.


What to write when their profile is empty

So, the final section I've got on first messages is all about what to write if someone actually hasn't written a profile.
Now, this could be even trickier than normal write.
Because you might see that someone perhaps has listed that maybe they're in some right age range for you.
Perhaps they are looking for the same kind of relationship.
You like their pictures, but you're not really getting much information from their profile as to what to write to them, which makes, I guess, writing that a creative first message a bit trickier.So, a couple of things.

First of all, if you haven't written a profile, write a profile.
It's such a good way, if anything, it's such a good way of seeing who's taking the time to read it.
So, it'll help you to perhaps narrow down who you choose to respond to.
However, if you are someone who right now would like to write a message to someone who doesn't have a profile, there's a couple of really easy things that you can respond to.

First of all, look at someone's photos.Sometimes there's something really obvious you can draw to there.
So, even if it's like, oh, did you intentionally match the color of your top to the background of that photo?Or I'm going to take one guess, is that picture taken in blank?
So, I'm going to take one guess."Is that picture taken in blank or no to see again, something about the composition of the picture.
Maybe their outfit matches their background, or maybe there's a camel just about to steal their ice cream.So noticing in something in photos can help.

If there's really absolutely nothing to go on.
My favorite first message to send when there's nothing on someone's profile is to say :"mysterious profile there, ;).What's one thing I would never have been able to guess about you from your profile?" So again, "mysterious profile there, wink. What's one thing I never would've guessed about you from your profile?"
So, what's fun about this is in a playful, it's that word again way you are acknowledging the fact they haven't written very much, but you're also posing this first message is a bit of a challenge.It's like: "yeah, I like your profile, but I like what I've seen so far, but tell me something else that's exciting."
So, you are showing that you haven't totally fallen for them and there's still room for you to be impressed, which, I think, is quite a good message to put across there if someone hasn't actually written a profile.


Key takeaways

So, before we go on to a few more questions for you, I'm going to do a really quick recap of this section.

So remember, first and foremost, be playful if possible.So if we can write messages in a way that's informal and friendly, it's going to make it so much more inviting for someone to respond to you.
As we've all agreed many times this session, personalize those messages, better to write fewer messages that are personal and high quality than spread yourself too thin.
And you can still be proactive even if you prefer the other person to initiate.
So, even if you would love to be the recipient of more messages, remember even by sending a quite a casual one, liner message it can still be a way that you can get on more people's radars, be open to more interactions while still giving plenty of space, for someone else, to take the lead.


Questions from our members

So, I've got some really good questions here and I'm going to start again with a bit of a longer question.

I feel I get very few likes and very few answers to my messages even if I'm trying to follow all the advice I can find. The answers I do receive often very short, no, yes. And maybe just a few more words, whereas I spend quite a bit of time thinking through what I'm going to write in order to be funny and interesting without being ridiculous or overwhelming. This can sometimes be really discouraging or even depressing. How do I keep my motivation?

I would say first of all, it sounds like you're doing a lot of the right things and maybe some of the advice that I gave on that section that we've just gone through about writing first messages will be helpful.
Even if you feel like you're doing all of that stuff, I would say a couple of things.
First of all, if someone is just responding to you with one or two word answers, I, personally, would, maybe give it one good shot and then I'd let that interaction go because you do only have a limited amount of time and energy, and you need to save that up for the people who I know are out there who are going to give you better responses.
And I think for all of us, it's hard because we're all busy, and we're all overwhelmed.
And so, sometimes responding yes or no, that could feel like all you've got left to write.
However, it can leave people in quite a confusing space.
So, I would have a look at someone's profile and really think if you could be open-minded to meeting them or maybe even just having a phone call with them or just chatting to them through the Match platform, go for it and write good, but give it your no, I mean maybe not your 100%, your 88%.
Give it a good shot.If you are really on the fence or really uncertain then probably a polite no is going to be better than having a very brief or erratic conversation with someone.

If you're still not getting the responses that you'd like, I would also definitely look at your profile because you may also notice that people are reading your messages and looking, but perhaps they're not responding.
And that would, to a completely objective dating coach perspective to me.
Say there's work we can do here on the profile, whether that's enhancing and getting new and better quality photos of you looking at styling of those pictures.How to write a more exciting profile, using Match voice to add voice notes to your profile.
Go for it. Do a proper profile audit.Keep doing the good work of personalizing your messages and remember to not put too much focus into people who aren't reciprocating and giving you that same level of effort back.


What question is a good icebreaker when sending a message online?

Now, there are better questions and not so great questions.
So, asking questions like up to anything fun this weekend or how are you?
Those questions are hard to respond to.
They're a bit generic and a bit vague, so hard for someone to get back to you.
Also, when you're sending your first message, ideally a first message should actually be a balance where, in part, it's about you asking someone a question.
Maybe some better ones are, what's one thing you'd love to learn or, what's your best friend like?
And would I like them?
What's something you're passionate about right now?
There's better quality questions you can go for, but the other half of your message should always be sharing information about yourself.
So, even if you do say, "Are you up to anything fun this weekend?"
Even if you say, "I'm going to confess to you now, I'm going to do a House Of Dragon marathon under a duvet."
By adding in that personality, by sharing information about yourself, even if you've asked a relatively everyday question, it'll make that so much easier to respond to because by sharing information about ourselves, we build trust and really show who we are as individuals, we make someone more excited to get to know us.


Who asks, how do you make a decent impression in a few words?

So going back to my three P's there, want to make sure your messages are personalized, we want to keep them positive.
So, really fun and warm and upbeat to read.
We all need a bit more positivity right now, and playful.
So again, more lighthearted, informal way of messaging someone.
Also, you're right to say a few words because after the best messages aren't that long, they could just be one or two lines is all you need to write a good message.
Anything more than that, it can feel a bit like too long, didn't read, and it can actually feel a bit overwhelming.
So, a couple of lines is perfect in terms of length for a first message.
So coming up, we're now going to move on to our next section, which is all about going and having a really good messaging conversation.
So, you've got the first message thing down and now you're going to focus on how you can turn that conversation into something really rewarding.

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