As someone who actively uses several gay dating sites to meet men, quite successfully I might add, the old saying that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is one to keep in mind when reaching out for the first time to a potential hookup or long-term partner. Here’s some tips to use to enhance the response rate on your initial online dating correspondence.
It should go without saying that having your profile fully filled out with pictures is a must, but somehow it seems that a fair percentage of those using dating sites didn’t get the memo. They say that a picture is worth 1000 words and nowhere is that more true than in online dating. Chances are that guy you’re attracted to and to whom your hoping to make a connection with has a photo, otherwise you wouldn’t be that interested in the first place. It’s the 21st century and there’s no excuse for not having photographs, and if you are closeted you can still post photos that will give potential mates an idea of what you look like without jeopardizing your anonymity.
While there are people who have had some success looking at online gay dating as a numbers game, sending out hundreds or even thousands of PMs and relying upon hitting on the one in 100 who will respond to their opening message is foolish. Unless you look like a movie star, this is not going to get you much action. Having a realistic view of who you are as well as who you are pursuing will save you much time and effort. If you’re 65-year-old man pursuing an 18-year-old whose profile states “no one over 25,” regardless of what a wonderful fellow you might be, chances are you’re going to be rejected.
Composing a lengthy message is also a no-no, opening a PM to find a wall of text from a stranger is disconcerting and comes across as somewhat mental. Be succinct, make your opening statement brief. Be sure to double check what you’ve written to make sure there are no typos or weird grammar that can turn off a potential mate or make you appear to be unintelligent. And using net-speak abbreviations like “ur, r, u, realy, lol,” etc. should be avoided. Of course if you’re on a site that is dedicated to a subculture like GayThugDating, then take your cues from the vocabulary used on the site, but try to be authentic.
Keeping in mind the venue is important, as is the content of your target’s profile. If you’re on a dating site for those seeking a long-term relationship that has content restrictions in place, your tone should be in line with that site’s online culture. Similarly, if you’re on a hookup site and pursuing a hot guy with tons of naked pictures in his profile, asking about his work or hobbies is probably not the best opener.
On a gay hookup site like Discreet Gay Dating or XXX Blackbook an opening line that is overtly sexual and direct will be appreciated by men whose profiles are loaded with sexual content, but many probably receive “you have a nice cock” messages all the time, so by all means be direct, but try to be original and craft a message that they won’t think you’re copying and pasting into 100s of outgoing messages. If you’re on a site for those seeking long-term relationships and traditional dating, like Gay Friend Finder then stay away from the overtly sexual, and find a common point of reference from within their profile to strike up a conversation. It doesn’t have to be the most clever thing, just something that signals interest and leaves the ball in their court.
Regardless of the site you are on, never ask for or give personal information in initial messaging. You can say, “Hey, it looks like we are located near each other,” not “Wow, you’re the guy who lives at 123 Main Street,” even if you do recognize him. The most important thing to remember is that gay online dating is just like dating anywhere else. If you’re going to have success, you’ve got to get out there and make yourself available, and signal your interest, though with online dating you have the opportunity to craft a winning message before you hit the send button.