Over the 20 years that we’ve been helping single Christians meet, we’ve seen what can help make meaningful connections. Whether you’re just starting out with online dating or wanting to refresh your dating efforts, here’s what we’ve learned about messaging that lead to dates, relationships and lasting connections.
Taking that first step in online dating can be scary! But by signing up, creating an engaging dating profile and reading this, you’re already showing courage. Christian Connection has a simple way to start a conversation that doesn’t involve words: the wave. But, in our experience, messages that start with a written introduction (rather than a Wave or Like) are more likely to get a reply.
We have advice on how to write a great opening message to increase your chance of success.
Before you message anyone, make sure your profile is up to scratch (we have some top tips for a great dating profile here) – anyone you message will want to find out more about you before responding. Take some time to decide what appeals to you about the profile of the person you’re messaging and craft something.
Our friend Dr David Pullinger, author of Online Dating: Top Tips For Success, analysed over 74,000 messages sent through Christian Connection and found that to get a response, the best message length is 80-90 words. Messages of only 10-20 words get 30% fewer replies, so it’s worth spending a few minutes on this.
It’s important to make sure your online dating profile reflects who you are and what you’re interested in. Josh told us he first messaged Joanna, who is now his wife, “after searching for someone who enjoyed board games.” And the same goes for your messages. As our blogger HopefulGirl says, “It’s good practice to message lots of people – but within reason! Impersonal, cookie-cutter messages copied and pasted to dozens of people? We can spot them a mile off.” So, make sure your messages reflect who you are so whoever you’re messaging can get to know the real you.
Online dating comes with lots of questions. “How can I write a successful message?” usually means “How can I get a positive response to my message, start a good conversation and then go on a date?”! It’s a worthwhile goal, and the person you want to get to know will also want to know all about you. So, when you write, take some time to think about how you might come across. Negative or critical messages don’t appeal to anyone, and even if you’ve had a boring day it’s good to find something to keep the messaging going – favourite films, Bible verses, interesting plans and happy memories transcend the day to day.
HopefulGirl says of her internet dating experiences, “there were messages that caught my interest and made me want to chat more. Those were the ones from men who’d obviously read my profile, and then made a comment or asked a question about something I’d written. Men who seemed thoughtful and genuinely interested.”
Take James, who met his future wife on CC. He told us, “Becca and I met when she sent me a message after liking what she read about my faith (and my two kittens!) in my profile.” If you’re not sure where to start, read their profile and find something to ask about, and be sure to respond to any questions you’re asked. We have a list of good starter questions you could use too.
Always remember you’re communicating with another person. Treat each message as the start of a conversation, and think about how you’d approach someone if meeting face to face. Be polite, kind and respect boundaries. If you receive a message that’s rude or inappropriate we want to know straight away so we can investigate. There’s a simple way to report here.
When you receive a new message – especially if it’s a response to yours – prepare to reply! We know how frustrating it can be to see a message read and unanswered, and there can be good reasons why. But, if you’re interested in pursuing a messaging conversation, do prioritise replying.
If you don’t want to get into a conversation with someone, that’s OK. But do let them know. There’s a ‘No thanks’ option on CC that generates a polite message addressed to the sender (which you can edit if you wish), thanking them for their message but declining further contact.
When the messages are flowing and you’re ready for some face to face contact, don’t forget the video chat option on the site. And when you arrange an in-person first date, check out our top tips for making it a memorable time, including topics to get the conversation moving too.
So, armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to take the next positive step towards finding and connecting with someone special.
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