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A Few of My Favorite Things: Openers Online June 14, 2010

Posted by anoddphrase in Favorite Things, Ones and Zeroes (Online Dating), Picking Up.
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What’re the first things you notice when you meet someone?  The things that make up that first impression?  Clothing, facial expressions, tone of voice, attitude, posture.  These are all things that key into social cues for people.

Online—we don’t have as many of them.

We’ve got CAPS, chat slang (lol/brb/idk), smileys (:-p/<3), and of course, the dots (…).  And everyone’s got their own online chat tone.  How fast you reply to someone means something, pregnant pauses can still be pregnant—or they can mean that your internet connection has died.

But still, the question remains: if you want to make a good impression (especially if you’ve never met someone before—and you want to preserve your naked time odds), how do you do it?

So here are the basic components of a good opener online: (1) light internet stalking, (2) be interested/interesting, and (3) keep it short and sweet.  By #1, I mean, take a look at the person’s profile (Facebook, OkCupid, etc.) and find out their interests.  Does the person share an interest with you?  Something cool?  That leads us to #2—be interesting/interested.  Talk about that interest.  Then, ASK A QUESTION—yes, you.  Because if you just say something interesting, the person might think, oh, that’s interesting, but… I don’t really have anything to say to that except Lol, and that’s just not a good way to start a conversation online. You should also remember to mention what it is that you like about the particular interest that you’re talking about.  That brings us to #3, do all of this in a line.  Maybe two.  It leaves the other person wanting more, and indicates interest without coming off as stalkerish-creepy.

Think of an opener as like the beginning of a meaty (like prime rib steak) conversation.

Good examples:

[Sea monsters on profile.]

  • “Sea monsters, huh?  Have you ever seen that Godzilla movie where the monster comes out of the water and then proceeds to kill tourists whose mouths move and no sound comes out of their mouths?  I just love that movie.”

[Picture of a girl jumping out of a plane with a parachute.]

  • “Why would you jump out of a perfectly good plane?  That’s what my shirt says.  How many jumps have you done?”

[Picture of a cat in the profile + HP references]

  • “Did you know that your cat looks like a doppelganger for McGonagall’s Animagus form?  Yeah, that was an uber geeky question.  But it’s awesome and true.”

[Mention of sushi]

  • “The concept of raw fish has always freaked me out—but I LOVE IT!  I’m on the fence about wasabi, though—it’s like sinus medication, but my tongue won’t stop burning just at the thought.  What’s your favorite sushi roll/restaurant in town?”

[Mention of travel]

  • “Travel… brings to mind squat-toilets and hand-sanitizer for me.  But maybe that’s because I keep traveling to places with a lot of the first and a lot of need for the second.  What countries/places have you traveled to?”

[Question stem of most interesting thing you have to say.]

  • “Hmmm, the most interesting thing I have to say is that I once accidently put on two belts and didn’t notice for an entire hour…I’m sorry, that was terrible wasn’t it?”

[Mention of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog.]

  • “So what’s your favorite song from Sing Along Blog?  Mine was the one by NPH in the laundromat.  Wait, was that all of them?”

Bad examples:

  • “Hey Baby” (anything that has the word ‘baby’ in it is usually bad)
  • “sexy” (anything that has the word ‘sexy’ in it is usually bad)
  • “hot” (in the context of “You’re hot” is also bad—if context is “Venezuela sounds hot and humid—the mosquitos are probably the size of dogs”, you’re fine)
  • “Hey, how you doin’?”
  • “What’s up?”
  • “I like your profile.”
  • “Hey, let me know if you want to talk sometime.”
  • Take a look-see at the OkCupid blog post about this subject for more info.

A Few of My Favorite Things