3 Simple Ways to Start Having Better Conversations Online

happy woman chatting with someone through smartphone

There’s nothing more frustrating than sending out online dating messages, only to not receive a single response. How can you make your conversation starters stand out in someone’s online dating inbox?

If you’re struggling how to craft a great message to send to someone you’re interested in, you’re not alone. Even though we’re living in a digital world, intentional communication can still be challenging.

It’s important to know that unintentional messages can quickly ruin all the work you put into your online dating profile. Your profile picture can be perfect, but if you aren’t communicating clearly with other users, you may find yourself frustrated and disheartened with online dating.

If you’re getting ready to start a conversation with someone on an online dating site, here are three things to keep in mind before clicking that send button.

1. Begin by defining your conversation goals

happy woman chatting with someone through smartphone

Before you send a message, ask yourself about the goal of your conversation. Taking this extra step before sending that first message is crucial to intentional conversation.

If you’re sending a message from your online dating profile, what are your hopes for the outcome? Maybe you just want to get to know someone as a friend, or perhaps you’re hoping for a first date. Knowing your goal will give your conversation purpose. This will also help you avoid the pitfall of simply sending generic messages like “Hey,” or “What’s up?”

For questions that will get you talking about your passions and shared interests, brush up on these conversation starters.

“When we communicate with others—especially if that communication includes differences of opinion or requires some vulnerability—it can be easy to lose sight of our intention,” explains Dr. Denise Fournier, a professor at Nova Southeastern University. “That’s why it’s so important to make a clear commitment to yourself that can anchor your attention and help you stay focused as you navigate the conversation.”

Emails, texts, and online messages are fantastic resources in today’s technology centered world. But when you communicate online, the person receiving the message misses out on typical social cues that would be present in a face-to-face conversation. They can’t read your body language, facial expressions, or voice intonations. That’s why it’s even more crucial to be intentional even before the conversation begins.

2. Be intentional with your word choice

happy man chatting with someone through smartphone

Not only does your intention matter, the words you use to communicate that intention are a big deal, too!

“Once you’re clear about the message you want to get across, use great care to choose words that directly convey that message—no more, no less,” Dr. Fournier writes.

Avoid common online dating faux pas by reading through your message before clicking send. Do you see any grammar or spelling mistakes? Is your message intentional, or did you copy and paste a generic message that you sent a few days before to someone else?

This is also a great time to check on the length of message you’re getting ready to send. Just like sending brief and generic messages may end up with no responses, sending a novel isn’t the answer. Hone in on your goal and talk about something that will resonate with the person you’re messaging.

How can you make sure your word choice matches your intentions? Spend a few minutes reading through someone’s online dating profile before sending that first message.

Sure, it’s great if you feel like you connected automatically with them. But taking that extra step of reading what they wrote gives you a chance to get to know them better. It’s also a great reminder that there’s a human being on the other side of the screen, and they deserve intentional communication.

3. Ask questions (and listen for answers!) 

happy woman chatting with someone through smartphone

It takes two to tango, and two to talk! If you’re hoping for conversation with the person you’re messaging, it’s important to ask some open ended questions which invite a response. After all, intentional conversation can’t be all about you.

When you’re taking a look through their profile, take special notice of their passions, interests, and desires for a future relationship. What are they communicating to you before you even send a message?

But intentionality continues long after you send off that first message. If anything, you’ll need even more intentionality if a conversation starts between the two of you.

Even if you have a clear intention and great word choice, intentionally flies out the window if you don’t listen to what the other person is saying.

“Often, when someone’s speaking to us, we drift into our minds and start preparing our response,” Dr. Fournier says. “But there’s no way we can be fully present to what’s being said to us if we’re busy thinking about what we’ll say next.”

If someone responds to your message, take time to read through their response. Don’t rush through their message in an attempt to send them a quick reply. They’d much rather receive an intentional, thought out message than a hasty response sent just to keep conversation going.

This tip applies to communication both on online dating sites and off. If you’re out on a first date with someone, make sure to intentionally listen in conversation then, too.

Every single one of us desires to be known, seen, and heard. Honor the story of the person you’re getting to know by being intentional in conversation with them on and offline!

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