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First Cyber Impressions

Searching through members at can make you feel like a kid in a candy store. As alumni member Gerry said before meeting his wife at the site, "It's like shopping...I want that one and that one and that one."

But, after you've "picked out" what you're looking for, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work because even in cyber-space first impressions really do count! Your initial contact could make or break a potential date, relationship or even friendship.

Now, we're not saying that looks are everything, but the way your first email comes across is very important. Here are a few suggestions of how to spruce it up so that you can improve your chances of getting a reply and of taking it to the next level:

How To Make Your First Email Work For You

  • Be yourself. Funny, serious, chivalrous, sweet, sporty, artsy - whatever your personality is offline, let those true colors show in the style of your email. But, don't overdo it or exaggerate.
  • Be polite and respectful. Remember, you are writing to a person, not a computer.
  • Humor is usually a great ice-breaker, so if you've got it, use it. (A word of caution: not everyone is funny, nor does everyone appreciate humor – sometimes it can be misunderstood, especially over the wires. So be careful in your selections.)
  • NEVER send out a pre-fab "form" email - It shows! You'll be tossed out with the rest of the junk mail.
  • Let them know that you've really read their profile. This will not only open the door to more communication, but it will illustrate that you are truly interested (the best way to score points, for sure!).
    Some great ways to show that you've read a profile are:
    • comment on the things that caught your eye
    • tell them what you really like about them (compliment as much as you can, but be sincere)
    • discuss something that you have in common
    • ask questions about the things they enjoy
  • Keep the email alive by asking engaging questions. You'll score even more points (people love to talk about themselves!), and this will also help you decide if the two of you are compatible.
    Some examples are:
    • What do you like to do on your time off?
    • What are your favorite movies, books, TV shows?
    • What would your ideal vacation be?
    • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
    • If you could pick any profession other than your own, what would it be?
    • What are your favorite words, sounds, colors, flavors?
    • What was your favorite thing to do when you were growing up?
    • If you could spend one hour with any historical figure, who would it be?
  • Briefly share about yourself in the email – don't send them straight to your profile.
  • Make sure your profile is in good shape! (they're going to check it out before responding to you.) Spend time on your essays, take it seriously, revise and update until it says exactly what you want it to say. Keep your photos updated! And add a hook (alumni Gerry contacted his (now) wife Meredith because her profile said: "I climbed Mount Kilamanjaro.")