I wrote this as a comment on reddit in response to someone’s asking, and thought it might be useful here. I don’t use this (or any) formula every time, but for someone who looks at a blank text-entry box and can’t come up with something, here’s an outline:
First, find something in the profile that is a mutual interest. If there is nothing, then don’t write to that person because you don’t actually want to date them, you just think they’re hot. Also, try to pick something that isn’t normal geek fare, because the fact that you’re both into Star Wars means nothing. Everyone is into Star Wars because Star Wars is good, if you pretend episodes I-III didn’t happen.
Now, write a paragraph and no more about the mutual interest. Describe why and how it’s an interest for you, and mention something specific about it. Maybe you like Michael Pollan’s writing but think he’s kind of a douche, or you’re into robotics specifically because you competed in a robotics competition in high school.
Consider repeating the above for a second mutual interest, but no more than that.
Now, ask a question about something interesting the other person said but didn’t expand on. Like, if they say they want to be a Mythbuster, ask what myth they’d bust first. Responding to this gives them an opening to reply and saves them from having to compose a message from nothing.
Now, proofread, and send.
Do not, in the first message:
- compliment their appearance
- give any off site contact info
- suggest a meeting
- make any sexual remarks whatsoever