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January 17, 2020

10 Intros that made me Swipe Left (& 10 that would make me Swipe Right).

You find an entrancing woman’s profile in your dating app, and you’re hooked.

You want to whisper sweet nothings into her ear and seduce her all night long. She’s so hot. Tons of guys must be trying to chat her up. And you know you have only one chance to make a first impression.

Go ahead, impress me.

The word “introduction” confuses many people, because it makes them think they’re supposed to talk about themselves. Sometimes there are even online instructions to “say something about yourself.” But what an “introduction” really is is a chance to give the other person a taste of what being with you would feel like for them.

Women want to feel seen, appreciated, and desired. They want to feel curious, engaged, and respected. They want to feel like having this conversation with you would be an enjoyable positive addition to their life, instead of one more demanding energy suck of emotional labour and precious moments out of their busy day that they’re never getting back, in which they could be doing pretty much anything else other than pampering the ego of a stranger.  

Your intro is not a passive, limp, one-word demand for attention. Your intro is not about your CV. And your intro is not about your overly detailed fantasy that has nothing to do with her.

It’s about how you make a woman feel.

And it’s a haiku. Every word punches above its weight by a factor of about a hundred, in an introduction, because every one of them can make or break your indecent proposal. Your intro is your best possible presentation of how the whole relationship would be, jammed into ideally less than 100 words. Make those words work for you!

Here are 10 real online dating intro messages that made me swipe left—and 10 suggestions for what would have made me swipe right instead:

#1: Sweet But Boring

“Hello dear Jordana! I would gladly like to get to know you. You would find me a trustworthy, loyal, empathic, loving, passionate, and true partner/husband/friend. I can warmly recommend to you that you could have a beautiful time and a great future with me. Would you like to have coffee/tea/hot chocolate and go somewhere quiet and charming? In the best case we’d like to see each other and in the worst case we will have something tasty to drink in a charming place and a nice chat between folk who would seek and find. Maybe later we will feel cuddly, and in the dark time of the year, and hopefully also later, we will maybe…” (originally in German)

This introduction keeps going, but that was as far as I could get before I got too bored and wandered away.

Why it didn’t work:

This could have been cut-and-pasted and sent to a million women. There’s nothing that answers the question, “Why me?” Of all the gin joints, how come you wandered into this one, stranger?

Also, this guy comes across as frighteningly fixed on his fantasy future. One step at a time.

And last, keep it to five sentences or less. Otherwise, we’ll know that any “relationship” with you would just be The You Show.

What would have worked better:

“Hello, dear Jordana! Your profile resonated with me and I’d love to hear more about you.  You play the cello? That’s awesome! There’s a great baroque trio coming to town next Tuesday. Let’s check it out!”

#2: Didn’t Do His Homework

“Hello Goddess, I’m submissive slave looking for a dominant woman who can be my Goddess. I’m so honest and serious and willing to do anything to satisfied your majesty and be a carpet under your Queenly feet. I wish to be my lucky day and accept me slave under your feet.” (originally in English, kept intact)

Why it didn’t work:

It’s The Him Show, once again frighteningly fixed on a fantasy future, needing a cut-and-pasted interchangeable socket to put some stiletto heels on. It doesn’t answer the question “Why me?” and it doesn’t ask me any questions.  

It also proves he didn’t read my profile, because if he had, he’d have known that I’m so not into that.

Nothing is as hot and exciting as…reading someone’s profile before you message them! If you want better returns on your time and energy investments, research your market first.

What would have worked better:

“Hi Jordana, my name is X. You have gorgeous eyes and a gorgeous mind! I love your questioning spirit. I too spend my days questioning. I’m a neuroscience researcher and would love to hear about your counselling practice. Are you free for a great glass of Riesling and a chat early next week? Hope to talk soon.”

#3: Totally Uninterested and Uninteresting

“Hi I seek a complicitous open-minded lover for agreeable moments If the idea tempts you or you have other desires to explore let’s begin by sharing a glass [of wine]! Have a nice day^^” (originally in French, punctuation kept intact)

Why it didn’t work:

This could have been cut-and-pasted and is entirely about him, him, him. This tells me that the man sees women as interchangeable vaginas. Non, merci!

What would have worked better:

“Bonsoir Jordana, I found your profile lusciously tempting. What do you desire in a man? I see that you are visiting Paris; if you have time Saturday, I’d love to hear all about it over a glass of Sauterne and a morsel of foie gras in my favourite little old bistro that I’d love to share with you.”

#4: Don’t Lead With Your Discomfort

“Hi how are you [formal]? I’m sorry I’m not very at ease hidden behind a keyboard but I told myself that we could maybe see about having a glass [of wine] for making each other’s acquaintance What do you think about that? A bientôt” (originally written in French, punctuation kept intact)

Why it didn’t work:

Again, this could have been cut-and-pasted to a million women. Leading with apologizing instantly sets up unnecessary emotional drama, demands pity from someone who could be doing anything else with their precious time and energy, and makes you come across as someone who doesn’t like himself and isn’t comfortable or confident creating an atmosphere that makes a woman feel relaxed and safe.

Why me? Why not the millions of other women? We want to feel seen, noticed, and special.

What would have worked better:

“Hi, Jordana, how are you enjoying France? I’m X. Your fascinating profile caught my eye and I’m curious to learn more. I see that you’re a fan of the Oracle of Delphi! Would you like to join me for a little stroll along the Seine this Sunday around noon, and tell me all about your journey of self-discovery? Looking forward to it.”

#5: The Abuse

“Hello how are you? Nice profile and you look so beautiful and younger than your age. Do you live in Paris? If yes can we be friends ? I really like you ? , you are so cute, kiss kiss [kiss emoji]” (originally written in English, kept intact)

Why it didn’t work:

Negging is abuse of an innocent stranger. It is the emotional equivalent of going up to a pond full of baby ducks and shooting them with your BB gun.

Also, pre-emptively demanding emotional attention and claiming feelings for someone you’ve never even exchanged one word with says you’d be a narcissistic emotional parasite (as well as, in this case, an abusive monster).

Also, emojis are for eight-year-old girls.

What would have worked better:

“Hello, Jordana, and welcome to Paris! I see you are a musician, that’s awesome!  What’s inspiring you artistically these days? I’d love to find out more about your journey, as you are clearly an intriguing woman unlike any other. I know a great little crêpe place with live local gypsy jazz that I’d love to share with you. How’s your Friday afternoon looking? Talk soon.” 

#6: The Fight-Picker

“Do you actually play that cello, or is that just a prop for the photo?” (originally written in French, thus negating the stereotype that the French are more charming)

Why it didn’t work:

How you do one thing is how you do everything. Anyone who jumps straight into a trying to pick a bitchy, nasty fight, without even a hello (which, particularly in France, is like introducing yourself by kicking someone in the nuts), is telling you that any “relationship” with them would be continual emotional and verbal abuse from a bitter, self-hating, deeply broken man.

What would have worked better:

“Hey Jordana, I really enjoyed discovering your profile, what a kindred spirit! I notice that you play the cello, that’s so cool. What’s inspiring your artistic growth right now? I myself play the Baroque lute. I noticed that you enjoy Couperin and Marais; they really are masters of their era, aren’t they. Of their time and yet also forward-thinking, with achingly timeless souls. And they wrote some great pieces for cello and lute. I’d be so down with getting together for a jam session! Perhaps this weekend?”

#7: So Sleep with the Algorithm Then

“Hi. I trust algorithms in general and those of this site in particular …  In this case we have a disappointing match-rate of 93%.. But briefly, your profile pleased me and therefore I make the first step…” (originally written in French, punctuation intact)

Why it didn’t work:

Algorithms make me get all dry between the thighs. Even one drop of sarcasm tells me your mindset is lazy and cruel. And here’s the secret: if he had just said the last sentence, I might have given him a closer look.

What would have worked better:

“Hi, Jordana, your profile pleased me, so I’m making the first step. I think we might really hit it off in person. My name is X. How are you enjoying Paris so far? I’d love to join you for a great chat and a walk along the Seine this Wednesday afternoon, if you’re free, and show you my hometown through my own eyes.”  

#8: All About Him

“Hi Jordana I’m 40 and come from Italy. I’ve lived in Germany for a couple of years. Other stuff about me, I speak German, Spanish, English, and naturally Italian. My interests include nature, cooking, music, foreign languages, documentaries, travelling, art, and culture. I hope ‘til then.” (originally written in German)

Why it didn’t work:

If the intro is all about them, the relationship will be too.

Mirroring what you hear or read (that is, using a few words or facts that the other person used about themselves) shows that you’re actually paying attention, which creates empathy, which creates trust, which creates the possibility of interest.

What would have worked better:

“Hi, Jordana! I’m an immigrant here just like you; don’t worry, adapting gets easier with time! Wow, I see that you speak some German in addition to Spanish, English, Italian, and French, plus small amounts of ten other languages, that’s very unusual for an American! And you’re an artist. I’d love to see some of your work. Do you enjoy Italian food? Because I love to cook, and would really enjoy making you lunch this Saturday. What do you say?”

#9: Too Much Too Soon

“hi Jordana, I am a single person, live and work in Prenzlauer Berg. I am warm, caring and giving… I welcome spontaneity, would be with you fully…also bodily.  Would be lovely to meeting you…x” (originally written in English, left intact)

Why it didn’t work:

Someone who wants to be with me not just fully but also bodily without even having met me yet is someone who is looking for any available socket to plug himself into. Not someone looking for me.

What would have worked better:

“Hi, Jordana, your profile captured my attention and I’d love to learn more about you. I admired your witty and original turns of phrase. Perhaps we could turn a few phrases together this evening at this intimate little artisanal wine bar I love near the Spree. Looking forward to hearing from you and have a great day.”

#10: The Cut-and-Paste Selfish Parasite

“Wow…what an interesting woman! Jump into the next taxi and come directly into my arms!? Hurry!”

Why it didn’t work:

In addition to cut-and-paste, it tells me that any “relationship” with this person would be about them cutting open my arteries and sucking my life’s blood dry.

What would have worked better:

“Wow, Jordana, what an interesting woman you are! You really have travelled all over the world, haven’t you? I’d love to hear some of your stories, or perhaps you could give me a link to where I could check out your books. I’d love to grab some takeout, jump into the next taxi, and bring it straight over to you for a nosh and a kibbutz. Whaddya say?”

A Couple Handy Takeaways

Online dating is the same as all dating. When you introduce yourself to someone, be respectful, consider them as a human, and give them something to work with conversationally.

If you want to show a woman that you can bring value to her life instead of hanging off of her like the love-baby of a vampire and a lead weight, then show that you can also lead a conversation—ask her something that could spark a discussion.

Do your homework. Read the person’s profile before contacting them. Then show that you read it and ask them something that engages with what they wrote.

As is true for all social meetings and not just dates, if you want to spend time in person with someone, propose a specific activity on a specific day.  

And most importantly:

Even if all you really want to do with someone is pound them up against a wall until dawn and then never see them again, you have to show why them. You could be spending your evening with a knot-hole in a piece of wood, or a blow-up doll, or a hand. Or billions of other women. Instead, you want to spend it with this particular woman right here. There was something about this human being that captivated you, that stood out as special, as desirable, and as lovable.  

Start there. And good luck!

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