Monday, November 27, 2006

How do you start off an email conversation?

Michelle, Rochester, New York
Michelle, 32, Rochester, New York

I find that most people in the "About Me" part of their profile speak in broad terms. I like to get more specific about their interests. If they say, "I like to exercise," I say, "I see in your profile you work out. I like to run. What do you enjoy most as far as exercising?” Or if they say, "I like to travel," I ask them where their favorite place was that they have gone and if they could pick one place to eventually go to, where would it be. There are always interesting things to find out about a person, and most of the time a person enjoys talking about themselves!

Aubrey, Wheaton, Illinois
Aubrey, 22, Wheaton, Illinois

Icebreakers can be tough at first, but I find it helpful to break the ice by commenting about something they have written in their profile. Whether it is something we have in common, a unique trait I think they have, or just a compliment, it's nice to see someone has actually read your profile and has taken interest in it! It's a great way to spark conversation without talking all about yourself up front.

Ruth, Kennesaw, Georgia
Ruth, 49, Kennesaw, Georgia

If I take the initiative to make the first move, I always try to look for something special about the person -- their interests/occupation/interesting picture. When they do respond, then you have the beginnings of a conversation.

Scott, Cedar Park, Texas
Scott, 43, Cedar Park, Texas

I like to take a minute to look at their pictures and read their profile. Hopefully, I'll find something interesting to comment on, something we might have in common.

Corey, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Corey, 28, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Sometimes it does seem weird when you first contact someone on Yahoo! Personals, but I believe that the best way to initiate a conversation is to start off with some simple questions. I'll ask about a certain picture they had in their profile, about their family, about friends or what that person likes to do in their spare time. Usually when I ask about those questions, the conversation takes off in many different directions, and if the conversation doesn't take off then it’s a hint to me that, well, maybe this person isn't who I thought they were.

Elizabeth, Batavia, Illinois
Elizabeth, 45, Batavia, Illinois

I usually say something like, "Thanks for getting back to me/contacting me. I've read your profile and would like to get to know more about you." Then I tell a little bit more about me and ask a couple of questions like, "Have you always lived in ...?" or "Where were those photos taken? It looks like Puerto Vallarta." That usually opens up a new conversation.

John, Chicago, Illinois
John, 35, Chicago, Illinois

I would start a conversation based on some similar interests that you hopefully noticed while viewing their profile. Another approach would be to simply comment on some of their photos, and I don't mean "Hey, nice photo." I mean things like "Great sunset behind you, where were you when that was taken? The best sunset I've ever seen was in..."

Amy, Santa Clara, California
Amy, 38, Santa Clara, California

I begin by asking a question about something that I found interesting or unique in their profile. If they haven't written much, I ask a question about something they've listed as an interest.

Brian, Phoenix, Arizona
Brian, 25, Phoenix, Arizona

I always start a conversation just like I was there in person, except I'm really at home just in my shorts because it’s 100 degrees outside. Just be yourself, and maybe give them a more in-depth description of yourself and ask the same of the other person to find out more than what's written in their profile.

Charlotte, Phoenix, Arizona
Charlotte, 24, Phoenix, Arizona

When someone replies to me, I tend to let the initial excitement take over. A good profile really helps, as you can pull from things they've started to tell you -- ask questions and just let it flow. That is VERY important -- you should not have to force it. If it is that weird or uncomfortable, no matter how cute, it isn't going to work out.

Carl, Foxboro, Massachusetts
Carl, 35, Foxboro, Massachusetts

I always start out the conversation by asking the question, “Why are you on this Internet thing? Is it to have a serious relationship or just to have fun?” You get a good idea about the other person's intentions. You may also want to read their personal profile and ask the person about what they wrote. For example, if they like to travel, you would ask them where they like to travel or whether they have plans to travel again soon.

Nina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Nina, 22, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Ask them about where they went to school, and what they do...the basics!

Hugo, Wake Forest, North Carolina
Hugo, 32, Wake Forest, North Carolina

It should never feel weird. Online dating is no different than approaching or being approached by someone in a real life setting. You should respond with what comes naturally. I look over the profile and if it's pretty descriptive, I simply comment on something that was written. If the profile isn't descriptive enough, I ask that they tell me more about themselves. It's a good way to break the ice.

Susan, Atlanta, Georgia
Susan, 34, Atlanta, Georgia

It's always awkward getting to know someone new. I think it's easier to take the pressure off of "where might this lead" and relax and talk to him like a friend. Keep it casual and light as there's no need to delve into heavy topics early on. It's funny because the veil of the Internet creates an environment for premature openness. I know I've discussed things online and on the phone that I wouldn't dream of talking about if I'd met the person out somewhere. I now keep it to the basics (books, movies, sports, travel and career) until we meet in person and I feel comfortable revealing more personal details. Think of how you might interact with someone who you encountered at a party or another social situation.

Wes, Bloomington, Minnesota
Wes, 30, Bloomington, Minnesota

It's never easy because it's always awkward and you don't have the non-verbal cues to read. I usually try to keep it light and add a little humor (at least it's funny to me) when possible.

Kari, Chicago, Illinois
Kari, 29, Chicago, Illinois

I would hope that in their response they have made some comments or asked some questions about you in order to keep the conversation flowing (obviously a good sign of their interest in continuing a conversation). If not, I would point some questions or comments back their way based on what piqued your interest in them in the first place -- their profile, looks, occupation, hobbies, etc. Above all, though, random bouts of humor can go a long way in getting things "unweird." Don't be afraid to show them your personality!

Greg, Fort Myers, Florida
Greg, 26, Fort Myers, Florida

Starting a conversation is always casual -- tell a few jokes, compliment the person, tell them why you were interested in talking to them in the first place. Keep it simple. Ask a lot of questions, and try not to only talk about yourself!

Jessica, Bordentown, New Jersey
Jessica, 26, Bordentown, New Jersey

I don't have a "formula." Basically I share a little about my life and work and maybe some current events. I make sure that it's not too much info; I personally don't like being overwhelmed with too much from someone at first. I figure if something develops, there's lots of time to fill each other in on everything. Plus, you have to consider your privacy initially and feel someone out.

Ryan, Santa Monica, California
Ryan, 25, Santa Monica, California

Usually I read their profile and pick something that we have in common to talk about. Then there are the standard questions like where are you from, how long have you lived here, and what do you do for work and fun? Usually once the conversation starts it's pretty easy to keep going. For every email exchange I think it's a good idea to leave a few hooks, or questions for them to respond to, if you are really interested in getting to know the person.

Cherie, Chicago, Illinois
Cherie, 24, Chicago, Illinois

I like to mention what made his profile stand out for me and why. That makes it easy to move to asking questions about him and/or telling him a little more about myself. Good luck!

Lance, Columbus, Ohio
Lance, 37, Columbus, Ohio

I usually start by thanking them and then asking them some questions to help me get to know them better. Sometimes I will start out with questions based on the answers they have chosen for their profile.

Casey, 30, Denver, Colorado
Casey, 30, Denver, Colorado

Answer with a sense of humor. You never know how seriously to take someone (or how seriously you want them to take you!); knowing that, be light-hearted about it.

Christopher, Charlotte, North Carolina
Christopher, 27, Charlotte, North Carolina

I usually try to act like I am face to face with someone and approach it as if the person is there. It eases the tension if you can just be yourself and realize it is just like meeting in person except there may be some distance.

Brent, Dallas, Texas
Brent, 31, Dallas, Texas

When someone contacts me back, I usually start off the conversation by telling them a little more about myself -- specifically, things that aren’t in my profile that relate to interests we might have in common. I comment or ask questions about items I found unique in their profile. I try not to write too much or be too specific about myself early on -- there’s no need to write a novel or exchange Social Security numbers just yet.

posted by Rachelle
at 11:06 PM