It’s a problem we all face:
You find an attractive someone on a dating site. You craft a witty, fun, complimentary and intelligent email and send it off, and two weeks go by with no reply. What gives? You’re not a freak. Your picture is hot. You’ve carefully chosen corroborating pictures that make you look socially well-adjusted and fun, and you (and your mother) consider yourself a solid catch. What happened?
The answer is simple. You’ve made a mistake so common; no one even knows there’s a better way. Prepare to be enlightened.
First, let’s look at what happens when someone hits on (i.e. makes their interest known) someone else. For example, I once went up to this guy at a party and said the highly original and clever one-liner: “Hi.” Instead of responding in kind, he gave me the once over and said, “No.” While his brevity was admirable, his socially mal-adjusted response is an excellent example of what happens when Person A hits on Person B.
Basically, people want what they don’t know they have, or don’t have. When someone hits on someone else, they fall into this trap. Saying “Hi” definitely counts, as does sending an email that in any way, shape or form says anything resembling “You’re attractive to me. Do you want to go out?” The person being approached (Person B) knows they “have” the approacher (Person A), because Person A just made it abundantly clear that they’re interested in Person B. This is boring for Person B, because there’s no mystery. Mystery, and not knowing whether or not the person you’re talking to is interested in you (at least for the first five minutes, or the first two or three emails), is a very good thing.
When you open a channel of communication (in person or online) that doesn’t in any way indicate that you’re interested in the person you’re talking with (as you would with a friend), the person being approached will just think you’re a friendly, confident person that they’re being given a chance to help out. Plus, because you’re not being obvious about your interest, they won’t know whether or not you are interested, which immediately makes you more interesting to them. Capiche?
So, how do you do this? How do you talk to someone you like without indicating your interest?
The answer? Have a reason to be talking to your targeted hot someone besides the fact that they’re hot.
In person, you could be needing information about something that’s bugging you (like why people don’t respond to well-written emails on dating sites), and they look like they could be qualified to answer. On the Internet, it’s even easier to come up with a reason for a particular person to help you out with something, because they’ve spelled it out for you in their profile.
For example, I met my current boyfriend on the Internet by asking him about triathlons. His profile picture was of him before a race, and his profile talked a lot about triathlon training. I was mildly interested in triathlons at the time, so I emailed him and said I was interested in knowing more about the sport, and would he mind meeting me for coffee so I could pick his brain. He agreed. We’ve been together ever since. He told me later that he was intrigued by the fact he didn’t know whether or not it was a date, and that’s why he replied. Another major bonus? By asking about something that they’re clearly knowledgeable about, you have guaranteed subject matter to discuss on the actual date.
So, the more descriptive you are on your profile, the better. It gives other people an excuse to email you and a solid reason to be doing so that conveniently puts both of you in the comfortable and interest-inducing spot of not knowing whether or not the other is into you. It also gives you a chance to show off your all-encompassing knowledge of turn-of-the-century Gothic-American literature, your awesome World of Warcraft record, or your impressive adventure racing stats (which any number of people may want to know more about). The more honest you are, the more of a chance you have to find a person who genuinely likes the same things as you (or thinks they might like the same things). Then, you’ll already have something in common, and that’s never a bad thing.
I, for example, now really dig triathlons.
Bottom line, give people a compelling reason to write back (in a non-pushy, “Can you help me?” environment where you steer clear of anything resembling “You’re hot. Want to go out?”), and they probably will.
Samantha Scholfield is the author of the (soon to be bestselling) book, Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Picking Up Hot Guys. When she’s not trying to improve the dating lives of her peers through dating coaching and working on the upcoming guy’s version of “Screw Cupid,” she spends her free time people watching and writing bad poetry in the ubiquitous coffee shops of her newly adopted city of Seattle. “Screw Cupid” is available everywhere books are sold. Learn more at www.screwcupidthebook.com.