In almost every aspect of life, we go after the things we want. Not happy in a job? Search for a new one. Some recent weight gain getting you down? Up the ante during your workouts. Why is it then, in dating, we think happiness will just find us? It’s as if we think we have a sign on our foreheads flashing, “Single and ready to mingle!” Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. In online dating, writing a great profile is only half the battle. To really be successful, you have to be proactive and e-mail people of interest.

First of all, when searching for a potential mate, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Try not to be too picky. In the long run, will it really matter if someone is 5’8” vs. 5’9”?
  2. Update your search periodically to include new people. Maybe Mr. or Ms. Right lives just five miles outside of your search radius.
  3. Change how you sort your matches. Try sorting by newest members first, people last online, age, people closest to you, etc.

Now that you’ve found some potential matches, it’s time to send an e-mail. And women, it’s important for you to e-mail potential matches too. Many women think e-mailing a potential mate might make them lose the upper hand at the get-go or seem less feminine. Not true. Again, we need to go for what we want in life, and it starts here. Also, many people don’t take point number 2 above to heart, and their search criteria may not catch you. So if you don’t send the first e-mail, that perfect match you’ve noticed may never find you. And remember… I e-mailed my mate Jeremy first, and seeing as how he’s sitting in the other room of our condo eating popcorn as I type this, I’d say I made out pretty well.

As for what to include in the e-mail, it’s actually pretty simple:

  1. Something about his/her profile that caught your attention
  2. Something about you and how it relates to him/her
  3. A question (to end the e-mail)

In terms of length, a few sentences are enough to get the ball rolling. No one wants to read your novel after a long day of work. And no form letters! It’s very clear when people copy and paste the same e-mail from person to person. That’s a surefire way to get zero responses.

Now that we know the rules, let’s look at a couple of sample e-mails that work.

Sample 1:

Welcome to DC!  Where were you before moving here?  I actually moved here from the West Coast myself, so I think I have the best of the two worlds – a taste for both good wine and historical monuments.

I can help you with the difference between a note and a chord if you’ll tell me something about aeronautics and space.  What exactly do you do in the field?

Looking forward to hearing from you,


Sample 2:

And I thought I had a lot of degrees…  Congratulations on getting your doctoral degree.  What’s next?  A Nobel Prize?  😉  I really appreciate when people value education as much as I do.  I got my PhD in Physics before moving here three months ago.

Now for the fun stuff… it looks like we both love food.  I just went to Tria the other day, and I liked it a lot.  Do you have a #1 place that I have to try here? 


In the end, you can’t win the lottery unless you play, so you might as well try your hand at the lottery of love to see what it has in store. Now, go forth and e-mail!

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge,
helping people find success in online dating and getting them excited about its possibilities. “Like” A Little Nudge on Facebook, or read Erika’s blog for more information and fun and
useful dating advice.
  1. I find that so many people have not updated their profile. I have tried everything to intrique a man, to answer, short, long, funny, nice, ask questions refer to their profiles, posted new pictures, full body, head shots. I am so much of the most gigantic looser that NO ONE answers? The rejection is overwhelming and hurtful. It is sad. Yep, I have tried the age, mileage, order, backwards & forwards. Is there not 1 man for me? within my age range.

    Hope to hear from you!

  2. i find it hard to meet someone on here for real. they are up to something conniviing like looking for sex ion a first date or lying about their name. i have dating nightmares. i am considering reporting them. for some after i feel disrespected they call back and make another date to disrespect me again or stand me up. for others they realize they are caught scared and change therir phone number immediately. i was assaulted and im going to report it

  3. Started online dating/JDate this Fall, and have been meeting wonderful men, all gentleman, just not the perct match yet. Well maybe I did meet my perfect match very recently, but I let him slip through my fingers and still getting over it. Use every experience as a learning experience and hang in there. I update my profile a lot, but still learning.

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