This section contains the do's and dont's of replying to personal ads when online, both when initiating contact and dealing with enquiries.


Don't write single sentence emails. 'Hey there. I'm Rob. I like to know you more.'. With an enquiry like that, expect 99% of your emails to go straight into the recycle bin.

Don't use any sort of 'humorous pick-up lines' in your emails - Men, resist the urge to write things like 'Hello. Are you taking any applications for a boyfriend?' or 'You must be Jamaican, because Jamaican me crazy'.

Don't use a 'form letter' for contacting other singles. You might think it's carefully crafted, but if it's too generic then you won't gain that person's interest, and many people will spot what you're up to.

Don't have the 'I'll write an email tommorrow' attitude when you can do it today. By then, it might be too late and your initial enthusiasm may have diminished. If you've got the time, write some lines. Don't be bashful either. You can usually communicate anonymously, so write in a light-heared tone, but with at least some feeling and a positive attitude. If the person isn't interested, there's plenty more people to contact.

Don't write too much information. Make it informative and interesting enough to warrant a response. If it intrigues her/him, you've a far better chance of further communication. Write in your own personality, and don't forget to run it through a spelling checker.

Don't ask too many questions or begin to mention boring stuff like 'hey, the weather's pretty good here in Dumbsville, isn't it?'.


Do write an email that speaks to that person. Reread their profile and inform them of your thoughts, maybe you found a common interest, they were funny. Respond to their description of what they are looking for in a partner. Why should you fit that bill?

Do ask a couple of questions when replying. You want to keep learning about that person gradually, not have a life story presented before you. Divulge interesting personal information, but be generic. Don't give away too much.

Do be patient. Many people won't check their email for 2, 3 or sometimes a week. They may be having a bad time at the moment or under a mountain of paperwork at the office, so give them time before deciding if you should resend. A lot of the time, no reponse will mean no interest.

Do be polite and courteous in everything you write. Always finish with a thanks or regards, and never ever write in a threatening or 'jokey' manner that could be interpreted as threatining. What one person perceives as sarcasm, another may view it differently.

Do talk about common interests. If you live in the same area, then that's something, as will be their profile - it should reveal enough for you to begin thinking of what to talk about.

Do always be honest in responding. If you aren't interested, be polite and say so. Don't waste their time by general chit-chat that they think is leading somewhere.


Back to the dating advice section. Or read some dating services reviews.