Writing that first message can be nerve-wracking. We all know that when it comes down to it we have nothing to lose – either they will reply or they won’t – but that doesn’t make contacting potential friends any easier.
People can gain a lot of confidence online that they might not have in real life; there’s no face to face contact and the messages are private, which alleviates some of the social pressure. There are also a few winning steps you can follow to calm your nerves and help get a new friend in London.
1) Don’t send your contact details in the first message
You wouldn’t go up to someone you don’t know in the street and give them your contact details without saying anything would you? No of course not! Then why would you want to do that online? You need to get to know the person first – if you put your contact details in your first message you will come across as desperate and put the person off from responding to you.
2) Don’t flirt!
If you find the person attractive don’t say that in your first message or they may get offended. Save flirtatious messages until you know the person better.
3) Read their profile
Meeting new people is like attending a job interview. You (hopefully) wouldn’t turn up without reading the job description first and the same goes for people’s interests. Look for what you have in common, what you find interesting and show them that you’ve noticed. Looking at someone’s profile before messaging them can help turn a generic ‘hey!’ message into something a lot more personal.
4) Don’t go into too much detail
Keep some boundaries. A couple of lines is enough for the first message; you want to introduce yourself sharing your life story at this stage might put people off.
5) Be yourself
Trying to impress someone will look just like that: that you’re trying, and perhaps too hard. People appreciate genuineness and natural personality a lot more than a persona. In the long run, it will also cause no end of problems if you’re trying to present yourself as someone you’re not.
6) Stay curious
Remember that you’re the one contacting them so you’ve got to give them something to work with when they reply. Talking about yourself the whole time will leave them with nothing to respond to. Asking questions is a great way to get conversation flowing so try and think of some you genuinely want to know the answer to.
7) Don’t be too pushy
Let the relationship evolve naturally. There’s no pressure; after all, this is supposed to be fun so there’s no point in stressing out both yourself and the other person.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do: good spelling and grammar will always make a great impression. If you’re in doubt, run your text through a spellchecking program like Microsoft Word before sending.
Try and strike a balance between informal and polite. You won’t want to sound too familiar at first but, at the same time, a message that comes across as very formal might be intimidating.
10) Choose appropriate topics
So you’ve read their profile and have a good idea of their interests and background. Even so, it’s still important to remember that you don’t actually know this person yet. Just as it’s a good idea not to share too much detail about yourself, don’t ask them about really personal topics that they might feel uncomfortable answering. If you’re not sure where to start, questions about hobbies and careers are a great way to open a conversation.
Above all, remember that the most important things are to be yourself and have fun. You might not find your next best friend in the first person you message, but keep reaching out to people and enjoy the experience.