Our advice for successful dating

Article 19

Making the first move

Trawling through all your potential matches, you find one you really like. Their photo's stunning, their personal ad makes you smile. But how to make a good approach that leads on to the connection you want?

Your first move is of course to send an email. That not only says you're interested in the member you're contacting, it also gives them more information so they can tell whether they're interested in you.

But there is a danger, both in this first email and in later ones you might exchange. If you worry that you might not impress the other person, you may say too much about you and not ask enough about them. They'll feel sidelined, your approach will fail. Much better to make the email equally balanced - a little about you, a little about them.

Put the focus on the other

So begin with just a little about the other person's personal and photo. No, no cheesy compliments and no sexual innuendos - the key here is to simply say you like what you've seen.

Also pick up on one or two things they've written in their profile and comment positively. If what they're interested in is something you know nothing about, be curious and ask a few questions: "why are action movies your passion... you say you enjoy travelling so where was the last place you went?"

If what your potential partner has written is something you do know about, then say so. What brings people together is feeling they've got interests, thoughts or feelings in common. So include some detail that makes the other person realise that you've had the same experiences as they've had: "I love jazz too, which is why I learned to play the piano..."

Switch the focus to you

Having focussed on the other person, you can start telling them about you. One of the signs that a person is attracted is that they 'reveal', open up about themselves, tell other personal information.

Don't get stuck talking about you, though - you need to keep showing interest in your partner, so ask a few more questions about them before you start to sign off.

Suggest a meeting

By the end of the email try to move things on - say you're looking forward to hearing back from your potential partner.

It's probably too soon to suggest a date on your first email, but two or three emails in, however, you could suggest meeting up. Where and when? If you've been following the pattern of revealing a little about you and asking a little about your potential partner, then you should know enough to be able to pinpoint what activities you have in common - bowling, going for a country walk, seeing a film.

At which point, it's easy to mention that you plan to do one of those activities, and suggest you go together. The activity will give you a focus of interest, something to talk about, something that you can do to 'save face' if when you meet you simply don't get on. If you do get on, of course, then you're past the 'first move" and on your way to building a relationship.

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