So, you’ve made first contact with someone of interest (hopefully you used the who’s viewed me shuffle and/or the one-line hook), and now you want to go on a date with them. Here are a few guidelines on how to do that. First of all, it’s better to meet very early on than to let things drag on by chatting on IM or the phone for a long time. The good girls can go very fast, things can fizzle out fast online, and you never know who will disappoint you when you meet in person, so it’s best to get right to it. Things will vary from social group to social group, but in late 20’s to early 30’s in a major metropolitan area, I have always met within a few e-mails. My typical progression may go like this:
Building Interest With First Contact
For reference, imagine there’s a girl who has cleverly put in her profile: “I’m new to town, are there any good Thai restaurants here?” (You should put conversation nuggets like this in your profile). My one-line hook message might look like this:
Are you still looking for great Thai food? I looked for the longest time, but I finally tried a place called Tiparo’s on Clark street, and it was great! They have the best pumpkin curry I’ve had since my days in SF. Have you tried that place yet?
That’s a pretty long first message, probably more appropriate if you’ve elicited a wink using the who’s viewed me shuffle, but here’s a little breakdown:
- I’ve shown that I’m paying attention by referring to something from her profile.
- I’ve spoken of specifics: (or conversation nuggets) a specific restaurant, a specific dish. This makes the conversation richer so there’s more for her to respond to. “Pumpkin Curry” is way more interesting than “good food.” I even threw a city that I have experience with just in case she has interest in talking about that.
- I’ve ended with a question and stayed on one subject. The message is easy to respond to: there’s only two total questions, both about Thai restaurants. Yet, the message is rich with specifics that she can use to open other conversation threads.
- I’ve set up some good fodder for a date idea. You can bet that if we go out to eat, we’ll try a Thai place.
So hypothetically, let’s say she responds like this:
Good to hear from you, Russ! Yes, I have finally gotten settled in, and found a good Thai place, but I haven’t tried Tiparo’s yet. I really like Pot Pan – it’s right down the street from my house, so I go there often. They don’t have Pumpkin Curry, though – that sounds soooo good!
SF is my favorite city. Have you ever tried the Japanese Ramen place there called Katana Ya? I wish I had known in my college days that Ramen could be that good :P Why did you move?
Awesome. Exactly what we want. Not only is she glad to hear from us, we’ve found common ground with her: Thai food, San Francisco (we have tried that restaurant), she wants to try this Pumpkin Curry, and she wants to know more about us.
Making it Easy
At this point, we haven’t built a ton of rapport with her, so we may be more comfortable sending a message without a date request; but if you’ve gotten this much enthusiasm, strike while the iron is hot:
Good to meet you, Rachel. YES, as a matter of fact, I have gone to Katana Ya. I used to eat lunch there at least once a week. Wow, you have me craving Ramen now (unfortunately, not the kind you can get at the corner store).
My move is a long exciting story (and I have to leave some mystery, you know :P) but I just love this city and I wanted to try something new. Do you want to get a drink with me this week? I’m free Tuesday and Wednesday night at 8pm. Have you been to Beachwood Inn before? We could meet there since it’s in your area. Let me know what works for you, or feel free to give me a call at 402-555-1234.
So, in this message, I have dug deeper into the conversation thread by responding to some of the elements she had in her previous message. I’ve told her a little bit about her question, but I’ve been playful and left some conversation for when we meet later. Finally I’ve made a great request for a date. Notice these points:
- I’ve picked a place that’s convenient for her. Wow, I’m listening to her, and making it easy for her to meet me. I extrapolated from the restaurant she said she lived near what neighborhood she lives in. If I don’t know of a place there, I can check Yelp.com to find a place with a good atmosphere for conversation.
- I’ve been specific with times and dates, and I’ve given two options so we have less back-and-forth trying to get our schedules to match up.
We are making it very easy for her to decide on this. A beautiful girl has dozens, if not hundreds, of e-mails from guys. Think of how much easier it is to respond to this than “wanna hang out sometime?” Notice that I have gently offered up my phone number. This is a little gutsy, and it may be wiser to wait to give that until after I’ve gotten a date confirmation (“if you need to get in touch, give me a call at…”). You’re a busy guy with lots of dates, and you don’t want strange girls calling you any more than she wants strange guys doing so. I’ve been bold and offered it up here just to make setting a date easier.
Notice that I used our shared interest in Thai food to build rapport, but I didn’t suggest it for a first date. Your style may turn out differently, but I like to save dinner for the second date. I like to just get a drink to see how we get along and make sure she’s who I thought she was. So, I’m managing this risk by suggesting a date that can be as short, or as long, as we wish. Also note, that I didn’t ask for a Friday, a Saturday, or even a Thursday for a date. That’s valuable social real estate, and if it isn’t taken up on your calendar, it is taken up on a beautiful woman’s.
Also, because our first messages were about Thai food, we have the idea of a Thai dinner floating around in both of our heads to keep us excited for the next date (not to mention another easy decision).
So, meet as soon as possible, and make it as easy as possible for her to accept the date by picking a convenient place, specific times and dates, and at least two options. Following these tips along with a strong profile, and good first contact strategies should make securing dates a breeze.