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Making contact

The email adviser

What do I write to someone I hardly know? How can I tell whether we could be compatible? And can you really flirt on email? Here are some tips for your Parship emails.

The email adviser

Well here we are, and there’s no gallant Cyrano de Bergerac on hand to take over the task of writing those delicate emails of courtship. But don’t worry, it’s not so difficult - and it’s lots of fun too.

It’s all about you

Focus on what it’s really all about. You want the recipient of your email to answer you and to find out whether the two of you are on the same wavelength. If you keep that in mind you will avoid major gaffes, such as an email of this kind: “Hi, sweetheart. Why not send me your photo?” An in-your-face message of that kind is hardly like to elicit a positive response - and, what’s more, there is no hint of individuality about it. According to a Parship survey of 800 members, the first emails you send should indicate that you are genuinely interested in the other person. For 43% of respondents this was much more important than the length or originality of the correspondence. Admittedly, the two of you don’t know each other yet, but if you take a good look at someone’s Parship profile it can give you all sorts of starting points. Latch onto the details that catch your imagination and ask some questions.

More about me

Of course you should talk about yourself in your emails too, but if you are in any doubt it’s better to say too little than too much - and it’s better to make the person curious than to bore him or her. Avoid drawing attention to your real or imagined flaws and failings, but it’s also not a good idea to list all your life’s achievements. Standard emails that you send to various recipients are acceptable when you launch a correspondence - as long as they are well written and you personalise them a little. For instance, a standard email could contain some more questions in the style of Parship’s ‘About me’ page, along with your own answers. You should keep ‘streams of consciousness’ to a minimum (“ … it would be nice to have a horse again, mmm, I’m hungry now and I’m going to make myself something nice to eat, though I wouldn’t mind losing a bit of weight, not that I think I’m fat or anything …”) They key is to think in terms of a dialogue rather than a monologue.

Enter into a dialogue

If two people are going to tune into each other online, a certain amount of intuition needs to come into play. You don’t have any expressions or body language to work with, just the written word. You should start off by playing things safe as you get a sense of each other. Keep things brief to start with, so, if it doesn’t lead anywhere, you won’t have wasted your time and creativity. Wait for an answer before starting work on the next email. If you particularly like something in an email that you’ve received, reinterpret it and re-use it in your own way.

Has the other person asked you questions? Then it’s obvious how you should try and reply. If you think a certain question is jumping the gun, say why you don’t want to answer it for the moment. And if something the other person writes bothers you, ask them about it. It might just be a misunderstanding. A useful tip: draft your mails in Word rather than directly in the email format. Check the spelling and then just copy the text into the Parship messaging system.

Flirting by email

If you really want to spoil the mood, express a lack of confidence in Internet dating or in yourself … “Actually, I don’t think you can get to know someone over the internet. There’s something the matter with all the men/women on here,” while a sentence like “Hopefully you won’t delete me straight away …” might come from the heart, but also might prompt the recipient to wonder what the problem is, and it’s not so easy to get excited about someone you feel sorry for. Getting to know each other by email works in a similar way to real life … Look for points in common, pay the other person compliments (though don’t overdo them) and adopt a tone that’s light and witty rather than heavy or suggestive. If you both enjoy cakes and Jodie Foster movies, those are better topics of conversation than past relationships of your sexual desires. The same would apply in a real-life context.

From the inside out

Another member appeals to you, but email banter isn’t your thing, or maybe you’re at risk of throwing yourself too far into it and giving too much away. In both cases, you should look to arrange a meeting as soon as possible after your first exchange of emails. On the other hand, if you’ve found a nice person to correspond with, enjoy the experience of discovering someone gradually by email. Members have described the Parship experience as ‘getting to know someone from the inside out’. You can enjoy telling your best stories again (“Why I collect coffee pots,” “Why I teach physics”, “Why I called my daughter Alexandra”) - you can expect the relevant questions to be asked. And check your email impressions of the other person by exchanging photos, phoning each other or by meeting up.

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