There’s a profile that’s really pushed the right buttons for you, and now’s the time to make all the right moves ... But your standard three-line email hasn’t exactly blown them away so far. And by the third mail you’re beginning to run out of ideas.
1. First contact: your big opportunity
Now, what exactly does a message like this say about you? “I’ve read your profile. Tell me some more about yourself.” Maybe it says that you find each word an effort and that, whether looking for a relationship or doing anything else in your life, you like to make things as easy as possible for yourself. A contact request is not quite the same thing as an application letter, but you are unlikely to be given a second chance. Scientific research has shown that the first 30 seconds after two people meet for the first time are a determining factor in their relationship. The same is true online - even if you can’t literally look into each other’s eyes. If you fail to make any kind of impression, then your stocks will be low. It all comes down to personality.
2. What do I say?
Take a close look at the other person’s profile to identify points you can pick up on. Be as specific as possible, though not banal: remember that you are trying to strike up a conversation with a real person, not writing a flyer. For instance, if you both play the piano, maybe suggest a duet by Brahms to see how you work as a team. You don’t have to shmooze, though - it’s good if there are points of difference to arouse curiosity. If the other person mentions a particular sport in their profile, you can always say how useless you were at it when you a child. A particular route might produce enough material for the next few mails. Another alternative, rather than writing your own email, is to start off by inviting the other person to participate in a Fun Match. Give it a try - it’s bound to produce a topic for discussion.
3. What next?
Email correspondence with your virtual date can be much more than a necessary evil before the ‘real life’ meeting. Remember those questionnaires that were so popular at school? Of course, it doesn’t really make a great deal of difference whether someone like full or empty cinemas, what he got for a present on his 7th, 18th or 50th birthday, or whether his favourite colour is sky blue, dark pink or pine green. But little games of this kind make it easy to strike up a conversation, and to get to know each other properly in the process. Of course, there is no guarantee that the two of you will click if and when you finally meet for real, but the same applies if you arrange a date after exchanging a couple of sentences and a photo. And two people who know each other a little better can also relax a little when they meet - and that raises the chances of success.
4. How much should I say about myself?
As the email correspondence gets more exciting, you tend to lose your inhibitions. You might want to tell you new acquaintance more about yourself, but Aunt Julia’s medical history and the associated story of her no-good son’s criminal career are not quite the thing for some light online reading. If you really want to scare off your potential partner, then haul out all the baggage: children, career, mortgage - you can create a whole checklist ... The character faults of your colleagues or your exes and the exact status of your bank account are things better kept to yourself. Remember you are still on the internet - you still don’t really know the person behind the Parship usercode, and being indiscreet is not a great virtue in any case.
5. Keeping track
There’s no law against communicating with several Parship members at once: in fact it raises everyone’s chances of success. Just as in real life, an online acquaintance takes time to develop. After all, you wouldn’t marry everyone you exchange a few words with at a party. Things get difficult when you start to lose track of who’s who. Penny doesn’t like to be called Susan, and if Tom spent time yesterday to tell you all about his beloved dog, which died just the other day, he’s not going to be too happy if you throw in a question about pets. If you don’t have the best memory in the world, then keep a filing card for each person you have contact with - and give each of your contacts a name that you can remember.
6. A break in communication
You’re on tenterhooks waiting for an answer, but it doesn’t come. Try to think of something else. Not everyone has internet access 24/7; maybe the other person is inundated with work or has family problems. Maybe the telephone company’s on strike. Even if you have reason to assume that your email was read some time ago, don’t be tempted to delete the person in question from your list of contacts before you know what’s going on. Many couples who met through Parship talk of misunderstandings that were cleared up in the end. And if it doesn’t work out, you have three messages in your inbox that need answering.
7. In your dreams …
It’s hard, but try not to get overexcited. Emails work in their own special way. That witty chap who looks so mysterious in his black-and-white photo might turn out to be a bit of a dry stick, or the woman who looks like a crazy Goth in her holiday photo and loves wordplay could be a middle manager who just wants to settle down. It can also happen that a slightly sticky email correspondence can lead to a sparky relationship. If you fix a date without seeing a photo there is always a chance that you won’t appeal to each other, but at least you will be aware that you are running the risk of being disappointed. But, who knows, perhaps you will soon be a member of one of those Parship couples who first met without seeing each other’s photos first - and who have ended up in a wonderful relationship.