Making the First Move in Online Dating

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When it comes to making that first move and approaching someone for the very first time, it’s never really about what you say specifically. What’s important is that you actually have the courage enough to say something, anything, but to at least speak up and go after what you want. 
It’s important to have enough confidence and courage that it nearly exudes from your very being. It takes a lot of guts to go up to someone for the first time and start up a conversation.


You never really know what to expect and how someone is going to respond to what you say. It’s always good to be kind to others and acknowledge the fact that it does take an immense amount of courage for someone to go up to a complete stranger, and even more so at times, to go up to someone that you’ve had your eyes set on for quite some time. 


These days, many women are gaining up enough courage and inner strength in order to make that first move, because frankly, some men are more so a bit on the shy side or tend to lack that skill of going after what they want. I think a good portion of men still go after what they want, make that first move, and have all of the courage in the world to go up to someone and start up a conversation. However, I think because of the way that many women have been responding – such a harsh and cold manner – many men have become either very picky or simply don’t feel like getting shut down in a nasty way by the women that they approach. So they figure that a woman can make the first move if she’s really all that interested.


Personally, I’m a little too old school to make a first move. But I also find that when a man approaches me for the first time to be quite commendable, and I realize that it takes a lot of courage to start up a conversation in the first place. Besides, I view confidence as being very sexy. 


When it comes to online dating, figuring out what to say to strike up a conversation can be difficult for many. Depending on the dating site or depending on the dating app, there are different ways that you’re allowed to make contact with another person. There’s everything from swiping right, making someone a favourite, using a super like, sending a message, or even simply viewing their profile. Therefore, some of what I’m going to tell you is based on the particular site or application that you’re using. 

Let People See When You View Their Profile


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When it comes to the sites that allow you to have the option of people being able to tell when you view their profile or not, I believe that men and women should let people see when they view other people’s profiles. Dating sites aren’t supposed to be viewed as another form of stalking or checking up on someone – not that people should do that on social media, but we all know that many people do. Dating sites should be used as a tool in order to find that one special someone with hopes to possibly share your lives together.


The reason that you need your profile to be visible is because many times people are shy and afraid to make that first move. It shows that your picture that you’ve posted (if you don’t have one up, definitely post one!) was enticing enough to make someone click on your profile. That’s a big compliment right there if that was the actual intent. However, there is a small chance that someone accidentally clicked on your profile or a bigger chance that perhaps they read your profile thoroughly and decided they weren’t all that interested or that you probably won’t be the best match for them. Having said that, there are a good percentage of people that will click on your profile so that you’ll see that they viewed your profile, but they’re simply too shy to make that first move by sending a message.


I know, I know, being too shy and not going after what you want in life can stunt a person’s success, but shyness exists, and you don’t want to miss out a good match because you weren’t aware of what a person “could be thinking.”
This is not a game. Being shy is an actual emotion that many people struggle with. So definitely let people see when you’ve viewed their profile if that’s an option.

Female Perspective: 


I’m aware that many, if not most men would disagree with what I’m about to say, but here goes anyway.


Men should make the first move. Yes, even when it comes to online dating.


Now for the ladies, like I said, I believe that a man should make the first move, despite what many men will tell you, and how comfortable they’ll be with you making that first contact. Even in regards to those profiles that state for a woman to reach out and send a message. Although I don’t believe in following any types of dating “Rules,” I do believe in giving a man a chance to take the initiative.


Many men not only won’t look at who views their profile, but you could miss out on a great person if by some chance they don’t see your profile. In other words, you have to make sure that a person is able to see your profile somehow, and give them a chance to make that first move.
I’m not saying that woman should never make a first move in online dating. There are times that are more than okay to take that initiative which I’ll dig into in a bit. 


When a woman is interested in a man she sees online, she needs to make herself visible to him so that he’s aware of her. Viewing a man’s profile is imperative, but it’s not going to be enough. It’s important to use the added dating site options whenever possible, and when they’re available to you. Take advantage of the sites that let you favourite, super like, or swipe right.
Swiping apps are easier in this regard to figure out when someone is interested because you only have two options, interested (swipe right) or not interested (swipe left). When it comes to different dating sites that don’t have that swiping feature, you need to make sure that people see your profile. Therefore, it’s important to draw attention to your profile in any way that you can, and especially towards someone that you’re interested in dating or communicating with.


Having said all of the above, I want all of the women to realize that although I feel that making the first move should be done by a man, if you find a certain profile that you definitely don’t want to miss out on, don’t lose the opportunity or the chance at meeting them. If you don’t think that someone is going to see your flirt, like, or favourite that you used, then you need to make the first move.


If someone mentions in their profile that they don’t check likes or flirts, etc., then don’t use them, and reach out in a short but sweet message. However, if someone is intelligent enough, they’ll figure out if you’ve viewed their profile, liked a picture of theirs, or anything else. Intelligent people don’t using let good opportunities pass them by, so they’ll likely check all possible ways that someone might be interested in them.


When a Woman Initiates Contact by Sending the First Message


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I believe that less is more. First off, you need to read profiles completely until the very last word. Some people get offended or feel like they’re “one of many” that you’re communicating with (probably true), and it’s somewhat unappealing to them that you’re trying to connect and reach out to them without knowing anything other than maybe how they look in their picture or their financial status and job.


You don’t need to read every profile. Just read the ones that you’re interested in. But do so thoroughly. So depending on how you feel after reading a person’s profile, in your own authentic way, send a message. Start out with a greeting. Let them know what you thought of their profile in a short and sweet way, and definitely leave your first name. Don’t leave an initial – that’s just plain annoying and ridiculous. “Hey R.!” Really? What’s this world coming to.

When a Man Initiates Contact with a Woman by Sending the First Message


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Okay first of all, I’m not going to write much about why a man shouldn’t use flirts, likes, or favourites… Okay fine, I will – They’re ridiculous, immature, effortless, and they’re more so usually used by the types that wouldn’t held in the same category as an intellectual. 


When it comes to a man sending a first message to a woman, it’s very different than how a man should approach a woman in person. In person, like I said earlier, it’s never really about what you say, but more so having enough confidence to approach someone in the first place. But when it comes to online dating, you need to keep it short but sweet, just as a woman that’s sending a message to a man for the first time. You shouldn’t be sending a huge paragraph or even worse, an full article lengthed message to someone for the first time.


With my experience of dating sites, I’d never get off of the sites if I read every single lengthy message. Take into consideration that women do get more messages from men, because they’re generally the aggressors. But still, it’s impossible to read every message when they’re so incredibly long. It’s important to just say a small hello and introduce yourself, and even to let them know what you thought of their profile in a short, but sweet manner.


Remember, making that first move is a lot easier when you’re dating online, as opposed to meeting someone in person. You can’t really go wrong if you’re using my approach with introducing yourself, and keeping things light. The worst that could probably happen is that you get ignored, and that’s just something that people using online dating sites need to come to terms with having to experience. It kind of goes with the territory of online dating – being ignored and ghosted.


You’d be surprised at how many men would send ridiculous open liners that they were either drunk when they wrote or perhaps they’re just plain-old socially unsophisticated, and awkward. Just keep in mind that if you actually have an interest in connecting with someone that you meet online, don’t take that first message for granted by being careless or foolish with what you say. Although a good portion of people are just looking to hook up and catch an endless number of fish in the sea, many people are actually on there for good reasons, and with hopes of finding their one true love.


Last but not least, despite the fact that it’s “online dating” and you don’t see a person’s expressions, they still have feelings and emotions, and might be affected by your approach or what you say to them online. Be cautious with your words, because they can cause a great deal of damage to others. It’s never a good thing to hurt other people. Despite the fact that you feel you’ll never see them again. 

Anne Cohen

Founder, Owner, Writer, and Editor at Anne Cohen Writes
Anne Cohen is a lifestyle and relationship blogger based in Los Angeles, CA. Her blogs are Anne Cohen and Anne Cohen Writes. She contributes to various publications including The Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and many more. She's passionate about love, writing, chess, and more than anything, her two kids.

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