Ask Sarah – Messaging Protocol

Any woman (and possibly man?) who’s been on the dating scene for more than half an hour…has fallen victim to the less-than-sweep-you-off-your-feet messages.

Yesterday, I had an “Ask Sarah” message come through with this screenshot:

non sequitor message

And of course, the reader (Robyn) was at a loss as to what to respond back with!?

It’s not that it was mean or naughty, but…. what?

Where did that come from?

I mean – I understand more than most, how important it is to be a good kisser, and to find another good kisser.  And it’s one thing to say in your profile that it’s one of your skills… but to just bomb your message with that at random?  Weird.

I told her to reply:

I’m an excellent spelunker.
Thanks for the compliment.
You’re not too shabby yourself!

I don’t know if she will or not, but it got me thinking that maybe men (and women!) need a lesson in HOW to send a message online!

You’d think that, in a land of social networking and global communication, that we’d be able to manage sending a simple two sentence message,
but sadly…no.


Women receive a LOT of messages.  But, for every 100, there are maybe 5 that catch my eye.  Trust me – there are a lot of bad conversation starters out there…

These include, but are not limited to:

  • poor grammar/spelling
  • crass/creepy/inappropriate
  • confusing and downright weird
  • cheesy pick-up lines
  • one-word time wasters
  • critical, mean or lecture-y
  • multiple message harassment in the absence of any interest

So – a few tips when sending someone (especially a woman) a message:

1.  Do not quote Ne-Yo.  I’m gonna let that one stand on its own.

2.  Do NOT have a stock message you copy and paste to every woman.  We know these when we see them.  Honestly… I delete these right away.  If you can’t take the time to write ONE small thing that’s specific to me… then you’re not the kind of man I want to forge a relationship with.

But, also, it sends the clear message that you probably didn’t even read her profile…you just saw enough of the pictures to decide she was hot enough to click “paste” for.  Swoon…

This has "Cntrl-V" written all over it...

This has “Cntrl-V” written all over it…

3.  Say more than one word.  I know, I know…who has the time??  But, seriously.  A “hi” isn’t gon’ cut it, “TexasGuy69″…  I’m a woman.  I need WORDS!

message - hi



I understand being a man of few words… but…ONE?

And, good grief…I didn’t even get any punctuation!??



4.  Don’t be weird.

See below.

woodchucksA little bit of cheesy randomness can be cute, but know your limits.

Once is cute.  Twice is “I’m off my meds.”

pick-up line 15.  Don’t use a cheesy pick-up line, unless you’re doing it as a joke.  And if you are… you have to SAY so.  We don’t know you’re being ironic unless you say it.  A tacky pick-up line on its own is just stupid.

6.  Do NOT quote Ne-Yo.  What?  I cannot stress this enough.

It will not go well for you.

7.  Take a hint.

If you’ve messaged once and haven’t heard back…it’s because you didn’t make the cut.

Trust me on this…

There are TOO many messages to be able to write back to each one and say, “Thanks for the message, …I don’t think we’d be a good match, but best of luck” to every one who doesn’t spark interest.  I save those for the ones who are particularly thoughtful in their initial communication.

If you don’t hear back from me, or – especially if I SAY it’s gonna be a no-go…just cut your losses and move on.  MmmmK?

Here are a couple examples, so you all can see how pathetic it looks on the receiving end.
“No” means “go stalk someone else.”

take the hint

Did he actually use the term “indoor olympics?” sigh…

take the hint 2

So, what ARE you supposed to write?  It’s easy.  It doesn’t have to be long and flowery.  Simply introduce yourself or say hello and include ONE thing about the person or his/her profile.  Here’s one I got the other day.  Short, but sweet:

message - nice & simple


nice message 1This one is great because he obviously read enough of my profile to know that I value a man who has mastered the English language AND that I love playing ping pong.  Not only did he use humor, but he complimented me as well.


nice message 2

This guy did the same thing with the grammar joke…(which is always a winner), and with 5 short sentences, he got a message back.  Easy, right?


So – let’s all pay it forward this year and send messages that don’t bring shame to our good names, shall we?

Meanwhile, Robyn in FL, …if you reach out with spelunking, I think we’d all like to hear what comes next.

Over and out, peeps.


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