Most Common First Message Mistakes to Avoid

Man Looking Down Checking His Smartphone

Sending the first message to someone you recently met has become a masterful art and can be tricky if you’re not careful. Sure, you know what NOT to send, and that’s the DP, but you’re at a loss when it comes to creating a tasteful and compelling message minus male genitalia.

However, if you know what to write and how to craft it into a tasteful message, you may find yourself headed down the Happy Dating Path that ends in a beautiful marriage, 3.5 kids, and 2 dogs. If not, you might as well move into your mother’s basement and call it a day.

Seriously, if you want to get to the point of being in a happy relationship, you’ll need to go from that first meeting to a first date. But how do you do that?

If you have gotten that first contact out of the way, that’s half the battle. Now reel them in by avoiding these 9 most common first message mistakes.

1). Don't Focus on Yourself

How funny, intelligent, and successful you think you are doesn’t matter. Keep the conversation off of yourself and direct it towards them. You may have plenty going on in life and would prefer to talk about the time you saved a parakeet from the ferocious jaws of a crocodile but save that story for later. If all goes well, there will be plenty of opportunities to talk about yourself, so don’t monopolize the time during the first message. Other topics you can talk about include:

  • Job

  • Family

  • Things they like to do

  • Movies they enjoy (this may be common, but it works)

  • Future goals

  • Favorite sports team

Of course, if they ask you a question, you should respond. However, once you answer, redirect the focus back to them. This makes you appear more interested in them as opposed to bragging about your accomplishments.

2). Don’t Be Overly Flirtatious

Flirting a bit is okay, but being overly flirtatious can be annoying and sometimes downright creepy. For example, complimenting her on the dress she wore when you met her is okay. However, texting her that the dress made her breasts look sensational is somewhat disturbing. If you are unsure of what is flirtatious versus creepy, then it’s best not to say it. 

The rule of thumb is never to mention body parts during a first conversation, even if she flirts with you. Save the more sexual discussions for later.

3). Bland or Generic Messages

You don’t want to appear too flirtatious, but you don’t want to put her to sleep with boring conversation. So again, don’t talk too much about yourself. Instead, keep the focus on her and take it from there. Here are 16 ways to NOT be a dry, boring texter.

5 Quick Tips for Leaving a Proper First Message

  1. Reintroduce yourself- She may have met many guys that night. When you leave a message, don’t just jump into it thinking she must know who you are. State who you are and how she would remember you. For example, “Hi, this is Jay. I wore the blue T-shirt, and we met by the bar.”

  2. If you had a previous conversation, remind them about it.

  3. Keep the first message short. You can have a longer conversation after they respond.

  4. Ask them questions about themselves.

  5. Talk about common interests. This keeps the conversation from turning into a snoozefest.

4). Eliminate Jargon

When we spend so much time at our jobs, we tend to think that it’s not only our colleagues that know what we’re talking about with specific job terms. For example, if you’re a computer programmer, you may speak with someone who doesn’t know what a Hydra bug is or how to define a Jenga Code. This only prompts an explanation, which you may be too tired to give because you’ve been dealing with Hydra bugs all week. Or, it could require a lengthy description, which they may not even be interested in.

5). Grammatical Errors

This is a big one. You don’t have to be an English teacher, but c’mon, at least know the difference between “your” and “you’re.” By the same token, you can use something other than text speak when messaging. It is okay to type out standard abbreviations like ur, ntn, and the #2 for “to.” I’m not suggesting doing this all the time. But, in the beginning, at least let the person know you understand basic English.

Making mistakes in every sentence demonstrates your lack of the basics, which can be a major turn-off.

6). Asking Too Many Questions

If someone texted me a rapid succession of questions, my first thought would be, What is this, the Spanish Inquisition? Never ask too many questions in one message. This gives interrogation vibes and can be very uncomfortable. Instead, ask one or two simple questions, like “What made you decide to move to California?” and “What is it about California you enjoy most?”

7). Emoji Overuse

Emojis were created to help you express your feelings within a message. Adding one or two emojis here and there is okay. However, the issue comes up when you substitute an emoji for every other word. Additionally, devices display emojis differently. For example, if you’re using an Android and they’re using an iPhone, the emoji will appear different, and your message could be misinterpreted.

Smartphone Emojis

8). Too Long

Messages that are too long tend to be drawn out and, most of the time, quite dull. On the other hand, you don’t want them to be too short, either. Additionally, keeping it short and to the point eliminates the possibility of grammatical errors. When leaving a message, get right to the point, but do so in a relaxed, casual way.

9). Same Message, Different People

Some people out there will do a cut-and-paste and send the same text to various contacts. Stop it! This approach never works because the message looks generic, and people can see through that. Instead, always add a personal touch to each correspondence.

For example, tell them, "That green dress you wore at the Silver Fox last night was beautiful." Doing this lets them know you weren't just on the prowl (even if you were) and that you do remember them.

If you ever met someone, messaged them, and didn’t hear back, you may have made some of the common mistakes mentioned above. It could’ve been the typos, talking too much about yourself, or maybe you used an overly flirtatious demeanor. No biggie! Regardless of why, once you fully understand your mistakes, you can fix them. Then you’ll be a messaging guru.

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