The art of conversation involves listening as well as talking. Your “conversation” with whomever starts with that initial email. Does it reflect that you were “listening” to her profile, just that you’re interested in talking about yourself, or . . . neither?
Avoid Form Letters
Form letters = "I may not have even read your whole profile, and I don't want to put much effort into this, but maybe if I send this same email to enough people SOMEBODY will respond."
It's the scattershot approach. Most women like to feel they're at least a little special, and what a form letter expresses is that the sender didn't agree. It's kind of like telemarketing getting hit with a prefab script is just not appealing to most people. How would you feel if you felt someone has contacted you specifically because you interested them, vs. a suspicion they sent the same form letter to every single member in her Search Results? The former invites, the second is more likely to bore or annoy.
When composing an email to a woman you think you might like to meet, ask yourself, "Why am **I** writing to HER?"
Not just because she's on a site you mutually subscribed to, but IN ADDITION TO that. If you don't know, she probably won't either, so back up for a couple of minutes and think about it. What drew you to her? What interests or characteristics do you share?
Find one or two things that stood out about her profile and write one quick but reasonably thoughtful paragraph about that. It should be highly personalized, but it needn't be terribly long. Different people can have vastly different ideas about what constitutes etiquette on the internet, but one of the more common "rules of thumb" is that if you can't be bothered to explain why you're emailing her, she shouldn't feel obligated to email back or explain why not. If the answer is, " . . . because I'm sending this form letter to absolutely every subscriber I could," she's going to know that too.
If you have a well-written and informative chunk of prefab text about yourself that you like to use as an intro, it's probably just fine to include that in your initial email. But do the above as well.
If you can't be bothered to tell your recipient why you wanted to contact her specifically, perhaps you shouldn't bother.
You might say, "But why should I take the time to write something really personal to any woman I might contact, when I don't even know who might write back?"
Our answer to that is, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T, not for EVERYONE. Save your energy and only contact those women that interest you more, but take the time to put a wee bit of thought into it. Anything else will probably seem a bit lazy or boring, and that's probably not your most effective strategy. The best strategy is probably NOT to contact a larger number of women with a feeble and uninspired "form" email. A better one would be to target your efforts toward the women that interest you most, but do a bang up kick ass job of it. If a woman that interests you gets a flurry of "form" emails, and one or two that were obviously written just for her, which ones do you think she'll find the most intriguing?
"I liked your profile, did you see mine?" is a little . . . flat, if that's all you said.
“Read your profile, wanna chat sometime?” Chat about WHAT, precisely? Why her vs. anyone else in your Search Results?
"hey u matched me 0n lesb0nic whats up?" sounds like you're only willing to invest your thumbs in any interaction.
Compare those to this:
I just read your lesbotronic profile, which I think is a hilarious name for a personals service, and you caught my attention. I love going to live shows as well. I have never been to All Good or Bonaroo but I want to go every year. I would have gone to All Good this year but I left for <redacted> less than a week later and I just couldn't do it. I also love to travel. I do go to local festivals when I get the chance and I go camping with my friends a few times a year.
I have to say that the fact that you are a librarian is totally sexy, no matter what you look like. I'm an English teacher. I teach middle school in <redacted>. I freakin' love my job and I am pretty good at it. I get to hang out with 12 year-olds and talk about books all day, what could be better? Ok, maybe a sex therapist would be better.
I am a lot of contradictions. I am a respectable professional and financially responsible. I am also a hard partying butch dyke top. My closet has as many 50's bowling shirts as nice work sweaters.
I've always dated femme women, but I'm not so sure that's exactly what I want anymore. I think I might like a woman who is more in the center of the lesbian gender scale. I don't really know, I'm very open right now.
I also recently got out of a long relationship. My dust is very settled though.
So I'm a cute, intelligent, fun butch who can definitely carry on a good conversation. In fact, you might have to shut me up if I get going on a good topic.
Hope you'll email me back!"
You should write like you talk.
But . . . aim for the best version of that. If you don't normally sound like an English professor, you shouldn't attempt to do so in your profile. However, that doesn't mean an email rife with spelling errors is your best foot forward either.
Don't behave as if / type as if "shopping" for a new relationship in the personals should be similar to doing research to pick out a new household appliance.
A woman is more than just a list of technical features or lifestyle benefits, and so are you. If you take that approach, your “features” may sound good on paper/on the screen, but finding an actual personal connection or sense of interpersonal chemistry worth pursuing will likely elude you.
Again, as per the advice on other areas of this site, we recommend you post a photo in your profile.
Why is this relevant here in this section?
Because the women that don't usually plan to exchange them via email, which more often than not means they'll arrive for your recipient as an "email attachment." This works for some, much less so for others.
- some people don’t like to open them due to a fear of viruses (viruses often arrive as attachments from unknown sources)
- some people signed up with a work email address that doesn’t allow them and may even totally reject entire emails containing any attachments
- some people have difficulty opening attachments, sometimes for software-related reasons
- if you do send one, you REALLY need to compress it first if it's larger than a few 100MB.
(Many folks find the sending of an unsolicited attachment especially rude if it is large. Large generally = anything over 100MB for the file size of the photo. Anything larger than that can take up an excessive amount of room in their email account, and similarly excessive time to download, especially if they are not on a super fast connection. This can especially be a problem for those out there WITH newer digital cameras but without much image-editing facility. The newer cameras can take extremely dense, extremely high resolution photos, suitable for use in larger-scale print applications. That's nice if that’s what you actually needed. If you email them right out of the camera, uncompressed and really huge, many will think you’re rather a dolt and/or find your email annoying.)
Take your time . . .
. . . in a general sense. Well, don't wait months, but don't feel you have to contact absolutely everyone in the course of one afternoon. In fact, if you have more than a few other subscribers in your Search Results, it's probably best you don't, so you can put a bit more effort into those initial emails and not feel burned out.
Also, how many new online correspondents can you successfully juggle and/or how many new people can you meet for coffee in the course of the next few weeks? For most, it's best to pace yourself. Quality over quantity. Lesbotronic.com is free, so it's not a question of your membership expiring or having to pay again at the end of the month. Don't max out your energies immediately or get discouraged if you fail to find instant gratification, just aim for an ongoing but reasonable effort.
You MAY want to keep track of your important personal email . . .
. . . while getting to know people. No, the lesbotronic.com site doesn't do this for you, but with the teeniest amount of intelligent planning, this should be far from hard. If you plan to correspond with more than a couple of people, create folders for them, either within your mail reader (if your account has plenty of memory) or on your computer. Or both. File your correspondence with them there while you're getting to know them. Delete the folder if things don't work out. Consider printing your letters out and framing them if they do. ;)
We strongly recommend both writing your new contact from the same email address . . .
. . . you used to subscribe, and including "lesbotronic" in the subject line of your email, both so she knows why you're contacting her and won't delete the email as spam (because she might not yet recognize your email address).
Drumming up business for the optometry profession is a no-no, at least among most women older than 18.
It seems when a lot of folks, especially very young women, first get started using email they think it would be a lot of fun to “express themselves” using very colorful or different font faces, sizes, or colors.
Eventually most realize all that sort of thing does is give your recipient a screaming headache. And make her dread reading any other emails from you. Same goes for including dancing widgets in your text. And text placed against electronic wallpaper. Common sense tells us that what you write should be readable, and that should be your only priority.
Stick to black, white, and/or gray. Stick to “normal” (read: not funky or “different”) fonts designed to actually be legible.
Express your uniqueness with what you actually have to say. The medium should not overwhelm the message.
AVOID massively forwarding any internet flotsam and jetsam.
Don’t forward ANYTHING to ANYONE ever at ALL, UNLESS you have good reason to think that very individual specifically and for personal and unique reasons you can identify about them in particular cares about this particular forwarded communication.
This means you should never ever forward an email to your whole email address list. Why?
It’s much more likely than not that some if not most of your email address list does NOT CARE and DOES NOT NEED TO GET that communication. And to the extent you’re sending her something that didn’t originate from you and you’ve no particular reason to believe she might be interested, it’s no better than spam.
You’re now spamming your very own address list.
Quit that already. Especially quit it when you were forwarded it by someone else who wants you to keep it going.
Let the annoying rudeness end with you. Please.
total and complete lack of capitalization OR NOTHING BUT CAPITALIZATION over the course of several sentences . . .
. . . will render the whole shebang one giant run-on sentence that will challenge the patience, sanity, and comprehension ability of your reader. (And that’s even if you do punctuate.)
Many people also perceive that when words are randomly written IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, IT MEANS THAT THE WRITER IS SHOUTING AT YOU. IF A NEW PERSON ISN'T YET FAMILIAR WITH YOU, IT IS NOT A SAFE ASSUMPTION THAT SHE WILL UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE NOT SHOUTING.
If no caps ever or ALL CAPS ALWAYS is the way you and your friends conduct your more casual communications and you’re comfortable with that, then so be it. But if you’re posting something actually intended to communicate with someone you don't already know well, we’d strongly advise making it as easy as possible to read and understand. Your intended audience (a woman that doesn't already know and love you) is more likely to actually get through whatever you had to say and think more highly of it afterward.
Along those lines, we’d also advise against excessive and improper use of the ellipsis (…) as a way of attempting to indicate a sentence break. This would be in lieu of actually constructing complete sentences, inserting periods, then starting the next one with a Capital Letter.
We’ve seen more than a few freetext areas combining hundreds of words, no AND/OR ALL CAPS, and little in the way of punctuation.
These come across like a huge, floating, random, intellectually disconnected, blobby, stoner-esque, cognitively out-to-lunch and emotionally nutty stream of consciousness.
No, really. They do. To folks that haven’t met you yet, they do.
“But, ‘stream of consciousness’ sounds pretty cool?’” some have wondered back. Sure, maybe in a conversation where everyone was on psychedelic drugs or as part of a soundtrack for a rave, maybe. As a personal introduction on a computer screen, at best it’s way too challenging to actually read and process. At worst, the author comes across as some sort of schizoid just due to the wonky and fragmented presentation, no matter the actual content.
Some have also said, “But some important poets don’t use capitalization.” OK, great. SOME poets don’t. <long pause> Did you actually write a poem? Is that how others will likely perceive it? If so, then more power to ya. If poetry and poetic expression isn’t actually your bag, you might want to reconsider.
Still others have said, “But that’s just how I think, so that’s how I typed it in! It was easier for me that way!” Yeah, we get that, totally. But again, on a computer screen, still way hard to read and understand. The exact way you “thought” it may not be the way anyone else can best understand it, if your typing style = gibberish stream.
If you want to communicate effectively AND you tend to type long gobbleygook, fine. Type that way as a rough draft.
Then look back at what you typed, and try to give it just a bit of a shine, polish off some of the crazy, wipe the grime off some of those grotty or ickier or more “what the HELL is she even TALKING about???” edges. Give some sentences the permission to finally end (poor things gotta be pooped by now), and start fresh new ones. Meaning, with a singular period, followed by a capital letter.
Still more others have also asked, “Why do YOU think YOU should offer others constructive criticism on their writing? Do you think you’re all like, English teachers or something? Are you completely free of any and all errors yourself?” To the second and third questions we say, hell to the no. No pretenses of perfection here. Haven’t got any perfection goin’ on, likely never will. But we ARE continually doing our best to make ourselves understood. We are putting in the effort. Daily, even, and willing to use all the keys on our keyboards as we perceive them to be helpful in doing so.
To that first question about our motives, we say we offer what we can because subscribers frequently ask us how they can or should improve their profiles and their emails to others. And as always, our advice is there for the taking or the ignoring as anyone at all sees fit.
Synopsis: The shift key and the period key (used singularly) are your friend, and will almost always help you impress those that don’t already know and love you. Period. Full stop.
(Partial Disclaimer for the above: Handhelds and IMing tend to be even more casual. However, we think it’s still the case that most subscribers to our service read their email on actual computers. With actual screens attached to actual keyboards. If you send them messages that sound as if they were typed quickly and using only your thumbs and the digits on a cellphone, they may imagine you’re intellectually impaired. Misspelled and unpunctuated communications that are less than a paragraph long are often acceptable between two people that already know each other well and are sending some sort of update between appointments or otherwise “on the fly.” If this is a woman you are interested in getting TO know, you’ve not yet impressed her yet that she should actually want to know you, you can probably better convey that with more of your fingers and waiting to write back on a screen that’s more than 2 inches wide.)
Useless subject lines are . . . useless.
Especially when emailing someone new for the first time, we’d recommend putting something informative in the subject line, so your intended won’t delete your message imagining it might be spam. For this site, that probably means putting the word "lesbotronic" in the subject line.
This is most necessary the first and few times after that, because she might not recognize your email address right away. But even between folks that are familiar with one another, a more informative subject line is best. They’re still less likely to be accidentally deleted as spam, and to the extent anything is personalized, it’s more appealing to the recipient.
Don’t attach those “URGENT” flags or the like to your personal email.
It’s presumptuous, and therefore, likely to be perceived as rude. Who says the email you send is more important or more pressing than all the other email your recipient also received that day? Unless you know the person really well and have a damn good reason . . . it very well might not be.
I think the only potentially appropriate use of those flags is if you have a paid assistant and you use them to help them prioritize the tasks they're paid to do for you. If someone is not your employee, you should probably let them decide for themselves how important your email is.
As an aside, we do occasionally get email from subscribers with the subject line, “EMERGENCY! URGENT! REQUIRE ASSISTANCE NOOOW!” Our response is usually something along the lines of:
1. Since you’ve paid us no money, you really don’t get to REQUIRE anything whatsoever of us.
2. The word "please" is always nice. So is "thank you."
3. Nothing having to do with your subscription to a strictly social site like ours should ever be an emergency. It just doesn’t deal with things of an emergent nature. If you really have a legitimate emergency, better call 911 or some other appropriate hotline.
Turn off your DAMN EMAIL AUTORESPONDER / "out of office autoreply."
Better yet, never turn it on in the first place.
They're completely annoying and totally unnecessary, and thus are increasingly disliked by anyone upon whom you might inflict them.
If we're talking about someone in your life that truly needed or legitimately expected to know where you are during whatever day (a very close friend, a significant other, your boss, someone with whom you had an appointment that day, etc.), then they probably need to hear from you in specifics written for them INDIVIDUALLY. A mass-produced chunk of crapola that would go out to anyone at all that emailed you is going to mean absolutely nothing, and might even seem insulting.
And if someone is not one of the ones with whom you're already close or directly involved, they probably DO NOT CARE that you are out of the office or away for the day. It is simply NOT information that they require or desire. You will get back to them when you get back to them, and in the meantime they do not need to waste THEIR time opening that mass-produced chunk of crapola, especially while hoping it's an actual response when really . . . disappointing and unnecessary chunk of crapola.
Basically, "Hello, I am unavailable to read your message at this time," doesn't mean a damn thing to anyone. Indiscriminate sending of autoresponses is an internet faux pas, many would even say a form of spam.