Hooking up: the secret to getting more messages

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The importance of hooks

If you’re profile isn’t getting the attention it deserves then it might be because it’s missing one crucial thing: hooks. Dating coach James Preece explains all

Did you know that some people are making online dating much harder for themselves without even realising it? As a dating coach, I see people making the same mistake all the time. But don’t worry; the solution is easy – it’s all about hooking up!

You know what it’s like when you read a profile and it’s boring, generic or too short. You want to start a conversation but there’s just nothing that you can think of to say that’ll get things going. Chances are that you probably won’t bother at all. It’s much easier to move on to another profile and try your luck there instead.

Or maybe you’re wondering why you only get ‘smiles’ or short messages that have clearly been copy and pasted. It could well be because people like your photos but your profile just isn’t interesting them. You’re losing out on talking to great potential partners because your profile is making it too hard work for anyone to write that fun, clever opening message.

This is where hooking up comes into play – and no, it’s not what you think! ‘Hooking up’ simply means trying to fill your profile with little phrases or ‘hooks’. These ‘hooks’ are conversation starters that allow people to contact you as quickly and easily as possible. They can be jokes, comments, questions or even invitations.

Here are some great examples of ‘hooks’ that you can try yourself:

1. I’m new to town and I’m a HUGE coffee fan. Where’s the best place we can get a great cup of coffee?
This ‘hook’ can, of course, be adapted to suit your tastes. It could be the best place to find pizza, your favourite cocktail or music genre. The important thing is that the reader can suggest somewhere to meet to kick-start the conversation.

2. What’s your favourite tube line?
This is a ‘hook’ that’s been tried and tested by several of my dating coaching clients. It’s pretty off the wall but, believe it or not, most people do have a favourite! And if you aren’t in London you can change it something equally unexpected; favourite bus route or roundabout, for example. The more random, the more it’ll make people think.

3. I’m a bit of an expert when it comes to tennis. If you’re up for the challenge, let me know. Loser buys the first drink!
Many people love the idea of taking on a fun challenge, especially if it’s something that they enjoy doing anyway. It also leaves you with a great suggestion for your first date.

4. If you were to cook me a special meal on a second date, what would you make to impress me?
This is another fun one that lets the other person really show off their personality in their reply.

5. ‘It’s a bit like taking part in a cake eating-contest and then winning the prize of more cake’ What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard recently?
Nobody expects to read comments like this in an online dating profile so you’ll score bonus points for standing out from the crowd. You could mix this one up by asking what their favourite quote is or the cheesiest song they’ll admit to enjoying.

It’s just as important to make sure you have at least one ‘hook’ among your profile photos too. This could mean including a picture of you doing something interesting or wearing an unusual outfit. Perhaps you have a pet or have been somewhere special on holiday. If you stand out for being slightly different then you’ll increase your chance of getting messages.

I hope you found these little tips helpful. The secret is to change your ‘hooks’ every now and again to keep them fresh. Some will work better than others, so don’t be afraid to change them up until you find one that works well for you.


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