Point 3 would be why you wanted to contact them, point 4 might bring up a common interest. I walked away from my dating experiences with a lot of new friends, and though I got lucky and found an awesome chick to date longer-term, I just as likely might not have, and I would have had to be happy with a double-handful of new friends.
Point 5 would be your parting words, something about hoping to hear back from them, and point 6 would be your ‘Goodbye! And I would have been, too, because I told myself ahead of time that whatever came of it I would at least have met some new people outside of my usual social group, gained some new (and sometimes quite bizarre) stories to tell, and tried something new (which should never be discounted).
Making an active effort, though, can establish you as one of the good folks of the online social circle, and can only be beneficial to you down the line (you never know where being a good person will help you out in the future).
This doesn’t matter as much to some people as others, but I can tell you that I personally have not continued conversations with people on dating sites for no other reason than because looking at their garbled and grammatically-incorrect messages hurt my eyes and my feelings.
If they took some time to form whole sentences and strike up a conversation with you, however, even if you’re not interested it’s polite to jot down a quick reply and either respond to them in a way that encourages more communication or in a way that cuts the convo off (nicely).
This, of course, gets more difficult for woman, who (if what I’ve heard is correct) can get hundreds of messages per day on some of the more popular dating sites.
I was doing research for a dating service branding project, but I took away two things I didn’t expect: first, that online dating sites (depending on which ones you join) are actual full of great people who are looking for an alternative to clubs and bars for meeting new people, and second that there are some oft-overlooked tricks to online dating that, according to many of the conversations I had, most people are not using. Make use of them, and you (and your date) should have a much more pleasant experience (and maybe you’ll find the girl or guy or transgendered person you’ve been looking for)! Do not, I repeat, DO NOT pretend to be something you are not while online dating.
Not only will this lead to inevitable disappointment for your date, it will also end with inevitable embarrassment on your part when your date walks out on you, comments on how much weight you’ve gained or hair you’ve lost since you took the photo on the site, or asks you where the tattoo went (this is an actual story I was told..apparently a guy that the storyteller went on a date with had Photoshopped a tattoo onto his arm in order to strike up a conversation with the girl, who liked tattoos…she was not amused when she found out).
Using the Internet, you can take what you have and find someone who is looking for exactly that.
There are certain civilities that are usually followed on online dating sites that you would be wise to uphold (this mostly applies to guys, but girls can be guilty of them, too).
Firstly, don’t be that creepy guy who sends awkwardly sexual messages to girls half your age, writes intentionally offensive things in the forums or harasses other members.
If you’ve been back to the same person’s page 10 times today, it’s time to send him/her a message, otherwise you might become known as a ‘lurker,’ essentially the Peeping Tom of the online dating world, who is basically there to look at other people’s profiles and do god-knows-what while looking at them. Thirdly, if someone sends a message to you, it’s usually good form to send them something back.
Now, if their message to you is at all off-putting (sexually-charged, offensive, too short to glean anything from, etc), then just delete it and go on with your day.