After 20 years in the dating arena, we’ve heard it all from our members. We’ve taken that feedback and compiled two lists: What To Say and What Not To Say in a first message. To put your best foot forward in your relationship search, here are expert tips on how to first reach out to a match.

1. Be Specific

Sharing an interest like running, agreeing that Frank Ocean actually does have the best album of the 2010s (Thanks Pitchfork) or binge-ing Stranger Things are great ways to compliment your match’s taste while firing up that conversation. Insert your own opinions into and you can help guarantee that you’ll be able to connect with your match online and offline.

2. Mention Something About You

Of course, your message should say something about you too. Mentioning the fact you also went to the same college or are also a foodie can help start a conversation.

3. Ask a Question

It’s always good to throw in a fun fact or your opinion on a topic, but asking a question is a perfect way to get your match interested and excited about the conversation.

4. About Emojis

Talking solely in emojis or text-speak is a guaranteed way to turn off mostly anyone. Even though you can’t use your tone of voice or gestures to communicate online, that doesn’t mean you need to turn to emojis.

If you do use emojis or text-speak a lot with friends and family, challenge yourself to express your thoughts and feelings using your own words. Matches will be able to better connect with you online because you’re showing an investment in them.

5. Keep it simple

Most people dread getting that page-long message from a match. Look for similarities, and be honest, but don’t overdo it when first meeting someone. Also make sure to leave out negativity, past relationships or personal crises. This person is a potential partner, not your potential therapist.

6. Spelling and Grammar Matter

Cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Spelling and grammar mistakes don’t make the best first impression. Make sure to write out your message, do a quick edit for spelling/grammar and then send it. Your match will still be there.

Of course, a misplaced comma isn’t the end of world. However, if your messages consistently look messy, that’s how your match may perceive you as well.

Try eharmony today for free and find your next relationship.