How to Write a Response to a Personal Ad

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Responding to a personal ad can be a little nerve-wracking---especially when you are doing it for the first time. Your response should depend heavily on what was written in the ad. Most people do not appreciate a cookie-cutter ad response that looks like it's been written to hundreds of other people. Plus, a form-like response is easy to spot. When you respond to the personal ad you have to let the other person know that you took the time out to read the ad by creating a unique and thoughtful response.

  • Read through the personal ad a few times to get a clear understanding of the motivations behind the person who posted the ad. Gauge whether the person is looking for a friend for dating, a serious relationship or something else. If you recognize and acknowledge the other person's motivations it will help you write a more effective response.

  • Identify yourself with a first name. Give your age (or a general idea of your age if you are sensitive about this information, such as "I am in my late 30s").

  • Explain exactly why you found the ad intriguing. For example, "I like that you love animals because I have three dogs."

  • Tell the person what you do for a living. Just list the job title. Do not go into details until your first date or if asked in a future email or phone conversation.

  • Talk about what you like to do for fun, such as biking, eating at Italian restaurants or traveling.

  • Give a brief physical description of yourself including height, hair and eye color and weight (if you feel comfortable giving this last piece information off the bat---if not you can give a general idea of your size, such as thin, average, or heavy-set).

  • Attach a small, simple, modest picture to your email response if this is an online personal ad. A face shot is preferable.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always be honest in your response to a personal ad. If you lie and this is later revealed you will cause the other person to doubt other details of your response. Think about how you would feel if you found out that the other person lied in the ad.
  • If you do meet someone from a personal ad, always meet in a well lit public place---preferably in the day time.

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