A few months ago, one of the major online dating websites ran a promotional offer offering a weekend of free temporary membership of its new premium dating service. In the interests of research, I had to sign up, and of course I wouldn’t object to meeting a few new girls from it.After the weekend was over, I was emailing a prospective date and things were progressing well, with a regular online correspondence between us. We lived in different cities, so it would be a while before we could meet up for a date in real life, but that certainly seemed to be an inevitable progression. In the meantime we just kept the emails going between us, discussing all manner of topics that engaged our interests – gardening, tortilla chips and the legal implications of being found in contempt of court. email list restaurants singapore Then out of the blue I got an email that was cheerful throughout, but contained a post script after her name:PS I would like my name (see my hint above) to appear in your next email, or I will be forced to diagnose “issues” and will set about going on my merry way.”Well, this left me a bit gobsmacked and from then on I made sure that all my emails to her began with a salutation (for almost all email I now use the greeting “Hi”) and her name.
I also made sure that I sat down and considered this for a moment, worked out the problem and saw the resolutions to be made. Both for dealing with her, and for any other girls in the future. It turned out that over the previous two dozen emails or so that we had sent each other, I got into the habit of just replying without a greeting, without a salutation – in fact I was using email almost the same as text messages. When an email came in from her, I just replied to the salient point directly, maybe with a joke, maybe with an observation but with no “hi there” at the start — just straight into a sentence. I do this with a few people and no one had ever called me on it, but here was a girl that was clearly unhappy.The next thing I noticed was that she had indeed previously sent me an email that began:”Hi Steven, you can use my name too if you like.”
She had sent me a warning too. This should really have been something I took notice of, but didn’t, and within milliseconds I remembered a section in Dale Carnegie’s legendary book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. This book was originally written by Carnegie in 1936 – not only predating the internet, and the personal computer, but pretty much predating the invention of the digital computer itself. In the second part of the book, “Six Ways to Make Someone Like You” he identifies using someone’s own name as a vital principle – fact he concludes that it is usually the sweetest sound to anyone in any language. In practice, when you know people well you rarely use their name, except to get their attention ahead of background noise, but until you get to that point of familiarity, don’t underestimate the importance of someone’s name when you are communicating with them.
In fact, Dale Carnegie was hardly the first to identify the effect that someone’s own name can have on them. In the adventure novel Moonfleet, written by J Meade Faulkner back in 1898 the main character notes that your own name jumps out from the quietest whispered conversation and leaps from a page of text in a split second. What Carnegie did was to look at the elements in human interaction in a systematic manner, and it is a goldmine for guys wanting to develop their dating skills.
After things got back to normal between us, I learnt that my cyber date spent much of her childhood being mixed up with her twin sister, so to avoid confusion people never used either sister’s name so they never called either of them by the wrong name. It may be that I wasn’t the one with “issues”.