How to Respond to a Casual Encounters Personal Ad on Craigslist

Whether we’re job-hunting, searching for apartments and roommates, or looking for an NSA (no strings attached) sexual relationship, we often first turn to Craigslist. It’s become the digital cornerstone of our lives.

Responding to personal ads in casual encounters, however, can become a little stressful. Though there’s nothing wrong with scouting out like-minded people who are looking for a casual “friends with benefits” situation, some might feel slightly embarrassed resorting to Craigslist.

When responding to a personal ad, it’s likely you’re trying to make a good impression so that the person reading your response will consider meeting up with you — be it for a friendly date, a romantic evening, or perhaps a mind-blowing sexual encounter. The trick is remembering what (and what not) to include in your response. We asked relationship expert Alex Wise from dating site to share his insight and wisdom about what it takes to establish the credibility and connection necessary to lead to some offline lovin’:

  • Attach a photo of your face. However amazing your body is, people are attracted to faces first and foremost, especially when reviewing a person from the safety of their computer. If you don’t provide a clear (and large enough) pic of your face, then the person might think you’re trying to hide something and might just ignore you altogether.
  • Clearly, state what you’re looking for. The last thing anybody wants is to delve into a drawn-out process of connecting with a stranger only to later find out that you’re both looking for different things from the “relationship.” If you’re just looking for an FWB (Friend With Benefits) because you’re too busy or you just value your freedom, then don’t lead the other person into believing you want more than that.
  • Connect with the person you’re e-mailing. In other words, don’t use a canned email to respond to everyone you think might have potential. People want to know that you read their post and that you legitimately believe that you’re a match. Linking your interests and desires to theirs will convince them you’re worth pursuing.
  • Don’t sign up for websites. Any ad that asks for a sign-up is a scam, no matter how convincing it sounds. And divulging your credit card information for a chance at hooking up (which is just stupid) can result in disaster.
  • Don’t give out your personal information. Just like the poster, you probably want to keep your public life separate from a casual encounter – at least until you’re certain your potential FWB will fit into your group of friends. Nothing’s stranger than having the person you’ve been emailing about a discreet meeting request a friendship on your Facebook account. That said, you may want to consider using a dummy email address until you’re satisfied.
  • Don’t let the connection fizzle. Remember, the person you’re emailing is probably getting more than one response, especially if they seem like an interesting, attractive woman (which does happen, trust me). Endless emails can become quite irritating, so once you’re confident you’re interested in meeting, you may want to get a phone number so you can convert your online correspondence to a real, physical possibility.
  • Suggest a public, neutral meeting place. Some people just want to hook up and are much more carefree about where they meet (perhaps they’ll even prefer to host at their place for safety reasons), but if you’re trying to arrange a romance or an FWB situation, then you may want to suggest meeting at a bar or coffeehouse for some conversation first.

All in all, honesty is the best policy. If you’re turning to Casual Encounters for casual sex or exploring fantasies or just good old-fashioned flings, then you shouldn’t hide anything, and neither should they. Miscommunication is not only embarrassing and awkward, but it can lead to some dangerous situations. The great thing about Craigslist is that it gives users the opportunity to pick and choose. Just make sure you’re real when you respond, and make sure they want what you want, and the rest should take care of itself.