I think a lot of italki's users are interested in finding langauge/cultural exchange partners or learning partners through the site. Then, to find that partners, most of the time, you send request messages to other users.
The thing I would like to ask here is...
When you select the partners and decide to send messages to them, do you read other users' profiles? Or you send messages to that people because italki says that people also learn same language with you?
The reason why I ask that silly questin is sometimes I receive messages from some users who want to practice English with me even though I clearly mention that I am not interested in having any language/cultural exchange partners or learning parnters on my page.
(Since my English level is not high enough to have that kind of partners, I prefer to have English lessons from native English speakers who have certain qualifications)
When I reject their offers, I feel bad even though it is obviously not my fault.
Therefore, I recently choose the way of leading them to stop sending message to me by being mean.
It really works. As a result, one of the guys said me 'Go away, ugly girl :)' even though that guy started the conversation.
Well, I woud like to ask you guys again, do you really read carefully other users' profiles before sending learning partner's offer?
If no, why you don't check it?
Thank you very much in advance.
If I write to someone here, it really should be for a reason. I think it's just a normal, human thing to do. I'm also on CouchSurfing, and there's a specific piece of advice that asks members to treat other members (especially potential hosts) like human beings.
I also realise that there are italki members who sign up and are happy to talk to anyone, but if it's a case of "hey English-speaker, you speak English so you can speak English to me", then I'm really not interested. I don't think that's any way to start a conversation! :)
Over time, you realise that some messages deserve to be ignored. Don't feel bad about that. if someone has ignored what you've written on your profile, then they don't deserve your reply.
Don't feel bad :)
I've been using penpal and language exchange sites for about 6 years. Most of the users don't read profiles. I know it's silly and makes no sense since they are just wasting their time and mine, but this is the way it goes.
Maybe 10% of all visitors have a glance at the profile before sending a nonsensical message or follower / friend request.
I always clearly write in my profile that I'm looking for practice only and my target language is British English. Some people, who speak English worse than I do, offer me English lessons, others ask me to teach them English or Russian (which I'm not qualified to do) and so on. It wastes a lot of time and is completely pointless. But again.. I guess it's just easier for some people to copy/paste the same message a hundred times than read a dozen profiles and choose 1-2 to contact.
I know many people would consider this selfish, but I don't even reply to such messages. If people are illiterate, it's their problem, not mine. In the beginning I was replying to all the messages, then I realized it was taking me quite a while to answer all this junk daily, and it was completely useless, I never even got a "sorry" or "thank you" back. If people can't prove they are able to even read in English, I don't think I have anything to discuss with them.
#1 One thing I have learned is that other people really do not like it if I send a private message spontaneously, unless they have contacted me first. In offering to practice with them,
I FOLLOW someone that I think I might be able to help, and if they send a private message,
I will offer to practice with them.
#2 I usually never offer assistance to someone who publishes their contact information in the public forum.
#3 I usually never offer assistance to someone who is looking for a "friend".
(Serious students of a language will indicate that they want to improve their speaking or writing.
Friendship follows as a matter of course, as the result of interaction anyway)
#4 I most often respond to the topic I see published in DISCUSSION or the question placed in the ANSWER section. Usually, the message that I respond to most often is the simple statement that says; "I want to improve my English." That is all I need to develop an interest.
In summary, the greatest attraction for me, is a simple statement that says;
"I want to improve my wrting and speaking".
That tells me that the student has clear mental focus, and a single determination to succed.
Such determination satisfies the fundamental moral; Say what you will do, and do what you say.
I rarely send messages to someone.
But usually accept when someone send me a message asking for language exchange.
It's just a conversation! why make a big deal of it?
I've read all the comments, and I agree with the most part.
In my case, I do want to find a language partner. I'm new here (just about two weeks), and that's what I do:
1) Search on Language Partners' section for native english speakers who want to learn portuguese;
2) I read what they wrote on the profile, and I only send a message if they're looking for learning exchange or help with Portuguese;
3) At the same time, I pay attention in the time of the last login/visit. I seach for those that visited recently (a few days or hours);
But, unfortunately. Most of people don't even answer me. I don't no why. A simply "I'm not interested" would be better.
My messages are kind of:
"Hi. How are you doing? I can help you with your portuguse. At the same time I would be practicing my english. :) If you have interest send me a message. Have a good one."
It seems nice to me. I would at least answer this. I thought it was easier to find a partner.
Anyway, now I'm focused into correct portuguese mistakes. Maybe I find a partner in the process.
PS: My english is not advanced yet. Ask me if you don't understand something. =D