Online dating is a blessing at times and a curse at others. You get to meet a lot of potential dates, which is a definite plus. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to hit it off immediately. And it’s especially hard when you tend to get tongue-tied.
But you’re not alone—it happens to the best of us. Even the most experienced extroverts can have a hard time initiating a conversation. Fortunately, difficult doesn’t mean impossible. It’s all just a matter of being prepared.
The Dos of Tinder Conversations
Figuring out how to start a conversation on Tinder isn’t rocket science. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of knowing what you can and should say. Here are a few tips you can keep in mind for creating openers that will get you replies.
Keep It Short and Sweet
There’s always more to a person than meets the eye. But that doesn’t mean that you have to bare it all on the first encounter (oversharers, take note). When it comes to conversation starters, don’t forget that less is more.
Long paragraphs are a big no-no. A big block of text will most likely get you that one-way ticket to being left on read. Keep it to two to three sentences at most. People generally don’t have the luxury of reading long messages from strangers whom they may not even be compatible with.
And don’t forget to keep things light. They say that small talk is the enemy of conversations, but that’s not always the case for everybody. Sometimes, it’s just what you need to get things started—that and an introduction that sets you apart from others. The best way you can do that is by evoking some sort of emotion.
For example, if there’s a picture with them and their pet, tell them how adorable their pet is and maybe ask for their name. You can also start with your favorite saying, catchphrase, or joke. Just make sure it’s tasteful, and not something that could potentially offend your match.
Say Something Unique
Matches on Tinder are a dime a dozen. If you want to stand out, a one-of-a-kind greeting is an excellent way to do so. You’ll not only get your match’s attention but also tell them more about yourself in the process.
To start, you can try putting your twist on an entertaining conversation starter. There’s no tried and tested opener that works for everyone, so don’t be afraid to think of something new as well. Just try not to take it too personally if it doesn’t work out—people have different tastes, after all.
Actually Read Your Match’s Profile
Let’s face it—not everyone has a way with words. There’s no need to worry if that’s the case for you, though. There are many other ways you can break the ice. Before you start the convo, you should take a look at your match’s profile.
People on dating sites express themselves through their profiles. While they don’t expect everyone to read what’s in there, they’re sure to appreciate the few that take the time to do so. As long as you let them know in a not-so-creepy way, like calling it, say, “research” instead of profile stalking.
You’re not just on your match’s profile just to appreciate their photos, though. You’re also there to try to get a read on their personality. You can figure what someone’s like through their pictures, as long as you’re observant.
Also, take note of any consistent elements in their albums. If they have pictures of them at a concert wearing band merch, they’ll probably enjoy talking about music. If they have photos of them in the great outdoors, then maybe ask them what their favorite hiking trail is.
It sounds pretty random right now, but you can use all this information to help you create a better conversation starter. It gives you the chance to ask the right questions, for one.
Start With a Question
If you’re still feeling lost, you might want to consider openers that are questions. It’s a surefire way to get the conversation ball rolling. It engages your match and keeps their attention, if not their interest.
As a general rule, it’s best to ask questions that start discussions, not just yes-or-no answers. Commonly asked questions aren’t off the table either, as long as it’s entertaining. Putting pineapples on pizza, for one, continues to spark debate.
You can also ask about topical events. One memorable example would be that black and blue or white and gold dress. It sounds pretty mundane to talk about for a first convo, but that’s okay. Sometimes all you need is for the conversation to keep going until you both start getting more comfortable with each other.
Ask About Their Hobbies
If you want to get a bit more personal, though, then you can ask about your match’s hobbies and interests.
Talking about one’s hobbies is a great way to express interest in someone. This is also where you can use what you’ve learned from your totally-not-creepy (no, really!) profile stalking. If you ask them a question based on what you see, they’ll get the impression that you genuinely want to get to know them.
If you’re lucky enough to have mutual interests, then don’t be afraid to mention it. Having a common point with your match is guaranteed to make you more memorable compared to their other messaging partners.
The Don’ts of Tinder Conversations
If you know how to start a conversation on Tinder, you’ll be more confident in messaging your match. You don’t want to get too overzealous, though. We’ve told you about the things you should be saying—now we’ll be talking about what not to say.
These should be no-brainers. Don’t be creepy, and don’t overstep your boundaries. Unspoken rules for real-life conversations apply to the online space, but it’s understandable if it’s difficult to balance being respectful and personal.
Fortunately, you don’t need to figure things out by yourself. Here’s what you should avoid when starting a conversation on Tinder.
Don’t Send Generic Openers
You can’t expect to get any replies with a generic opener. Conversation starters are all about making a solid first impression. Don’t waste the one chance you get with a boring message. Don’t just say hey—they’ve seen that a thousand times before.
Sending GIFs from the get-go can be a hit or miss. It depends on how you think your match will react—this is where the research you did comes into play. Some think that it’s a lazy way of grabbing attention. Others feel that it’s a fun way to say hello. If you pay more attention to their profile, you’ll be able to guess what they’ll think about it.
Also, avoid copy-pasting your opener to multiple matches. It’s not only disingenuous but also rude to your conversation partners. Everyone trying to date online deserves to be considered a person, not just something to get frisky with. You wouldn’t want the same to be done to you, after all.
Don’t Open With Deep Topics
You know to keep your openers short and simple by now. That also means no deep topics, not only for your conversation starters but also for the first few conversations. Deep topics can be overwhelming for some, and for others, it’s downright exhausting.
Eventually, once you and your match have gotten comfortable with each other, either of you may start talking about heavier topics. Also, you might want to avoid talking about religion or political views, as such topics can really trigger some people, especially when brought up by people they barely know.
Another bridge you should avoid crossing is talking about past relationships. No one wants to feel like a breakup rebound. While it depends on the people, sometimes, you’re better off not knowing about it.
Don’t Get Too Personal
Don’t forget your boundaries when starting a conversation. It’s one thing trying to get to know someone, and another knowing too much about them. You might be able to learn a lot from a match’s profile, but that doesn’t mean that you should talk about it all. You can’t use everything you find out as an opener.
Calling someone by their name online has mixed results. It can be too personal for some, while it’s alright for others. It’s best to stay on the safe side, though, so you might want to avoid calling a match too familiarly until you’ve come to know each other better.
Another tip: compliments are more than welcome, as long as they’re not creepy. Telling them you like their hairstyle is safe, but waxing poetic about their eyes might be a little overboard. Before you start dishing out compliments, you might want to say them out loud first to see how they sound. You can even consider your reaction to these compliments.
It’s easy to take online dating for granted, especially given the many, many matches one can message almost immediately. However, you should remember that a relationship will only happen if it gets off on the right foot.
With that in mind, it’s a must to know how to start a conversation on Tinder; something more than a simple ‘heyyy.’ If you work to get the convo going, you’re sure to find matches that, while aren’t guaranteed a happy ending, will at least have a better chance of going somewhere.