How To Start a Conversation on Dating Apps
Starting a conversation on an app is a big step. With so many potential interactions just a swipe or click away, first impressions can be the difference between starting to get to know someone and being passed by. How do you impress someone you don’t know with an opening line, and how do you keep their attention? We’ve broken down the best advice regarding starter lines.
When it comes to dating apps, you need to be adept at spotting red flags. But you also need to not be a walking red flag yourself.
Compliments aren’t all about looks. For now, avoid compliments that centre physical or sexual attraction, unless you’re picking up on something in their profile, as you might hit them with an ick quicker than you can type out your salacious comment. Besides, with a comment about an achievement or hobby, you’re opening up a conversation about an interest. It’ll extend further than just a “thank you” or a “haha” and the other person will feel seen.
Some general compliments for you to try as online dating opening lines:
- “Congrats on graduating! What did you study at university?”
- “Wow! Your makeup looks awesome. Which eyeshadow palette do you use?”
- “Wait, you met [celebrity]? I’m so jealous! What was she like?”
2. Keep It Short
There’s nothing worse than matching with someone and they send a full-on paragraph. In most cases, this will feel like too much, too soon. Keep your starter line shorter than a Tweet, under three sentences. The best opening lines are short and fun. You don’t want to write an essay.
3. Ask About Their Interests Or Hobbies
Though this may seem a little obvious, picking out what you see written in their bio is a good shout when online dating. After all, what is the point in putting your interests in your profile if they’re going to be ignored? Not only are hobbies a good sign of your compatibility with one another, but they’re a good way into a conversation. They will also show the other person that you have taken the time to actually read a little bit about them, rather than just leaping into chat because you like their first pic.
- “OMG – I love gigs, too. I saw [band] last week. Have you been to any lately?”
- “Oh, I see that you cook! What’s your favourite dish to make?”
- “Ugh – I am also obsessed with reality TV. Do you watch RuPaul’s Drag Race?”
Open with a statement, or two. And end with a related question. Go for some open-ended questions – something they can’t just say “yes” or “no” to. This will feel personal to them and they could be more likely to reply. You’re taking an interest in them and their hobbies, and that’s cool!
4. Make The Most Of In-App Features
These are becoming more common on dating apps, suggesting questions or ways to get to know your match. For example, the queer dating app HER sends automated messages of random questions to ask your match. This can be super helpful for some, and a bit annoying for others, but in either case they can help you out if you’re stuck, or even become a topic of conversation themselves!
Alternatively, you could take advantage of apps that embed Instagram and Spotify options. Often, users will share their music tastes or a sample of their Insta grid for their prospective matches. You’ve struck gold with this feature. Now, you have some more to work with.
- “I saw your Spotify playlist – and I’m obsessed with 80’s music, too. Who’s your fave?”
- “I had a peek at your Insta… You’ve been to so many art galleries! They’re my favourite thing to do. Which gallery do you like going to best?”
Questions To Ask On A Dating Site
Fun Questions to Ask on Dating Apps
If you’re not too serious about commitment, and want to have a bit of a laugh with your matches, then why not go a little off-piste? Being laid back is a commendable approach to have. Plus, incorporating plenty of humour into your conversation when online dating will liven the mood and alleviate the potential awkwardness of initial contact.
So, we’ve got a few, fun questions and opening lines to kick things off a little differently on dating apps.
- “Do you have an embarrassing crush?” – *pointedly does not look at Simba, the cartoon lion (say it again: cartoon. lion.) from The Lion King*
- “Using only emojis, tell me your life story!” – This can be fun. Get creative.
- “What’s your method of surviving the zombie apocalypse? I need to know if we’ll make good teammates when the time comes.” – Everyone has an opinion on this, and it’s good to know whether your potential new lover is also a fighter.
Ice Breaker Questions For Dating
Coming up with good opening lines is intimidating, but keeping the interest is another task. We’ve all been there. Sure, you could mull over a message for hours. But, then, you might have missed your chance with someone. Take a look at our online dating icebreakers below for help.
- “If you had to give a TED talk tomorrow, what would you talk about?” – This is good. Plus, it could reveal their interests. What can your match talk about with no preparation?
- “What’s a controversial/unpopular opinion you have?” – Honestly, this is a good test to see if your match is a vibe. They’ll hopefully answer honestly and you can determine whether their mindset is a green or a red flag for you (or indeed a beige flag – pineapple on pizza anyone?)
- Your life is a movie… Pick three songs to include in the soundtrack – If they haven’t got a Spotify link to their profile and you don’t want to ask a generic question about their music tastes, why not shake it up a bit? This question is gold.
- What’s something that you read recently that has stuck with you? – For those of you who enjoy reading this is a good dating icebreaker question. It’s nice and open, too. Your match might come back with a thoughtful comment on some groundbreaking journalism, or the latest meme that’s been living in their head rent free. Either would tell you a lot about your match!
What To Avoid On Dating Apps
When it comes to dating apps, you need to be adept at spotting red flags. But you also need to not be a walking red flag yourself. We’re all too familiar with those cringe dating app opening lines. Make sure you don’t fall foul of any of these dating app pitfalls.
1. Avoid Being Creepy
This may be a hard tip to figure out. Showing keen interest from the get-go can be seen as a “red flag” if there’s a sense of too much urgency or pressure. So, make sure to keep it cool and casual when you approach a conversation. Don’t pester people to get back to you – if they’re taking longer than you would like, that’s information for you about them. Maybe they don’t want to or can’t communicate in the ways that you need. Put a pin in it and move on.
2. Keep It In Your Pants (For Now)
Let’s be honest: we’ve all been on a dating app when super horny. Sometimes, we might let our horniness cloud our judgement and – therefore – step over a boundary. It happens! But, if you’re continuously making NSFW comments – especially as an opening line – maybe think about trying something a little different. Even if you’re on a hook-up app like Grindr or Pure, it can be good to vary the tone sometimes. And of course, opening the conversation with an unsolicited pic is always and forever a hard NO (not to mention illegal).
3. Don’t Ask Matches To Add You On Other Social Platforms
At least, not right away. Wanting to be on someone’s socials can be a sign of things progressing. A cheeky add on Instagram is an indicator that you’re potentially interested. Adding someone right away may come across as a little forward or overly keen. This can be a major turn-off for some dating app users, who may prefer to keep their dating and social lives separate until things are more established.
Your match might also be put off by your not using the app for what it’s designed to do. Some may even think you’re after something. For instance, if you say: “Hate talking on here. Add my [social handle]”… you’re likely going to get an eye-roll at best, and an unmatch at worst.
Note: Asking for a Snapchat straight away is a RED FLAG. Firstly, how old are you? And secondly, Snapchat is a breeding ground for unsolicited nudes. Avoid. Make an excellent first impression and stick to the dating app.
And – if your match suggests using Linkedin: run.
4. Avoid Swiping Too Much
This will cause problems down the line. Dating apps aren’t a numbers game, and there are no prizes for getting the most matches. Plus, for some people, these apps can become highly addictive as lots of the culture revolves around validation. Often, we can become dependent on the high we get when we’ve got a new match, or like, just like how we feel good when we get some likes on an Insta post or a friend pays us a meaningful compliment.
Much like anything else: Use dating apps responsibly. And remember to have some fun!
Piper Huxley (she/her) is a transgender woman currently living in the south of England. She studied English Literature and Theatre Studies at the University of Reading. Now, Piper is a full-time content writer and creator. Her passions include starting projects that she will never finish, listening to some trashy indie record or staring at her pile of unread books – which seems to be mysteriously growing…