Once upon a time, dating involved a meet-cute where two people ordered the same coffee, there was a mix-up at the shop, then the two fell in love. Or it was a set-up by a friend or family member and somewhere over the course of the night, which inevitably involved some quick-witted banter, love followed.
At least, those were the recipes necessary to fall in love both on and off-screen before the invention of dating apps. But today’s love is very, very different. This isn’t to say there isn’t a couple falling in love in a crowded elevator at this very moment, but it’s true that dating apps have changed the course of how people meet, date, and every once in a while, fall in love.
Because of this, learning how to start a conversation on a dating app is key. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble across a Tinder opener that makes you laugh or a Bumble opener that makes you blush (in a good way) — but most rarely extend past, “Hey! How are you?” Sure, it’s friendly and polite, but it’s not exactly impressive enough to evoke a response. If you want to get to the first date, you need to come up with a dating app opener that doesn’t just sell you as a person, but intrigues a stranger enough to want to say “yes” when you ask them out.
Here, the best dating app openers to help you get started — and how to cultivate a connection-boosting conversation even after you send that first message.
Comment on their profile
While not everyone includes a description about themselves in their profile (although they should), if they have enough photos, then it gives you something to work with.
“The best openers tend to be conversation starters on third-party topics,” says Wyatt Fisher, PhD, a licensed psychologist specialising in couples counselling. Meaning, you’re not asking about the person themselves, but an object, hobby, pet, etc. “Use their photos for clues. For example, if the person is wearing a cool hat, you could ask them about it. If their photo includes their dog, you can ask them about that, too.”
Also, look for things in their profile that you have in common and ask about it, says Fisher. You ski and they ski? Great! Ask them their favourite mountain range for skiing.
In other words, “hey” just isn’t going to cut it, even if you look like Timothée Chalamet. Of course, if you are Timothée, then that’s just a whole other scenario. But you’re probably not him.
Engage in the chat with true interest
Great! You have an opener that got a response. Now what? It’s about keeping it going. If you continue to use their profile as a sort of script, things should flow nicely, especially if they’re just as engaging as you are. But if there are a couple of lulls in your chat, don’t freak out or throw in the towel.
“Giving up too quickly after a failed attempt or bad conversation seems very easy,” says Jacqueline Del Rosario, PhD, a relationship expert and marital coach. “However, don’t let this be the reason you have given up on dating apps as a whole. Everyone is different and everyone is trying to find someone they are compatible with.”
Every dating app chat and every in-person date is an experience. It’s something to learn from, so even if it doesn’t go well on a particular occasion, you can learn from it so you can approach things differently next time.
Don’t copy and paste the same dating app opener
After days and maybe even weeks of composing the greatest dating app opener of all time (or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself), you’re officially ready to put it into action — with every single match you get forever and forever. Bad idea.
“There’s nothing worse than feeling you’re getting a mass email version of being hit on, so anything generic is a huge turn off,” says Sofiya Alexandra, the co-founder and co-host of Private Parts Unknown, a podcast exploring love and sexuality.
And, yes, it’s pretty easy to figure out from the receiving end. This is especially the case if you forget to address the person by name — or worse, by the wrong name — after you paste your generic, “You’re cute. I’d love to get to know you better,” or whatever other popular go-to copy and paste openers are these days.
Be honest about what you want
Because of Tinder’s reputation of being a hook-up app, the best Tinder openers are the ones that get directly to the point (as long as that’s what you’re hoping to get out of it). For example: “Just looking for something casual and fun. NSA.”
But if you’re not into the one-night-stand thing, apps such as Bumble — which market themselves as being different from Tinder in that the environment is less aggressive and users tend to be a bit more sincere in wanting to find a relationship — need a different approach. When it comes to the best Bumble openers, you actually have the opportunity to be honest in your intentions and relationship preferences without fearing that you’re chasing someone away. Naturally, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people on Bumble and similar sites still just looking to hook up, but regardless it pays to tailor your approach to what you want.
“The best way to break the ice on dating apps is to be appropriate, know what you’re after, be specific, and know your end goal,” says Del Rosario. “If your goal is to play around, then choose an app that’s appropriate for that. If you’re looking to be in a relationship with someone who has a similar walk of life, there are dating apps for Christian individuals, metal heads, threesomes, kink, etc. But, if you are looking for a serious relationship, look for an app that is more geared towards that.”
Don’t overthink it
If you nail the opening line, have a great chat, and make it to IRL date, then don’t be afraid to share who you really are. At the end of the day, we all want to find our own brand of weird.
“I think we put far too much into that opening line,” says Ruby Payne, a sex and relationships expert at UberKinky. “Our minds go completely blank, and we forget even how to spell helo. Or is it heylo?? My best advice is to not overthink it. Remember, they matched with you, so that means they were attracted to your pictures and your bio.”
According to Payne, diving into a joke, no matter how silly it might seem, is a fantastic opener.
“Cheesy? Perhaps,” says Payne. “Does it work? Almost every time. The more ‘dad-like’ the joke, the more likely it is to actually get a chuckle or at least an eye roll. Plus, you’re almost guaranteed a response because who doesn’t respond to a joke?”
Will every dating app opener you use work on everyone? No. People have different personalities, different ideas of what’s funny, and some won’t even get a brilliantly-crafted, witty opening line. But, hey, that’s on them and it helps you with the weeding out process of who’s a match and who isn’t.
The Best Openers for Any Dating App
From GIFs to jokes to toilet paper preferences and even a few hard-hitting questions, here’s how to start a conversation on a dating app with these best openers for Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc., according to the experts.
- At a loss for words? Sometimes a random GIF can break the ice. The more random and cheeky the better.
- “Pineapple on pizza? Yay or nay?”
- “Why did you swipe right on me?”
- “I was really hoping you’d swipe right on me [insert cute emoji here].”
- “I adore The National! What’s your favourite album?”
- “What’s your experience with this app? Have you tried others?”
- “Which three emojis best describe you?”
- “So, how about those Yankees?”
- “Singing in the shower is fun until you get soap in your mouth. Then it’s a soap opera.”
- “I make an amazing lasagna. What’s your brag-worthy signature dish?
- “Let’s not waste a lot of time messaging. Are you free Friday for drinks?”
- “Should toilet paper be over the top or under the roll?”
- “You surf? I’ve always wanted to learn!”
- “Do you prefer the new Dune or the old Dune?”
- “By the way, that first smiling pic knocked my socks off. You seem fun to be around!”
- “Truth or dare?”
- “If you could only have one condiment forever, what would it be?”
- “If they were to make a movie about your life, who would play you?”
- “Based on my dating app profile, do you think you can sum me up in three words?”
- “What’s the worst dating app opener you’ve ever received?”
- “That last photo is incredible! Where was that?”
- “Let’s play two truths and a lie — you go first!”
- “What would you choose for your last meal?”
- “What’s your ideal date?”
This story first appeared on www.shape.com
(Main and Feature Image Credit: Getty Images / Design by Jo Imperio)
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