Some people may think that using Tinder is more like looking for love in all the wrong places, but the popular dating app has some distinct advantages over other sites. It cuts down on harassment because only people you match with can contact you and it helps you find people who are in your neighborhood. Alas, the one thing Tinder still hasn't solved? The whole "breaking the ice" thing.
Just like on any other dating app—or even meeting someone new in person—starting a conversation can be nerve-wracking. It's fairly easy to get a match on Tinder, but getting an actual chat going can feel more difficult than it actually is.
Whether you want to send the first message or get your matches to come to you, here are some tips for starting a conversation on Tinder.
But first, some general messaging Do's and Don'ts:
Do: Keep your first message short—a too-long message will overwhelm someone you've never spoken to before.
Don't: Call them cute in the first message. If you really feel compelled to send a compliment, make it about something specific like their hair or glasses—but you're better off focusing on personality and chemistry instead.
Do: Ask them a question. How else are you going to get a conversation started? It's hard to respond to a simple statement.
Don't: Follow up if they don't respond—they may not want to respond, or they just may not have checked their messages yet. Either way, asking them why they haven't answered (or worse, getting offended by their lack of response) won't help you.
Do: Use humor, but only if it feels natural—don't be someone you're not just to impress people.
Don't: Copy-and-paste a line from a pick-up artist website, even if you think they've never heard it before (they probably have).
Ready to get the conversation going?
Get inspiration from their profile
As previously mentioned, you should make sure there's a question in your first message. Read your match's profile first (if there's nothing much to go off of there, look for cues about their interests from their photos). If you can find something in common or something that you think is interesting, ask them about it! Just be careful not to sound like you're quizzing your match on their interests—you want to be curious and conversational, not condescending. Your first message should always be tailored to your match's profile—or at least, whenever possible—and inspire them to want to respond.
Pose a creative question
If nothing in your match's profile helps you start the conversation, try asking a more creative question that will pique their interest. It can be related to something timely or trending (I once messaged all my matches to ask their opinion on The Dress—you know the one), or it can just be something you're curious about. Either way, you want it to be something that will make them laugh or think—and something they can respond to without too much work.
When in doubt, send a GIF
Sometimes it feels like the only thing you can do to start a conversation is to say hello, as boring as it may be. Rather than sending a generic "Hey! What's up?" which will likely leave you response-less, say hello with a GIF. Tinder has a built in Giphy search keyboard that allows you to easily send GIFs based on different keywords. Search for keywords like "hi" or "waving" and find one that fits your personality and what you want to convey. It sounds silly, but it can be a great icebreaker. GIFs are my go-to way to start a conversation, and most of the time, it works—it's especially fun when your match responds with one too, and you get to get a sense of each other's sense of humor.
Make your profile message-friendly
On the flip side, if you want people to message you first, you can break the ice with your own profile. Include a question with a call to action that your matches can respond to—something like "Message me a song you think I should listen to." It takes the pressure off your matches to come up with an icebreaker, and it gives them an idea of the kinds of things you're interested in.
Are you active on dating apps? How do you break the ice with someone you're interested in?