How to Start a Conversation on a Dating App

Meeting people over a dating app can feel tricky, even if you’ve done it for a while. Everyone’s different, so what might help you hit it off with one person may ruin a connection with someone else. It’s challenging to figure out what to say after swiping right, but you don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Check out these tips to learn how to start a conversation on a dating app. They’ll help you form connections more naturally, even if you’re nervous about finding your next date.

1. Mention Their Profile

When online dating became an option, profiles made small talk go out the window. Before you decide to talk to anyone, you already know things about them from their bio.

They might include where they went to college, where they work or what they like to do in their free time. Start your first message by asking something about them.

“I noticed you went to NYU. Was it so cool to walk across the stage at Yankee Stadium?”

Mentioning something they’re proud of or that they love will make you more interesting than other people in their inbox who start the usual small talk.

2. Avoid Physical Comments

Everyone knows that swiping right means you think they’re attractive, so avoid creepy physical comments that could be awkward at best or triggering at worst. If you’re dying to tell them how gorgeous you think they are, make the compliment about something other than their body.

“The dress you’re wearing in your profile picture is nearly as stunning as you are.”

This tip is especially crucial to keep in mind if you’re interested in women, who likely deal with creeps and disturbing messages about their bodies all the time. Compliments that include words like “hot” and “sexy” come across as arrogant and objectifying, so stick with something sweet or kind instead.

3. Create a Playful Challenge

You can also engage a potential partner in conversation if you create a playful challenge. See if there’s anything in their profile that you can spin into something interesting.

“You like spicy food? I dare you to eat spicy wings at my favorite restaurant with me this weekend.”

Even if neither of you wants to socialize out in town, you can suggest a virtual date idea in the same mischievous spirit.

“We both love to bake, so let’s FaceTime on Friday night and see who can create the most Insta-worthy dessert.”

Anything you can do on camera together, like a bake-off or even a game of Battleship, will be an entertaining way to keep the conversation going without traditional, boring icebreakers.

4. Skip the Pet Names

The only reason you should ever begin a conversation by using a pet name is if you’re speaking to your actual pet. People rarely want to hear themselves referred to as “baby” or “sweetie” by someone they don’t know. It’s a brash possessiveness that turns people away, so don’t come up with any nicknames until your relationship is official.

5. Ask Trivial and Meaningful Questions

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to start a conversation on a dating app because you get too serious about it. Instead, ask something light-hearted that’s also meaningful. You’ll get the other person to reflect on things they love and bond with you over them.

“I have to know — what are your top three favorite movies from your childhood?”

They’ll feel happier as they talk about a passionate subject, and the conversation won’t hold much risk because it’s still super casual.

6. Monitor How You Ask Things

There’s no way to get around asking a few questions to get a conversation started, but monitor how you ask things. Short, abrupt questions will make the other person feel like they’re in an interview, especially if it’s one-sided.

After you ask them to talk about themselves, let the other person return the favor. It keeps the conversation going naturally and makes them feel like an equal, not a job candidate.

7. Always Provide a Lead

When you message someone, it’s on you to lead the conversation. You’d never walk up to someone in real life and stand there staring until they talked to you. 

Always provide a lead so you don’t send dead-end messages. Anything that doesn’t require a yes/no answer will always be a better option than a singular, “Hey,” or “What’s up?”

Remember to Be Yourself

Now that you have a few actionable tips in your pocket, you’ll always know how to start a conversation on a dating app. Even so, don’t get tripped up trying to appear cool or super flirty. Be yourself and you’ll form a love connection with someone who will love you for you.