“Hey.” Surprisingly, of all the dating app opening lines you can try, this one is thought by many to be an effective way of intriguing another humanoid enough to provoke a meeting. I sometimes wonder what the senders of opening lines like “hey” “hi” or “what’s up?” are trying to get across. Are they attempting to convey how supremely chill they are? That they are so busy living life to the max that they simply haven’t got the time to be charming? Or maybe they’ve just managed to convince themselves that their profile is so awesome that it speaks for itself. Sound familiar? Then learn the 11 Worst Dating App Message Mistakes Men Make before you go any further.
What I do know is that a mono or disyllabic opening lines like those listed above are highly unlikely to get a response. I know that because this was one of the findings discovered by dating app Hinge when it conducted a month-long study, analyzing data from its users. We’ve taken some other learnings that have been turned up since dating apps became a thing, mixed in some expert opinion and a little common sense, and came up with the best and surest opening-gambit strategies that will ensure you score an IRL date. Trust us: these are far less banal and far more likely to result in you having an honest-to-goodness interaction with a special someone. And for more great dating tips, check out the 7 ways to reignite your romance in your 40s.
Focus on their idiosyncrasies.
In their 2015 online dating study published in Evidence-Based Medicine researchers Khalid Khan and Sameer Chaudhry noted that: “People almost always see themselves as unique.” That means that people are more likely to have react positively when an opening message picks up on one of the more remarkable factoids stashed in their profile. Pick up on what they’re putting down and use it as a jumping off point. Here are two great examples:
1. I don’t think I’ve ever met an ambidextrous person before. How does that come in useful?
2. Three passports! How did you get to be so international?
There’s place for sarcasm, acerbic wit, and self-deprecating humor, but your opening message ain’t it. It’s hard to read feelings and tone in text even with people you already know, so understanding the nuance in a note from a perfect stranger is a tall order. If you really want to convey that you have a dark soul, leave easter eggs in your profile—a penchant for the books of Jean-Paul Sartre, the films of Ingmar Bergman, the music of Morrissey—and keep your opening message upbeat. Here are two great examples:
3. Looks like blue skies all weekend. How are you planning to take advantage of the sunshine?
4. I’m going camping with my bestie next month. What fun stuff have you got coming up?
To make your online dating game even stronger, you should keep these 20 Things She Always Wants You To Say in mind.
Compliment them on something other than looks.
He or she already knows that you find them attractive by virtue of the fact that you’re messaging them, so table your remarks about looks, not least because a lot of people—particularly women—are turned off by messages that focus on their appearance. “We’re tired of getting messages from people who compliment our looks, but have nothing to say about the rest of our profiles.” says Em Hammel of MenAskEm “Those messages are shallow and meaningless.”
If you want to say something nice, hone in on something that’s unconnected to how they look. There’s no need to write an essay here. “One short, positive remark, directly addressing the person’s character or photo, will do,” say Khan and Chaudry. Here are two great examples:
5. Looks like you have an awesome circle of friends! What do they like about you the most?
6. Sounds as though you’re a very discerning reader. I need to read a life-altering book. Could you suggest something mind-blowing?
Stake out common ground.
There’s a reason that creators of dating apps are so keen for you to write lists of the things you like. They know that having a common interest is a great way to break the ice in a positive way. Start this off by mentioning with a shared interest in a movie, book, or activity they mention. If you’ve always wanted to visit some place they’ve posted a picture of, take this opportunity to tell them. Bonus points if you can include an insider reference that demonstrates that you know what you’re talking about. Here are two great examples:
7. I went to Ibiza back in ’07! I loved hanging out at the Blue Marlin. What were some of your highlights?
8. I love Shaun of the Dead too! How do you rate the rest of the Cornetto Trilogy?
And when you finally score that first date, check these 40 Irresistible First Date Ideas.
By now you should have noticed that all of the sample openers we’ve suggested are questions. What’s more, they are question that require more than a “yes” or “no” in the way of an answer. That’s because the name of the game is to get someone to open up little and potentially establish a rapport. A common complaint harbored by people we spoke to was that opening messages didn’t convey an interest in getting to know the recipient. You can prove you’re more evolved than this by asking someone about their life, their passions, their job, and their her interests before inviting them on a date. “This kind of conversation is really flattering.” says Em. “It’s nice when someone is actually interested in who we are, and not just what we look like.” Here are three great examples:
9. What motivates you to get up in the morning?
10. What subject do you like to talk about for hours on end?
11. Your ideal life in 5 years time. What does it look like?
Asking questions about a person’s life can result in some interesting tidbits of information, factoids you can build on. Another tactic for a playful and possibly revealing exchange is is to engage someone by asking hypothetical questions, posing dilemmas or inviting them to play a game. And of course, you can always go for these 12 Ways to Spice Up Your Relationship With Your Phone. Here are three great ways to engage:
12. Tell me two truths and a lie about yourself!
13. You’re given a million dollars but have to spend it all in a day and have nothing to show for it by the end. What does that day look like?
14. Describe yourself in five emojis!
In an article for Psychology Today, Gil Greengross, Ph.D., writes: “Humor is one of the clearest markers of a successful social interaction. You can use it as an icebreaker, and sharing a laugh with others is a good sign that you’ve hit it off. Humor might be even more important in dating, where it reveals something about you or your potential partner’s intelligence, and also signals mate quality.” Here are three great ways to put that into practice:
15. I don’t know who’d be more excited about us going on a date, me or my mom.
16. I liked what you wrote about getting sloppily written messages. Good grammar and proper spelling is real impotent to me, too.
Dating app Zoosk created a data-backed infographic on writing good messages that suggests users use flirty words like “crush” and “trouble”. While it’s wise to not go overboard at first, there’s nothing wrong with showing that a someone has an effect on you. Try this:
18. I’m still single, in case you were wondering. You?
Tailor your messages to gender.
One of the most interesting things turned up by Hinge’s data analysis was the sorts of messages that men and women are more likely to respond to. They found that women are 40 percent more likely to reply to a message regarding food or culinary trends whereas men like to receive direct, assertive messages. They are a whopping 98 percent more likely to respond to invitations. If you can take turn these findings into a question, you’ll have dramatically increased your chances of getting a response. Here are two surefire strategies:
19. I see that you’re a ramen aficionado. What’s your favorite spot in the city? (To a woman)
20. Free this week? (To a man)
For more advice on living your best life, follow us on Facebook now!