Smart ways to start a conversation on a dating app (which is not creepy, cheesy or boring)

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After tweeting a joke and a screenshot of someone sending me a message on Hinge, I recently read through a lot of complaints (mostly from men) about how it feels like there is only two options when addressing someone on dating apps: Get ignored or be mocked.

Although I understand the feeling, I have to disagree with this gloomy view. The binary “get ignored” or “get mocked” is fake. There are plenty of options for the middle ground. With a little bit of thought, you can start a conversation without sounding too boring, too cheesy, too cocky or too creepy.

Many bloggers, Myself included, has stressed the need to personalize the messages you send on dating apps. The market is too competitive for the one-size-fits-all pick-up lines of the past. You actually have to answer something specific in a person’s profile if you want to start a fruitful conversation.

With that in mind, what is the use of this article? If the advice is always about tailoring your message on a case-by-case basis, how can I help you? Tragically, I can not grab your phone from your hands and do the ironing for you (at least not for free).

Here, however, is the case: We can predict a lot of what you will encounter on a person’s dating profile. If your ability to judge what’s corny and what’s creepy feels off-base, let the following examples help you recalibrate.

Here are some thought provokers for safe conversation starters about dating apps, organized around the kind of pictures and messages you can expect to find on many profiles.

If they have a concert picture …

A concert picture is usually a presentation to start a conversation. Maybe there’s where you go wrong, by turning in with an observation instead of questions. Instead of saying something bland like “This looks funny“try to ask something openly, e.g.”What concert was this?“or”Do you have any concerts you are looking forward to?“If you recognize the venue or the musician, even better.

If they mention the number of countries they visited …

Travel photos is a fixed dating profile. Your instinct may be to ask “Where was this picture taken?”But I encourage you to ask for a more open conversation starter. As a fairly well-traveled person, I would rather be asked where I would visit Next over where I have already been. The “crazy travel story” prompt doesn’t translate very well over text, and it often ends in a one-sided “you should be there” moment. Alternatively, “bucket lists” give you plenty of room for a fun, flirtatious back and forth.

If they have a picture with a fish and / or refer to the tropics of a picture with a fish …

The good old “I caught a fish” picture. For this inevitability, a mutual Twitter message gave me the perfect way to stand out from all the other fish in the ocean. In response to a profile prompt that, “If you’re holding a dead fish in your photos, I’m not interested“, you could answer,”I do not keep a dead fish, but if you want to keep something dead inside, we can put.“It’s the perfect amount of weirdness to make sure you stand out.

If you want to compliment their appearance …

We are not all looking for a soulmate. Even if you swipe at someone just because they are hot, you can still be tactful and original around it. “Wow you are beautiful,“It sounds as if you have copied / pasted it into a hundred profiles before min. Not only can physical compliments sound impersonal, they can also be really discouraging very quickly.

Hit hot people the same way you would hit someone for their personality. Revolutionary, I know. If they have a picture of them that look amazing on a sunny beach, play it cozy and send a message to them and ask where they went on vacation. Focus on the beach, not the body. You increase your chances of standing out if you can prove that their profile successfully interested you for less superficial reasons (even if you have superficial intentions).

If their profile made you laugh …

Tell them why. Not to brag, but I’ve gotten a few “you seem funny” DMs in my time. Unfortunately, my wits do not know what to do with it other than to say “thank you.” Use the introductory compliment as a starting point for a larger conversation starter. E.g, “This answer reminds me [favorite comedian]“or”This is funny, I would love to know which shows / movies make you laugh right now. “Even if you grab a straw, this approach at least gives the funny person something to work with.

Oh, and if you’re a comedian yourself? Play with! Try to build on the jokes in their profile. Nothing says “love connection” like the ability to quote It’s always sunshine back and forth.

If they have a niche meme …

The inclusion of a meme on a person’s dating profile is a difficult area. While it can be an effective way to signal your sense of humor, it is not always a productive conversation starter. If there is a “take it yourself” element involved, take it and run with it. Otherwise, I would avoid the allure of meme and react to a different image altogether. Or take a more general approach to “you made me laugh”, as described above.

If they say “sarcasm is my second language …”

Swipe left.

At the end of the day: Be the coolest version of yourself

You have to be yourself. Blah blah blah. The best way to be your best self is to master the art of “casual weird.” “Casual weird” describes answers that make you stand out without pushing people away, e.g. to call yourself dead inside, but crucially, do not really think so.

Takeaway is actually taking the time to work on the details of a person’s profile. In this economy, you have to be smart to catch someone’s eye. At the end of the day, there’s plenty of leeway between “hello” and “where have you been all my life, beautiful.” Better to be a little weird than a little boring.