First impressions are, when it comes to online dating, almost everything. While you may have caught your match’s eye with your profile, you want to make sure they stick around. And the first message you send can make or break the conversation. I’ve been on the receiving end of my fair share of bad messages — shoutout to the person who said I was “almost as hot as his ex” — so I know a quality opener when I see it. To the people pursuing women on Tinder: don’t fall victim to these unimpressive messages.
This may seem like a foolproof way to slide into your match’s inbox, but while you are unlikely to offend anyone, you are also unlikely to make yourself memorable. So for God’s sake, get a little more personal. Whether it’s a sweet compliment, a relevant pick-up line, or a message that refers to her bio or pictures, you want to show you’re paying attention. If something about her stands out to you, mention it. Sharing similar interests is a good way to earn a reply.
2. “Can we move this over to text?”
Of course, there is a point at which you should totally should do this, but that point is not within the first five minutes of talking. Asking a girl for her number or on a date before getting to know her even a little bit is a no-go. Ease into a conversation — she’ll be much more inclined to save your number later on.
3. “Your body…”
Commenting on your match’s physical appearance isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but make sure you’re pointing out an appropriate physical attribute. Try a kind word about her eyes or smile. In other words, don’t be thirsty. And remember, compliments can extend beyond her physical features. If she has her Spotify linked to her Tinder, you can bring up her excellent musical taste and strike up a more interesting rapport.
4. “I’m sorry for Super Liking™ you. When I first saw you I was overwhelmed, now you just seem regular. No offense.”
Insulting your match by saying her bio is basic or that you don’t typically go for redheads won’t do anything but turn her off. The phrase “boys are mean to the girls they like” has been thrown around since we were kids, but it’s extremely problematic. If you aren’t into her profile, you don’t need to Like her. Because there is one nugget of childhood wisdom that holds true: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
5. “On a scale of one to America, how free are you tonight?”
Yawn. Yes, sending your match a pickup line can be a good way to get and keep her attention, as long as it’s interesting and original. If you feel like the message you’re about to send is played out, 1. it probably is and 2. maybe try running it past one of your female friends to get their take. Like the very vanilla “hey,” an overused line won’t make you stand out. Change it up to avoid blending in.
6. “Why did you Like me?”
I’m sure we both know why, so this question just seems unnecessary. If you want to hear your match say you’re good-looking, compliment her. Chances are she’ll compliment you right back, and you’ll find out why you caught her eye. A win-win!
7. “You and your friend look familiar! I must’ve matched with her before.”
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something icky about someone telling me that he also matched with my friend. I get it: We’re in the same fairly small geographic area, and it happens. But this line will almost always turn a girl off, so if you’re interested in them, avoid shooting your shot this way. Or, when you see an old match’s friend on Tinder, consider just Noping them.
8. “I can tell you’re a freak.”
I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but I find it hard to believe that you can tell when a girl is a freak in the sheets from a few photos. Assuming anything about a person, especially before you even meet them, is a no-go. That’s doubly true when you’re trying to make a good impression. Not to mention, sexual innuendos like this are best avoided, so also forget about lines like, “You look like the type to send nudes.” Did you really think that was going to work?
9. “Are you DTF?”
Wow, and they said chivalry was dead. While being clear about your intentions is a good thing, this line is not. It shows a lack of effort on your part, and your chances of getting a response are slim to none. Pump the brakes and remember there is a human on the other end of your chat.
10. “Tell me about yourself.”
Is this a job interview? Loosen up! It’s great that you want to know more about her, but you don’t want it to sound like you’re conducting an interrogation. Ask lighthearted questions about her life instead. Something creative, like “Who are you embarrassed to admit you follow on Instagram?” goes a long way.
11. “Your photos are way better than the other trolls I’ve seen on here.”
While I get the intent, most women are not fans of people degrading other women as a form of flattery. Compliments that don’t insult other people are the best kinds of compliments; there’s no need to mention other people and spread negativity. Make your match the sole focus instead. A simple, “your photos stopped me in my tracks” will do the trick.
12. “Who’s your friend in the last pic? Can you give her my number?”
I can’t believe I even have to say this, but don’t be this guy. You matched with this girl because she is interested in you, so why would she happily pass you off to her friend after you basically overlooked her existence? It’s simple: Don’t Like someone you’re not interested in.
13. “Nice. Nope. Yeah.”
What’s the easiest way to kill a conversation? One-word responses. They make it seem like you don’t care and/or you’re not a great conversationalist, two qualities no one wants in a match. If you’re not interested enough to carry on a back-and-forth, spare the awkwardness and unmatch. If that’s not the case, put in some real effort.
14. “You should smile more in your pictures. You’d look way hotter.”
Cringe. Women are already told to smile by catcallers, so there’s absolutely no need to bring this to their messages, too. While you may think this is a harmless suggestion, it comes off as misogynistic and suggests that she’s not attractive enough already. Perhaps try telling her that her smile is beautiful and that you’d love to see it in person.
15. “I knew you’d Like me — you’re like my 1,000th match on here.”
Even if she’s into you, telling a girl that you know this is the case before you’ve even exchanged a few messages won’t start you off on the right foot. There are other ways to tell your match that you feel a connection or that you’re a catch without failing a vibe check. Let her know that she’s easy to talk to or you like that you share a bunch of interests — anything besides implying you already swept her off her feet.