“Hey, how’s it going?”
There’s perhaps no Tinder message quite as dreaded. Inevitably, after a few “good”s, you’ll be back to square one.
The biggest mistake people make on Tinder is sending impersonal, stock-standard messages like this, says Benjamin Daly, dating coach and author of “Appily Ever After: A Woman’s Guide To Online Dating.” It’s no wonder: When you’ve got a lot of chats going on in tandem, it’s tempting to offer up a quick “what’s up?” or “how’s your weekend?” But something more specific to the person and their bio is much more likely to earn you a response.
“Generic conversation-starters are uninspiring and usually result in an uninspiring response or no response at all,” says Daly. “This wafer-thin level of investment will make someone feel that you aren’t really interested. Deep down, we all want to feel special. Showing someone that you have taken a little time makes it more likely they will reciprocate.”
Getting and keeping someone’s attention doesn’t have to involve any elaborate feats either. These simple hacks should move you far, far away from “hey, how’s it going?” and toward lasting (or fleeting, if that’s what you’re looking for) connections.
1. Address them by name.
The simplest and most idiot-proof way to let someone know you’re paying attention to their profile is to use their name in your opening message. “It’s personal, and people love [that],” says Daly. Just please, please double-check your spelling.
2. Ask a question about something in their profile.
Keep it straightforward, but don’t be afraid to show you have a sense of humor. Daly suggests asking about something on their bio or their photos. For example:
“Hey Joe. I saw that one of your favorite movies is ‘Titanic.’ It takes a real man to admit that. What are your thoughts on ‘Titanic 2’?”
“Hi Sophie. I noticed your photo at Burning Man. Is it true that celebrities stay in “fancy camps” there?”
3. Send a GIF.
“Consider relating the GIF to something in their profile,” says Madeleine Mason Roantree, dating coach and director of Relationship Psychology Services at the Vida Consultancy. For example, you might send a clip of a movie they’re into or an animal you both love.
Don’t just send a GIF, though — contextualize it. “If you send just a GIF, it can seem a little lazy,” says Roantree. For example, if you’re sending a clip of a movie, ask them a question about that movie or their taste in film.
4. Give a compliment.
You know what people like? Feeling good about themselves. So be genuine and let someone know they sparked your interest — and why.
One profile-based compliment that charmed Charles, 26, was, “I never have related more completely to a string of emojis before.” (He had emojis illustrating different interests of his, like gymnastics, camping, and reading.)
As the conversation goes on, you can continue to sprinkle in compliments. When the opportunity arises, tell them you enjoy talking to them, that you think their job or one of their hobbies is really cool, or that they have good taste. Of course, only give compliments that are genuine, and avoid appearance-based ones, which risk crossing a boundary.
5. Ask them about themselves.
It’s easy for a conversation to drift to the weather, current events, or whatever you’re binge watching, but you’ll ultimately connect more deeply with the someone if you also touch on topics that are meaningful to you both, like your work, families, or hobbies, says Daly.
One question that works for Zane, 29, is “What is the best thing to do on a Sunday morning?”
“You’ll know you’ve found a good one when they ask questions that allow you to share what’s important to you, too,” says Daly.
6. Ask what they’re looking for.
“You want to know whether you are on the same page, as in, is this a hookup scenario or something more serious?” says Roantree.
A good way to do this is to ask them what brought them to Tinder. “I find this question useful very early on in a chat,” Roantree says. “Both parties have very little emotional investment at this stage, [so] you are more likely to get a genuine answer.”
7. Follow every answer with another question.
The quickest way to send a conversation to its death is to respond to a question with only your answer (one-word answers are even worse). If you want to keep it going, volley back a question of your own.
“Conversation is like a game of tennis: If one person doesn’t hit the ball back, the rally ends,” says Daly.
8. Send messages when they’ll be able to respond.
Timing is everything. It’s easy to lose someone’s attention on dating apps, and if you send a message while they’re asleep, at work, or otherwise indisposed, it’s possible they won’t see it (or that they’ll see it then forget about it), says Roantree. If you know your match works a 9-to-5 kind of day and you’re also available in the evenings, for example, hit them up then to keep the momentum.