how to start a tinder conversation

How to start a Tinder conversation: The best dating app openers more banging than saying ‘hey’

Stop making pandemic jokes challenge 2021

Everyone wants to know the perfect way to start a Tinder conversation – it’s one of life’s best-kept secrets. There’s nothing worse than seeing your queue of matches, each poor, unfortunate soul messaging different variations of the ol’ reliable, heart-sinking “hey”. 

I know it sounds cliche, but let me just say – I’ve absolutely been there before. I’ve matched some dreamy people and let my imagination run rampant. Suddenly it’s 4PM and I’ve already built our Sims house and named our two children. I’ve checked my phone every hour *on* the hour to see if they’ve messaged first (because we never make the first move for some reason) and been greeted with an empty notification screen every time. When I finally feel brave enough to drop them a message, they turn out to be completely incompatible with me and my needs. 

Just FYI, you don’t need to suffer in silence anymore. Here are a handful of ways to spice up your Tinder conversations – you’re welcome!

Using first names is icky

Sorry, but don’t be taking dating advice from Lil Nas X. Do NOT call me by my name until you’ve taken me on at least three dates first. It’s just over familiar, creepy – and gives me serious Joe Goldberg vibes. 

If you’re not their 80-year-old great uncle or their mate giving them a serious intervention, just steer away from using names in general. 

For the love of god, don’t open with a pandemic joke

We’ve been in this Covid situation for almost two years now – your joke isn’t fresh, it’s not funny and I’ve probably heard it 70 times before. “Wow, have you got the Rona? Because I can’t stop looking achoo”. First of all Kevin, sneezing isn’t one of the main symptoms. So how does that work?

It’s not hugely deep, but it’s definitely corny. Let’s leave pandemic one-liners in March 2020, shall we?

Actually *look* at their profile

We can tell when someone’s trying to crack on without actually looking at our profile. My bio is three paragraphs long for a reason – I’m *literally* trying to give you things to talk about!! Building chemistry is more than just looking at someone’s selfie and realising you’re turned on. It’s about finding common ground – asking people about themselves and realising they’re interesting. 

If someone has a dog in their profile – ask them how long they’ve had it for. If they’ve posted a pic of them telling jokes on stage, talk to them about stand-up. If their bio says they’re obsessed with Stanley Kubrick films, ask them whether they prefer The Shining or Full Metal Jacket. It really is that easy. 

Tinder how to have a great convo

Use words, not gifs

Don’t (and I can’t stress this enough) send me a gif and get annoyed when I don’t reply. If you’re opening a conversation with a 2009 clip of a bear waving hello, what am I actually supposed to say to that? 

It’s low-effort, awkward and doesn’t leave a lot of room to actually *have* a conversation. Best case scenario: we communicate only through a string of gifs and never cross paths again. Get creative!

Making the first move is an outdated concept

Take it from someone with a wide perspective on this: “making the first move” is only a thing on hetero Tinder. It’s so outdated and boring – if you want someone (for whatever reason), go and get them. Don’t just sit there waiting for sex to come to you. 

It puts too much pressure on everyone involved. If you fancy someone – no matter your gender – and you’re dying to ask them about themselves, just do it. You won’t go to cishet hell just for complimenting a guy’s eyes, I promise. 

Don’t ask for their Instagram, Snapchat or number straight off the bat

Also, if you’re over the age of 21, you shouldn’t be using Snapchat at all. 

So I think you’re attractive and your bio is intriguing. But at the end of the day, I still don’t know you. I’ve made the mistake of giving strangers my number before, and they always end up spamming me with texts every two minutes. The one time I let a guy I just met add me on Instagram, he sent me a DM asking to see my “fanny”. 

It just feels over-keen and a bit weird – just hold your horses until you feel like you know each other a bit.  

Compliment them in creative ways

It doesn’t have to get obscure, like “wow, I love your belly button ring”, but just think of something more personal than telling them they’re sexy. 

Did their bio make you laugh? Let them know! Did they come across as confident and cool? Literally just tell them. Compliments pretty much always make people feel good, and it gives you tons of brownie points to cash in later. 

Find common ground within the first few messages

I’ve ended up having some of the deadest sex with people I’ve had nothing in common with. Seriously. A sneaky link once turned to me in his cig-smelling, dog-hair-covered car and asked me whether I “like going out”. This is a cautionary tale, kids. 

Chemistry comes from having at least the little things in common. It could be that you both go to the same uni, or study the same degree. You might both like Bake Off or share a penchant for Wetherspoons Curry Club. It’s so much easier to let a conversation flow when you’ve actually *got* stuff to talk about.

And, hey, if they’re boring – just move along. You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Featured image by Mika Baumeister via Unsplash before edits.