How to Make Your Dating App Conversations More Interesting

Online dating can be intimidating and a little overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like your matches are only a lost connection, and other times you simply don’t know how to continue a conversation. It’s normal to feel this way, especially if you’re new to the online dating game, but there’s no need to overthink chatting with a new match because holding an interesting conversation is a lot easier than you think. Here are some tips to make those first few messages more intriguing. 

Fill your profile with conversation starters.

Look at this as the pre-party to the main event – rope them in and hype them up to get to know you better! Add photos and a bio that really show who you are and display the qualities you’re most proud of. You may look smokin’ in the five selfies you picked out, but they don’t say enough about how much you love Harry Potter or spent the summer volunteering abroad. What about a photo from your family’s ski trip in Vermont? Or the one you and your friends took at the Post Malone concert? A photo with your pet is always a good idea. Maybe even throw in a meme as one of your pictures, which is always a relatable talking point.

Having a diverse assortment of photos creates more opportunities for those first few messages to feel more personal. And if one topic in your chat begins to feel dull, it means you have other thought starters at the ready to jump to next.

Ask them about something in their profile.

You know the conversation will have a slow start when the first message starts with “Hey, what’s up?” It leads to the predictable stream of a ping-ponging lackluster messages back and forth:

“Nothing much, wbu?”

“Same, just working on some homework.”

“That sucks.”

“Yeah lol.”

You get it. Get creative and be specific! Ask them the story behind their selfie with a camel, or about one of the tattoos they have. And if there's absolutely nothing in their profile that can serve as a conversation starter, fall back on get-to-know-you questions that anyone could answer.

Start with simple questions like “What’s your major?” and “Where are you from?” and work your way up to slightly more personal questions. Ask if they have any pets, what their favorite movie is, what kind of music they like, and so on. This is an easy way to learn what you have in common and keeps the conversation going. If you can feel the conversation begin to dull, don’t be afraid to switch the topic to something more exciting. Even if it’s as radical as “Have you ever had any paranormal experiences?” it’s much better than “what are you up to?” And if they show these positive texting behaviors, then you’re doing it right.

Get flirty with GIFs.

Honestly, GIFs are rad and they can be used as an opener. Tinder and Bumble both have a variety of GIF options to choose from, ranging from flirty to funny to weird. Choose what you feel is right! J

ust remember that they can be interpreted differently. To quote an experience from my roommate, “One time a guy sent me a GIF of a cat as a first message, so I replied with another GIF of a cat sticking his head under a running faucet because I thought it was cute. But then he asked, ‘Is that a sexual innuendo?’ I didn’t know how to reply, so I didn’t.” It can go either way, so be prepared. Also, remember to switch to a real conversation eventually because you don’t want to drag out GIF-play for too long.

Related: 4 Texts Guys Send When They're Not Interested

Don’t overdo it with the emojis.

A laughing emoji and an “LOL” here or there is totally fine and encouraged because it lets the other person know that you’re enjoying the conversation. But an obnoxious amount gives off an artificial impression.

“If he uses a lot of emojis, I just assume he doesn’t know what else to say,” says Heather Leger, senior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “If a guy is being very extra about it, I would probably be like, alright, this isn’t going anywhere because he doesn’t know how to talk to me over text.” Look at emojis as a spice to add to the conversation– a little adds flavor, but too much can ruin it.

Avoid one word replies.

Chatting through texts or DMs is already tough because you can’t read the other person’s body language. One word responses give the other person the impression that they’re not worth your time and the conversation will die fast. As a busy student, it may be hard to find time in your day to give a thorough reply or say something witty.

Instead sending brief, vague messages throughout the day, it may be better to wait until you have downtime to really put effort into talking, even if that means your message is a paragraph long. It shows the other person you’re taking them seriously and are not using them as a filler when you’re bored or just have a minute to spare. They should understand that you’re a busy babe trying their best to find balance between school, work and dating. Odds are, they are too.

Related: 7 Ways to Deal When You Want to DTR & They Don't

Use proper grammar, but still be conversational. 

We’re not in high school anymore. Try to avoid acronyms and do properly spell out words like“you” instead of “u,” “are” instead of “r,” and so on. Even if you’re just looking for some fun, don’t hide your intelligence! As an English major, poor grammar and multiple spelling errors are a huge turn off for me. I want to feel like I’m talking to someone who is taking the conversation seriously, and a “how r u doing 2day?” message just doesn't come off as compelling to me anymore.

The most important thing to remember when online dating is to be yourself. It’s your chance to express yourself and decide if this other person could be an ideal match to meet IRL. If you both feel a connection, try to plan a date (sooner rather than later) and see where things go from there, because messaging can only sustain a relationship for so long.