6 Tips to Rock Conversation Starters on Dating Apps

Dating 101
28 Jan 2024
8 min read
6 Ways How to Start a Conversation on a Dating App

People who have trouble making conversation with strangers at social gatherings are always told that it’s easier to do it on dating apps. That may be true once a conversation is in gear, but do you know how to start a conversation on a dating app?

Of course, you can use “Hey, how are you?” or “Hey, I like you!” as your opening line to everyone on a dating app. That’s what more than half of people do there. But what will you say next? Check out our recommendations for the best conversation starters that will let you set the right tone before you establish a deeper connection and go on a real date.

Related reading: The Best Flirty Conversation Starters

First Impressions in Online Dating Matter

It should be common knowledge that people “size each other up” when they first meet them. So, when you send that first message to a match on a dating app, you are making that important first impression.

You need to learn how to start a conversation on a dating app that will engage and intrigue the receiver and motivate them to engage in a more meaningful conversation with you. And here’s what we’re going to do here – give you some more insight and some usable tips on how to start a conversation on a dating app.

5 Things to Check Before Writing Your First Line

Before you type a word of that initial message and engage in small talk, there is some work to be done to elevate your dating experience.

1. Fill Your Profile

Your dating profile is critically important if you have come to a dating app for meaningful connections. If it is on the boring side, a single message from you will not fix that impression. Online dating takes effort, and crafting the best dating profile possible is a big part of that effort.

So, here is what should a match see when they check out someone’s profile:

  • Matter-of-fact statements
  • No lackluster photos (they mean that person is not worth pursuing)
  • Great profile example as a whole (you can conduct a Google search for tips and examples)

Most dating apps have prompts for profile creation so you can present yourself in a fun and creative way. And don’t underestimate the power of profile photos! A nice headshot is fine, but showing yourself in action is much more interesting.

2. Check Out The Person’s Profile

Here’s why checking their profile first is a meaningful thing to do:

  • You’ll learn a lot about your match’s personality, and that can give you some ideas about good conversation starters.
  • Your match will know you took the time to read their profile. Remember first impressions? They will get the notion that you are genuinely interested.

By checking their profile, you may find things you have in common to be on the same page and promote meaningful connections. They can also provide topics for a first message.

Related reading: Complimenting Men: How to Make Them Feel Great?

Let go of trying to control your chats on a dating app

3. Let Go of Control

Conversation starters should really do two things, if possible:

  1. They should project a little about your personality
  2. They should be geared to show your interest in them

Sometimes, a well-planned question can do the trick.

“I see you’re into science fiction. Me too. Who’s your favorite writer?”

Yes, it’s small talk, but it’s meant to get a response so you can get things moving. Early chatting will be surface-level conversations, and it’s not a time to discuss emotional topics or serious matters. And you’re not looking for a deep connection at this point. So keep it light.

4. Be Ready to Provide an Equal Input

Maybe someone has reached out to you first – after all, the online dating scene is an equal opportunity platform. If that first message has engaged you and you want to know more, do not give a shallow answer in your return message.

If they have said something like, “I see you’re into exotic animal rescue. How fascinating. What’s the most exotic animal you have encountered?” Don’t just say “ocelot” and be done with it. Tell them something about ocelots and how you encountered one.

The point is to keep the conversation on a dating app going. With your one-word answer, you’ll just shut it down. The same goes for providing detailed answers to one-line questions.

5. Go With the Flow

If you are thinking about bypassing surface-level conversations and heading straight to the heart of your desire to find a serious partner, think again. You may have that in your profile, but don’t randomly message potential partners about your personal life and relationship goals. Relationship experts will all tell you to move slowly.

Here are some really bad conversation starters:

  • I’ve finally gotten over being dumped and am ready for a new, serious relationship. How about you?
  • I’m looking for the right person, and you may just be it.
  • I want a long-term relationship, and you check all my boxes. Let’s set up an IRL date.

When you start a conversation like this, almost any potential partner will back off. It can seem like you are love bombing – never a good thing. Keep things casual, no matter how infatuated you may be at first glance. And if a potential date sends you a first message of this type, use your better sense and be very cautious, no matter how flattered you may feel. This goes for any deep question they may ask too.

Remember, forming a meaningful connection takes time. Any relationship coach and family therapist will tell you this. Even engaged couples make use of them to be absolutely certain they’re right for each other.

Don’t expect a serious relationship to happen overnight. Start it light and slow – and see how it unfolds.

Best tips on how to start a conversation on a dating app

6 Tips on How to Start a Conversation on a Dating App

If you find yourself struggling to come up with an engaging starter message, even after reading a match’s profile, here are some tips and examples.

1. Use Ready-Made Icebreakers

On Hily, you can choose from the set of suggested “icebreakers.” If you want, you can look at and re-fashion a bit so they don’t look like you are “stealing.” Also, the Internet is a great source for suggested messages.

The dating app divides these icebreakers into categories so that you can choose the purpose and the tone of your opening line. And there are so many more aspects to personality, you may want to stick with these icebreakers for a while or embellish them, depending on the responses you get.

Related reading: 50 Excellent Icebreaker Questions for Dating

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

These are some of the best questions because they “force” a longer answer. And the longer the answer you get, the more you will get to know. People tend to respond to these types of questions with more than a one-sentence answer, and that will lead to good conversations.

Here are some examples of such questions:

  • What is your idea of a great weekend?
  • What do you like to do best when out with your friends?
  • What is something you are passionate about?

These are smart questions because, when you get the response, you can respond with your answer to the same question. Usually, this conversation will lead to deeper questions.

Related reading: Questions to Ask on a Dating App

3. Try Questions About Their Lives and Feelings

These are also somewhat open-ended, and they should elicit more than a simple phrase in response:

  • How many things are on your bucket list, and how many of them have you managed to cross off? What’s next for you?
  • Do you have the job/career you really want, or do you have a dream job you want to have one day?
  • Do you have some talent or interest that not many know about?
  • Who is your favorite family member? (Note: this is much better than just asking if family is important, which will bring a “yes” or “no” and not anything else.)
  • Name the three most important qualities a person should have.

One of the benefits of questions like these is that a person will “feel heard,” believing that someone is actually interested in what they have to say. They think, “This is someone I might be able to find a real connection with.”

Humor is a perfect conversation starter for a meaningful connection

4. Relying on Humor to Give You a “Leg Up”

You don’t need a unique sense of humor to stand out. Just using more normal humor will probably bring a smile and a reply.

One word of caution here: If you think a humorous question might be inappropriate, err on that side of caution.

Try these or similar variations:

  • What would your friends warn me about you?
  • What’s the worst thing you got caught for? You tell me yours, and I’ll tell you mine.
  • What’s the worst excuse you have ever given to get out of something?
  • How are you preparing for the zombie apocalypse?
  • What keeps showing up on your “to-do” list because you never actually do it? Mine is…

While these questions seem pretty lightweight, they can give you some insights into their personality and their sense of humor. For example, if you get a reply like, “I’ve never been caught doing anything wrong,” relationship therapists will tell you that this is someone with a closed personality, probably not a good prospect to form meaningful connections with.

5. Play the Choices Game

Here’s a method of proactively determining things about someone’s personality and deciding if their values, interests, and priorities are a match for yours. These may be things you want to know before you ever ask for that first date IRL or move forward to more meaningful connections or a more serious commitment that would involve them potentially meeting your friends and family.

This “would you rather” game can give you a better idea of their priorities and possibly uncover someone’s motive for the relationship they want.

Here are some choice questions that are bound to provide information on a potential match:

  • If you have an entirely free day off, would you rather take a road trip or stay home watching Netflix?
  • Would you rather be able to go back and change your past or control your future?
  • Would you rather have more money or more time?
  • If given the choice of two superpowers, would you rather be able to read minds or fly?
  • Would you rather live in the city or the country?
  • Would you rather go without music or without movies?
  • Would you rather be your own boss or work for someone else?
  • Would you rather figure things out on your own or ask for help?
  • Would you rather give up your favorite song or your favorite movie?
  • Would you rather have a chef or a maid?
  • Would you rather be smart or funny?

This is a long list, but you should be able to pick some that would show you how this person thinks and views life. Think about what is important to you and form your own choice questions. And be ready to give your answers to these same questions.

Related reading: Top First Date Tips to Get a Second Date

Final Word: Don’t Overdo the Questions/One-Line Icebreakers

There are plenty of other questions you can ask to avoid one-message conversations (those that never get a reply). But don’t spend too much time just doing this. At some point, you just need to have a real conversation, not spend your life wondering how to start a conversation on a dating app.

If you have interest and you believe they do too, suggest an audio or video call. And don’t spend a few weeks getting to know each other digitally before you ask for that first date. Any relationship coach will tell you that when things drag on, they may lose interest. Show your clear intentions as soon as possible.

So, go forth, develop your own line of messages and questions, and see where they lead. Most of all, have some fun!

Dating Tips Author
Shelly Standford
After a devastating relationship breakup, I threw myself into the dating scene by registering on Hily. I had over 100 dates - some absolute disasters, some pretty average, and some that were actually great. So many stories to tell and insights to share with you guys!

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