The Art of Tinder Talk: Everything You Need to Know to Get the Date
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Tinder might be the most famous and ubiquitous dating app out there, and it might have a remarkably simple user interface where you can move through profiles with simple swipes of the thumb, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually easy to use.
Swiping on Tinder is the easy part — the tricky part is communicating with someone when you actually match. First, there’s the inherent awkwardness of trying to talk to someone you’re attracted to, which might conjure up schoolyard crushes for the less confident.
RELATED: The Best Tinder Opening Messages, Revealed
Then there’s the reality of the platform — with short bios and no personality-matching algorithms, you know next to nothing about this person, and you might both have vastly different frames of reference. Something that’s a clear joke to you might be taken seriously by your match, or vice versa. The person might go silent and it could be because they’re bored by you, offended by you, or simply overwhelmed at work.
All of that can add up to a lot of less-than-stellar interactions. But it doesn’t have to be that way — AskMen spoke to a couple of dating experts about how exactly to chat up your matches on Tinder. Here’s what they had to say:
How to Start a Conversation on Tinder
The rules of online dating dictate that, as the man, it’s probably on you to make the first move and start the conversation. We’re sorry, but that’s just the way it is, and you’ll probably find out that most of your matches won’t message you if you don’t message them first. So how do you go about making a great first impression? We’ll get into the specifics later, but for now, here are some good general rules to follow:
- Tailor your opening message to your match’s bio (including pictures and interests)
- Be bubbly and upbeat
- Avoid generic opening messages, since your match will see hundreds of these
- Don’t be crass, hypersexual or vulgar
- Steer the conversation towards going on an actual date
Remember that having the other person swipe right on you isn’t a victory; it’s just the first step. And the reality is, women get many more matches than men do, so it’s not even enough to help you stand out. Your opening message is your chance to make a great first impression, so you don’t want to flub that!
Tinder Conversation Dos & Don’ts
There’s no golden rule to being good at Tinder. Like everything else in life, some people are naturally better at it than others; working hard at it will typically mean you improve, and naturally attractive people have an unfair advantage no matter how bad they are at flirtatious banter.
While the following dos and don’ts won’t work for every single person you match with, they are pretty good rules of thumb — no swiping pun intended.
Do: Use Specific Compliments
“Make your opening message a sincere, specific compliment about something from their profile that caught your attention,” suggests dating coach Connell Barrett. “Maybe you noticed their taste in movies. You could open with, ‘You’re a Wes Anderson fan? Nice! OK… ‘Rushmore’ or ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’?’ In just 12 words, you’ve scored lots of points by showing that you read their profile, by sharing a genuine compliment, and by asked an engaging question.”
Don’t: Send a Boring Opening Message
“With your opener, the greatest sin is being boring,” says Barrett. “Avoid starting with, ‘Hi,’ ‘How’s your day?,’ ‘What’s up?’ or any version of hello. In real life, approaching someone with a confident hello can work, but on Tinder, it makes you seem boring, and they might not reply. Starting with ‘Hey’ is the same as opening with, ‘Hey, would you please ghost me?”
Do: Ask Questions
“When it comes to starting a conversation, ask a question, answer that question yourself, then ask again — in your first communication,” says Laurel House, a dating and relationship coach and host of the Man Whisperer podcast. “This breaks through the ice, tells them something about who you are, and gives an example of the type of response you how to get back from them.”
Don’t: Wait Forever to Ask Your Match Out
“Here’s a simple system for asking someone out: Let the initial Tinder exchange come to a natural conclusion, and then write something like, ‘We should meet for a drink. What’s your number?’” says Barrett. “That’s all it takes.”
Do: Be Straightforward About How Serious You Are
“Dating apps and online dating make casual ‘hangouts’ not only easy, but expected,” notes House. “If you’re sick of the casual ‘hangout’ that leads to a casual non-committal relationship, you need to take control of the dating platform and set the expectation of being serious and on-purpose for a real relationship by creating opportunities for real connection through pre-date conversations where you ask real substantive questions and make an effort to pre-qualify. Then go on a real date. Not a coffee date or a quick drink, but a date.”
Don’t: Get Sexual
“Don’t get sexual with your initial Tinder or text messages,” cautions Barrett. “Think friendly, not filthy. Sounding too turned on too soon can come across as vulgar. But if you’re witty, flirt a little. On Tinder, wit goes a long way and makes you stand out.An opener that’s flirty and funny won’t just break the ice. It will melt the ice.”
RELATED: This Guy’s God-Like Tinder Skills Will Inspire You
Do: Confirm Your Date
“Text to confirm your date, time, and location the day before or morning of the date by saying, ‘Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at X at X p.m.!’,” suggests House.
Don’t: Freak Out Over a Non-Response
“Don’t be afraid of ‘ghosts.’ Sometimes, you’ll be messaging someone and they go quiet,” says Barrett. “It’s just the nature of the platform. Some people get hundreds of matches per week and they just can’t keep up with all the messages. Laugh it off. It’s not personal. It’s Tinder.”
What to Do When It Works
When your Tinder conversation seems to be going somewhere, it’s magical. Sparks fly. Bells chime. Birds sing. But if you don’t have a lot of flirting experience, it can be hard to know what’s actually going on. What are the mechanics at work behind a good flirtation session?
Good flirting isn’t particularly complicated — it’s creating a unique conversation between you and your match by engaging enough that they want to come along for the ride.
If you make your Tinder match laugh by dreaming up an outlandish situation, creating a running gag, or instituting some form of emoji code, you’re halfway to a good first date already. The key is using what you’re good at and interested in, what you know about your match, and combining those factors to create a unique conversation that your match will enjoy and remember.
Even if you discover there’s no physical or sexual chemistry later on, conversational chemistry at the outset is a huge factor when it comes to someone wanting to go on a first date with you. Of course, actual, real-life dates are a much better indicator of whether there’s a future for the two of you in the cards than just your Tinder conversations.
What to Do When It Doesn’t Work
A bad Tinder conversation is more than just a reason to unmatch the other person. Sometimes, they’re so bad you have to consider even deleting the app — or maybe humanity entirely. There are definitely ways to avoid death by boredom, such as actually reading people’s Tinder bios, for one, and not just swiping right on every single human, for two, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be a few messages deep before realizing it’s going nowhere.
The thing that some guys tend to do is turn a so-so or disappointing Tinder interaction into a horrible one. If the convo goes quiet and an attempt to get it started again goes nowhere, don’t start harassing your match. For starters, they might legitimately not even have seen your messages yet. Second, if they’re genuinely not interested, a non-response is a pretty easy let-down. (Think about it: Do you really want to hear, “Sorry, I’m not interested — I find you boring and unattractive now that we’ve talked for a little bit”?)
Even if your match is the one being rude, you’re better off unmatching than responding in kind. It’s not worth your time or energy. Plus, the more positive interactions people have generally, the more positive they’re likely to feel going into their next Tinder convo. Be part of that precedent.
How to Take a Tinder Conversation Offline
One common mistake most guys make on Tinder is spending too much time flirting online, sending back-and-forth jokes or letting the conversation ramble on aimlessly. You don’t want to use Tinder to figure out her favorite movies, or her political opinions, or her philosophy on life and dating and marriage. All of that should be discussed in person. That’s what real-life dating is for!
RELATED: AskMen’s Official Tinder Review
So how do you take your Tinder conversation into the real world? The best technique involves proposing a date organically, from the conversation you’re already having, and the best time to do that is immediately after you’ve said something witty or charming or complimentary. Did she give you a “haha” or an “lol”? Tell her you’d like to see her smile in person and suggest a coffee date. Did she playfully poke fun of your fashion sense? Tell her she can critique your next outfit during a night on the town.
The really important thing is that you keep things light and playful, and don’t make her feel pressured or taken by surprise.
Other Online Dating Options
Are you on Tinder looking for just a hookup rather than a date or a relationship? If you’re finding yourself frustrated by all the swiping you’re doing without getting anywhere, it might be time to consider one of these hookup sites instead — where you can meet someone looking for the same thing:
AskMen Recommends: If you’re on the hunt for some no-strings-attached action, FriendFinder-X is a great bet. FF-X is a hookup site that lets you express your desires openly — that’s the whole point. Users have lots of ways of interacting with each other — beyond standard messaging, you can also live-broadcast, for instance — and there’s a “What’s Hot” section that highlights the top-rated profiles and pictures, among other things.
Check out FriendFinder-X
AskMen Recommends: If you have a specific fetish or kink, XMatch is also a fantastic option, as it gives you the ability to state what you’re into — and then search its members based on matching sexual proclivities. As well, the site boasts a solid number of active users who are excitedly looking for hookups, just like you. On top of all that, you can check out things like X-rated photos, pictures, and videos on Xmatch.
Check out XMatch
AskMen Recommends: AdultFriendFinder is pretty much a giant. Featuring an enormous user base, the site aims to facilitate both IRL hookups and cyber sex between its members. AFF is a buffet of different sexual kinks and fetishes and its users are not shy about their desires — so unlike Tinder, you won’t have to worry about discovering you and your match aren’t sexually compatible.
Check out AdultFriendFinder
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