What To Say On Tinder In Your First Message And How To Reply

Young guy thinking about his first Tinder message

As a man in the world of Tinder, starting the conversation is usually up to you. Just like in a bar, women have more options available to them. So they have no need to initiate.

Whether we like it or not, that’s just how it is. That means to be effective on Tinder, we have to learn how to open and maintain an engaging conversation. The good news is, if you’re a good fit for each other, keeping the conversation going doesn’t take much work.

What to say on Tinder is an important topic. In this article I’m going to cover all the important points I wish I was told when I started.

What to say to a girl on Tinder

We’re going to cover some important tips to get you started, as well as a few traps to avoid. Most guys could do with some improvement in this area so the bar is low. What this means for you is that with just a bit of practice you’ll quickly become one of her more interesting matches. We actually broke down what guys are saying in their first messages and how to utilize this knowledge to your benefit.

This info is designed to give you a solid framework to start from but everyone has their own style. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different things and see how they go. As long as you keep it respectful, it’s OK to get creative and see what you can learn.

Don’t think for a second that I haven’t had some failed experiments! What matters is that I learned what to say on Tinder from both the good and the bad. From there I’ve developed my own style.

What to say to a Tinder match

So you’ve got a new match and you’re excited to talk to her. You head over to your messages, tap her profile and . . . stare blankly at your phone. You just can’t think of what to say to a girl on Tinder.

It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Particularly if you’re new to the app, learning what to say on Tinder can be surprisingly hard.

Since you have to start a conversation before you can work on maintaining it, this is where I’m going to begin.

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Put some effort into it

This is perhaps the most important tip for what to say to a Tinder match. After staring at the blank conversation long enough, you might be tempted to just say “Hi” and move on.

Sure, saying “Hi” is better than nothing but not by much. You’re better than that and it’s important she knows it. Remember how I said the majority of other guys set the bar pretty low? This is a big part of the reason.

If you just start with “Hi”, “Hey”, “Hello” or some other lazy variation, you’re volunteering for her long list of ignored matches. Not recommended.

Look closely at her profile

Her profile is there to tell you about her. Even if she didn’t include anything in the bio, a picture speaks a thousand words.

Take a good look at her profile and what you can find that’s of interest. Does she share similar, unique interests? Maybe you recognize the location in one of her photos. She may have even included a quote from a book or movie you like.

What you’re looking for here isn’t some perfect angle to play. You’re not a ‘pickup artist’ trying to lay down some “slick” moves. Instead, you want to let her know that you’re actually paying attention and share something in common.

If you happen to find something obscure you can relate to, that’s even better. Take this opener I used recently as an example. She had a photo taken in my home city at a bar I used to frequent. I also knew the owners of this bar before they opened it. Obscure and mildly interesting.

Me: “Hey Jen, how’d you like [name of the bar]? Your photo makes me miss hanging out there”

Her: “I loved that place! We went back so many times while we were there”

Me: “Oh yeah, I definitely spent way too much money there when it opened”

Nothing groundbreaking. It just lets her know that I’m paying attention and offers some common ground for discussion. When you can find small things like this within in her profile, knowing what to say on Tinder becomes so much easier.

Don’t focus on her looks

This is a common mistake that you really want to avoid. Firstly, if she’s very attractive, she’ll have people telling her this all the time — especially on Tinder. Not the best way to stand out.

Second, it’s an awkward message to reply to. If someone messaged you right now and said “You’re hot”, how do you think you’d reply? About the only good way to respond to this is with an awkward “Thanks” so she’s probably just going to ignore you instead.

In the swiping phase, Tinder is shallow by design. You can both assume that if you’ve matched, you’re physically attracted to each other. Instead, try to focus on something else.

The classic dad jokes

Tinder is a two-way street. I have a good sense of humor and it’s important to me that she does too. If she ignores or unmatches me because of it, that’s okay. We probably weren’t going to get along all that well anyway.

Though usually reserved for blank or boring profiles, dad jokes are a solid (and successful) fallback for me. If you don’t have any good ones at the ready, Google is your friend. For bonus points, you’re looking for something that goes with a funny, cute or amusing gif.

Here’s my personal favorite:

Me: “Hey Sarah, I have an important question for you… how does a penguin build his house?”

Her: “Umm, I don’t know?”

Me: “Igloos it together!”

via GIPHY

Silly, mildly amusing and overall groan-inducing . . . Sounds like a dad joke to me.

Now there is a drawback to using these as an opener. It’s designed to open the door to a conversation. Unfortunately that’s about all it’s going to achieve so use it sparingly.

More often than not I’ll get either a “Haha, that’s a good one” or “Aww, that’s such a cute gif!”. See the problem? They’re not flowing naturally into a conversation.

Now, it’s time to switch topics to something you can both actually talk about. This brings me to my next section of this article…

How to maintain a conversation on Tinder

Tinder is a low priority for most of us. That can feel frustrating sometimes but it does let you experiment without anyone getting offended. The downside? If the conversation starts to get a little dry that’s probably where it will end.

Let’s take a look at a few tips to keep it going long enough to escalate. Over time, knowing how to respond on Tinder will become second nature.

Keep it positive

Everyone knows at least one person who goes through life being a total killjoy. If you spend enough time alone with them, it can really start to bring you down too.

That’s because being a Negative Nelly sucks the fun out of everything and it’s not an attractive trait. It doesn’t mean you have to pretend everything is sunshine and rainbows. Certainly in the early stages when you’re getting to know each other though, try to avoid negativity.

Tinder dating is meant to be a fun and exciting process of getting to know new people. The platform itself has already given you a leg up in terms of being exciting so make sure you run with that!

Maintaining a positive and exciting vibe through your conversation is going to keep both of you so much more interested. Even if she starts to take things down a negative tangent, do your best to acknowledge it and change subject.

Maybe she’s complaining about how much she spent at the bar last night. It might be tempting to run with that conversation but you’re far better off avoiding that route.

Rather than ignore it completely, a simple “Sounds like it was better than sitting on the couch at least?” works. Then launch into something else. For me, I prefer a little goofy humor (because it’s fun) and would reply with something more like “Well look on the bright side. You might be broke but at least you’re hungover!”.

It’s a cheap laugh, a new topic and now we’re heading away from wallowing in self-pity.

Be a grammar Nazi

If you think it doesn’t matter, try asking some of the single women you know. You’d be surprised just how much of a common complaint this is.

You absolutely can make up for bad grammar in other ways but why compensate for something so easy to fix? If English really isn’t your strong suit, check out the Grammarly keyboard for Android and iOS. It’s free and will give you suggestions on both grammar and spelling.

This is especially important if she’s in an industry that requires a high level of spelling and grammar. Law, copywriting, teaching etc. If she’s used to such a high standard, mixing up “Your” and “You’re” is not a good look.

Match the length of her messages

If you’ve had a few conversations that fizzled out, scroll back through them quickly. Do you see some instances where she’s sending just a few words while you’re responding with paragraphs?

This is usually a sign that you each have a different level of investment in the conversation. It could be that she just isn’t interested in where the conversation is heading or maybe she’s just not feeling it in general.

My advice for how to respond on Tinder is to switch it up a little. Try to keep it playful but if she still seems disinterested then move on. There will be other matches and opportunities — no need to try forcing this one.

Back-and-forth questions make for engaging conversation

When you first match with a woman on Tinder, all you really have to go by is her photos. If you go into each conversation with the aim of learning about her, your success rate will immediately improve.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, we all find it easier to talk about ourselves than anything else. It makes sense — it’s the topic we’re most familiar with. If you’re asking genuine questions about her, she’ll be able to answer them without much thought. Just don’t let them get too heavy, now is not the time to ask where she sees herself in 10 years!

The other reason this improves your conversation is that it’s actually engaging and shows real interest. Rather than the generic “how’s your day?”, get creative.

This is where paying attention to her profile really helps. As an example, I grew up on a farm and used to ride horses competitively for years. If she has a photo with a horse, I can go with something like “I haven’t been on a horse in years! What got you into it?”

In just a few words I’ve now offered some common ground and asked a question that interests me. Conversation from this point will flow easily either way. If she does ride, there’s a good chance she’s passionate about it and it’s a topic I’m familiar with. If she doesn’t, we can still talk about how she ended up with that photo. The fact that it made it to her profile means there’s probably a good story or memory associated with it.

Whatever the topic, back and forth questions make for interesting conversation. It’s the best way to learn about each other quickly and it keeps the conversation alive.

Wait for the right time to escalate

If you’ve read any of the popular ‘pickup artist’ guides, a common suggestion is to escalate quickly. Show how alpha you are and if she doesn’t like it, move on.

A better approach is to pretend you’re talking to a real person and pay attention to social dynamics. Neither of you are looking for a pen pal so it’s true, you don’t want to be chatting for weeks on Tinder.

That said, it’s very rare that trying to exchange phone numbers three messages in will turn out well for you.

Pay attention to her interest levels as well as your own. Everyone has their own preferences here but I prefer to establish some actual conversation first. If I have to carry a conversation on Tinder, do I really want to be doing the same at a bar or cafe?

Knowing the right time is as much about practice as anything else. From my side of things, if the conversation is happening with minimal effort and I’m happy to see a reply, I’m in.

If she seems equally invested in the conversation and doesn’t take days to reply, that’s when it feels about right for me.

With some conversations that’s after 20 minutes of back-and-forth. Other times it’s a couple of days. There’s no perfect amount of time or number of messages, there are too many variables at play.

Relax, you’re just talking to another person!

It sounds silly but try to remember this. She’s on Tinder for the same reason as you are — to meet others. You both have the same intentions so the prospect of chatting with a woman through Tinder shouldn’t be so scary.

As long as you put in more effort than “Hi”, you’re already at a huge advantage. Relax, have fun with it and if you ever get stuck, think about what you’d do if she was one of your friends.

Contrary to what your mind may tell you some days, she’s not sitting there judging your every move. She’s looking for a good conversation and someone worth meeting. Eventually, knowing what to say to a Tinder match will become second nature.

Good luck!

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