Tinder Conversation Starters That Will Actually Go Somewhere

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In case you haven’t heard, starting a conversation on a dating app is…not my favorite thing—hence why Bumble and I aren’t exactly besties. But look, while I’m sure most of us would probably prefer being messaged first by our throngs of adoring matches who are just dyinggg to talk to us, there comes a time in every app-dater’s life when we must embrace the art of the Tinder conversation starter.

Even if you weren’t forced into making the first move because you got banned from every other dating app except the one that, well, forces you to make the first move, (hi, it’s me) there’s still something to be said for being the one to break the ice. Like, what if your soulmate is just sitting in your match queue waiting for you to reach out and if you don’t message them first then you’ll always be haunted by what could have been??? Jk, it’s not that deep. But having some solid conversation starters on hand for when you don’t feel like waiting around for a particularly promising cutie to hit you up first is never a bad idea. That’s why we’ve asked the experts for their advice on crafting the perfect conversation starter that’ll get you off your phone and on a real date ASAP.

“The best conversation starters are ones that are personal, and ideally funny or witty and even slightly intriguing or curiosity-provoking,” says dating coach Sarika Jain, author of The 90-Day Soulmate Plan.

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Remember, the goal here is to start a meaningful, or at least lasting, convo. “In general, we want to start conversations in a way that has the best chance of survival,” says queer dating coach Ariella Surur. Now, how exactly do we go about doing that? Read on for expert-approved tips for nailing the perfect opening line that won’t leave ya hanging in Tinder limbo.

Mention Something in Their Profile

And be specific! “Mentioning something in the person’s profile is key because it shows that you are thoughtful,” says Jain. And if, say, you’re dealing with your typical bare-bones dude profile that doesn’t give you much to work with in the way of engaging content (sigh), Jain says to instead comment on something in one of their photos or their preferences. Work with what you’ve got!

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Opening with a question is a great way to set yourself up for a response because, well, you’re literally asking for one. And you’re gonna want to aim a little higher than a simple, “How’s your week?” Lily Womble, founder and CEO of Date Brazen, recommends asking “intentional” questions, or what she calls “qualifying disqualifying questions,” as they’re more likely to weed out people who aren’t willing to make an effort to get to know you or have a thoughtful conversation.

“The reason we see so much bad behavior, overwhelm,and dissatisfaction on dating apps is because people are engaging without intention, so their brains are literally going into cognitive overload with all of the options at their fingertips,” says Womble. If you want to strike up a meaningful connection and avoid burnout, asking these “qualifying disqualifying questions” is the way to go.

Try This Three-Step Formula

With the above tips in mind, Jain recommends following a three-step formula for crafting the perfect opener:

1. Pick up something in their profile that stands out

2. Write something funny or witty about it and share a personal story or explain how you can relate to it.

3. End with a question

For example, if your match mentions liking basketball in their profile, Jain recommends writing something like: “Hey there, I saw that you’re a huge basketball fan; the last time I went to [insert specific team/game], I ended up being in the bathroom when [insert thing] happened! I was so bummed. If you could invite a famous player over for Thanksgiving dinner, who would it be?”

“This way, the conversation starter helps a person feel like they’ve been seen, they feel a warm connection, and are put in a playful state, which is what helps make online dating more personal,” says Jain.

Avoid Bad Vibes

Yes, you want to make it personal, but it’s also important to keep things light. While inserting some humor can help do that, you might want to stay clear of anything too self-deprecating, says Jain. Also, please hold the jokes and/or complaints about dating apps or dating in general. It’s super played out, it’s kind of a downer, and it’s simply not the vibe!

Skip the Small Talk and Ask ’Em Out, Already!

It’s a bold strategy, and definitely not a universally successful one. But if you’re willing to take a chance, skip the chit-chat and suggest a date. Like, “Hey, I have an extra ticket to [insert event] on Friday. Would you like to join?” Or, “Hey, I’ve been meaning to check out [insert bar/restaurant/etc]. Any interest in hitting it up with me this weekend?” Not only is it a unique approach that will catch someone’s attention, but it also shows that you’re serious about actually meeting people and aren’t just looking to rack up a bunch of Tinder pen pals.

If All Else Fails, Have Some Backups Ready

Obviously, the more personal you can get with it, the better your odds of actually striking up a fun convo. But if nothing in their profile speaks to you, it’s totally fine to have a few all-purpose (but still fun and engaging) opening lines on hand. See below for some of our faves. You can literally go right ahead and paste these into your chat—we won’t tell.

  1. “Hey, what’s bringing you joy this week?”
  2. “What are you learning about lately that you could talk about for hours?”
  3. “What’s something that made you laugh really hard recently?”
  4. “It’s giving [insert cheeky compliment about their profile here].”
  5. “Have you read anything interesting recently?”
  6. “Tell me about a book or movie that changed your life.”
  7. “What’s been the most exciting moment of your week so far?”
  8. “If money weren’t an issue, what would you do with your life?”
  9. “What does your dream life look like?”
  10. “If you could pick your dream music festival lineup, who would be a part of it?”
  11. “You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are the three essentials you’ve taken with you?”
  12. “What would you wear if you were a student at Euphoria High.”
  13. “Aw, what a cute [pet/baby]!”
  14. “What’s an item you’d love to have a lifetime supply of?”
  15. “What’s your favorite cereal?”
  16. “Sweet or savory?”
  17. “Who would be your dream dinner guest and why?”
  18. “What actor would play you in the movie of your life?”
  19. “What’s a pop culture era you wish you could travel back in time to?”
  20. “What’s your go-to karaoke song?”
  21. “Tell me about your most interesting special talent.”
  22. “What’s the most random fact you know off the top of your head?”

Headshot of Naydeline Mejia

Naydeline Mejia

Assistant Editor

Naydeline Mejia is an assistant editor at Women’s Health, where she covers sex, relationships, and lifestyle for WomensHealthMag.com and the print magazine. She is a proud graduate of Baruch College and has more than two years of experience writing and editing lifestyle content. When she’s not writing, you can find her thrift-shopping, binge-watching whatever reality dating show is trending at the moment, and spending countless hours scrolling through Pinterest.

Headshot of Kayla Kibbe

Associate Sex & Relationships Editor

Kayla Kibbe (she/her) is the Associate Sex and Relationships Editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers all things sex, love, dating, and relationships • She lives in Astoria, Queens and probably won’t stop talking about how great it is if you bring it up • Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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