So you’ve created a good bio, set your goals for using the app and done some swiping (if you haven’t read Part 1 of this guide, check it out). Hopefully you will get a few matches and it’s time to convert those matches into dates.
Side note: do NOT get down on yourself due to a lack of matches, non-responses or being unmatched by people. Especially as a guy, I and other male friends have far fewer matches than our female counterparts, and many girls just won’t respond. This could be due to “boring” openers, but we will discuss those in this post. I’ve spoken to multiple girls who have told me they use (insert dating app here) just to swipe because it’s fun or an ego boost and never respond.
Bottom line: don’t forget to have fun and don’t take the app/yourself too seriously. Now let’s move on…
Step 4: The Opener
This is huge, especially for guys. I like to think I am a good-looking guy who gets a good amount of matches, but girls barely EVER message first. In fact, I’ve seen dozens of bios that even say they won’t. This, coupled with the fact that girls get way more matches and are constantly being opened on by guys means that this is a very crucial step for us dudes.
My strategy involves one of two openers, depending on my goals of using the app as discussed in step 2, and on the girl I match with. Also, I do not use “pick-up lines” and copy/paste those into chats to start a convo. Some may work well, some may not, I don’t know and don’t care. If you’ve had success with them, awesome. It’s just never been my strategy but I have nothing against them if they work well. Here are my two approaches:
1) The customized greeting: This is my go-to opener if the specific match allows me to. Let me explain. The customized greeting is an opening, greeting, tease or joke that relates directly to something mentioned in the person’s bio or in one of their pictures. For example, if they have a travel photo of a place I recognize or many different adventurous ones, I could open with something like “Oh wow, how was your trip to so and so?” or “Someone looks like they’re very adventurous :p”. If their bio mentions that they work as a yoga teacher nearby or have a particular hobby I know something about, I will ask them something about that. For example, one bio said something about being a sex therapist in training. I asked her about what that was like and we ended up having an hour long conversation about a class on porn she was taking.
The key here isn’t in what you’re saying exactly, it’s that you are referring to a specific detail of their profile and usually doing so in a question form. This a) shows that you took the time to properly look at their profile, b) are interested in that topic/hobby/etc., c) immediately gets their mind thinking of an answer instead of thinking you’re boring, d) gets the conversation flowing and e) separates you from the creeps who are messaging about sex right away.
With time you’ll get better at picking the right details to focus on, but look for themes in the profile or unique topics that come from it (eg. The sex therapist in training). If their bio mentions a few interests and one of them is shown in one of the pictures, ask or comment about that one.
Instead of a question, an innocent tease can also work great. For example, teasing about a favorite sports team, school they went to (these are usually listed from their fb account) or hometown. If their bio ever mentions “I can probably beat you at X”, I almost always open with “I can pretty much guarantee I could beat you at X” or “What do I get when I beat you at X?” Doesn’t matter if you actually can, just get the convo flowing. Just make sure not to be offensive and keep it light. An emoji may help as well if you are worried about the message being misinterpreted.
No matter what goal I have for the app, I use this opener if I can because I find it has the most success in terms of getting responses and getting the conversation flowing right away. If I’m looking for something more serious, I will generally stick more to questions about interests/programs/work, but if I’m looking for something more casual I will try and use some teasing if I can.
2) The simple opener: Now this may have some backlash, but a lot of the time when I can’t think of a good customized greeting, I like to keep things simple. But in a careful way. What I do when I can’t think of anything creative is I open with the following, which, contrary to popular belief, has actually been quite successful:
Hey X, how’s your (insert day here) going?
Now I know a lot of guys and girls will comment about how that’s super boring and it may in fact have cost me some conversations, but here’s why I think that exact opener is good enough to get the convo going. First, an opener isn’t what’s going to get you to the finish line with a girl/guy. Sure, a really clever or personal line might peak their interest or get them excited, but ultimately, the rest of the conversation will decide whether you get that first date or not. The opener is simply there to start the conversation, and in my experiences, this line has done so.
Second, it’s discretely personal and caring. By including the person’s name, you are still showing that you took the time to regard and write out their name (it’s 2016 here people, we’re all busy :P), and by asking how their day is going, you are being present and showing interest in their life.
Contrast this with “hey, what’s up” or “how are you?”. Those are short, unpersonalized messages that don’t give off any warmth at all. My message caters to the individual and asks specifically how they are doing on this day.
Third, similar to the customized greeting, it gets them thinking right away. Instead of them just typing out “nm u” or “good and you?”, I usually get more thorough answers because they have to take the time to think about their day and reflect on how it’s been. It’s very common to get answers like “it’s been great, I did X, Y and Z! How is yours?” or “not too good, A happened today so it’s been B, C and D.”
Not only are these more involved answers, but they give you plenty of info to follow-up on. For example, you could then say “oh wow, I’ve always wanted to try Y, what’s that like?” and boom, you have a conversation. Remember, the purpose of an opener is not to woo the other person with one message, it’s to get the conversation started.
Step 5: Building Comfort/Getting the Number
I know I said the main purpose of this guide is to get you a first date, but I think that getting the person’s number is also important as a transition out of whatever dating app you are using. While it is not required and you can simply follow these steps to set up a date without moving to text, I will include it for a few reasons.
I like to get the person’s number mainly because a lot of the apps suck/crash/take up data, and I much prefer texting. Not only that, but I believe moving to texting may subconsciously bring you up a step in that persons head because you are no longer connecting yourself or the conversation with the app. Take tinder for example: major social stigma around tinder and some girls/people refuse to use it. Many people think it’s “creepy” or “weird” or whatever. That’s fine, their loss. But by moving your conversation to texting, you are now a part of her “regular” means of communication and that could build comfort.
Here, in my experience, is the quickest/easiest way to get a girls number and to get her excited about a possible date. Keep in mind that this is probably the most crucial step of the guide. The rest is easy and could be done by a robot, but this step depends a lot more on adapting to your situation/their responses. If you can get this step down, I can guarantee that you’ll convert more matches to dates.
First, match and use one of the openers above. Hopefully this generates a response, and you follow-up with another question related to her answer. I can’t spell out exactly what they will respond or exactly what you should respond, but I will leave you with this general advice:
- Be interested but don’t message/answer with your life story. Less is more
- Be polite (don’t be an overly apologetic softy but you know what I mean)
- Avoid shitty spelling/grammar. This doesn’t need to be perfect, but avoid sounding like a twelve year old. I have had girls comment on my proper grammar before
- Keep the conversation flowing with good, simple questions (ask about interests, what they’re doing these days, how they are enjoying those things, what they like doing in their spare time, etc. Nothing too personal or crazy)
- Don’t respond immediately every time, but do make an effort to respond as soon as you can within reason. Not answering for a day or more can really kill the flow
- Be normal and friendly…there is so much crap and strategies out there about tricks and special openers to use, and I genuinely think that this is just people over-thinking things. Start the conversation with friendly, interesting discussions and read on to learn how to build off of that
The point of all of this is to build COMFORT. That is the absolute key to this whole guide. Think of it like this: you already know the person is attracted to you, they are on the app for a reason, now they just need to be convinced that it is safe and worth it to meet you in person.
Step 6: Drop the “Line”
This step is very important. After some back and forth (this can vary by match, how smooth the convo flows or time of day that you match) and at a time when you can sense that you have built a comfort level with the person, you message them asking for their number and suggest grabbing drinks or a coffee one night soon.
With regards to timing, this shouldn’t take very long. I am not a fan of talking to tinder girls for days and days without at least getting their number and agreeing to set up a date, although sometimes because of conflicting schedules, it takes longer to actually go on one. Bottom line: within the first 48 hours of matching, assuming there has been at least 3-4 messages sent by each party, you should send a message along the lines of:
“(Quick comment/answer referencing their last message/question)” followed by “I’d love to continue this chat by text, can I get your number? We should definitely grab drinks or a coffee one night soon”
I have literally used a variation of this message dozens and dozens of times, and since I make sure that there is some form of comfort between us already, I have never been denied a number. Ever. Now if the convo is really dull, there’s no connection or the girl is just extremely slow or doesn’t respond, I usually just ignore the convo and move on. But whenever I can tell the convo is moving well, I fairly quickly move to this message.
One thing to note is that this isn’t a script. You could change the first part to “I hate chatting on this app, can I get your number so we can move this to texting?” Or you could change the last part to better suit your convo, like “I’m glad you love hiking too, we should go for one next time we’re both free” (I will discuss why drinks or coffee are my top choices in the next post).
A very common variation I use is at the end of the day. Assuming we matched and had at least some good conversation that day, I’ll say “well I’m just getting to bed, but I’d love to get your number and we should set up drinks or a coffee one night soon. Have a good night!”
Just like with the opener, it’s less about the exact words you say and more about the message you’re conveying. And in these situations, the message should convey that you enjoy chatting with the person but would like to move it to texting, and that you’d like to meet them in person sometime soon. I can honestly say that 99% of responses I get are something along the lines of “that sounds great! I hate messaging on here anyway, here’s my number xxx-xxxx”.
And wow, Part 2 has quickly become very long, very quickly as well. It looks like I’m going to have to make a Part 3 to cover where to go for the first date and how to set it up. Once again, feel free to comment with any questions, concerns or other topics you’d like covered.
However, I do want to reiterate the main theme of this post, which is to create COMFORT. The reason I’ve gone on so many dates with so many random girls I’ve never met (and they’ve told me this in person), is because we have friendly, normal chats that make them feel comfortable going on a date with me. Ditch the creepy openers or comments about hooking up and you WILL see results.
Don’t forget to read Part 3 and thanks for reading!