Trying to stand out from the crowd on a dating app when you know that your match is probably texting at least five other people at the same time is nerve-wracking. You can’t make eye contact, smile, or use any kind of body language to seduce them, so what do you do? Here’s how to flirt with your dating app matches via text.
- Craft a winning pick-up line. Crafting a great pick-up line shouldn’t take hours, but it should have some thought behind it. Using the person’s profile as material is a great place to start. You could go the conversational route and ask them something specific about their work, or you could try to be cute and make them laugh by saying something like, “I seem to have lost your phone number. Could you send it again?” Using a method that feels natural to you is key.
- But don’t overthink it. Pick-up lines that try too hard are even worse than a generic “Hey.” Remember that the goal is to get a conversation going, not get them to fall in love with you in one message, so you don’t have to be impossibly brilliant. When in doubt, ask a question and keep it to no more than a sentence. If you’re going around in circles trying to think of something clever, go back to square one and just tell them they’re gorgeous and you want to get a drink with them.
- Stick to playful banter over biographical novellas. It’s all about momentum. Writing overly-long messages will stall the conversation and make it harder for you to develop chemistry. If you’re swapping texts like a ping-pong ball, you’ll get into the flow of the game of flirting much faster than if you try to connect through deep, carefully-worded messages of introduction. Save your life story for when you meet in person.
- Keep it flirty, not sexy (at first). Getting dirty right away can shut a conversation down before it’s even started. Sure, using “my place or yours?” as a pick-up line might work, but it depends on the person’s sense of humor, and since you don’t know anything about them including their humor preferences, it’s better to play it safe. Even if you’re just looking for a hookup, you should always start from a place of respect. Starting a conversation with a licking-lips emoji might ruin your prospects with someone who would have been a great match.
- Ask lots of questions. The more you know about the person, the more material you’ll have to keep the conversation going. It shows that you’re interested in more than their appearance and that you’re making an effort to learn more about them. People are also more likely to reply to direct questions than to simple statements of fact, “You’re hot,” is a lot harder to respond to than, “OMG, what’s your dog’s name? She’s adorable.”
- Joke about dating apps. There’s one thing that you definitely have in common. Both of you have experience with dating apps, even if it’s your first day using them and you still haven’t met anyone in person. Everyone has a dating app horror story–a fairy-tale first date gone wrong, a catfish, a super awkward and inappropriate messaging exchange–it’s unavoidable. Bonding over the chaos of online dating will break the ice and reassure both of you that the other person seems fairly normal.
- Learn about their movie/music preferences. Some people get nervous and awkward when they’re asked direct questions about themselves. You can avoid this by sticking to their pop-culture preferences. Which movies and TV shows have they been watching lately? Who is their current favorite musical artist? These types of questions will give you plenty to talk about and bond over without getting deep into either person’s personal history.
- Tell them what you like about their profile. Using their profile is not only a great way to start the conversation, but also a great way to keep the messages flowing. After all, you matched with them because you liked their profile, so tell them what drew you in. Ask for more details. Get the backstory behind one of their photos. Before you know it, you’ll be in the middle of a great conversation and hardly remember how you got there.
- Take it off the app. The progression from matching with someone to meeting them in person has several steps. One of the most important is taking your conversation off the app. This signals that you’ve made it to the next round. You’ve learned enough about them on the app to know that they’re not a psychopath and you’re interested enough to give them your number. Successful initiation of this step hinges on timing: ask for their number too soon and they’ll write you off as pushy; leave it too late and they’ll have already moved on. Dropping into the middle of flirty banter is usually the ideal moment.
- Suggest a date early. If you’re a veteran of dating apps, you’ve almost certainly had an experience where you messaged someone for such a long time and exchanged so much information about each other’s lives that by the time it came to meeting in person, you had nothing to talk about. In my experience, the sooner you meet someone you’re interested in real life, the better your chances are of having a relationship with them. Save your best stories and topics of conversation for your first date. It’ll pay off.
How not to flirt with your matches on dating apps
- Make it an interview. Asking questions is great, but don’t make them feel like they’re being interrogated. Only use questions as a way to start a conversation. If you’re asking them question after question without acknowledging their answers or sharing any details about yourself, you will seem aggressive and awkward.
- Be generic. “Hey :)” is one of the most common examples of a generic pick-up line, but it doesn’t end there. Swapping trivial questions to try to get a conversation going will only result in the opposite. If the other person is bored, they’ll ghost you without hesitation. Most people have several conversations going with dating app matches at any given time. If they’re bored with one match, they’ll move on to another. This is where their profile comes in handy. If you can ask them personalized questions, the conversation will feel much more natural and engaging.
- Pursue someone who doesn’t respond. For whatever reason, some people have no interest in talking to everyone they match with. Some even have a strategy of “liking” or swiping right on every single profile. Getting zero response from someone you reach out to on a dating app is not the same as being rejected by someone in person. You just have to accept it as part of the process and not take it personally. Double-texting someone who isn’t responding is a waste of time.