Left. Left. Left. Ew! Left. Right. Match!
It’s pretty much the daily dialogue for single people everywhere; without the public stigma that dating apps are both desperate and taboo, I’m finally seeing girlfriends and colleagues swipe openly in broad daylight. The gym, at a meeting, on the bus — you name it. And since numbers show that five percent of all marriages now start from online matches, there’s no chance this swiping fad is going away anytime soon.
One little detail I haven’t seen change, however, is that women often lead in the conversation. Recently on a Reddit thread, one user shared his brief foray with Bumble, the dating app that allows women to start the conversation first, and how tough it was to get a conversation started with a woman. Out of the 45 matches he made, only 8 percent the responses led to a decent convo.
Even my two closest girlfriends — both writers here at Vivala — occasionally get flummoxed over the idea of what to say and what not to say when chatting it up online. Excuses like hating small talk or feeling like a guy should help carry the conversation help no one.
The truth is, online dating requires you to open your mouth and take a real chance. And if you peep these six tips below, you will find it’s the simplest thing in the world to do.
1. Try Talking Like You Know Them Already When you’re at ease, and keeping it namaste, it’s a thousand times easier for your potential mate to pick up your vibe and follow suit. Start the conversation off like you’re messaging someone you’ve known for a bazillion years. Do you just text your friends “ Hi” or do you say something more conversation starting like, “So, I just saw José Bautista get punched in the face last night during that Rangers game? Am I the last person on earth to see this meme? ” Give 'em something to engage with.
2. Don’t Be Defensive I know it’s hard online, because we can never tell if we’re talking to someone who’s serious, horny or a total catfish. But the easiest way to get a good conversation going is always to put your best foot forward. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Finding something to say online is nerve racking for guys too. If you find yourself talking defensively, you’re keeping the lines of communication pretty closed off for potential growth.
3. Ask Some Questions and Listen to the Answers People love to talk about things they are passionate about, so when in doubt, ask a question that requires a real answer. You’ll get tons of nuggets for future discussion points and more questions if you listen carefully. After all, this is what a profile is for — we lists all our interests and distastes to give potential love interest something to connect about. For example, if someone has a love of travel listed, ask them for a recommendation for a good fall trip with girlfriends that’s relaxing and chill. Or if they are love reading, try asking for a recommendation for a few good books for summer.
4. Practice With Someone You Aren’t That Interested In Online dating is like a muscle; once you exercise it enough, it becomes super strong and you can talk to anyone. But if you are starting from zero, in terms of the bravery scale, try matching with someone that doesn’t intimidate you as much. Which sounds kind of mean at first, I know, but the Internet is the wild wild West, and this is no different than taking a practice interview for a job you don’t intend to take. Just try playing around with the way you talk to someone, and how you can keep the ball rolling. Any practice you can get will ultimately help you build your confidence up.
5. Set An Intention This is where all your yoga classes come to life. Before you get yourself tangled in a knot about finding the right words to say, try taking a deep breath and setting an intention for your conversation. What do you want to get out of it? Picture it crystal clear. And then allow yourself to answer and ask questions from a space that comes from what you are sincerely trying to manifest. This will help you avoid making awkward jokes or taking premature selfies that you’ll surely regret later.
6. Be Yourself The thing about online dating is, you want to find someone who is on YOUR level. Not the other way around.If you are open and honest and yourself the entire time, you allow the natural process of selection to filter out anyone who doesn’t make sense. So if your match starts talking about something you know nothing about, admit it. If you cracked a joke that didn’t land, just chuck it up to them not getting your sense of humor. Someone online will be perfect for you. You just have to be you so they can find you in a sea of other bad matches.
7. Keep It Light I recently made the mistake of making a joke about someone’s online about his eleven year old son getting close to a teenage mutant (when they start to smell, get attitudes and drive all our middle school teacher friends absolutely insane.) Unfortunately, he didn’t take to the joke — and clearly that ain’t my kind of guy. But one thing I did take away is to tread lightly in your conversations. Save the deep dating histories, the family issues, and any son jokes to two or three dates later. Just chat about the things that bring you joy, without the immediate pressure to find out if this person the one — the food you love, movies you are obsessed with, where you want to go this summer, how crazy work is right now, the wonders of Donald Trump’s comb over. Even though it doesn’t seem as informational as learning about their last break up, light convo is actually ripe with fruitful details about our passions, our dreams, our hopes, our sense of humor and our deepest insecurities.
8. Talk to Many The crucial thing to online dating, no matter how fated the match seems to be, is that you have to keep talking to multiple people. Honestly, each conversation you have only makes you better at the next one. This is practically an online dating school; so take as many classes as you can by making each match something that shows you the ins and outs of your personality and your dreams. No one should get your immediate monogamy, even in a dating app, until they’ve truly earned it.What do you think? Got more ideas on how to keep the conversation going with a new match? Share them below!
Breonna Rodriguez is a Founding Creator and love and relationships blogger. When she's not writing for Vivala.com, you can find her at zenfulie.com.