You never get a second chance at making a first impression. This is especially true when it comes down to the quintessence of the online dating world. The first message you send to someone can very well be the make or break of that relationship, or non-relationship, as it determines whether the conversation will continue or come to a catastrophic close.
In theory, online dating is very much like sending in your resume to a mélange of jobs. Each specialization calls for its own respective responsibilities, and you should be catering your resume to what they are looking for in an applicant. Similarly with online dating, your opening line is your resume, and should differentiate from person to person. Generic one liners such as “Hi,” “What’s up?,” “How’s it going?,” are a weak attempt at capturing one’s interest. Instead, make yourself memorable amongst a myriad of matches by putting more thought into your initial responses and steering away from more traditional openers.
Use your investigating skills.
The ultimate key is to use the information you have been given, i.e. photos, bio lines, and other things you can collect from the profile. Once you become aware of this, starting a conversation will become second nature, as you are presented with a more mindful approach to catching someone’s attention and showing them you’re interested in what they are interested in.
Imagine a folder of classified information that includes everything from the likes of one’s interests to his or her favorite foods. All of this is hidden within the profile, it simply needs to be unpacked.
Find a common ground by giving your best rendition of a famous line from a work of art.
There are some aspects of pop culture that all people around a certain age can relate too. Referencing an element of entertainment is a great way to spark up conversation. Be sure to add your own flare by taking a well-known line from a piece of literature, a movie, or a song verse, and getting creative with it.
If you see a photo with a boat, you can break the ice with a little Walt Whitman- “O Captain! My Captain!” While not every person will grasp the reference, those who do will be impressed by your charismatic approach, rather than the generic, “I see you like boats.” Or simply try asking an entertainment related question. “You can only keep one: Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, or Stephen Colbert?”
Laughter is the best medicine
If you can make someone laugh right off the bat, you are headed in the right direction. According to Psychology Today, laughter releases endorphins, which make us feel good about ourselves and other people. Humor is considered by most to be one of the finer forms of sophistication, and those who practice is with eloquence and charm take a high degree of intellectual prowess. This might mean using a ridiculous, but clever pick-up line or coming up with something entirely unique.
Playfully ask a question that one would feel compelled to answer.
If played right, questions have the power to open the door to deeper conversation. While you may be tempted to go straight into a vigorous round of 21 questions, start with something more simple. You may want to refrain from immediately asking, “Tacos sometime? Circle Yes or No.” Instead, check out these refreshing one-liners that are sure to spark up an interesting conversation by keeping it light and playful.
Two truths and a lie→ rather than have them start, try sending over two truths and a lie and having them guess. This proves to be more of a challenge, urging a response to see if they were right. For instance, “I have seen Finding Dory 5 times in 3 different languages, I don’t know how to ride a bike, and I once cracked a rib from coughing too hard. Go!”
Would you rather→ You should be as creative as possible with these types of questions- they provide you with the flexibility to steer the conversation in any direction you please.
Worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? → Be prepared to reply with an interesting counter-story to your question.
Best discovery→ Starbucks drive-thru, Chicken Fries, or Netflix. Simple, yet enticing.
Movie title that best describes you as a person? → This is a chance to show off your wit and excellent sense of humor, while sharing more about yourself in a lighthearted manner. Also, questions like the above prove to be a great alternative to the pressure inducing, conversational cliché- “So.. tell me about yourself.”