We’ve all been there. We really want to start the conversation with a hottie we just matched with — but everything we come up with sounds stupid, or boring, or just… lame. When it comes down to it, most of your Tinder or Bumble matches will just be glad that you got the ball rolling on the dating site. But for every person too nervous to start the conversation, there’s another Tinder profile warning that “you better have more to say than hi.” *Ugh*
While we strictly don’t approve of those high-maintenance swipers, here are a few lines that will get your foot in the door of that potential date!

1. “Hey X, what’s your story?”

Simple, and gets to the point. Off the bat, it’s a chance to use your Tinder match’s name–likely the sweetest sound in any language to them. The truth is, you might not get any good stories out of this one, and may get some lame responses, but what you DO get is insight into whether or not your match is a good sport. How people interpret the question tells you a lot more than the answer! Is your match game? Can your match roll with the punches?

2. “That’s a cute dog, can you set us up?”

A little play on the worst fear we all have when online dating… that someone on Tinder will be more interested in the hotter friend in your picture. This has actually happened to some of us! We’ll post a picture with a friend, and our matches will ask us for their info. An absolute nightmare under most circumstances, but this will guarantee a sigh of relief. This one works for any animal at all, but dogs are a common one. Swipers know we like to see those pup pics, and if you have a dog, it’s to your benefit to show it off! And now you have the perfect entry-point into talking about all those special canines in your lives.

3. “Who has a cornier pick up line? You go first”

Double whammy: get the ball rolling, but make ‘em work a little. You’ve done your part, now sit back and let them woo you a little — in the cheesiest way they can think of. Everyone’s got a good pick-up line on the back burner and this is almost guaranteed to get a competition going. Who has a cornier line? Just make sure you can deliver the goods when your turn comes around. (Possibility: Do you have a map? Because I’m getting lost in your eyes.)

4. “What’s was the most annoying part of your day today?”

Everyone needs to vent sometimes, even on Tinder, and this is a good entry point into talking about their day-to-day, as well as finding out about what they do for a living (without seeming like that’s all you care about). Talking about the annoying little things is a great way to find funny stories and common ground. Do you both have office jobs? Do you both hate that the person who sits next to you seems to eat nothing but garlic and onions for every meal? Now that is the foundation of a fruitful relationship.

5. “What’s the best sandwich you’ve ever eaten?”

You probably remember yours. We remember ours (chicken tikka panini with mango chutney). In every swiper’s life, there is a sandwich that stands out. Let them walk down memory lane, but have your answer ready when they respond! It’ll be a great entry-point for talking about your mutual favorite foods, and it may just open the door for proposing a lunch or dinner date to one of your favorite local sandwich restaurants.

6. “Truth or Dare?”

Everyone’s favorite (and least favorite) chance for silly, sexy fun. This one gets your foot in the door, but it does set you up for more work. A couple of suggestions:

1. Truth: What part of your apartment do you never clean?
2. Truth: Do you think you’re a good kisser?
3. Truth: Who is your crush?
4. Dare: Upload an unflattering pic.
5. Dare: Buy me a drink.
6. Dare: Come lick my armpit. (Warning, their response to this one might get dirty.)

7. “Thank God you’re here, I was looking for someone who knows about…”

This one requires actually reading the Tinder profile — or at least looking through the pics. You’ll need to find something specific about them, but it truly can be about pretty much anything and they’ll find it amusing enough. Find a detail about your match’s job, hobbies… or even something in the background of a photo, and fill in the blank.

For example, “Thank God you’re here, I was looking for someone with an in at JP Morgan Chase. I forgot my password on the Chase mobile app.” Pic holding a Bud Light? “Thank God you’re here, I was looking for someone to explain to me why TF anyone would actually choose to drink Bud Light.” Make it up!

8. “Do you think nocturnal animals sleep more in the summer and less in the winter based on the length of day?”

Nope it’s not a pick-up line with a punch line. In fact, this one isn’t so much a conversation starter. We just have had a lot of trouble getting a straight answer so we’re hoping to cast a wide net and maybe snag an expert opinion. Please email us if you get any info.

9. “What five albums are on your desert island playlist?”

It’s a little corny, but it does actually tell you a lot and lets your match be a little self-interested for a bit. You may find that you have some tastes in common or maybe you’ll find some new tunes! Another one where you should have your answer ready just in case — and don’t sweat it too much when assembling yours. Your match is probably just looking for names they recognize while you’re meticulously stalking every band member from every album they mention.

10. “Tell me a secret.”

Finally, a command, rather than a question. Most people are going to say something playful, though some may actually tell you a secret. A great show of trust!

This line does carry a caveat: some swipers may take it as an invitation to get a little raunchy off the bat. If you’re open to that, go for it! You may find a new sexting partner or discover a mutual interest! And, worst case scenario, your match will alert you to a red flag with little prompting.

11. “What’s your least favorite household chore?”

No one likes every task around the house, not even the Disney Princess types we hear do actually exist. Whether it’s emptying the food trap in the sink to scrubbing grout in the shower, there is a chore you dread. A chore that gives you the willies. A chore you put off until it’s so obvious that you’ve put it off that you stop inviting people into your apartment lest they notice that one dreaded dirty spot. Find some common ground with your Tinder match complaining about how you both hate changing the kitty litter!

12. “So, who’s your favorite female author?”

Okay, you caught us — this one is a test. Can your match even name a female author? Can they tell you the best book by that author? (And do they actually like her, or is that the only one they could think of?) This is the kind of thing you actually do want to know about your match. Weed out the chaff from the wheat, the feminists from the feminist “allies.” You deserve a well-read date, even if this list is the only thing you’ve read this week.

13. “What’s your favorite website?”

A little jokey, a little quirky, and quickly separates the sheep from the goats. If your match says “Facebook,” you know they’re honest, but probably a little boring. If your match says “Pornhub,” they’re probably a little too honest, but maybe not boring (depends on what they’re watching there). Your answer should be a combination — a site you like, a site you frequent, but make sure it says what you want it to say about your character.

14. “Do you have any recurring dreams?”

Not everyone has an answer, but those that do are usually pretty interesting. No one likes to hear about someone else’s dream (unless you were in it!) but the recurring ones usually have a concise theme, with lots of ground for a psychoanalyst to cover. Teeth falling out, being chased down long hallways, showing up for a test you didn’t study for without pants on. All of these are fruitful for your inner analyst! Thanks, Tinder!

15. “Which is your favorite property brother?”

No explanation needed. A perfect litmus test of compatibility.

(When your match responds, you can give ’em this fun fact! Rumors have been circulating that Drew will be performing on Dancing With the Stars this upcoming season. We all know Jonathan will be rooting him on the sidelines. It’s the perfect intro to the first date idea we’ve all been dreaming of for a while: a DWTS viewing party. That’s romance.)

16. “You’re so pretty. I like your [specific trait].”

The first half alone isn’t enough. You need to add a specific compliment. If you’re matching with men, they’ll be glad for the change of pace and structure. If you’re matching with everyone else, they’ll be glad you noticed something more than that they’re hot.

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