Messaging on Tinder can be a wild and woolly world. The icebreakers people use are usually awkward, and pick-up lines are somehow worse online than they ever were in early 2000s movies. Sometimes things start off hot and steamy, other times people dive headfirst into political discussions… and sometimes all you get is that great, cringe-inducing opener: “hey.”
People’s messaging agendas also run the gamut. Some people message endlessly, and others are looking to meet up IRL, ASAP. Still others are looking to sext and call it a day.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you’re new to the Tinder-verse.
All in all, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you’re new to the Tinder-verse. But having an understanding of the broader Tinder-chatting terrain will help you navigate this unruly realm as easily as possible. To that end, here are some things to keep in mind.
Remember That You’ve Already Expressed Mutual Interest
In order to contact someone on Tinder you both have to swipe right on each other. Meaning, there must be some level of mutual interest. It can be helpful to think about this mutual interest as a safety net; your match has already expressed interest, so there’s no need to play “hard to get”—take this opportunity to be confident!
How To Start A Conversation On Tinder
Not sure of how to start a conversation? That’s understandable! It takes some time to get used to reaching out to strangers over an online dating app, and finding ways to break the ice with people is always a challenge. One tried-and-true approach is to start a conversation based on something you noticed in their profile. Ask questions about their photos, or establish some kind of interest in, or connection to, something you saw, for example: “I saw that you went to Yosemite. I’ve never been but I would love to hear all about it!”
Ask questions about their photos: “I saw that you went to Yosemite. I’ve never been but I would love to hear all about it!”
Remember, too, that Tinder connects people based on location, so when in doubt, talk about the area you’re both swiping in. For example: “Are you planning on going to the festival downtown tonight?”
How To Move Beyond Smalltalk
So you found someone cute, matched, reached out and now… the conversation is starting to die—oh no! How do you keep your chat alive and learn enough about this person to know if you want to meet up? In general, you can’t go wrong asking questions. Here are some to try out:
- “What’s your favorite band or musical artist?”
- “If your life had a soundtrack, what song would be playing right now?”
- “What did you want to be when you grew up when you were a kid?”
- “What would be the first thing you’d do if someone handed you $1 million tomorrow?”
- “If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?”
You Don’t Have To Use Tinder To Meet Up With Anyone
It’s good to remember that Tinder isn’t just a place to find a “date”—it’s an app to match and communicate with other people, however you see fit! Maybe you want to use it to explore some fantasies you’re too nervous to try out in real life. Or maybe you want to experiment with a kink from the comfort—and anonymity—of your own couch. Or perhaps you’re just super curious to see what all the online dating fuss is about. Whatever you’re looking to explore, it’s totally normal and common to create a Tinder profile and never actually go on a date!
The lack of obligation to meet up with anyone on Tinder frees you up for all kinds of exploration and discussions… including that favorite past-time: sexting.
Using Tinder For Sexting
If you’re looking to sext, the first order of business is making sure your penpal is onboard. Consent is always essential—even in online interactions—and you can’t assume that everyone is interested in sexting. To figure out whether you may have a willing partner, pay attention to context clues. What direction does the conversation seem to be going in? Is the other person being flirty or suggestive at all?
The lack of obligation to meet up with anyone on Tinder frees you up.
If the conversation seems to be heading in a steamy direction, toss in some subtle innuendo and see how the other person responds. Starting a sexy conversation can feel scary, but kicking things off slowly is a good way to ease in, as it allows you to back away if you’ve read the signals wrong; learning how to talk dirty can often take some practice.
And remember: unsolicited nudes are the worst. Always secure consent before sending a sexually explicit photo!
Transitioning From Tinder To The Real World
If your chatting is going well and you’re looking for more than just some steamy sexting, you may consider asking your match out on a date. While asking someone out is always at least semi-stressful, the stakes are fairly low on Tinder—not only have you not met in-person, but there are a ton of other people to meet in the Tinder-verse!
And there’s no need for any grand gesture or masterful witticism. Asking someone out can be as simple as, “I’ve really liked talking to you, want to meet up for coffee sometime this weekend?” If your match is also interested in meeting up, figure out a space that you feel comfortable in, and propose it! Maybe it’s a coffee shop you frequent, a park, or another public space you like to hang out.
Asking someone out can be as simple as, “I’ve really liked talking to you, want to meet up for coffee sometime this weekend?”
Having a vague idea of what you are looking to get out of a meetup is helpful. You can even make these intentions clear to your match. For example, you might say something like: “I’m excited to seeing you tomorrow, but I am not looking to hookup.” Or if you are wanting to hookup, “I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and would be down to hookup if we are both feeling it.” Identifying and communicating your needs and desires upfront will allow you to spend your time on the fun stuff—like seeing if there’s a spark!
No matter how you decide to use Tinder, your safety and comfort always come first. Never give out any personal information or let someone pressure you into doing something you’re not interested in or comfortable with. Aside from those guideposts, you should focus on what feels fun and exciting, letting conversations flow where they will—who knows where they may take you!