Matched on Tinder. Any advice on how to move forward?


98Kad3 asks:
I matched with a girl on Tinder about an hour ago (I super liked her last night). She’s super pretty and plays guitar (same as me, one of the reasons I super liked her). Usually I go with just “Hey :)” as my opening message, but only get replies like 40% of the time.

What’s a better opening message than this, and what are just some general tips to keep the conversation moving forward, etc?

Also, whenever I do speak with a girl on Tinder properly, we speak for a few weeks and never meet. I don’t want this to happen. I’d rather talk and ask questions properly in person, so I have stuff to talk about if a date does happen. How can I move towards getting a date quickly?


Demetrius says:

I have to ask, how the hell do you have a 40% response rate to your Tinder messages with a “Hey :)” message? Seriously, are you ridiculously attractive or something?

I’m genuinely surprised at how high your response rate is given that you don’t really send a substantive message. Pretty much all of the data I’ve seen, both anecdotal and hard statistics, shows that sending a “Hey” first message is pretty much the worst sort of first message to send. The fact that 4 out of every 10 women you message responds to you is impressive in and of itself. You’re either incredibly lucky, or incredibly good-looking. I will say that if your response rate is 40%, but your conversion to an actual date is 0%, it doesn’t matter that your response rate is 40%. It’s why whenever any of those “I sent 1000 women this type of message and it works” pieces floats around the internet once every month, I try to preach caution. Sure, sending a goofy first message that elicits a response works, in that you get a response, but unless those responses lead to dates, they don’t work.

Which it seems like you know. You’re sending the “Hey” messages purely out of inexperience, which is fine, but let’s get you sending messages that have a bit more substance. Here’s the thing though, don’t confuse substance with filler. Regardless of the dating app or website, you want to send a message that is lean and mean. Now, as I mentioned above I’ve read a lot of data on sending first messages, and I’ve seen a lot of first messages having sent and received 1000s of messages in my online dating life, so this advice is based on that. The trick to sending a good first message, is to be concise and to the point, but bear in mind that you’re introducing yourself. First messages are the same as any other conversation opener, regardless of event or whether or not you’re trying to hit on someone. The goal is to open conversation in a way that it leave it open for discussion, and turn that discussion into a chance for progression. The actual text of your message will vary from person to person, but try to do some of these things when you send a first message:

  • Say hello (Hey, Hi, etc.)
  • Introduce yourself (This works especially well on dating websites where you have a user name, rather than dating apps where your name is listed)
  • Ask an open-ended question

When I say open-ended question, you might think that asking “How’s your week/weekend going?” sounds like a great open-ended message. It is not. Never lead with it in a first message! On dating apps, those sort of messages, along with a one word “hey” message and all it’s variants are conversation killers. Instead, ask about things that are mentioned on their profile, or something in their picture. Most people who are using online dating to actually date include something on their profile or in their pictures that is a conversation starter. It should take you about 1 minute to figure out what that is. Also, if your profile doesn’t include conversation starters, you need to add one now. A conversation starter is the inversion of the open-ended question. What open-ended question do you want people to ask you about? Is it a hobby, or a skill, or an accomplishment? Whatever it is, put it in your profile and you’ll be surprised how often you get a good first message. Even if you send the first message, it leaves an opportunity open for your match to ask you about it and continue the conversation.

Here’s a few examples of how having a conversation starter works in your favor:


If you had to guess, what conversation starter do you think was on my dating profile at the time? If you build a profile that does a lot of the work for you, you have to worry a little less about carrying every conversation.

Now, how do you transition from first message to actually meeting? Well, each person has their own approach, but I tend toward the more forward/aggressive approach. I tend to be more forward with asking for a date because I’d rather go on a mediocre first date then miss an opportunity to meet someone I click with. That means that I try to meet someone a week or two between sending the first message. I’ve found that only in rare occurrences was it worth it to wait any longer. Sure, 10 years ago if you pushed for an online date 7 days after matching you’d raise an eyebrow or two, but the advent of so many proximity dating apps has made quick meetings pretty common. I suggest a 1-2 weeks period after messaging back and forth a few times to make sure you’ve got some basic messaging chemistry, the person seems legit, and that you still want to meet them. If 1-2 weeks sounds too aggressive to you, that’s fine, but the key is to have a timetable in mind and to take steps that leads to that goal.

Your messaging should be broken up into 3 phases. First, the introduction phase. You introduce yourself, they respond to your messages, and you get the basics out of the way. Next, the chemistry phase. This is where you’re probably a bit weak if you’re not transitioning to actual dates. These messages should serve the purpose of getting to know each other a little more. I want to stress that last part. You aren’t trying to extend a conversation, you’re trying to get to know someone. You don’t have to ask their blood type, but you don’t want to keep asking them surface level things. You want to seek information about them and share information about yourself that is little more substantive than small talk, but a little less substantive than a conversation with a therapist. The best way I can think of to frame it is that this is the opportunity to figure out if you even want to go on a date with them. Ask them about the things that matter to you, whatever that might be. If you’re looking for specific examples, feel free to use the classic small talk staple F.O.R.D. (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams).  I call it chemistry because while you’re going back and forth with your match, how you speak to them and how they speak to you will show you whether or not you have even a slight amount of chemistry. Chemistry through texting/app messaging isn’t a guarantor of physical chemistry, but it’s a good way to tell if they’re likely to be awkward or weird in person. In my experience, I’ve never had awkward messages with a person who then went on to not be awkward in person. The situation can be reversed, but usually people who are awkward over text are awkward in person. Usually anyway, it’s not foolproof. After the introduction and chemistry phase, assuming they’ve made it past all that, it’s time for the transition. At this point, try to set a date. Have a basic date idea in mind, float it to your match, then check when they’re available. Not sure how to do it? Here’s an example:

"Have you ever been to {Date Venue}? I love that place and would love to take you there. What's your availability like {Day/Date/Period of Time}?"

If they give you a wishy-washy answer to going on a date, put them on the back burner. If they seem interested in a first date, confirm a time, place, and date, and follow through. Text the night before, or the day of to re-confirm, and take it from there. If you’re worried about running out of things to talk about on your date because you covered everything in the chemistry phase, consider setting an aggressive timeframe between messaging and meeting so you’re less likely to run out of chemistry questions. Besides that, you can always use this list of 250(!!!) conversation starters.

Good Luck Out There.


2 thoughts on “Matched on Tinder. Any advice on how to move forward?

    • Funny enough, I was always skeptical of anything that we sort of accept as common knowledge, like the idea that people don’t respond to the initial “hey” messages and actually sent about 100 first messages that only consisted of hey. This was about a year ago or so and I found that my response rate was maybe 20%, with ten of those people being fake profiles, the other ten responded but didn’t lead to more than 2 or 3 messages.
      I still don’t get how everyone knows that just sending a “hey” message is so ineffective and yet people still do it.

      Liked by 1 person

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