“How you doin’” may have worked like a charm for Joey Tribbiani, but opening lines today, especially on a dating app, require a little more thought and originality to get you noticed. “Opening lines, like first impressions, are really important — especially on dating apps or online-only contact — because people are so busy and so inundated with other responses,” says April Masini, a New York-based relationship and etiquette expert and author. “An opening line can make it or break it when you’re looking to date.”
1. Give a little
“You’d be surprised how many people don’t give genuine compliments because they’re afraid of rejection,” Masini says. Go for something specific and genuine that shows you’ve really read their profile or noticed something about them that wouldn’t be obvious to everyone.
2. Be funny
Admittedly, this isn’t the right approach for everyone, but if you can strike the right chord, humour is almost always a winning trait. Masini says not to go too dark or shoot for “slip on a banana peel” humour: “Aim for charm and chuckle.” While Shea says if the person you’re messaging has written a funny profile, try to mimic that style of humour in your line.
3. Show some confidence
Confidence is a very attractive trait and could be the key to success when it comes to communicating through online dating apps. “Now is not the time to play coy,” she says. “Even if you play it over-confident, most people will understand that you’re trying to stand out rather than being vain.”
4. Invite engagement
Your ultimate goal here is to inspire a back-and-forth conversation that will lead to a face-to-face encounter, so invite engagement by posing questions. By offering this type of engagement, not only have you demonstrated that you’ve really read their profile, but you’re also more likely to get a response and spark a conversation.
5. Be authentic
Authenticity can seem like a pipe dream when you’re meeting people through a digital app, but being genuine and even showing a little vulnerability can be very charming. “People appreciate authenticity in a first message. By revealing something you might not normally be forthcoming with, it shows that you want to build trust,” Ray says.
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