Yes, You *Should* Send the First Message on Dating Apps. Here’s How

Scroll down for seven straightforward do's and don'ts

(Illustration: Joel Louzado)
(Illustration: Joel Louzado)

I’ll never forget the first time I made the first move. In the role of a lifetime, I, a twelve-year-old girl with the confidence of Kelly Kapoor, asked my crush Bobby Wiebe to the middle school dance. He shrugged, muttered “cool”… and I was convinced we were headed for marriage. To my dismay, Bobby never actually showed. He—and I can’t make this up—ditched my Chumbawumba swaying ass to hang out with his grandmother. Well drag me to hell, is this dating?!

If you too have been burned by a Bobby (of any gender), it may be tempting to walk directly into the sea and never speak to another human again. But know this! We are the captains of our own destiny, and while the thought of sending the first like, message or DM can feel bonkers daunting, it can also be the start of something new.

So, in an effort to learn what might spark a romantical connection, we spoke to Bumble’s love doctor chief brand officer Alex Williamson and best believe we took notes. William says “your ice-breaking introduction line can make all the difference.” Scroll down for seven of her best no-nonsense tips.

1. DON’T be a snore

Standard “what up” and “how was your day” opening lines don’t inspire a riveting conversation, if even a response. “Honestly, through data, we’ve found that you’re less likely to receive a response if you just say something like, ‘hey’” says Williamson. AKA generic need not apply. Instead try something like, “I’m racking my brain trying to figure out why you look so familiar!”

2. DO reference their bio

The bio is your g. damn best friend. It’s a) a surefire way to determine if your match fits the personality bill and b) a source of easy talking points. Is there an Eiffel tower emoji in their write up? BOOM, let’s talk travel. Did they mention they enjoy fishing? Are they fans of mermaids, real or fake? Reply with your thoughts. “Be complimentary or identify what you have in common! It’s so easy to do and can help create a sense of familiarity as you start getting to know someone,” says Williamson.

3. DON’T be gross

Coming on too strong is an absolute no-no. Everyone needs to keep it in their pants unless otherwise advised—which means no innuendos and no lewd and crude remarks. (This feels like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised.)

4. DO use a GIF

This is behaviour we’re happy to encourage. GIFs make for great icebreakers—and we’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t respond positively to Riri winking in their direction. It’s fun, it’s cheeky and it’s sure to get you a reply.

5. DO ask Qs

Little known fact: EVERYONE likes to talk about themselves. Strike up a convo regarding something you see in their profile or send over a probing “would you rather” scenario. My personal fave approach is asking the hard-hitting Qs like, “What are your thoughts on light wash jeans?” (There are a lot of strong opinions about denim washes out there, okay?)

6. DON’T try negging

Tone is tough via text, but nitpicking a photo ain’t it, sis. According to Williamson, it’s best to, “avoid being sarcastic right off the bat. It’s hard to fully understand someone’s sense of humour before chatting with them, so it’s better to be straightforward and clear to kick off the conversation on the right note.”

7. DO send short and sweet messages

Stay clear of novel-length blurbs. You’re just starting to get to know one another and much like a sensible salad, it’s best to keep it light.