Generally, women have an advantage over men while online dating. Especially when it comes to taking the initiative and making the first move. When single women send the initial message to start a conversation on a dating app, they are four times more likely to get a response than men are. But don’t let that go to your head—getting a response from a guy you’re really interested in can still be tough. And when you’re staring at that blank text space where your amazing message should be, it’s not always easy to know what to say.
A girl can drive herself crazy continually checking her dating profile and waiting for a notification. It’s like the new waiting by the phone, and it can make you start to doubt every word in every message you send. Was saying “hi” too generic? Was asking about his dog too personal? Was the message too short? Was it too long? Maybe he’s just not that into you—but why not?
If you’re wondering how to talk to men online, here are a few handy tips.
1. Pick the right dating app or site.
First of all, you have to make sure you’re in the right place to find romance. Some niche sites have relatively few dating prospects in your area, so the silence may not be your fault—it might be because the dating profiles you’re messaging are inactive. That’s a bummer, but it’s easily remedied. Just sign up for a dating platform with a large and active membership base. Do your homework by looking at customer ratings and reading expert reviews of popular dating apps, so you can join a legit dating platform where guys will be happy to meet you.
2. Be authentic, upbeat, and interesting.
Everyone has a story to tell. Your life history, your opinions, your personality all make you you, and that’s something worth sharing with a date. You don’t have to write an autobiography on your profile or in your messages, but definitely reference the best bits. If you’ve been out of the country on a trip or for study abroad, mention that in passing. If you have a particular talent, bring it up in conversation as seamlessly as you can. You want him asking follow-up questions and wondering what else you have going on.
Guys often like to pursue, so you probably won’t have to work too hard to get his attention. Just make sure you have interesting things to say once you’ve got it. As Heath Ledger said in “Casanova”—be the flame, not the moth.
3. Keep it light.
This is a good tip for guys and gals longing for long-term love. Don’t bring up commitment too early in the conversation. Even if you hear wedding bells ringing in your head, play it cool or he’ll have warning alarms ringing in his. It reeks of desperation to talk about meeting parents, going on trips together, or otherwise riding off into the sunset when you’ve just met someone online. Let all that unfold naturally. The time to talk about your relationship is after two or three great dates—it isn’t after two or three messages on a dating app or website.
4. Ask questions that get him talking.
This tip is pretty straightforward, but it’s worth noting. If you want to get a guy to talk to you, give him something to say. Ask questions about his life, hobbies, aspirations, and opinions. If you can pull something specific from his dating profile—“I see you like Marvel comics, what did you think of the latest movie?”—all the better!
If his profile doesn’t have many personal details, you can ask general conversation starters to get the ball rolling. This’ll help you get to know each other and find common ground. Try to strike a good conversational balance between the two of you. I’d recommend ending every message with at least one question; that way, you hold up your end of the conversation while giving him things to say back.
5. Stay positive.
Look, we all feel frustrated, impatient, cynical, and down every once in a while, but unfortunately that black mood isn’t going to make dates line up at your door. People want to be around people who make them feel good. A little sarcasm and dark humor is fine. A consistently negative attitude is not. Instead of complaining about the dating scene, the weather, your job, your family, or other parts of life, focus on the positive things—your passions, your hopes, your bffs—so your date will see your best and most attractive side.
In the dating world, the getting-to-know-you phase is about making your date smile and feel good about themselves. Those happy feelings are going to make them want to talk to you more and more frequently.
You don’t have to act like Pollyanna or look like Margot Robbie to attract date prospects online—just be yourself and keep these tips in mind. If you approach online dating with a light-hearted attitude, you’re bound to start building connections and having fun while you’re at it. Of course, getting a guy to talk to you isn’t always as simple as typing “Hi” and pressing send. Sometimes you need to catch your crush’s eye by asking good questions, telling interesting stories, and being friendly and flirty in every message.
Amber Brooks is a Contributing Editor at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being “boy crazy,” but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating expert. As an English major in college, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about topics that interest her. Now with a background in writing, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.