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5 Online Dating Message Tips: Examples of What to Say

Happy young woman smiling while using her phone and trying out some dating message tips.

Dating message tips: you might not think you need them, but then… you filled out your online dating profile. You took the perfect profile pictures. You searched for potential matches and even found some that caught your eye. But that was just the beginning, the question remains… What should you say to them?

Composing a message is one of the hardest parts of online dating. Should you pay them a compliment, or is that too forward? Should you use a pick-up line, or keep it simple? You want to catch their eye and stand out, but you don’t want it to seem like you’re trying too hard. Well, fear not, because we can help. Here are some online dating message tips to help you write something that has a high chance of getting a response…

What To Say on Dating Apps

Dating Message Tips from the Experts

Learning how to start a conversation on a dating app isn’t difficult. With a little practice and by following these tips, you’ll become increasingly comfortable.

1. Start with “hi,” but give it a spin.
When you meet somebody in real life, chances are you do two things: say hello and tell them your name. So why not employ the same greeting tactic online? Saying hi and introducing yourself is polite, easy, and effective—and you’d be surprised by how few people actually do it in their online dating messages. But instead of just saying “hi,” “hey,” or “hello” like everybody else does, make things interesting.

Perfect first message for online dating with examples:
-How’s it going? I’m Elizabeth.
-Fancy meeting you here. I’m Elizabeth.
-Hola, bonjour, ciao, guten tag, hello. I’m Elizabeth.
-Come here often? I’m Elizabeth.
-Oh, hey, I didn’t see you there. I’m Elizabeth.

You can even go so far as to create a standard greeting that’s truly yours. The advantages of this are that you can create an opener that stands out, you can keep using it to test whether or not you’re getting favorable responses, and you can change it if it’s not working. Make sure that your opening line is concise, readable, and inoffensive. Avoid making childish comments or jokes that might be an instant turnoff. “Hello, I’m Elizabeth, and I’m trying to solve a mystery” would probably work much better than “You sure do look fine.”

2. Comment on their profile.
Commenting on someone’s online dating profile shows that you actually read it and that you’re a good listener. When it comes to opening lines for dating apps and meeting a new person online, it can be tempting to compliment their looks. And while physical compliments are nice, they can sometimes be, well, empty. Most people would rather receive a compliment about something they wrote in their profile. Bonus points if you add a little information about yourself. It keeps the conversation going and gives them something to respond to.

-I see that you like to cook. I’m trying to be better at cooking myself. I made a great vegetarian lasagna a few nights ago.
-I like that you’re into sports. My favorite is baseball. I’m a lifelong Yankees fan.
-Your dog is very cute. I’m a dog person too. I have an Australian Cattle Dog named Wülf.
-I have some friends who went to Cornell. I wonder if we have any friends in common.
-I enjoy going to museums too. I enjoyed the Stephen Shore exhibit at the MoMA.

By targeting prospective partners with similar interests, you can shorten the time it takes to comment on their profile. For instance, “Hey, I’m John. I see you’re an avid reader. What was the last great book you’ve read?” If you are looking for partners who have reading listed as an interest, you can recycle this opener as frequently as you need to.

3. Ask a question.
Asking questions is one of the most important dating message tips we can give. One of the best ways to start a conversation is by asking a question. Again, it gives them something to respond to. Even better if this can also relate to something they wrote in their profile.


-What’s your favorite dish to cook?
-Where were your profile pictures taken?
-What’s it like being a surgeon?
-Have you read any good books lately?
-What’s your favorite hidden gem in your neighborhood?

This approach works because most people enjoy talking about themselves. However, it helps if you have a genuine interest. You may get a very involved response, but if your second message is “cool” or “sounds fun,” you’ve essentially thrown ice on the dialogue. In other words, find something on the profile that you actually want to know about.

4. Cut to the chase.
Be honest and say what you feel. That doesn’t mean you have to be overly forward or aggressive; it means that if you’re interested in somebody, it’s ok to be clear about it. After all, isn’t that what you signed up for when you joined an online dating site?


-Your profile made me smile.
-I’d like to get to know you better.
-Based on your profile, I think we’d hit it off.
-I’m interested in learning more about you.
-I think we make a great pair.

There’s a fine line between being direct and applying pressure. If you come off too strong, you may sour what might otherwise be a meaningful connection.

5. Suggest meeting for a date.
Is it bold? Yes. Is it risky? Maybe. Is it effective? You bet. One of the biggest complaints about online dating is that people spend too much time messaging and not enough time actually dating. It’s gutsy to ask someone out right away, but it sends the message that you’re serious about your level of interest. Be bold! And have a plan. Are you free? doesn’t give someone much to respond to. But Are you free for coffee on Thursday? does.


-I’d like to meet for a drink sometime if you’re interested.
-Are you free for a date soon?
-Let’s grab coffee sometime next week.
-Want to have dinner on Tuesday?
-Let me know if you want to go for a walk in Central Park.

Additional Suggestions for Successful Messaging

If you’ve read and exercised the five tips above, you’re going to be ahead of most people in the online dating community. However, these pro tips will launch you to the next level. 

Be Both Interested and Interesting 

Conversation is a two-way street. You should have information to offer and have something to say about the other person’s conversation points. Even if you have no experience in the matter, be engaged. “No, I’ve never tried skiing. It looks difficult. How long did it take you to get decent at it?” 

Ask Closed Questions

“How was your day?” may be one of the most prolific bad questions in the English language. Everyone uses it, but it rarely gets a satisfactory response. You get responses like, “great,” “not so bad,” or “could be better,” which leads to you having to pick a new conversation starter. Instead, ask questions that require a specific response. “What was the highlight of your day?” or something more specific like, “Did you make any good sales today?” will get you much more information. 

“Listen” for Signs of Boredom

Look at your messaging history. If you’ve noticed that the responses that you’re getting are shorter and shorter, response times are getting longer, or the other person has gone silent, it’s up to you to try to reignite the conversation. Don’t draw attention to your belief that the other person is losing interest. Just start fresh. “Hey, I was thinking about something you said the other day, and I wanted to ask you …” 

Know When It’s Time to Walk Away

Your time and attention are valuable commodities. If you’re finding that the conversation is dwindling or that the other person just doesn’t seem interested, you can part with a “good luck” or say nothing at all. You may not have done anything wrong. People join dating sites before they’re ready sometimes. Or they may just find someone who they perceive to be a better fit for them. Whatever their reason may be, there are always other possibilities.

There you have it: some examples for constructing the perfect online dating message. Hopefully, some of these dating message tips will help you bag that next date. Remember to keep it short, simple, and polite, and you’ll be getting replies in no time.

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