Pro tips for breaking the ice while chatting with an online date

You could be a flirting pro, the one with the most captivating smile in the room and always the right words to say on a first date. And you might also be the person who is completely lost when it comes to online dating. Or, even worse, end up saying something regrettable — something about your/their ex — to fill in the awkward silences that stretch between your “Hey” and their “Hi.”

With the pandemic and the way the world is, it’s likely that most dating scenarios start with an online chat these days. In most cases, the game starts with the exchange of messages – usually with a liberal embellishment of emojis – although some apps now allow you to send short voice recordings as well. But whatever your preferred means of communication, knowing how to break the ice without coming across as a loser is an art that you have to learn to master. Here are some ideas to help you start the conversation, and hopefully more.

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General interests: Unless you’re browsing an app with a one-sided mind, it’s best not to get down to business right off the bat. “What are you looking for?” probably won’t get you very far, but paying close attention to the person’s profile might. Check out the hobbies they list and maybe ask a question or two about them. According to a study by dating app OkCupid, 34% of their users prefer to go this route. It’s a proven method, if any, good enough to work with.

Pets: This is clearly a determining factor for many relationships. Imagine clicking with someone, things are going well, until they land at your house, take one look at your cat and run away screaming incoherently about their cat allergy? Better get rid of the pets before things progress very far. Again, OkCupid found 31% of its users trying the “dog or cat” opening gambit. Studies also indicate that having a pet can significantly influence the process of finding a date, with 81% of respondents preferring to date people who are likely to have pets or animals. safety.

Books, music, movies: An old trick in the book is to test the waters by asking the person about the books, music, movies they like, have recently consumed, or plan to do. This is tricky ground, however, and can lead to strong opinions, even a clash of words. If you read Schopenhauer for fun, chances are you won’t get along with someone who digs Bridget Jones Diary. But it is better to be warned in advance in any case.

Food: Another conversation starter that can slip into potentially contentious territory or end up with the two of you eating together happily ever after. If you’re a mischievous vegan or a die-hard carnivore with no tolerance for other eating habits, it’s a good idea to check out the other person’s food preferences. But if you’re open to experimentation, curious, and eager to try different fare, getting to know someone from a different culinary background can spice things up, in every way.

Travel: If you see your potential date posing in exotic locations in their photos, you’ve probably found the key to unlocking their reciprocal interest. A lively discussion about your favorite travel destinations or your to-do list can’t go wrong. In fact, it can help you find pleasant company the next time you’re looking for someone to go away for the weekend.

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