So, you’ve met the one. Or at least one of them. She likes dogs, craft beer, and hiking through the great outdoors. She’s gorgeous from at least three angles. And her emoji usage is frequent but tasteful. Now, all you have to do is send the first message. Should you go with something short and sweet? Maybe pick out a gif of a goofy dog walking on its hind legs? Or maybe you even got lucky and she made the first move. What do you do then?
The good news is if you screw this one up, then there are a thousand more girls who like animals and beer for you to swipe through! Let me let you in on a little secret – your soulmate probably isn’t your soulmate. She’s probably not even your mate. It might feel like you know a girl just by looking at her profile for ten seconds and listening to her featured song on repeat, but you don’t. You won’t know her until you talk to her, doofus. So, how do you do that? The easy answer is just do it, but if you want to make sure she doesn’t leave you on read there are a few things you can do. Take a look at this list, set your Tinder radius to 10 miles (anything farther than that isn’t worth the commute), and get swiping!
15. Pick Out A Clever Gif
Gifs are the best thing to ever happen to online dating. I stand by that statement. Instead of stressing out about how clever you can be in writing, you can now type “hello” into a search box and pick from any number of “person waving” gifs to send someone instead. If you’re feeling cheeky, you’ll search for that “How You Doin’” gif featuring everyone’s favorite Friend. Gifs are an easy, low-stakes, and casual way to start a conversation with a perfect stranger. If you’re not confident in your ability to, you know, actually talk to a woman, then this is the way to go! When in doubt, pick out the cutest puppy gif and let ‘er rip. This is the 21st century, my dudes. Take advantage of it.
14. Read Her Bio
I don’t mean skim it. I don’t mean take a glance. I mean really read what she has to say and learn from it. Whether she’s written one word or an entire full-length biography, you should be able to glean something about her from what she chooses to share with the online world. If she mentions her love of breweries or intersectional feminism, use that to your advantage. Suggest your favorite taproom as a potential date locale, or bring up your favorite essay from Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you Google it. Being interested in the things she’s interested in will make her interested in you. But be warned, women know when you’re faking it. Don’t namedrop an author if you haven’t read her work, or claim you love cats when you’re really a dog person. Pay attention to the information she shares in her profile and use it to your advantage, but the moment she gets a whiff of manipulation, she’ll block you faster than someone who asked if she’d be into being dominated before asking for her name.
13. Be Interesting
Here’s the naked truth: if you’re boring, no woman is going to want to sleep with you. Especially in the world of online dating, making yourself stand out from the sea of thirsty jerks is essential. I probably need to be even more specific here. You want to stand out in a good way. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure she never forgets you, like asking her if she’s a redhead everywhere instead of just saying “Hey”, like a normal person. Resist that urge. Instead, think of something that you’re really good or crazy passionate about. Are you working on restoring your grandpa’s old muscle car, or launching a blog about genealogy? Include that in your profile and hopefully, that will spark a conversation. Passion is contagious. If you care enough about something, she will too. Showing her that you have interests makes you interesting.
12. Lite Facebook Stalking
Follow me down a slippery slope for a second. Sometimes a Tinder profile is lacking. Her pictures are gorgeous, but do you actually have anything in common? Her bio is empty and her Insta is private. How are you supposed to know if she’s the one for you? Yes, sure, you can have a conversation and find out that way, but a conversation can use up your emotional energy if you’re not careful. Since everyone’s Tinder profile is connected to their Facebook account, taking a little of that overlapping info (first name, school, job) and popping it into the search bar will sometimes pull up the profile you’re looking for. Now, be careful with this! Don’t accidentally Like any photos or Friend Request her before you’re actually, you know, friends. As long as you maintain the role of passive observer, you’re free to learn a little bit more about this girl before you decide if you want to send that gif of John Cusack giving the camera flirty eyes over his sunglasses.
11. Just Say Hello
I can’t emphasize this one enough! If you want to talk to a woman then talk to her. What is there to lose from a simple “Hey! How was your day?”. Don’t get me wrong, if you really want to impress her, you’re going to have to make more of an effort than that, but it all starts by just picking yourself up by the balls, and making the first move. Say “Hello” trailed by a string of emojis, ask her a question, pick out a funny gif. It’s seriously that easy. Don’t overthink it, dude.
10. Leave The Tigers Alone
I don’t know who started the trend of taking unethical photos with sedated tigers, but it needs to die – the trend, not the tiger. Nobody. Cares. About. Your. Trip. To. Thailand. I know you think it’s, like, totally adventurous and crazy that you figured out how Google Flights works; but you’re wrong. Maybe you truly did “find yourself” on the back of a tuk-tuk, but no one is ever going to care as much about your backpacking trip as you do. I’m not saying not to share photos or stories about it, just keep in mind that an anecdote about a trip to Thailand is not the same as going there. If spending two weeks in a different country is the most interesting thing about you, she’s going to catch on sooner rather than later. You’re better off dropping that pic and replacing it with a casual selfie and an actual conversation.
9. She Doesn’t Want To Sit On Your Face
Never, I repeat, NEVER start a conversation implying any sort of sexual contact! No matter how hot you think eating her booty like groceries would be. You can’t just go to Aldi’s and buy her booty at a reasonable price. It is absolutely off-putting at best to introduce yourself with a come on. I’m begging you to at least try out one of the other strategies I’ve already mentioned before you default back to being a scumbag. If you’ve been guilty of this lurid behavior in the past, I’d like you to think back and count how many times this has worked for you. Don’t worry. I’ll wait. Done? Was the answer none of the times? I bet it was. You don’t go grocery shopping on the first date, and you don’t objectify her in the first message. If you play your cards right, there will be a time and place for booty-eating. Pump the brakes.
8. Ask Her Out
A conversation is nice. A conversation over drinks is nicer. You don’t use dating apps to make penpals. Get on it and ask her out already. There’s no hard and fast timeline for when you should break the flow of convo, and ask her when she’s free; but don’t let fall asleep before you do it. A good night’s rest is enough to make her lose interest. If it’s going well online, don’t hesitate to suggest taking things offline. Worst case, she says, “No, thanks,” and it’s on to the next one. Best case, you fall in love over whiskey sours and you name your children after your favorite characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But maybe that’s just me!
7. Be Hot
It’s time for another round of cold, hard truth. If people don’t think you’re attractive, they won’t swipe right. If you aren’t one of the blessed few stone-cold foxes that give Ryan Gosling a run for his money, then you’re going to need to put a little extra work into making yourself appealing to strangers. Maybe this means finding your light and snapping a few choice selfies. Maybe you start hitting the gym. Maybe you don’t make a physical change and all and just pour all your energy into making your personality irresistible AF. Whatever it is, know that the guys on either side of you in the queue have done the same thing. Your mug is the first thing she sees when you pop up in her feed and, unfortunately, if that mug’s not steaming hot then she’s probably going to pass on that cup.
6. Make A Joke
Hope is not lost, average looking guys! Yeah, the odds are stacked up against you, but you’ve overcome worse, I’m sure. Okay, I’m not sure, but stay with me. Women love humor. Plain and simple. Be funny, impress girls. It’s a very simple equation, but that’s also where some guys have trouble. Funny = attractive, but all jokes ≠ funny. Save the fart jokes for poker night and the blonde jokes for never. Think “wit” before “slapstick.” Make her laugh and she’ll forget how ugly you are. See? That was a joke.
5. Ask Her Questions
Not only will this show that you’re interested, but people are much more likely to respond to a direct question than a statement. She’ll feel a tiny bit obligated to hit you back and that might be the difference between a convo or a cancellation. The classics will work to a point, but don’t shirk away from getting a little personal. Did she mention playing the violin in her bio? Ask her when she picked it up. Is one of her pics at a cool concert? Ask her about the artist. Does she work at Disney World? Ask her to score you some sweet tickets. Just kidding about that last one. But you can ask her what her fav Disney movie is! Everyone loves talking about the things they love. Ask her about it, and she’ll talk your ear off.
We’ve all felt it before. That pang in your gut when you send a risky message and the person doesn’t immediately pick up their phone, and send you a response. Sometimes it takes minutes, sometimes days, sometimes they never respond. It sucks to sit patiently and wait for the ball to be back in your court, but whatever you do, don’t double text! That’s the last nail in the coffin, my dude. If she was on the fence about responding to you before, that’s the move that will push her right off. Resist the urge. Draft the message and delete it if you have to. She might be busy with work, or friends, or a number of other things that take priority over a stranger from the internet. Play it cool and she’ll eventually get around to responding. Or maybe not! But that’s not the end of the world either.
3. Take a Decent Picture
If you can’t be hot, at least be in focus. A good picture will make you seem competent and interesting, even if you’re not 90% of the time. Take a solid selfie or convince your buddy with the nice camera to take a few headshots for you in exchange for a six-pack. Everyone should have some high-quality photos of themselves lying around anyways. Here are some general guidelines: Make sure to upload at least three photos of yourself. More is better. Too many more is exhausting. A grand total of zero of your photos should be memes. You can have one group shot, but it shouldn’t be your first photo. Don’t use animals as leverage (see point 10). Pick at least one full body shot. Ladies want to see what you look like. Don’t be self-conscious. There’s someone out there who’s gonna be attracted to your dad bod.
2. Play To Your Strengths
Not a strong swimmer? Don’t really like classic movies? Flunk out of math? Don’t mention these things! At least, not right off the bat. Your first impression should be nothing but extraordinary. Find something you’re good at and play it up. If she asks what your hobbies are, don’t tell her sitting in your dark bedroom watching anime alone. Instead, tell her about the comic book you’re working on. You can still be true to your nerdy self without making yourself seem like a terrifying recluse.
1. Be Honest
The golden rule, my friends. Wait. That might be the one about being nice to people. Either way, just be honest, my dudes. When she asks about your likes and dislikes, be honest. If you’re just not feeling her after you meet, and she asks if you want to hang out again, be honest. If you’re just looking for something casual, be honest. So many miscommunications, disagreements, and awkward situations could have been avoided if people just, you know, said what they felt. If you want this to work, especially for keeps, you can’t be a liar-liar-pants-on-fire. Eventually, she’ll find out. And she will find out. We always do.
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