I mention a lot of things in my Tinder profile. I mention my work in trauma recovery; my dog walking, my love of yoga and wine. I even close with a fun-fact - that I love psychology podcasts - to give matches a jumping off point for their first message.
Yet, despite all the prompts I provided for him, he chose to comment on my looks.
Here's why this is not the way to approach someone on a dating app:
1. It's dismissive of my interests and accomplishments.
2. It's socially inappropriate.
3. It's dehumanizing, as it doesn't address anything internal, only external.
Brian Howie, creator of The Great Love Debate, disagreed with my stance when I posted this response to my Facebook page.
While many might think it's flattering to initiate a conversation by telling someone how attractive they look, really think about that for a second. Would you walk up to a stranger and make such a remark? Probably not. Comments about someone's looks read as lazy, uninspired and like you're trying too hard. Oh, and they're super creepy.
Here are some other things you shouldn't do when you're trying to make conversation with someone you've just matched with on a dating site:
Don't fire questions at them - When you make a match on a dating app, the goal is to get off the app and meet, either via video chat or in real life. Utilize that preliminary chat time to make pleasant small talk then suggest you meet.
Don't inundate them with messages - The main reason I loathe Facebook Messenger is because people often stagger their responses. They send their replies sentence by sentence. That disrupts the flow of the conversation. Send a complete thought, wait for a response, then send a follow-up message.
Don't ask tedious interview questions - Asking them what they do for a living, where they went to school, what they're looking for as far as relationships go, have they ever been married/have kids, etc all come off like you're interrogating them. These messages are for making quick light-hearted conversation before setting up a date.
Don't project your insecurity - If someone goes quiet mid-conversation, don't jump in and ask if they're still there or still interested in talking. If they bailed that early, consider it a blessing. Don't try to force conversation. Either it flows or it doesn't. If it doesn't, move on.
Do compliment something about their profile - It doesn't have to be deep. If you thought it was engaging, tell them that and give an example. If you notice you and they have something in common, lead with that.
Do keep your messages brief - It's called a chat for a reason. Think of it as practicing your small talk skills.
Do respond in a timely fashion - You don't have to be in their face, but you should strike while the iron is hot and you have their attention. Dropping out in the middle or taking too long to respond might result in lost momentum.
Do keep your first message simple - "Hey, looks like we matched. Drop a line back if you'd like to chat" is perfect. Don't ask a question unless they respond. Many people will answer questions just to be polite. That only leads to a dead-end conversation. That's why so many people end up getting ghosted.
Do be authentic - Many people put on airs or try to act aloof so as to avoid seeming desperate. You're there to meet someone. That's great! You shouldn't feel embarrassed or ashamed of that. It's okay to seem excited or show interest.
Do be considerate of someone's time - If, after a few messages, you feel something is off or you're lukewarm, don't lead the other person on or agree to meet. You don't want to end up cancelling a first date. Either stop responding and unmatch them (yes, I know, not ideal) or be upfront.
Any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments.