How to successfully start an online dating relationship

It's a new romantic world, with online dating.

If you have been married for a long time and suddenly find yourself single it can be hard to get back into the dating world.

Times sure have changed from those early days. Internet dating, for starters. Cyber dating is a whole new world, so Match.com offers this advice in their online dating guide, for those ready to do a little online shopping for a new love interest. 

If you are new to online dating and have yet to experience what is commonly referred to as the “awkward silence”, then keep reading so you can avoid this undesirable outcome.

Yes, getting matched is an important step of online dating, but it is also the easiest part. With a few swipes, you will probably find a suitable match of some kind before long. It is far more important to make the most out of the matches you get paired with. By engaging in compelling conversations that lead to laughs and intellectual discourse, you will find yourself getting more dates. And, more importantly, you will be setting the table for having effective conversations in person as well.

The hard part comes when it’s time to actually start conversing with your matches. For whatever reason, people freeze. Online daters have a tendency to match with people left and right (pun intended), but let the connections just sort of sit there without saying hello. Whether conversation feels difficult because you’re waiting on them to reach out first or you’re simply unsure of what to say, here are some general ways to approach starting a conversation so you don’t have to second-guess yourself anymore.

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Say something 

Whatever you do, just don’t say ‘Hi!’ and leave it at that. You’re trying to have a conversation that leads to a date here, not exchanging a quick pleasantry with a co-worker you rarely interact with at the office. Of course, it’s easy to fall prey to the idea of a lazy exchange with the hopes it will lead to a more substantive discussion. The problem with this strategy is that, in reality, the message will simply be ignored as your match proceeds to have a conversation with someone who sent a more substantive first message.

If someone took the time to write something about themselves in their profile, you should take the time to read what they had to say and be able to cherry pick a conversation starter out of it. Sending a one or two-word message gives your recipient barely anything to work with or play off of. Send something that makes them want to respond.

Be original

It’s not cool to write out one generic message that you blast across your list of prospective matches. Not only does the monotony of the message become obvious, but it makes it very clear that you’re looking at online dating as more of a numbers game than an actual chance to get to know someone. 

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Use their profile to start conversation

If you have a match you are interested in, it is likely there are plenty of things you already have in common. Take a couple of minutes to carefully read their profile, as that is often all the effort needed to find plenty of great topics to talk about with your prospective match. Truly, the first message you send — that is, however you choose to break the ice — shouldn’t be a source of anxiety. There is bound to be something embedded within their profile that is an easy choice for conversation starting.

That said, don’t treat something in common as an excuse to talk about common interests in a bland or boring way. Instead, relay a story, sharing an experience, a thought, a memory, a wish.

Use conversation to explore your match

Dating should be about igniting sparks of passion, so why should an online conversation be any different? No, this isn’t an excuse to start sending passionately lewd messages the first chance you get. Rather, it is a chance to begin building intimacy by connecting on an intellectual and emotional level. Do this, and the rest will follow.

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How do you connect on an emotional level? Explore your match’s passions and discuss the passions and hobbies in your own life as well. Again, both your profile and your match’s profile should provide one another with the clues to discuss these matters naturally. That said, perhaps you have come across a match with a bland profile or they are a new app user who has yet to build up their profile. In that case, you will need to get creative with how you get them to open up.

To summarize, your plan for sending first messages should adhere to these simple, yet effective rules:

  • Say something of substance, avoiding a simple “hello”
  • Be original, and avoid the temptation to send copy and paste messages to everyone
  • Carefully read a match’s profile to pick up on hints to leverage into a great first message
  • Use online dating conversations as a vehicle to explore each others’ passions and portray yourself as a fun person to be around

By sticking to these four simple and powerfully effective tips, you will be well on your way toward having quality conversations that enhance your online dating success.

Have you tried online dating with any success?