How to Disclose Your Non-Monogamy on a Dating App

While I’ve been “non-monogamous in theory” for years, I have limited experience being non-monogamous in practice. I recently started dating someone who has been polyamorous for a while, and has two steady partners other than me – and while it’s been difficult, I’m viewing it as an invitation to step up to the plate and take on the challenge I’ve claimed to want for ages. I am finally going to learn some real-life poly skills and see if I can hack it.

One of the first challenges I’ve come up against – other than my old friends, jealousy, greed, and anxiety – is figuring out how to pursue other dates ethically and honestly. I don’t want to downplay or lie about the existence of my boyfriend, but I also don’t want to make new potential beaux feel like there’s no room for them in my life. I don’t want to spend too much time and energy explaining polyamory to diehard monogamists, nor do I want to exclude people who’ve been monogamous thus far but are curious about their other options.

So many considerations! So let’s start with something small: how to communicate on your dating profile that you are, indeed, polyamorous. Here are some suggestions…

Choose your venue wisely. OkCupid and Tinder are full of young and/or socially liberal people, so you may have better luck with those than you would with services geared toward older folks seeking a marriage-track relationship, like Match and eHarmony. If you want to skip the hassle of disclosing your non-monogamy altogether, you could join a dating site designed specifically for non-monogamous people, like SwingTowns.

Consider what level of privacy you need. Whether because of your career, your family, or some other factor, you might not feel comfortable telling the entire internet that you’re non-monogamous. If that’s the case, it might be best for you to use dating sites where your profile isn’t publicly visible, or that have that option (on OkCupid, for example, you can check “Only allow other members to see my profile” in the settings panel). You could also try mentioning your relationship status within your first few messages instead of disclosing it publicly on your profile, though this is likely to be a lot of extra work on your part when monogamous folks decide to respectfully (or not-so-respectfully) ghost you afterward.

Use the app’s built-in relationship status feature, if it has one. Some dating sites allow you to set your relationship status alongside other relevant info like your gender and sexual orientation. Indicating your non-monogamous status makes it easier for monogamous people to filter you out of their search results, and communicates your “deal” to any profile-lurkers at a glance. However, some people don’t read this info (and some dating apps, like Tinder, don’t even have a structured way for you to provide it), so you may still need to do the legwork of explaining yourself in messages after all.

List your important identities upfront. Lots of people I asked on Twitter said this is their main strategy in online-dating while poly: they roll out their most vital identity words in the opening paragraph(s) of their profile. This might look a lot like my current Twitter bio: “Cis bi kinky non-monogamous femme feminist.” I think these are all important things for people to know, especially if they’re considering dating me. Front-loading this info makes it likelier that your potential paramours will actually read it, and will hopefully spare you some grief and lots of time and energy.

Define your terms. Some people don’t have a precise idea of what “polyamorous” means (let alone other non-monogamy terms like “swinger,” “polyfidelity,” “solo poly” or “primary partner”), so it’s helpful to explain exactly what you mean. For example, my Tinder bio currently includes this: “I’m poly: dating someone rad, and looking for dates/adventures/potential relationships with other cuties.” This hopefully reduces some of the stigma, anxiety, and confusion that might fill someone’s head when they read the word “poly” and aren’t sure what it means. It’s a succinct summary of how I am currently doing poly, and what that might mean for my partners.

Be prepared to explain yourself. Even if you think you’ve been clear in your profile text, folks still might have additional questions. Of course, you don’t have to answer missives you find rude, invasive, or exhausting – but it is part of ethical non-monogamy to ensure people know what they’re getting into before they get into it. (Informed, enthusiastic consent, and all that!) These convos might happen in your first few messages, or on your first few dates, but they should happen at some point. Set boundaries, establish expectations, talk about feelings. It’s all part of the process!

Unmatch ruthlessly as needed. Some people will be jerks about you being non-monogamous. That’s just a fact of life as any kind of “sexual deviant,” unfortunately. But you don’t have to put up with it. Hit “unmatch” or “block” or “report” or whatever the site-specific equivalent is, and move on with your day. Fuck the haterz.

Non-monogamous folks: what are your best tips for disclosing and discussing your non-monogamy on a dating site/app? Got any horror stories or success stories to share?

Heads up: this post was sponsored, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own.

How to Deal With Pre-Date Nervousness

Oh, I can just picture it now. It’s almost every first date I’ve ever been on. My anxiety swells. My heart pounds. I obsess about my outfit, hair, and makeup – like I’m trying to dress as a “cool girl” for Halloween. I debate whether to text my date upon leaving the house; maybe a “See you soon!” text isn’t chill enough, but maybe radio silence is too cold. So many choices!

As I walk up to the bar, my mind races. What if we start talking and he mentions that he thinks feminism is a waste of time? What if he only wants to “find some easy pussy” or “grab local slags here” and doesn’t actually find me interesting at all? What if – horror of horrors – he thinks Adam Sandler is funny?!

The thing is, while my anxiety disorder runs me through the wringer before every date, it doesn’t have to. The dates themselves are never as bad as I worry they will be – and this whole nervous rigamarole could be avoided, or at least mitigated, if I had a great pre-date ritual solidly in place. Here are 10 of my best tips for shaking your jitters before you walk out the door to meet a new potential beau!

Have some go-to date outfits on hand. This just makes everything so much easier. Prepare a “uniform” of sorts (or a few different ones) that you can grab in a hurry when getting ready for a date, so you won’t have to waste precious mental energy on outfit composition. Oh, the geeky sartorial bliss of it!

This ensemble should have a silhouette that flatters your shape and makes you feel babely as hell, and maybe one or two “conversation pieces” – unusual garments or accessories that a date is sure to ask about. (“Oh, this old thing? I bought this from a loud, flirty man on a beach in Gozo just before we leapt into the Mediterranean sea…!”)

If you want to get extra nerdy about it, you can have different date uniforms for different types of dates. For example, I’ll often wear a low-cut dress and a cardigan if I’m going on a fancy dinner date, or a tank top tucked into a skirt if we’re just ducking into a dive bar. If you show up at your date feeling hot and neither overdressed nor underdressed, you’ll have won half the battle already!

Listen to great music. So basic, yet so effective. I have a Spotify playlist of all my favorite pump-up tunes – mostly a lot of up-tempo pop and hiphop – and it helps ease me into a foxy, energetic brainspace. I love to shimmy into my panties and stockings to a sexy Drake jam, bop around doing my eyeshadow while One Direction croon at me, and fluff up my hair while Frank Sinatra sings compliments in my ear. Ah, what a dream.

Prep your bod. Whatever body-prep makes you feel attractive, desirable, and ready for sex (if that’s a potential item on your to-do list for the evening), do that. For me, this would involve showering, shaving, and moisturizing. When I’m all clean, smooth, and soft, I feel practically unconquerable.

Breathe. “Fear is just excitement without the breath,” according to psychotherapist Fritz Perls. I don’t know how much of this is hippie-dippie psychosomatic silliness versus an actual effective treatment (and, let’s be real, sometimes they are one and the same), but I find breathing deeply helps circulate my anxious energy all around my body and thereby diffuse it. Shallow, fast breaths are a classic sign of anxiety; you can trick yourself into calming down by elongating and deepening your breath. Oxygenate your body and brain!

Load up on conversation-starters. My conversational skills drastically improved when I went to journalism school, and I’m convinced it was partly because I had to read the news so often at that time, so I had plenty to talk about! Still to this day, before a date, I’ll take a look at trending stories before heading out the door (if I haven’t already encountered them that day on Twitter or in podcasts I listen to), so that if my date’s discussion skills leave something to be desired, I can pull out a fascinating new topic at a moment’s notice.

You can also glance at their online-dating profile again (if that’s where you met them) and mentally note a few points to ask them about. (“I see you went to school for English lit; how does that help you in your current job?” “You said you like The Office, but what did you think of the finale?” “Is that dog in your profile picture yours?!”)

Tell a friend what you’re up to. Before leaving on a date, I like to text the following info to a friend: my suitor’s full name (if I know it), phone number, any other relevant info I know about them (what they do, where they live, and so on), where and when I am meeting them, and what time I anticipate I’ll be home. I’ve been lucky enough that a date has never made me feel unsafe, but it certainly helps my anxiety if I know I have safety measures in place. And if the date’s not dangerous but just boring or awful, you can have your friend call you and fake an emergency you need to go attend to immediately.

Channelling my inner pinup girl.

Choose an alter-ego. This is not to say you should be inauthentic on your date, of course – but pretending you’re someone else can help you play up the best parts of your personality while banishing the parts that hold you back.

Sometimes I like to pretend I’m Amanda Palmer, Zooey Deschanel, or Rosa Diaz. How would they get ready for a date? How would they walk into a room? How would they greet a person they found attractive? Usually I hold my “character” in mind for the first little while, just until I get settled, and then I cast ’em off and let the real me shine through, unencumbered by anxiety.

Remind yourself what a catch you are. Glance at your most smokin’ selfies. Look through compliments people have given you in the past (I keep a file of mine!). Think about the best dates/makeouts/sex you’ve had, and remember that you are, at least partially, what made those experiences so fantastic!

This kind of mental reflection – whether you do it in a journal, out loud to a friend, or just in your head – can also help you get some perspective. This probably isn’t the last or most important date you’ll ever go on. If it doesn’t go well, it isn’t the end of the world. There are so many more people out there, and so many more experiences you’re gonna have. Go into every date with the attitude that it’ll be a fun adventure, and anything else that comes of it will just be a bonus.

Admit to your nervousness! This can be super charming and disarming in some contexts. If you and your date exchange some texts before meeting up, maybe tell them you’re a bit nervous because you find them so cute. Or, after you’ve showed up and talked for a few minutes, you could mention, “I get so nervous about first dates!” Good people will often try to reassure you when you make admissions like this – and at the very least, you’ve just backhandedly confessed that you find them attractive. Everyone wants to feel attractive. See – nervousness can be a plus!

What are your favorite tricks for mitigating pre-date jitters?

 

This post was sponsored, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own!

Links & Hijinks: Sex Robots, Moneyshots, & Bart Simpson

a chair, a table, and a latte

Me: “Why did I start doing link round-up posts again?! I don’t even read that much!”

Also me: *reads a ZILLION articles, wants to share and talk about ALL OF THEM*

The Establishment posts so much good stuff – although I will say, I am extremely biased, because they’ve published my writing on multiple occasions! I just discovered this old piece on there called Online Dating in 7 Vignettes which gave me so much poignant food for thought. It’s one of the more thoroughly philosophical pieces I’ve ever read about dating.

• Soon, sex robots will have personalities. Hilariously, one of the 12 personality traits you can choose from is “sexual,” which makes me wonder about the kind of person who would buy a sex robot and not want her to be sexual. The always-whipsmart Tracy Moore writes: “I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure ‘sexual’ counted as a personality type in a woman, so I asked the man standing nearest to me in the MEL offices if men think it is, and he said ‘Sexual?’ and thought about it for a second. ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘Horny.'”

• Social psychology is fascinating. Here are some science-tested tips on making friends faster. The “misattribution of arousal” is one of my favorite social-psych phenomena; one day I’ll write a post about it…

Don’t say “but” when you apologize to someone. It undermines the sincerity of what you’re trying to say. Cari Romm reports, “According to one 2014 study on the subject, a well-executed apology requires the offender to make it clear that they understand what they did wrong, take full responsibility, offer a plan to fix things, and promise to improve in the future.” So simple and yet sometimes so difficult!

• Some sex-magic practitioners weighed in on how to cast spells with your orgasms. (Years ago, I wrote a piece about this for the Numinous, if you’re interested. It is some truly crunchy/hippie/witchy stuff; you have been warned!)

• An old friend of mine started a sex blog recently and she’s been writing some fabulous, smart pieces. Her and her boyfriend tried a bunch of wacky sex positions; the ensuing post makes me want to work on my sexual acrobatics!

• The evolution of porn tropes is so interesting to me. Here’s an oral history of the moneyshot. Personally, I’m not really a fan; it turns me on most in porn when a dude’s orgasm happens inside his partner’s mouth or other various orifices, not on their face. The palette of human sexual desire is so wide and diverse!

• Ever wondered why “shrinkage” happens?

• Here’s a piece on people whose kink is giving and/or getting tattoos. I thought about this a lot while getting my kinky thigh tattoos last year. I don’t think I could ever get a tattoo that was mentally tied to a specific partner; I’ve never liked anyone enough to want to be with them for-literally-ever! But maybe someday I will…

• S. Bear Bergman has been one of my favorite writers for many years, and after the 2016 U.S. election, he wrote an advice column answering the question, “What do we do now?” He touches on political action, self-care, and countering social isolation in tough times, and he calls Trump “Pumpkin Spice Mussolini.” It’s a much-needed half-laughing pep talk for this weird and worrisome era we’re in.

• The ever-articulate Andrew Gurza wrote about his recent experiences with disability and masturbation. I admire Drew’s candidness and thoughtfulness so much!

• This article is old but I only just discovered it: a Playboy reporter interviewed the founder of the Orgasmic Meditation movement about how she gives blowjobs for her own pleasure. I am always wary of narratives which frame blowjobs as an endeavor of empowered women (including when I myself write that kind of narrative!) because they feel dangerously close to patriarchal tropes repackaged as female empowerment. But if Joanna Van Vleck genuinely gets direct pleasure from giving head (a feeling I know well), I say, more power to her.

• Here’s two of my favorite women writers in conversation: Tina Horn interviewed Alana Massey about the latter’s new book, as well as sex work, internalized misogyny, and gold glitter.

• C. Brian Smith – one of my fave writers over at MEL – hired a masturbation coach for an afternoon and wrote about his experience.

• More excellent pieces from MEL this month: why “performing partnership” on social media complicates relationships, the potential queerness of Bart Simpson, how men feel about hookup culture, saving exes’ nudes after a break-up, and saving exes’ Clone-a-Willy dicks after a break-up.

• Queer tarot wiz Carly wrote a column about how to date/flirt/socialize if you’re shy. So much useful and affirming stuff in here!

What did you love reading on the internet this month?

Unmistakeable: Myths and Realities of Attraction at First Sight

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It’s funny how sometimes, the beliefs you hold most firmly are the ones you most need to dismantle.

I have a core belief about relationships that’s probably stunted my romantic possibilities on many an occasion. That belief is: if someone is meant to be my next beau, I’ll know it. I’ll have a good feeling about them from the first. The sight of their face, the jokes they make, the words they use, the energy of their presence – these things will all feel immediately captivating and right to me. I’ll have a hunch, and if I trust that hunch, it’ll lead to good things.

A few weeks ago, on a romantically distraught evening, I wrote this prayer of sorts in my journal:

I am ready to let go of my unrequited crushes and welcome a new person into my life.

I am ready, but I need that person to incite feelings in me that are unmistakeable. I need to be SURE – in my gut if not in my overzealous anxiety-brain – that this is a person I could and should be with.

Their presence should light me up, set my sparkly heart ablaze. I should crave them, but not in that NRE-soaked way that’s clearly a flash fire headed toward burnout. I should want them because of my neurons, not just my neurotransmitters.

They should embody the word “crush” for me, take up space easily and obviously alongside that word in my life. Zing, bang, boom!

This preference for immediate attractions even shows up in how I navigate online dating. Lately, when I swipe through potential matches on Tinder, I do it mostly based on gut feelings about people’s pictures. Some part of me believes that when I see someone who would really make me happy and enrich my life, I’ll know. Like one of those movie moments where two protagonists meet serendipitously, look into each other’s eyes, and are rendered speechless by their sudden mutual attraction.

Writing that journal entry put words to this idea I’d long held, and those words punctured holes in my logic. I’d never thought about it before, but those “zing, bang, boom!” moments have actually been almost nonexistent for me – even with regards to people I adored, who became crucial to my life story.

My first girlfriend was one of the most intense crushes I’ve ever had, but the first time I saw her, I didn’t have romantic feelings for her at all. She was giving a presentation in ninth-grade English class. Though she was funny, smart, and adorable, I didn’t notice those qualities until I looked back at that memory months later through my newly idealistic lens.

Similarly, when I went on my first date with the man who would become my first serious boyfriend and my first love, sparks didn’t fly right out of the gate. I was intensely anxious about the date and didn’t even want to go. We chatted easily for three hours and I liked him, but I wasn’t sure about him, not by a longshot. We didn’t even kiss until the end of our second date, because it took me that long to figure out how I felt about him. And he ended up being one of the people I’ve loved most in my life.

My unrequited attractions haven’t been instantaneous, either. My biggest high school crush didn’t ensnare my heart until, weeks into improv team practice, he sat down at a piano and started playing Vince Guaraldi tunes. My favorite podcast host, whose voice makes me swoon every week, didn’t capture my attention til I noticed his stellar pun skillz a few episodes in. The cute local theatre actor whose career I follow avidly didn’t turn my crank until after I’d seen him in a few different roles.

It’s obvious, when I look at the actual evidence, that my attractions are rarely immediate. In fact, off the top of my head, I can’t think of a time that an initial “good feeling” about someone led to anything substantial. A bad feeling about someone is usually worth heeding, but I can’t identify a future life-changing individual when I see one.

It’s easy to get swept up in myths popularized by romance novels and cheesy chick-flicks. We want to believe love is simple and binaristic: someone’s either right for you, or they’re not. But as with many facets of human existence, the truth is somewhere in the grey area. The love of your life could be hiding behind a face you wouldn’t give a second glance.

I grew up precocious and too smart for my own good, and sometimes that does me a disservice. I can be so sure I know what I want, what I need, and what works for me – but those notions get turned on their heads time and time again. It’s like the universe keeps trying to teach me the importance of staying open and going with the flow. It keeps teaching me, because I keep forgetting.

You think you know what you want, but maybe you don’t. Maybe your next big adventure is hidden behind the door you never would have chosen. Maybe your perspective is skewed, your lens is dirty. Maybe falling in love is best when it’s like a literal fall: terrifying, unexpected, but rewarding as hell if you survive it.

These days, I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt to the world and everyone in it. I’m trying to give people a fair chance, even if at first they don’t seem to be what I’m looking for. I’m trying to accept that I don’t know everything, and that sometimes I should let fate take the wheel instead of desperately clinging to it myself.

That means saying yes to invitations from people I might’ve said no to before, and sometimes swiping right when I’m tempted to swipe left. It means setting aside my prejudices about how people look, and choosing to find out more about their brain and heart before I decide how I feel about them. It means being open, which is the scariest and loveliest way to be.

But I’m still a baby, at just 24. There is still so much about love that confuses and defies me. What are your experiences with attraction at first sight? Does it mean magic is about to happen, or is it a red herring? Were the greatest loves of your life a slow burn, or an instant inferno? Did you ever see a face on a dating app, think “I could love this person,” and find out later just how right you were?

The Anatomy of a Good Tinder Message

Ah, Tinder. Shallowest of shallow dating apps. Devourer of time, energy and brain cells. Cesspool of tiger-obsessed weirdos, hostile Felipes, and “Netflix and chill” jokes. So terrible, and yet so enslaving.

I’m currently in the throes of a full-blown Tinder fixation, which happens to me from time to time. The gameified rush of swiping left and swiping right turns me into a rabid date-seeker, desperately flipping through my available matches for anyone who seems not-awful. And even when the motivation to find partners is removed, I still find Tinder fascinating on a sociological level. Look how far we’ve come, us clever humans, that we can find companionship and sex just by flicking our fingers and staring at colorful images on a tiny screen.

But although I’m enthralled with Tinder, I still kind of hate it. And the thing I loathe most about it is that the people on it are boring. Or, rather, they’re generally not good at demonstrating how interesting they (probably) are.

Sending an initial Tinder message isn’t like walking up to a stranger at a bar. If we met in real life, the content of your greeting would be less important than its delivery, your attractiveness, and my mood. A simple “Hey, how are you?” at a bar could turn into a rollicking conversation if I found you cute, I was in a talkative state of mind, and we had good conversational chemistry after that opening line.

On Tinder, however, “Hey, how are you?” is boring. I get several messages like that every week. And though I could glance at your profile again when you message me, I might not. The content of your message is all I have to go on. So if it’s bad, I’m probably not gonna talk to you. Like, at all. Not even in weak pleasantries, the likes of which you might get if you “Hey, what’s up?”-ed me while I was grumpy-drunk at a bar.

Before I go any further, a caveat. This post might make it sound like I never initiate conversations on Tinder, or that I expect men to be the initiator in all cases. Neither of those things are true; however, that is how it’s gone down in most of my Tinder chats. Blame it on patriarchal gender roles or the Dickonomics of Tinder; men tend to drive the action on this app, and on most online dating services.

Since that is the case, I, as an active female user of Tinder, am by default an expert on what kinds of messages I do and don’t like to receive. Months of boring conversations and uninvigorated openers have sharpened my sense of this. Here are the three things I think you crucially must do when you send an initial Tinder message to someone you think is cute:

  1. Compliment them. Choose something specific about them that you genuinely like, and tell them that you like it. Assuming you’re looking for something more than a hook-up, it’d be smart to compliment something non-physical, like a personality trait that comes across in their bio or a hobby shown in one of their photos. If you can’t think of anything to compliment them on, well, why did you swipe right on them, then? Surely there was something about their pictures or description that appealed to you.
  2. Prove you’ve read their profile. Reference something from their bio or photos. If your message is so generic that you could copy-and-paste it to many different matches, you’re not trying hard enough.
  3. Ask a question or two. If you don’t, they’ll have nothing to respond to! Try to avoid boring, commonplace questions like “How’s your week going?” or “What are you up to tonight?” You can ask those later, once you’ve got the conversational ball rolling. To start, ask them a question they’ll be excited to answer – maybe something about one of their passions or interests.

Those are the three basic building blocks of a solid Tinder initiation. Bonus points if your message is also funny, properly spell-checked, and hints at an activity or interest that might make for a good first date if the conversation goes well.

To illustrate how and why a first message’s construction is important, I’ve pulled a few examples from my own Tinder inbox. They’re not pretty, but hopefully you’ll learn something from them.

imageThis dude had clearly read my profile, but maybe only the first sentence of it. I understand that it’s exciting to encounter a sex blogger if you’ve never met one before, but when guys take this tactic with me, it makes me feel objectified and reduced to this one small detail about who I am. And while he did ask a question, it’s a bad question: it only warrants a quick yes or no, and the answer is already in my profile. When you ask someone a question with the intent of starting a conversation, it should require more than a few words in response, and it should be a question you don’t already know the answer to. Finally, he complimented me, but it’s a generic compliment without much substance. I already know he finds me attractive, because he swiped right on me; now I want to know what else he finds interesting about me. And if the answer is “nothing,” then we’re probably not a good fit.

imageSome guys try to initiate convos in gimmicky ways like this, and it just doesn’t work. It makes me feel like you’re a con man and I’m the mark. It’s also an insult to my intelligence: this dude and I both know he isn’t really messaging me to get my help remembering the name of a movie he once saw, so why pretend that’s what’s going on? Online dating can feel so contrived anyway; it’s best to be genuine. Tell me about yourself and ask me about myself, instead of constructing this strange excuse to talk to me.

imageThis is an example of the kind of message that would go over better if it was spoken out loud at a bar or a party, but doesn’t work well in a medium like Tinder. More than half the messages I get are some variant of “Hi,” “Hello,” “What’s up?” and so on. These messages are boring, require the bare minimum of effort to send, and show zero indication of why the person finds me interesting. I’m only motivated to answer this kind of message if the person’s profile is very intriguing to me, which is rare.

imageI get the sense that this guy was probably just looking for a hook-up. If that was his goal, then his approach was a good one: he complimented me on my physical attractiveness, and later asked me straight-up if I wanted to “have some fun” (i.e. hook up). I didn’t answer because I was looking for something more relationshippy. Keep in mind that your messages can and should establish some sense of what you’re hoping to get out of the interaction. I find physical compliments unsatisfying on Tinder because, duh, I already know you’re attracted to my photos; now I want to know why you might be attracted to my brain. But if sex is all you’re after, a physically-based compliment could be a good way to subtly communicate that.

imageThis message is a question, and an interesting one, so it’s got that going for it. But I didn’t reply because the message contained no indication of why I should find this guy interesting. I’m not on Tinder to educate people or to have philosophical discussions; I’m on there to meet people for dates and/or a relationship. So, while it’s great that this guy wants to learn about the poly lifestyle, I’m gonna need a little more than “I don’t understand this thing; please explain it to me!” to get me interested in talking to someone.

imageThis message could have been copied-and-pasted to literally anyone, if he replaced my name with someone else’s. It’s fantastic to get a message from someone who shares my interests, but if that’s the case, I’d love to know what those interests are! All I could really reply to this is something like, “Oh yeah? Like what?” and that’s not the kind of message I’d be bursting to send. Be interesting and specific. Craft your message so I’m excited to answer it.

imageThis is a cool opener. It’s simple, but I like it. Asking someone about their passion is an easy, accessible way to capture their attention and get them talking. This guy could’ve improved his message, however, by relating the question back to himself so I’d be interested in answering him rather than just answering the question. For example, he could’ve mentioned a favorite journalist of his and asked if I’d heard of them, or he could’ve told me what led him down the road to his passion. Providing more information for the person to respond to is always better than not providing enough!

imageThis is the first message I received from the guy who is now my boyfriend (!!). It caught my attention because it’s straightforward and instantly proved he’d read my profile: he’s referencing my bio where I mention that I like old movies, celebrity impressions and Scrabble. He’s given me some information I can respond to (“Why The Wizard of Oz?” “What are your favorite board games?”) and pointed out some commonalities between us that might make me want to talk to him. He potentially could’ve improved this opener by complimenting me, but pointing out shared interests is a type of compliment – it means, “Hey, that thing that you like? I like it too, because it’s a good thing!”

What are the best first Tinder messages you’ve ever received (or sent)? Do you find that some approaches lead to actual conversations more often than others? I want to hear about your Tinder experiences in the comments section!