How to break the ice on Tinder and other dating apps

How to break the ice on Tinder and other dating apps

 · 10 min read

Coming up with an opening line on a dating app can feel hugely intimidating, especially if you can't remember the last time you spoke to someone to arrange a first date. While dating apps take care of a lot of the matchmaking side of things, we've got you covered when it comes to conversation starters.

  • Get some excellent ideas for ice breakers when sending someone a first message online
  • Find out how to personalise your message to someone looking at their profile
  • Learn some great conversation starters and questions to ask to keep the conversation going
  • Get a better response rate by approaching people in a genuine and interesting way

Online dating icebreakers: FAQs

  • Should I use emojis when messaging online?

    Absolutely! They add some colour to your messages. Avoid writing using only emojis all the time, though. You want some plain text messages, too!

  • Are funny Tinder icebreakers better than more serious ones?

    While this depends on who you are talking to, saying something witty or funny tends to have a better response rate.

  • Are there any great Tinder pickup lines?

    Sure there are, but as a general rule, you have to target what you say to the person you're speaking with. Read their profile and personalise your approach. There are plenty of examples in this article to draw inspiration from, and that can be personalised to suit your Tinder match.

  • Do over 50s use Tinder?

    Absolutely. If you want to join more than one dating app or site, you can check out this article about great dating sites for over 50s.

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You saw them, you liked them...and they liked you back. It's officially a match. But what to say? How do you break the ice and get the conversation going? What are the best Tinder ice breakers and conversation starters? And can you use the same ice breakers for other dating apps and dating sites for over 50s?

What lines work for what platform?

First of all, let's answer if the same ice breakers work for all platforms? The answer is, yes, they do. The only difference is that some platforms are more focused on hookups and casual dating, and the people using these are more open to cheeky messages. The basic principles remain the same, though. 

If you're searching for a dating app or site that suits what you're looking for, check out this article about finding the perfect dating site if you're over 50.

Hello won't cut it

Saying hello to someone in a pub might be all you need to get a conversation going. Online, when they can't see you and "get a feel" for you, it won't cut it, however. To engage someone in a conversation, you need to show that you are interested enough to come up with something a little bit more interesting than just "hello." 

The truth is, even if you don't intend for it to look that way, just saying "hello" looks like you didn't care much about the message. 

If someone gets a lot of messages, a mere "hello" won't even make them look up. Unless, of course, you look like Angelina Jolie or George Clooney and have a Tinder bio that matches your looks with wits. 

Other messages in the same vein as "hello" are, "How are you?" and "How was your day?" They aren't going to make anyone take note. 

GIFs

GIFs are great ice breakers for those among us who feel tongue-tied when messaging. They are some of the best Tinder openers, as you can send GIFs using their platform. Likewise, you can send GIFs on Bumble. 

When looking for a GIF, either look for one that's funny (even if it just says "hello" in a humorous manner) or one that somehow links to your match's profile. For example, if they're holding a cocktail in their profile picture, you can find one that toasts them back and add a note about the cocktail in their photo. 

As a general rule, GIFs are conversation starters that actually work because they make people smile. Funny Tinder ice breakers are some of the better ones - if you make someone laugh, you have them on hello...

Ask questions relating to their photos

Photos are great because they give you clues to someone's personality. By commenting on them or asking questions about them, you show that you paid attention to their profile. 

"Hello Maya, nice to match! Is that an ostrich I see in that photo? You keep interesting company!" 

"Hey there Lars, looks like you went on one epic ski holiday! Are you the kind of fearless skier that glides down the black pistes, or are you the kind of skier others fear meeting as they may end up ploughed down? ;)"

"Wow, what a great profile you have! I love the photo of your dog (it is your dog, right?). So tell me, how would your dog describe you in one or two sentences?" 

What you don't want to do is tell someone how incredibly hot they look in a photo. Anyone good looking using a dating site will have had numerous compliments on their looks. They want to find Tinder dates who care about their personality. Especially if they're looking for something serious. One of the best pieces of dating advice anyone can give you is to compliment people on their personality before complimenting them on their looks. 

Talk about their bio

If someone has a Tinder bio, they're more likely to get matches because why invest your time in someone you know nothing about? People like to find out just enough to get curious! What's more, you can use someone's bio to find topics to talk about, just as with the pics they have on their profile. 

"Hello Tanya, you say you're a great cook! I LOVE to cook! So how about, if I get through the first three dates, you'll give me your best secret recipe? Deal? ;)" 

"Congratulations - you're officially the winner of the quirkiest dating profile I've ever seen on here! I love it! Do you promise to be as quirky in real life? ;)"

"As bios go, yours is certainly unique. You sound great, Anna! I'd love to find out more about you - you say you enjoy traveling, what's the last really epic place you visited?" 

"Hello Emma, you say you love good pub food - what pubs do you like? Or what pub food specifically? Personally, I am in love with this gastro pub in Lewisham. Maybe we can grab a quick drink there to see if there's chemistry? (I find it easier than chatting on here!) I hope you're having a great day!!" 

"Hello Nathan, I see I've found a fellow ice cream lover. So tell me, Hagen Daazs or Ben & Jerry's? Or maybe Italian gelato? :)" 

Two truths and a lie

The best Tinder openers are ones that get the conversation going. Asking interesting questions, as above, is therefore great. Sometimes playing little games work, too. 

"Hello Gerald, you have such an interesting profile! How about we play two truths and a lie so I get to find out even more juicy details about you? :) Wanna go first?" 

If someone is looking for hookups, they may take a message like that the wrong way (i.e. they'll respond with naughty stuff). Still, this is just a fun and relaxing way to engage in a conversation for most people. 

Yes and no questions don't get the conversation going, but you get something to chat about when you ask someone to tell you two truths and a lie. Especially as most people go for the most outrageous things they've ever done. On Bumble, you can even put two truths and a lie in your profile as a conversation starter. And I've seen people say things like "Shark diving, meeting the Queen, and being lost in the Sahara." I mean, if that doesn't give you something to talk about, I don't know what will!

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting the Queen or getting lost in the Sahara, you can play around with other funny things. "I can do a great imitation of Boris Johnson, I have perfected my handstands, and I have a parrot who swears."

Or why not show off your personality or talents? For example, "I make a mean lasagne, I can play the piano, and I know how to tango."

If you continue playing the game, you can also do "themed" ones, like talking about your creative side. For example. "I have read all of Shakespeare's plays, I know Blake by heart, and I have sung in several operas." You can simply challenge them to do two truths and a lie about their skills in general, their cooking skills in particular, their personality quirks, and so forth. 

Genuine compliments

Good Tinder ice breakers can definitively include compliments. As mentioned above, if you can compliment someone on their personality, do! And as you can also see above, I've included some compliments in some of the examples. However, you can also stick purely to a compliment.

"Gemma, I must give it to you - those wellies you're wearing in one pic are the most charming wellies I've ever seen! They're also the only pink wellies I've ever seen." 

This is obviously a bit funny, too! You can use it if someone is wearing something outrageous, like: "Peter, you're the only one I've ever seen here on eHarmony who is wearing a cacti hat. Charming as it is, please tell me that was a dress up party and not your normal garb when walking about Edinburgh? ;)" 

Other compliments can be just that - genuine compliments. 

"Mark, I see you playing the piano in one shot! Wow. I do love a man who can play an instrument! What kind of music do you enjoy playing? :)" 

"Hello Lulu, how nice to match with you! I really enjoyed your bio - it sounds so fascinating working with marine biology! Are you part of any interesting research projects?" 

Remember, traditional pickup lines are not compliments. "Your father must be a thief because he stole the stars and put them in your eyes" is not a compliment. It's a cheesy line that is not the least bit personalised. Avoid using those kinds of pickup lines.

Get straight to the point

To get a Bumble or Tinder conversation going, sometimes all you need to do is get to the point. "Hey Mary, I'm so happy we matched! Great to so-to-speak meet you! Loving your profile." 

Of course, a statement like that is often best when followed with a question. Or you can wait until they (most likely) thank you for the message. Perhaps they'll ask you a question then, or you can have one on the ready. You can use the ideas above about finding questions that relate to their pics of Tinder bio. 

No matter what ice breaker you use, you still need to keep the conversation going, or suggest a coffee as you don't like to chat online. However, if you want to ask a few questions first, you'll find some examples of questions below you can ask when talking to people on online dating sites. 

Great questions to keep the conversation going

Even if you have the best Tinder icebreakers down, you still need to keep the conversation going to get matches interested in meeting you. You can ask straight away if they want to meet for a coffee if you like. "Listen, I'm pretty old fashioned and like meeting people face to face to see if there's any chemistry. Are you up for a quick coffee? Or do you prefer chatting for a while first? If you wanna chat first, no problem, I just think you gauge people much better in real life :)." 

If the conversation continues, you can, as mentioned, refer back to their profile for ideas about what to ask. You can also use some of the below questions. 

  • Are you from [insert city] originally?
  • Have you ever lived abroad? 
  • What's one (or three) things you'd like to experience in life in the coming months/years?
  • If you could have a superpower, what would it be? 
  • If there's one thing you could teach everyone, what would it be? 
  • Do you think Netflix has anything good that I can watch tonight? Or is there a TV show I simply must see? Or book I must read? I'm looking for suggestions :) 
  • Are there any places in the UK you have always wanted to see but haven't gotten round to visiting yet? 
  • What would you say are some of your best and worst qualities? 
  • If you could go back to any time and place in history for 24 hours, where would you go? 
  • What's the funniest film you've ever watched?
  • What does your perfect Sunday morning look like?

While you chat, have fun with it and use humour. So long as you don't turn the entire conversation into a joke. It gets a better response rate than if you're serious all the time. 

Also, while chatting, ask follow-on questions. For example, if someone is mad about hiking, ask them what makes them love it so much? You want to show that you're paying attention to what someone is saying and that you care to learn more about them. You will also want to remember what someone has told you so that when you meet up in real life, you can ask more questions relating to their interests. 

Maria Montgomery
Maria Montgomery
Maria joined Age Group in 2020 and specialises in content around dating and mental wellbeing. She has lived in seven different countries, has an entrepreneurial streak and is the owner of Magique and That Woman Is A Woman Productions. Her blog, Confessions of a Dizzy Blonde, offers her life learnings, sprinkled with a large dose of humour…and sex!