In the course of online dating, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll match with someone who seems intriguing only to receive a first message like “Hey” or “What’s good?” It may feel daunting to get a conversation going if the other person doesn’t give you much to work with, but there are a few sure-fire ways to move towards a more exciting and fruitful conversation. Here’s how to respond to “What’s up?”-and other Bumble openers that might not be as inspiring as you’d like!
Volley back your own playful opener
Since the other person is leaving it up to you to get the conversation going when they open with something like ‘what’s up’ or ‘hey,’ you might want to respond by asking a light, open-ended question. What’s most important is to ask a question that requires something beyond a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, because if the question is too simple it could make it hard for a conversation to flow naturally.
Sexologist and psychotherapist Dr. Kristie Overstreet suggests replying with something like: “Work, life, and staying sane! What are you looking forward to today?” Or you can playfully push them to tell you more about themselves by trying something like, “Hey! If you had to describe yourself in three emojis, which would you pick?” or “So what brought you to [city where they live]?”
Make a specific observation about their profile
Probably the best way to initiate a back-and-forth is to show you’re genuinely interested in getting to know the person you matched with. Look at their profile to figure out where to begin. Dating coach Benjamin Daly thinks of it as a three-step process: Start with a greeting like, “Hey, (name),” which will make it feel more personal. Then “make an observation about something in their profile: I noticed…, I saw…, I didn’t have you down as…” Finally, “end with a question about your observation.”
Whatever you decide to bring up about their profile should feel intuitive: What was it that drove you to swipe right? It could be something like, “I saw you have an adorable pitbull-is he really yours, or did you just borrow him for your Bumble photos?” Or “I noticed that you have photos in Greece! That’s my dream travel destination. When were you there?” Or something simple like: “You seem like a lot of fun. What have you been getting up to this summer?”
Use Bumble’s features to bond over a shared hobby
It might seem obvious, but the My Interests section of your Bumble profile is there for a reason. This is an easy way to get to know someone; inquire about something, and make it clear that you’re interested in it as well (and make sure your My Interests section is filled out!). You can ask a question like: “So you’re a sci-fi fan. If you absolutely had to pick: ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’?” or “I’m also a vegetarian! How long have you been one?”
Remember to check if your match has linked their Spotify and Instagram accounts to their profile-and make sure you do the same. Ask your match about their most recent playlist, or let them know you have a favorite band in common. Or bring up one of their recent Instagram posts: “Wow, your hiking photos are amazing. Where did you take those?” or “I noticed you were reading [book title]. Was it as good as everyone says?”
Don’t overthink it
Megan Weks, a dating coach and the founder of The Manfunnel Method, describes brief and impersonal messages like ‘hey’, and ‘how are you?’ as “low-investment openers.” But just because someone sends you one, that doesn’t mean they’re not truly interested. “They may just be testing the water just to see if you’ll reply, and then they may put in a little bit more effort after that,” she explains.
Don’t stress too much about how to get the conversation going, and don’t spend too long wondering what to write; the actual content of what you say is less important than how you say it. What you’re doing is creating a platform from which you can spring into a conversation, and the best way to do that is to “conjure up warmth and excitement,” as Weks puts it. “What’s important is your tone,” she emphasizes. “Your ice-breaker is not as relevant. It’s your energy level and your enthusiasm that’s going to be helpful here.” If they messaged you, they’re at least a little intrigued. Now all you have to do is have fun and see if you have good chemistry in your conversations!