Very few people will tell you they find it easy to send a first message to a match on a dating app. It’s hard to break the ice when you’re talking to a stranger and trying to figure out what to say. For some women and femme-identifying folks using Bumble, where it's up to you to initiate conversation, sending a Bumble conversation starter to a match can be loaded with anxiety. What do you say? How forward should you be? How long is too long — or alternatively, how soon is too soon — to wait to meet up for drinks? Is it cheesy to send a pickup line? How do you start a conversation on Bumble with someone you don’t know?
Thankfully, Damona Hoffman, host of The Dates & Mates Podcast, has come to the rescue with some advice for what to say in a DM. “My philosophy is to send a message that is personal, yet doesn't require a huge investment of time or energy to craft it,” Hoffman tells Elite Daily. You shouldn’t spend hours trying to think of something to say. Instead, Hoffman recommends what she calls a “common formula” of “a comment and a question.” It’s a two-fold operation where “the comment acknowledges that you've read their profile and you are reacting to something specific in it and the question is an invitation to explore the connection with you.” Simple, straightforward, and leaves the next step up to them.
Picking a “comment” could be something as simple as a straightforward “Hi” or “Hello” or maybe you offer up a little something brief about yourself. You can even try a pickup line if that’s more your speed. If you’re stumped on what the question you ask should be, Hoffman advises a first message “isn't the place for detail or deep revelations about your hopes, dreams, and fears.” She says you should instead look at a Bumble conversation starter (or any app conversation starter, really) as “your chance to drop a line in the water and see if you can hook a match.” A question is a low-stakes way to put the ball in someone else’s court. But if you send a first message and receive radio silence in return, Hoffman says you shouldn’t try to chase someone down in order to get them to talk to you. “You don’t want to dump all your cards on the table right away,” she says. “Make initial contact and see if they come back with their own curiosity about you.”
So if you feel ready to take things to a DM, these 13 openers to send to your Bumble match to get the conversation started will serve as instant inspiration.
1. "We did it!"
This is a good way to start the conversation with positivity and enthusiasm. Plus, it leads to a question in response. Your match might be curious what you two did together, and then you can launch into an easy conversation once the pressure of a Bumble conversation starter is finished.
2. "I think you’re so cute :)"
Why try to be punny when you could just be straightforward? You think your match is cute, so tell them. I doubt they’d be disappointed to hear this.
If you’re sending a message about your match’s physical appearance, Hoffman says to make your intentions clear. “If you're only looking for sex, your goal is not to practice slow love and get to know the person on an emotional level but to assess what they are looking for and see if it's a match.” She recommends you “start with a compliment but don't go too dirty right away.” It could turn your match off.
3. "Where have you been?"
You’re not asking where your match has literally been, although that’s fair game for an answer as well. Instead, you could draw this out into a cheesy, funny pickup line. No one can get mad at that.
4. Offer up a cheesy “Knock, knock” joke.
Repeat after me: You don’t have to overthink this. Send a corny, cheesy, funny knock, knock joke and get the intro message out of the way so you can move on to more important things.
5. Comment on something they mentioned in their bio.
You may find yourself agonizing over how to start a conversation on Bumble, but Hoffman is quick to remind that if your match has a thorough profile, then they’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. “Daters often panic in the initial phase and feel like they need to do more to get someone interested,” she says, “but if your profile is solid, it should be doing the hard work for you.” It’s good to let your match’s interests guide the conversation.
6. Comment on one of their photos.
If you and your match are from and/or living in the same neighborhood, you might notice a familiar background, or a historical landmark that’ll make sending an intro message a breeze. Don’t shy away from using what’s available to you to spark a conversation.
7. Ask about their dating deal breakers.
You can find out pretty early on if your match is interested and looking for the same things you are. Not interested in a wishy-washy commitment? A FWB situation? A partner who doesn’t share the same political opinions as you? A good way to start the conversation, especially if you’re feeling like you don’t have time to waste, is to get a sense of what they’re looking for before you offer anything further.
9. Send them a gif.
If you aren’t into sending a cheesy little knock, knock joke, then why not try a gif? Bonus points if the moment is from a show or movie you and your match have in common.
10. Ask why they swiped right on you.
Clearly there was some aspect of your profile your match liked enough to swipe right on you. So, why not ask them why? It also opens the door for you to share what drew you to them, too.
11. Pretend like you’re old friends.
Hoffman recommends you dive in as if you already know your match. You’re not nervous to talk to your best friend, so why be nervous right now? “Jump into the conversation like it's beginning in the middle and skip the awkward small talk,” she says. “That's why cueing off the profile can give you an automatic ‘in’ to discuss something your match is passionate about and let your follow-up messages be inspired by curiosity.”
12. Say something genuine.
Hoffman says that while a lot of people try to say something funny on the first message, that advice doesn’t work for everyone and can create unnecessary stress on the part of the sender. “Humor is often a great place to start but I find that the pressure to be funny can sometimes overwhelm daters so I steer my clients towards authenticity and genuine interest,” Hoffman says. Don’t shy away from being your true self. It could end up working in your favor.
13. Start off with a game.
This or That, Never Have I Ever, Two Truths and a Lie… it’ll be obvious to your match that you’re starting off the conversation in a fun way that doesn’t put pressure on either of you to share more than you’re comfortable with. You can keep the topics joke-y and fun to start but as you get to know each other better, you might move on to more thoughtful games.
Additional reporting by Kylie McConville
Damona Hoffman, host of The Dates & Mates Podcast
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