Going on a date is always nerve-wracking. But it's even more nerve-wracking when your date is a literal stranger from the internet.
Will he look like his pictures? Will the chemistry you had on the app messenger system translate to real life? Is he actually going to be a serial killer?
It's challenging to know how to start an IRL conversation with someone you only know from your iPhone screen and whatever else you saw when you stalked his LinkedIn and Facebook. (Yeah, yeah, don't even try to deny it. We all do it.)
But on every Tinder date I've ever gone on, I think I've known within five minutes if I am actually interested in staying, or if I'm gonna go in the bathroom and text my friend to ask her to call me about an "emergency." In other words, first impressions are CRUCIAL.
So, if you have literally no idea what to say to your Tinder date when you first arrive at the bar, restaurant or wherever you're meeting, here are a few options to get the ball rolling:
1. "Tell me about your day so far."
Asking someone to detail their day to you will provide many entryways for conversation. This is a good alternative to the go-to of "How's your day?" which has the potential to be a one-word answer, and you want to avoid those.
The other alternative, "How are you?" always strikes me as bizarre, since you don't really know each other well enough to be concerned about each other's, like, emotional well-being.
2. "Sorry in advance if I seem [insert your mood here]! [The thing that caused your mood] happened today..."
If you say this lightheartedly, and if your mood is anything besides "pissed the fuck off," this is super effective. If your date is actually interested in getting to know you as a person (the dream, right?), they'll ask you more about this one event that has shifted your mood so radically that you felt the need to say it out loud.
OR, you could even say "Sorry in advance if I'm so talkative! I get like that sometimes" or "Sorry in advance if I'm so awkward! I'm a little nervous right now" if you're feeling particularly self-assured. This one is particularly charming because you're immediately letting your guard down, which will make your date feel like he can, too.
Ah, young love.
3. "Under which condition would you rather be naked: being chased by a bear alone in a forest, or in front of 100,000 people?"
When in doubt, just go random. And get weird with it!
A couple other options: "Name three favorite movies in order of ones you'd be willing to watch 30 times in a row without killing yourself." "Fuck, kill, marry: Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis?" (Yes, they're all hot. This one will really get him to think.)
4. "So, I never got to tell you this, but I also [insert something you can relate to from their profile]."
Hopefully, your in-app conversations with your date haven't already exhausted every element in their profile. Like, if you've already texted each other about the picture of him snowboarding and the fact that he has "ENFP" listed in his profile, this won't be the best starter.
But if there are still things you haven't talked about (like that picture of him performing stand-up), this conversation starter is a good choice.
You'll want to look through their profile quickly before going on the date, so you have something ready to say, but you don't want to make it obvious that you did this. So, be super nonchalant with this one. (For this particular opening line, the "so" I've included will be very effective for seeming chill.)
5. "Your pictures don't do you justice!"/"You're way taller than I thought you'd be!"
If nothing else, I always find it fun to acknowledge the fact that you met on a dating app. People can get kind of weird about that (even though, hello, it's 2017, and everyone is on dating apps, and it's really not that weird), so you just gotta confront that elephant in the room. It breaks the ice pretty quickly.
Conversations about people's experiences on dating apps are also really entertaining, so this could lead to some hilarious date stories (so meta, I know) that will further break the ice between you guys.
Because if you have NOTHING else in common, the one thing you're guaranteed to have in common is that you are on a dating app.