Written by Natasha Lawrence
Welcome back to The Dating Diaries. A series on the trials and tribulations of our collective dating experiences. Our rants, our raves, our first dates and our worst dates. It feels good to get this all off our chests.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting with a male friend, discussing the best dating apps available. We had both just gotten out of relationships and were ready to get back out there into the dating world. My friend said his plan was to get on Bumble. When I asked why, he simply answered: “Because the girls have to make the first move.”
Man or woman, making the first move is terrifying. Letting someone know that you are possibly interested in them takes guts. Will they respond in your favour? Will they brush you off completely? Will they laugh in your face?! Who knows! It’s all part of the risk of putting yourself out there and making that first move. And this factor, the one that moved Bumble to the top of my male friend’s list, was what made me weary and a little bit scared of the app.
It’s not so much that I have a problem being the first one to say hi – I’ve done so before in bars, and doing it behind an iPhone screen is much easier. The challenge is this:
At a bar, I wouldn’t bother to send a drink or say hello to a man surrounded by women doing the same. My chances are statistically lower and I’d have to do something really special to stand out from the rest.
On a dating app, chances are that the men you are trying to chat with are already chatting with multiple women, and so, in order to stand out from the others, my first line has to be something eye-catching. But not too eye-catching that they immediately write you off as weird.
Do you remember back in grade school when you were learning to write stories? The first thing the teacher taught was that the first sentence of your story has to be exciting. It has to hook your reader and reel them in to read more. That’s exactly what a conversation starter on a dating app has to do.
Back to my scenario at the bar:
My approach to a man (not surrounded by women) would be a simple: ‘hi’. No fuss. Nothing fancy. Maybe, if I didn’t feel like using words, I’d try to catch their eye from afar. Maybe, send them a drink.
On an app, this isn’t possible. After starting numerous conversations with “Hey,” I was getting absolutely no response. It didn’t help with the self-confidence that every time I would write my greeting, the app has a pop-up bubble recommending I use something stronger, even offering a list of suggestions. After multiple dead-ends, I decided to see if Bumble’s openers were actually going to work.
Before doing so, I of course consulted with my female friends. I read some of the lines out loud, and heard “Ew! That’s so weird!” and “I would never say that!” in response. I even went back to my male friend, who said that starting a conversation with one of these lines was weird. But, I was curious and really had nothing to lose, so I started the conversation with my next match like so: “Best dive bar in town, in your opinion?”
Every single conversation I started with a Bumble recommended opener, led to an almost immediate reply and a conversation.
At first, this surprised me. But, after a few interesting conversations, I decided that these openers were amazing. I’m sure Bumble has a whole team dedicated to figuring out what works best, and this makes making that first move so much easier. It’s taken the guess work out of creating a strong opener. All I have to do is scroll through their suggestions to figure out which opener is best for which guy.
Do I feel weird about it? Sure. These bolder lines are not something I would normally use, but they open the door for me to at least start the conversation and eventually show my true personality.
Now, I just have one questions for you: What’s the last song you listened to?