Dating Tips

Relationship Pros Share Their Secrets for Crafting Good Opening Lines

Mary Grace Garis

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Photo: Getty Images/Marco Piunti

Whether you’re looking for a late-in-the-game companion to close out cuffing season or the bonafide love of your life, January is a crucial month for romance since it’s peak dating-app time. No, seriously, it’s been found to be the most active month for new or returning daters to swipe, which makes sense given the combined timeliness of those “get back out there” New Year’s resolutions and the common reality of not wanting to leave your couch in the middle of winter. So in the interest of putting your best foot (or DM) forward, dating experts have thoughts on crafting good opening lines to use on dating apps in order to stand out in the best way.

According to relationship and online-dating expert Jess Carbino, PhD, who has served as both Tinder and Bumble’s sociologist, the best angle to take is the personal one. Her research suggests that the most effective way to get your match to interact with you is by “creating a point of connection.”

“One of the reasons we swipe right on someone is that we believe, based upon our evaluations of their profile, that we could share something in common,” Dr. Carbino says. “For individuals looking to establish that connection, I advise them to personalize their message by making an observation regarding the bio or photo in the person’s profile, stating how they can relate, and subsequently asking a question to move the conversation forward.”

“I advise personalizing the message by making an observation regarding the bio or photo, stating how they can relate, and subsequently asking a question to move the conversation forward.” —Jess Carbino, PhD

Erika Ettin, dating coach and founder of online-dating-coaching company A Little Nudge, agrees and adds that injecting humor is always a plus. “So, if they say they like pizza, for example, you could start with, ‘I’m thinking cheese should be its own food group, yay or nay?'” she says. “Or ‘I’m originally from New York, so pizza is in my blood. Have a favorite place?'”

And since travel is essentially a natural aphrodisiac in the dating-app world, why don’t you play that up? Julie Spira, online-dating expert and matchmaker, suggests asking about your match’s last big adventure. “An example would be, ‘Hi [insert name]! I loved seeing your safari photos! Were they taken in Tanzania or Kenya?’ Spira says. “If their photos include a beach or hiking shot, ask them what their favorite trail is, or if the photo was taken in Hawaii or the Caribbean.”

But, what about the cases of blank profiles that leave you with no material to work from in order to craft good opening lines? That definitely makes things a little harder, but there’s certainly still hope. “You could say something off the wall and random, or simply say, ‘Your profile is blank…would love to hear something about you,'” Ettin says.There’s also the possibility that this person is a dating-app novice who just needs to crack out of their shell.  Whatever the case, though, it’s still possible to help foster a connection with nothing more than a good opening line if you keep things witty, intimate, and focused on the person in question.

And for specifics, relationship expert Susan Winter has a few icebreakers rounded up below you can try out if you’re drawing a blank.

3 good opening lines to try on dating apps, according to a pro

1. “When was the last time you had a really great laugh? You know, the kind where your eyes are watering and you’re doubled over? And what was it that made you laugh so hard?”

What does Jessica Rabbit see in Roger Rabbit? “He makes me laugh.” People (and criminally hot cartoon characters) often just want to be with someone who has a solid sense of humor. The thing is, we don’t all find the same things to be hilarious.

“So, it would be an interesting first question to ask about a person’s type of humor; what things do they find funny,” says Winter. “Is it physical comedy, the observation of human foibles, posturing, or discomfort [like] The Office or Fleabag, or an event involving friends goofing around? This line of questioning provides a glimpse into the mental and emotional disposition of your perspective date.”

2. “What moment or moments of your life have had a memorable impact?”

Very quickly, you’ll get into the psyche of this person and get them to talk about their favorite feel-good subject: themselves.

“We all have mental images in our heads that stick, moments of our life that are recorded in freeze-frame,” Winter says. “We’ve kept an image for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s profoundly meaningful and poignant. Other times, it’s just an everyday moment that took hold. What is that image? What does it signify?”

3. “Have you ever dated a contortionist before?”

Maybe this one works best for the double-jointed swiper, but why not throw a curveball and see what happens? “I realize starting this way ramps up the sexual banter, but it also throws your date off course and makes them think a bit,” Winter says.

Not sure which app to download first? Here’s our comprehensive guide to dating apps available right now. And this is why making the first move actually works.

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