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The Dos and Don’ts of Online Dating Conversations

One of the most overlooked aspects of online dating is the icebreakers that kick off the conversation. We all know that first impressions matter in the real world, however, not much thought is given to it in online dating. You might not think how you break the ice matters, but it does.

Here we will walk you through the dos and don’ts of online dating conversations. This article aims to educate you so that you don’t make the same mistakes many people make that start the conversation on the wrong foot.

The Dos

Do ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing

What you’re trying to do here is ask questions that will lead to more communication. Don’t ask a yes or no question. Lead in with something like, “What is a food that you’ve never eaten but would love to try?”. That’s a great question for anyone who says they’re a foodie. The purpose is to get the ball rolling and nothing else.

Do respond in a timely manner to show you’re interested

Some people think it’s a good idea to make someone wait because it means you’re not in a big hurry to date. That’s not the case with online dating, you must respond as quickly as possible. No, you don’t have to stare eagle-eyed at your phone waiting for a message and break your neck to respond.

If you receive a message from someone, try to answer it within 12 to 24 hours. You don’t want to tell the person you’re too busy to return with them. However, it’s also not a good idea to be on the edge of your seat waiting like someone who is overly lonely.

Do be authentic and honest in your responses

Don’t lie. It’s never a good idea to start a relationship with lies. If they ask if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant and you haven’t, just say so. Lies are impossible to keep up with, and they will eventually catch up with you.

You also want to make sure that you’re writing your own responses. Don’t use artificial intelligence or anything to assist you. Be yourself if that isn’t good enough, the person isn’t worth your time to date.

Do listen actively to what the other person is saying

Conversations are two-way streets. No one wants to talk to someone who never listens to what they say. They can tune into a podcast if all that they want is to listen to someone to talk to.

Make sure to ask questions and be alert when the person is talking. Throw in your two cents, but don’t make the conversation about you. People want to know that their feelings or opinions matter, and you can best convince them that you agree by lending an ear.

Do share your interests and passions to find common ground

The goal should be to find where both of you have common ground. You’re looking for what you have in common. This is part of the exploration phase of a relationship. Dogs sniff each other, and we use language to see if we have similar passions and interests.

Some say opposites attract, but in reality, you want to find someone who shares the same interests that you do. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and allow your input to navigate the conversation in a way that is both beneficial to the discovery process and entertaining.

Do suggest meeting in person to take the conversation offline

Some people just want an online boyfriend or girlfriend, but in reality, more often than not, if someone doesn’t want to meet up, there’s a problem. Sure, you shouldn’t move too fast, but if you’ve been talking for weeks or months, it’s time to meet.

Obviously, you want to meet at a place where the two of you feel comfortable and safe. A fast-food restaurant is always a good choice. However, you want to test the waters and see if they’re interested in meeting you. If the answer is no, you’ll probably have to keep searching for someone different to talk to.

The Don’ts

So, now let’s go over the don’t’s. These are things under no circumstances that you should ever do. Doing one of these things is a surefire way to start things off on a bad note.

Don’t use one-word answers or respond with only emojis

A one-word answer or an emoji is fine if you’re talking to a friend and they want to know if you’re up for pizza. It’s not good when trying to impress someone you want to date. Never respond back with just “k” or a smiley face.

The exception to the rule would be if you’re in chat mode and you’re talking back and forth. A laughing emoji might be appropriate, but you need to follow it up with something more. You also don’t want to write garbled messages with odd abbreviations that might be confusing. Spell everything out and write in a way that would make your English teacher proud of you.

Don’t ghost or disappear without an explanation

Playing hard to get doesn’t work with online dating. If you disappear for more than a day or two, people are going to forget all about you. Say it if you’re going to be busy because your aunt Martha will be in town. Let the person know you’re busy and can’t get back to them immediately. If you don’t explain why your responses are so late, they’ll think it’s because they’re not important enough to you to respond quickly.

Don’t talk about past relationships or exes

Nothing is worse than someone who won’t shut up about their exes. If all you talk about is how someone else hurt you, you’ll come across as damaged goods to the other person. Acknowledging past relationships is okay, but you can’t dwell on them.

If you talk about your past relationships, it will smother the person. It will make them think that you live in the past. Most people have had relationships in the past, but that’s where they need to be kept, in the past.

Don’t make assumptions or jump to conclusions

Jumping to conclusions makes you seem like you’re being judgemental. Listen to everything being said to you, and don’t assume anything. However, don’t let something slide if it doesn’t pass the smell test. Use common sense, hear the person out, and then conclude if what they are telling you is valid or a heap of lies.

Don’t be overly aggressive or pushy in trying to schedule a date

If you’re pushy or overly aggressive, it will make the person think you’re desperate. You also don’t want to smother the person. No one wants to feel like they’re dating a parent, not someone who thinks of them as equal.

Allow the relationship to come to you. You’ll know when it’s the right time to schedule a date. It will be when the two of you can’t take talking to each other on the phone or the internet and you need to meet in person.

Don’t overshare personal information too quickly

What type of personal information are we talking about? Mainly stuff like where you live, work, or anything that could be used to identify you. It should go without saying that you should never give someone your credit card or banking information.

A person you’re talking to on a dating app doesn’t need to know where you work. You can tell them what line of work you do or the general area that you live in, but don’t go much further than that. The person could be feeling you out in an attempt to get personal information that they can use to harm you later.

Examples of Good and Bad Online Dating Conversations

Now that you know what good and bad online dating conversations are, it’s time to look at some examples. Remember that these are just examples, you’ll see plenty of them in the wild. The main thing to remember is that you can easily go down a different path if you know how to avoid these pitfalls.

Two examples of good conversations

“Did you go to Bangkok when you were in Thailand?”

Maybe you saw in their online profile that they recently went to Thailand and loved their vacation. If you’ve been to Thailand, you can ask a question they will relate to. If not, you can continue the conversation by asking questions about their trip. For example, ask if they liked the food or was real Thai food, anything like what you can get locally.

“My favorite holiday is New Year’s Eve. I love how everyone is so excited for the New Year. How do you like to celebrate?”

You’re talking about your favorite holiday and adding them into the conversation. That’s always a plus because it will make them feel like they’re a part of the conversation. No one wants to feel like they’re being talked to as if they’re a brick wall.

Two examples of bad conversations

“My ex-boyfriend is such a jerk. I still can’t believe that he dumped me for a ditsy blonde. I hope that guy gets what he deserves.”

You’re going to make the guy you’re talking to feel like you’re some kind of animal. Sure, you might hate your ex-boyfriend, but going overboard is unnecessary. Keep that stuff to yourself so you don’t push away the guy. No one wants to date anyone full of anger.

“U wnt 2 go 2 d Mexcn plc n gt tacos?”

Sending your buddy that message via text is a great idea when you’re sitting on the couch playing video games, and every second away from the controller is precious. However, sending that message to a potential date is a disaster. How are they going to know what you’re talking about? They might think that you’re in the middle of a stroke. If you don’t have the time to write a message, use the voice recording feature on What’s App or something similar to speak the message without having to write it in code.


You want to ask open-ended questions, respond to all messages promptly, be yourself, share your interests, and express a desire to meet up. You must do these things to take your communication to another level.

You don’t want to respond with short, confusing messages, disappear out of thin air, talk about your exes, jump to conclusions, be pushy, or overshare information too quickly. All these things are what you don’t want to do when talking to someone online.

Communication is vital to getting the other person’s attention to spark a flame that could become much more. Your words matter, and so does how you present yourself. Your goal is to get the person to open up so that you can learn as much about them as possible. Online dating is about finding the right person for you, not just finding anyone who will give you their attention.

So, remember these dos and don’ts the next time you break the ice. Ask yourself where you are in the conversation and which ones apply to your situation. The online dating process should be enjoyable, if you do it right, you’ll not only have a good time, but you’ll also meet some interesting people along the way.

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