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7 ways to up your dating chat game on the apps

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Jan 12, 2024

7 ways to up your dating chat game on the apps

Have you ever matched with a beautiful person and suddenly lost the ability to form even the simplest sentence? It’s like your brain seems to short-circuit when you match with someone who even slightly resembles your type, and somehow all of your dating chat has gone completely out the window. 

If this speaks to you, my friend, you are not alone. 

Whether you are confused about exactly what you should write in your dating profile or are stumped on figuring out the perfect opening line, I’m here to tell you that this is hard. Even as a writer, I still struggle to figure out a good first message on a dating site! As someone who has been on and off the apps, I must have drafted and undrafted hundreds of messages and dating chat lines by this point. And don’t even get me started on sliding into the DMs!

7 tips and tricks for how to have the best dating chat on the apps

For those of you who haven’t spent a significant amount of time across the pond or binged Love Island, you might not be familiar with what it means to “have a good chat” when dating. If someone has a good chat in the UK, it just means that they are particularly funny and flirty when it comes to having conversations. 

So I will teach you a few of my favorite ways to up your chat game online. You’re going to want to pull out a notebook for these: 

  • Customize your opening line
  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point
  • Don’t underestimate the power of your dating profile
  • Be confident with your chat
  • Ask questions that you genuinely want to know the answer to
  • Ask them out if the vibe is right
  • Be your #1 fan

Ready, set, chat!

1. Customize your opening line

A woman holding a smartphone in her hands. She is wearing silver rings with mauve nail polish and is likely sliding into her cute crush’s DMs.

The best dating chat tip I can give you is to customize your opening line to fit something in their profile or photos. Ask a question or refer to something specific that they mention, like hobbies, favorite music, or a controversial opinion/fun debate. 

This will show them that you paid attention to them and are sincerely interested in who they are as a person. 

Be authentic in your approach and tailor your first message on a dating site to something you genuinely want to know more about.

2. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point

When my girlfriend slid into my DMs, she thought I was hot and asked about my dog. Compliments and talking about dogs are two of my favorite things. Not everyone will want someone commenting on their appearance immediately (unless they are a Leo), but the point is to keep your opening message brief, engaging, and cute. 

Talking about pets is always a great gay ice-breaker. You don’t need to write a novel over text or share your deepest, weirdest secrets right away. Keep it light, keep it cheeky, and if they don’t respond, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other sapphic fish in the lesbionic sea.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of your dating profile

Writing a good dating profile can be one of the hardest parts of online dating. If you’re one of those people who tried to get your friends to write your dating profile for you, this is for you. Write a short list of things you’re into, things you hate, places you’ve always wanted to go, or qualities you look for in a partner or that you possess yourself. 

From that list, pick three things about you that make you who you are—whether that’s your obsession with Shark Week, your uncanny spaghetti bolognese recipe, or your life-threatening allergy to TERFS—and add those to your profile. This will give other people a good jumping-off point when it comes to chatting you up. You might find it a whole lot easier to chat with people when you already know you have things in common.

4. Be confident with your chat

One of the best skills to develop when perfecting your dating chat is striking the perfect balance between confidence and cockiness. But what if you don’t feel confident at all? Maybe you have messaging anxiety or a fear of rejection and find these to be inhibiting factors to starting a chat with anyone on dating apps. That’s okay! 

You don’t need to be the funniest, most flirtatious, clever person in the room to have a good connection with someone. You just have to be yourself. Trust that whatever cute queer is meant for you, won’t pass you by. We all have insecurities and most people in this world are faking it until they make it anyway. The more that you truly know yourself (and back yourself), the more confidence you will have messaging someone new. And the easier you’ll find it to shake it off when a conversation goes south. It’s not you hun, it’s them. Onto the next one!

5. Ask questions that you genuinely want to know the answer to

Two cute queers sitting on a ledge with matching black and white striped and checkered outfits on, with a skateboard by their side. This could be you meeting up with the girl of your dreams after you’ve nailed your dating chat on the apps.

One of the best ways to chat someone up is to ask them questions that you actually care about. Don’t just go through the motions and ask them how their day is going or what they do for work. If they have a picture at the top of the summit, ask them what is the best hike they’ve ever been on. If they took a selfie with a fiddle leaf fern in the back, ask them how on earth they have managed to keep that plant alive—and then please tell me. 

If all else fails, you can always use some common ice-breakers to get a conversation going. Asking someone what their big 3 are, astrologically speaking, is always a good go-to. You can also ask them what is the worst first date they’ve ever been on or a classic would you rather question. Whatever you decide to go with, make sure it’s something that you are passionate about as well.

6. Ask them out if the vibe is right

When you are getting to know someone online, it’s good to chat for a bit to suss out the vibe, but once you are getting green flags, ditch the text messages and make a plan to meet up IRL. The best part of online dating is the part where you actually get to meet up in person. If the conversational chemistry is building over chat, don’t hesitate to ask them out. Choose a first date spot that suits that both of you and show them that you’re not just all talk.

7. Be your #1 fan 

While it can be easy to get swept up in self-doubt and negative self-talk, the best piece of advice I can give you is to be your own biggest fan. I know that self-confidence is a hard thing to cultivate, and sometimes it can take a lifetime. But the truth is that there will never be another you, and you have something unique to offer. Everyone does. The key behind harnessing the best dating chat is to know what your superpower is. 

If you find yourself getting down on yourself while online dating, try making a list of things that you are good at, qualities that you like about yourself, or compliments that other people have given you. Start small. Write down one or two things that you like about yourself whether that’s your thunder thighs, your caring nature, or even just the color of your hair. You’d be surprised what kind of effect that words of affirmation can have on our self-esteem.

In the words of Katie Gavin,

“I’ve been looking at myself in the mirror saying, ‘Don’t leave me now,’ and I turn around like, ‘Oh my God, like, I’m your number one fan.’ So iconic, like big, like stan, like I would give my life just to hold your hand. I’m your number one fan.”

Katie Gavin

Oh also, if you haven’t listened to Number One Fan by MUNA, this is your official call to action.

How long does it take to chat on a dating app before meeting up in person?

Even if you’re excited about a new match, it’s best not to jump the gun and meet up right away—unless you’re just looking for casual sex or something NSA. You want to give yourself some time to get to know each other and establish some chemistry and conversational flow before taking things IRL. That being said, you don’t want the vibes to fizzle out before you’ve even got to the first date. While there is no exact magic number, it’s best to spend at least 3-5 days messaging back and forth on a dating app before meeting up. 

Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist, agrees with this number.

“You should text for a few days, long enough to establish safety but not enough time to know important things about them via text instead of in person.”


Even though first dates can be a little nerve racking, you don’t want to keep things digital for too long.

“You want to meet in person as quickly as possible because some people can have great texting chemistry but then aren’t attracted to the person.”


My partner and I matched on a Tuesday, spent a few days that week exchanging flirty texts, and then set a date for the following Sunday. She asked me what my preferred way of getting to know people on this app was and suggested that we meet up in person. We set a date on Thursday and decided to save our juicy get to know you questions for the first date. We met up at a queer cocktail bar that weekend, and the vibes were immaculate. We have been inseparable ever since!

The bottom line

Chatting on dating apps can be hard, but I’m here to tell you that it is not impossible. These online dating tips will help make sure that you are having all the conversations you want to have on the apps and none of the ones you don’t. 

If you are looking to improve your chat and find your dream person, consider downloading HER today. HER offers LGBTQIA+ community spaces that are 1000x better than some random online chat room. You can start chatting it up with other queers and sapphics today for dating, friendship, community and more. What are you waiting for? Get out there and practice your dating chat, and before you know it, you’ll have tips and tricks list of your own!

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Dusty Brandt Howard is a writer & a fighter. He is a trans masculine cultural narrator who builds worlds with words. You can follow his thirst traps on Instagram, his writing on Substack, or find him at your local queer bar in northeast LA.

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