As 2017 comes to an end and we look toward 2018, hoping that it will be better, many people may be examining their relationship. Or, if they’re not in a relationship, they might be thinking about what their relationship status goals will be for the New Year. In other words, come January, there will be a whole boatload of people dusting off their online dating profiles and getting back out there — on January 7, 2018 to be exact. At 9 p.m., to be even more exact.
According to Match Group’s dating platform, Plenty of Fish, Sunday, January 7, 2018, is going to be the busiest day of the year when it comes to online dating. Signups for Plenty of Fish that day alone are expected to reach as high as 117,139, which is a 14 percent increase from their usual daily signup rate. That means a lot of extra people for a lot more opportunities to get matched.
But when you do get matched, the next step is figuring out how to have a good conversation. Since the launch of Plenty of Fish’s conversation-oriented feature Spark Conversation in July 2017, one of the most common ways to get a conversation going has been to comment on someone’s profile. But while anyone can type, “Hey!” the real challenge is in keeping that conversation alive, at least long enough so you can meet in person. Here are some ways to do that.
1 Just Jump Right In
As much you might be stressing about what to say once you get a match, it’s best to quit dawdling and just go for it. Sometimes thinking too much can be a bad thing, especially in regards to online dating.
“It’s best to jump right in without a formal salutation or greeting,” Dating Coach and Licensed Counselor, Samantha Burns, tells Bustle. “So skip over the ‘hellos’ and ‘how are you?’ and go right for a comment or question.”
2 Tell Them What’s Going On In Your Life
If you start with something a bit more exciting that will initiate conversation, you can always ask how their day is going later on in the message, that is, if you’re really hellbent on asking that question for some reason.
“The worst thing you can do is have a boring conversation in which you say, ‘Hey, how’s your day,’ and the generic response is, ‘good, you?’ This is like a lame throw back to ‘Hey, wuz up? ‘NM, U? on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger for all you young millennials) where you’re making it difficult for the other person to find common ground or something to chat about,” says Burns. “Give [them] something easy to grasp onto by saying something fun and light currently going on in your life, like the fact that it’s Taco Tuesday at work and you’re so excited, or about shared interests evident from your profiles.”
3 Don’t Get Too Serious Early In The Game
If you really put the time and effort into your online dating profile to convey who you truly are, you can avoid serious conversations because it’s all there.
“You don’t want to be having deep and serious conversations via message or text,” says Burns. “That’s why it’s important you take the time to create a thoughtful and genuine profile so that people get a sense of what’s most important to you, or what you’re looking for, whether it’s a serious committed relationship or casual dating — a lot can be interpreted from what you chose to write or leave out. That way you only need to exchange a few messages before moving offline to either an in-person date, or a phone call if you’re still on the fence.”
4 Avoid Substantial Topics
As those of us who read “Cat Person” in The New Yorker know, texting can definitely confuse your feelings about someone and maybe even create something that’s not quite there yet. As Burns advises, you want to wait on the real substance so as to avoid having your balloon of high (and false) expectations popped when you first meet. You’ll have plenty of time to get to the nitty-gritty when you meet in person.
“Messaging and texting about everything can create a false sense of intimacy and set your expectations too high, only to fall flat when there’s no chemistry in person,” says Burns. “It’s important to wait to talk about substantial topics, such as learning about each other’s passions and interests, families, core values, past relationships, and what you’re looking for in a partner until you’re on a real date.”
If you’re thinking about blowing off all your plans on January 7 so you can stay in and focus on your online dating, then consider these tips. And if you want to make it to the stage of dating where you’re meeting up IRL more, then working on your online conversation skills is the perfect place to start.