Dating during COVID has forced many of us to look for love online – but how can you avoid opening lines that will make potential partners regret swiping right? These work.
Dating is rough at the best of times.
In the online age, it seems like many of us find ourselves resorting to dating apps, with varying degrees of success – and during lockdown, it’s become pretty much the only option for reaching out, meeting new people and seeking out some sort of companionship in a time of isolation.
But when it comes to the first step of interaction on dating apps, just about everyone has a hilarious tale to tell – of cheesy pick-up lines, backhanded compliments and, at worst, unsolicited pictures that you wish you could unsee (if like me, you’ve received all three, you get bonus points!).
So what actually works when it comes to online dating openers? How can you craft a line that can forge a connection rather than leaving you on read? Men’s Health have gotten to the bottom of the dilemma, and consulted 15 women to discover the best pick-up lines they’ve received – so if you’re ~single and looking to mingle~, take notes.
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The expert advice on writing successful pick-up lines
Before we jump into the actual lines, let’s deconstruct exactly what it is that makes them so successful. According to sexologist and We-Vibe sex expert Dr. Jess O’Reilly, PhD, the key is taking the time to make things personal, and allowing consent to enter the picture.
“Open with a line that shows them that you’ve taken the time to look through their profile,” Dr. O’Reilly told Men’s Health.
“Try to demonstrate that you’re not just copying and pasting a generic ‘Hi. I think you’re cute. Wanna chat?’ message. For example, if they say they’re into hiking and they’ve posted a few mountaintop pics, ask them about this specific interest. ‘Hey! Love your hiking pics. Is that Valley of Fire? I’ve always wanted to visit. Anyhow, let me know if you’re up for chatting today?’ That last part leaves it open for them to consent. Rather than assuming that you’re entitled to their time, ask if they’re in the mood. If they say they’re busy, ask if they want to continue the conversation and if they don’t, move along.”
Pay attention to profiles
Certified sexologist and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love and Life Gigi Engle says that getting someone’s attention requires you to “either be goofy or really thoughtful” and like Dr O’Reilly, agrees that you should pay attention to people’s profiles.
“In the event that you’re kind of mass-messaging hotties, which let’s face it, we’ve all done, I think asking a really unusual question can really spark someone’s interest and also immediately weeds out anyone who isn’t clever or doesn’t have a sense of humour,” she told Men’s Health.
“For instance: ‘If you had to choose a favourite berry, which berry would you choose? or What is one secret-single thing you do when no one is around. I’ll go first: I watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine reruns and look at puppy memes. Go!'”
15 women share the best pickup lines they’ve received
“The best opening like I’ve ever heard was: ‘I’m bad at this, so I’m going to buck the Tinder trend and let you make the first move, if that’s okay.’” —Ann, 29.
“I once had a guy first message me first with, ‘Corny pick-up line, gif, or being asked out?’ It was clear he was referencing his opening line, but being the obnoxious person I am, I replied, ‘All of them.’ He then did all of them. He sent me a cute gif, came up with a corny pick-up line, and asked if I wanted to grab drinks next Friday. I liked the fact [that] he was able to come up with all three, but also, in asking how he should start the convo, it acknowledges the fact that opening lines are weird for both the girl and the guy.” —Hayley 29.
“I always like when men begin with two questions. Not just any questions—questions specific to my profile. I like when they show they’ve looked past my pictures and are taking an interest in the things I have said. I prefer two questions because if I don’t want to answer one, I have a second option.” —Brooke, 30
“In college when I was on Tinder, I had in my bio that I was a philosophy major. This one guy managed to make puns using Plato, Kant, Descartes, and Spinoza in his opening line. I really appreciated the effort.” —Rose, 24
“The most important part, for me, is that a guy opts for my profile over my pictures. Yes, we all put up pictures that make us look attractive, but hopefully you’re looking to actually talk to me, as well. Any attempt at personalization is awesome. Steer clear of the pet names.” —Lauren, 28
“My favorite opening line probably has to be a compliment. Not a sexual one, but one that shows I caught their attention in some way. Yes, it can be about my pictures and appearance, but nothing derogatory or implying that I’m getting naked for you.” —Sally, 32
“One guy told me an entire story about our potential first date using only emojis. On the one hand, it showed he had a lot of time on his hand, but on the other it made me smile and showed he was creative and had a sense of humor.” —Gabby, 30
“I like keeping it light, but also practical. Ask me something random, like ‘Hawaiian or pepperoni?’ And then buy me pizza.” —Susan, 31
“Tinder is a hellscape most of the time. I don’t want to see the word ‘hey’. I want to see that you’ve read what I wrote in my bio and are present enough to ask me about it. It makes you stand out from the crowd. We ladies get plenty of weird pick-up lines from random dudes. It may seem like a low bar, but paying attention to detail goes a really long way. If she’s hiking with her best friend in one of her photos, tell her how fun the hike looked. Ask if she goes hiking often. It will help you in the long run.” —Jasmine, 29
“I respond to guys who are sincerely nice, not meaning ones who refer to themselves as nice. That’s a huge red flag. I like a guy who tells me details about his life and passions right away. Showing you’re not scared to open up about things in your life shows that you’re not a huge tool bag, but someone worth getting to know. Just remember, tell the truth. We always know when you’re lying!” —Gabby, 27
“They messaged me, ‘Remind me to never challenge you to an arm wrestling contest, Muscles.’ It was the perfect mix of complimentary and flirty. I also about died when they called me Muscles.” —Gabrielle, 26
“A guy messaged me, ‘Would it be romantic if I wore a turban that matches your hair if we go out?” I honestly thought that was so cute. My hair is bright green, for context.” —Lo, 25.
“He said, ‘You have one of those smiles that make me smile just looking at you. Thank you for brightening up my day.'” —Charolette, 33
“He accurately guessed the tattoo artist who gave me the flower tattoo on my arm. I was in shock.” —Alyson, 24
“The guy I’m dating now didn’t really say anything exceptional. He asked what I was reading—it says I’m a bibliophile in my bio—and he happened to have read the book already. So we spoke about that!” —Emma, 28
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