For those of you who are a bit swipe-happy, this progression of emotions should be all too familiar: brief elation and a confidence boost when you get a new match, followed by a sinking dread as you wonder, "How do I break the ice?" Though not quite as terrible as an awkward family reunion, conversations on dating apps can be pretty monotonous and feel forced. On apps like Tinder and Bumble when all you have is a short bio and a few pictures to go off, it seems like every conversation starter is a boring "what's up?" that leaves you with no hope for the future of the convo.
Luckily, there are tons of dating apps that cut to the chase (or at least give you more to work with). Some of the best dating apps for this are the less popular, up-and-comers with unique features or more niche dating pools. Sure, Tinder has a massive volume of people, but it can get frustrating to swipe through literally hundreds of people and only get a few matches. Why not switch it up, enter a new pool altogether, and try your luck?
There are a lot of benefits of skipping the small talk, but the biggest one is that it helps you get to know someone before wasting precious time and energy shooting the breeze with no real payoff. There have been times when someone will message me several times over the course of a few days, each time just resetting and saying 'hi' over and over again without ever carrying on a real conversation or suggesting a date. It's pretty pointless, IMHO, and it's much better to at least try to ask engaging and funny questions of someone you're into if you want to chat a bit before meeting. Here are seven dating apps that can provide you with more exciting conversation fodder, if that's your preferred style.
First and foremost, I have to give a massive shoutout to my all-time favorite dating app, OkCupid. I've had quite the rollercoaster ride with this app, since I've had it for over four years now. The main reason I've kept at it for so long? I'm nosy, and I love that OkCupid profiles give you tons of info about a person, even before saying hi. There are several in-depth sections of OkCupid profiles, as well as the match questions you answer in order for their algorithm to match you with good candidates. You can easily browse someone's profile for a few minutes and be armed with tons of conversation starters or questions that will help you get a sense for how well you click with someone beyond 'nice to meet you'.
With this app by the makers of Zoosk, you can use photos and videos to make a Story, a la Snapchat and Instagram. You get a much more accurate glimpse into your match's life than with a few standard, headshot-ish pictures. Since pictures are worth a thousand words, there will be lots more potential convo starters within someone's Story. It feels more like a social media profile than a dating profile, so it gives a more authentic-feeling way of getting to know someone new.
3. Coffee Meets Bagel
If you're someone who does better under pressure, CMB might be the dating app for you. When you match with someone, the two of you have a chat room open — but only for seven days. Though not a super strict timeline, having a finite window in which to ask someone out might cause you to skip the boring routine small talk and delve into more interesting conversational territory or simply make plans for a first date that same day. They also offer ice breakers in the chat to help you avoid the usual "hey, how's it going?" starter.
This app allows you to pose thought-provoking questions to potential matches, then you can choose to connect with people based on whose answers appeal to you. It's an efficient way to find like-minded individuals and weed out potential dealbreakers, and can kickstart deeper conversation, if that's your thing. Also, you can "answer questions to reflect your unique personality" which are then featured in your own profile, so others get a peek into your mind, too.
5. The Catch
If you want a combo dating app/game, The Catch could be the answer. You create a 'game' where you pose questions — either your own or ones provided by the app — then potential matches answer them anonymously. To reveal the winner, just rate everyone's answers, and whoever did the best gets to chat with you. Obviously, this comes with plenty of opportunity to find things you have in common, and hopefully fast-track you to a first date.
This app is like the best of Tinder and OkCupid: It's swipe-based, but you don't have to match with someone to message him or her. This can be overwhelming, because it isn't as easy to filter out unwanted people, but the app more than makes up for it with its other cool features. First, you can set up real dates and invite people to join you — it's a no-conversation-required, quick way to meet someone cool IRL. If that's a little too hasty for you, their Mixers feature lets you join super specific groups of people who have the same interests as you, like Stranger Things or hot yoga.
The beauty of this location-based app is that it's specific: It shows you exactly where someone crossed paths with you. This opens up tons of opportunity for less basic conversation — you can ask if they live in the neighborhood, where their favorite spots are, or if they want to make out in the nearby dog park. It offers you automatic common ground, which is massively helpful in forming a quick connection. The app also shows your common interests (aka pages you like on Facebook), and lets you link your Spotify and Instagram, so you can chat about your musical tastes and latest brunch photo op.
Images: Fotolia; Apple App Store (7)