If you’re dating these days, you’ll need to step up your conversation game. The use of technology hasn’t curbed the need for a quality convo. In fact, it’s probably more important than ever. Killing it on Tinder? You better get your conversation skills polished and ready for your date.
Conversation is so important that the dating site Plenty of Fish used to conduct an annual study to figure out the weight it holds in the online dating world. The name of the study was Conversation Nation and it looked at how adult singles connect through communication. They’ve identified that conversation is essential when creating modern human relationships.
One study involved 2000 singles, 47 percent men and 53 percent women. Their ages ranged from 18 to 55 and the sample was made up of 16 percent Gen Z, 29 percent Millennials, 27 percent Gen X, and 27 percent Boomers. Out of the sample, 83 percent identified as heterosexual, 5 percent as bisexual, 10 percent as gay, and 2 percent as other.
While we do live in a time of emojis, a conversation is actually extremely important across generations. According to the survey, 74 percent of single people say that good conversation is more important than sexual attraction for indicating chemistry on a date. So all of that time you spend on your makeup and hair might not mean much if you can’t keep up with the dinner discussion. In fact, if you’re looking to fall in love, an authentic, first conversation is your biggest chance. According to the survey, 60 percent of daters believe that they can start falling in love during that initial conversation.
To really drive the point home, singles say that conversation is the number one way that they can identify if someone will be a good match for them, especially when talking through a dating app.
Are all you introverts and socially anxious people sweating right now? Don’t worry, we have a few good conversation starters that may help you make a connection.
Here are 3 conversations starters that make the best impression on him:
1. Try to mention a shared interest or experience.
Scan your date’s online profile to look for mutual interests. Start a message (or an in-person conversation, if that’s what you’re into) by talking about one of them.
Do you both love to visit museums? Swap your favorites and why you like them. Are you both into travel? Ask your date which destination is their favorite and why. According to the study, 60 percent of people prefer a conversation to start off this way.
2. Give him a compliment his on photos or appearance.
It’s always nice to hear that your date likes the way you look. While it’s easy to get creepy here, try to focus on small details like complimenting a hairstyle, a shirt, or your date’s smile. According to the study, 18 percent of people prefer a conversation to start in this way.
3. Tell a joke or a funny story.
Have a funny story that makes sense in the context of your date? Tell it. It’s a great way to get the conversation going. You might want to skip the jokes until you find an opportunity for them to fit into the existing conversation. Avoid crude or inappropriate jokes if you can. According to the survey, 15 percent of people would like a conversation to start this way.
Some date conversation starters can get things started off on the right foot. Others can quickly send you crashing and burning back home alone. During the survey, singles were asked which conversation topics should be off-limits. Participants were asked what the number one topic to avoid was. Unsurprisingly, the first topic was politics, followed by sex, former relationships, and then money.
When it came to conversation buzzkills, the participants had some opinions too. Negativity was one of the worst offenses with 41 percent of people saying it was a conversation killer. A date who doesn’t let the other person get in a word came in second with 20 percent of people hating this behavior. Controversial topics, cheesy one-liners, and using big words too often to seem smart were also offenders.
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Conversation matters, whether you’re chatting on a dating app or in person. Study up on conversation best practices, put yourself in more social situations, or practice in front of the mirror. Do whatever works best for you, as long as it’s helping you up your conversation game. Because if you want to find love, you’re going to need to talk your way into it.
Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on travel and adventure, women’s health, pop culture, and relationships. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, MSN, and Matador Network.