When it comes to dating—whether you met on a dating app or had an epic meet cute—the work isn’t done once you find that initial spark. In order to move things along, you have to put in some real effort, which means finding ways to really get to know someone, like asking thought-provoking questions and having meaningful convos. And since a lot of your interactions will likely take place via text at first, having some conversation starters for texting ready at your fingertips is kind of essential.
The benefits to early-stage texting are plenty. First off, it’s easy. You can do it from pretty much anywhere, and you don’t have to plan your whole day around meeting up to chat over coffee. It can also feel safer in the early stages since you’re not physically with the person you’re trying to get to know. Plus, the delay between messages gives you both a little more time to respond thoughtfully, which can be beneficial if you’re nervous or still testing the waters, says Mia Lux, the co-founder and CEO of the dating app and virtual social club, La Vette Social Club.
Whether you’re talking about your favorite Netflix shows, the best places to travel, or why your love language is gifts, texting is a great conversation tool. Just remember: Even though it can be super fun for flirting, it’s “hard to accurately assess what someone is like just from their messages,” explains Lux. “All the key non-verbal cues (how they sound, how they move, etc.) that give us an idea of if we feel safe with and are attracted to someone are missing.” So if your text convos are fantastic, let that be an incentive to actually get together IRL—not an excuse to keep your connection virtual full-time.
With that said, read on for advice on and examples of the best ways to avoid a bout of dry texting and really get to know the person on the other end of the iMessage.
First, a Few Text Conversation Tips to Keep in Mind
Before you grab your phone and type out a basic “how are you?”, think about the goal of your convo. Are you trying to get to know the person? Are you curious about something specific? Do you simply want to remind them you exist? Figure out the purpose before hitting send.
Once you know *why* you’re sending said text, Lux says to figure out how to accomplish your goal in a fun, casual, and lighthearted way. “Think about giving value and adding to their day instead of being just another notification on their phone.”
While you might have the urge to be overly flirty or sexual to get their attention, try to steer clear of obvious pickup lines or seductive language if the goal isn’t just to hook up. Also, FWIW, serious convos shouldn’t really happen over text since it’s way too easy for meanings to be misinterpreted and communication to get crossed. Keep things relaxed, and if it does start to feel like the conversation is taking a turn, speak up! Ask if it would be better to switch the talk over to a phone call or FaceTime.
Lastly, keep in mind that folks get busy and can’t always text, and some people simply don’t enjoy the texting communication style. If the person you’re hitting up responds with one-word answers or takes forever to get back to you, consider asking them about their preferred way to connect. Maybe they’d rather chat in person or via phone call instead.
Now, Here’s What to Actually Text
No matter where you see the relationship going, any stimulating convo begins with a good question. If you’ve just started talking, keep the conversation light, but if you’ve been exchanging messages for a while and/or have been on a few dates, feel free to get a lil deeper to really learn more. Whether things are platonic, you’re on a first date, or you’re in a long-term relationship and just wanna mix things up, the questions below can amp up your banter and take it from basic to productive in 100 characters or less.
If You’re Texting a Dating App Match
- Describe yourself in three words.
- What was the best part of your day today?
- What’s your strangest talent?
- If you were an emoji, what emoji would you be?
- What was your first concert?
- Who’s your favorite character from a movie, TV show, or book?
- If you could have dinner with one person (living or dead) who would it be?
- What was the best vacation you ever went on?
- What’s your favorite holiday?
- If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
If You’re Texting Someone You’re Casually Dating
- Do you have a life motto? What is it?
- What’s your sign?
- Are you more introverted or extroverted?
- What’s your biggest pet peeve?
- What role do you play in your friend group?
- If your life was a movie, what scene would you want to watch on a loop?
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
- When was the last time you laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe?
- What does your perfect day look like?
- What’s the most interesting thing you read/saw/heard recently?
If You’re Texting Someone With Long-Term Potential
- Are you a better talker or listener?
- What’s the best thing about getting older? What’s the worst?
- Who is your role model and why?
- What do most people over or underestimate about you?
- How often do you visit home? How do you feel when you do?
- What’s something that makes you nervous?
- What’s your love language?
- Did you have pets growing up?
- What’s something that made you feel really proud recently?
- How do you define happiness for yourself?
Bookmark this page and remember: You no longer have to talk about the weather or complain about work. Use the above and watch your convos flow with ease!