The Art of the Follow-Up | Keeping Conversations Alive on Dating Apps

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The art of the follow up on dating apps is a craft in and of itself. And if you want to keep the conversation going with a match but aren’t quite sure how to do it or what to say when you send that DM, you’re gonna need to bone up on your technique if you don’t naturally have the gift of gab!

Want to know what to say after you’ve made a match? Stick with us, and we’ll tell you some surefire ways to keep their interest levels up so that match can possibly turn into something more. Let’s get into it!

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The Sway of Personalization

Okay, they’ve swiped right or clicked “like” on your dating profile, so you’re off to the races. Sure, your witty bio and photo got them interested, but it’s the next step that will be a deciding factor in whether or not you’ll take it from an online match to an offline meetup!

This is where the power of personalization comes in; it shows you’ve paid attention and are actually interested. When you slide into their DMs, refer to something they said in their dating app profile or comment on one of their pics. Did they mention something about adoring indie films? Ask if they’ve seen the latest A24 flick and if they did what they thought about it. Did they love it? Hate it? If they haven’t seen it, are they going to? This opens the door to a chat about your mutual interest in niche films while also showing that you made an effort and are thoughtful, qualities that most people find super attractive.

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Ask Open-Ended Questions

The secret to engaging conversations is mastering the craft of asking open-ended questions. They don’t have to be anything witty or fancy—the only requirement is that they be questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. They persuade your match to tell stories, as well as share their opinions and feelings on things they care about.

For example, instead of asking, “Did you have a good weekend?” you could ask, “What was the best thing that happened this weekend?” This not only keeps the convo going but also gives you better clues into who they are as a person.

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Timing and Frequency

Finding a good balance in the timing and frequency of your messages is a delicate art as well–yes, you want them to know you are interested, but you don’t want to blow up their inbox and overwhelm–or scare them off. The trick here is to keep up a consistent pace without flooding them with messages if they are responsive to you. And if they take a day or two to get back to you? Mirror their timing. Why? It shows you respect their pace and personal space.

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Share and Connect

While it’s important to show interest in your match, talking about yourself is equally important. Conversations are a two-way street, so portion out parts of your life—this helps in building a connection while helping them learn about you. But there’s a balance to be had here; make sure you don’t dominate the conversation or make it all about you. Frankly, that’s off-putting, and you are aiming for a natural give-and-take flow here.

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Use Humor, But Keep it Classy

Humor is a very powerful tool for keeping conversations fun and engaging. A well-placed joke or a mischievous aside can break the ice and keep the mood light. But be mindful of your audience—humor is subjective, and what’s funny to one person might not be to another, and you don’t want to offend them. Try to gauge their sense of humor from your initial interactions and act accordingly!

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Keep it Real

We all know that it’s very easy to curate an idealized persona on dating apps, which is why authenticity stands out like a sore thumb (but in a good way, not in an “ouch” way). The same goes for being genuine in your interactions. Pretending to be someone you’re not is not only exhausting, but it also sets you up for failure in the long run. Authenticity builds real connections and trust, which are the basis of any happy and healthy romantic relationship.

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Moving Beyond Text

If and when you both become more comfortable with one another, that means it is time to move the conversation beyond text. Voice notes, phone calls, or video chats can add a whole new dimension to your interactions–this is your chance to hear each other’s voices, see their expressions, and build a better connection. Moreover, it’s a surefire way to verify they are who they say they are, and you aren’t being catfished by a fake profile.

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Handling Slowdowns and Lulls

Despite the best efforts, some conversations just hit a lull. If the chat seems to be losing momentum, don’t panic—yet. It’s totally normal for chats to have peaks and valleys. You can take this opportunity to try out a change of pace, like proposing a fun question game like “Never have I ever,” suggest swapping playlists, or even bring up the possibility of meeting in real life if you feel it’s the right time. After all, there’s only so much you can talk about via text!

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Sensing When to Take a Step Back

Sensing when it is time to take a big ol’ step back is super important, too! Like if you’re the one always making the effort and they’re not giving you the same energy back, it’s high time to reconsider any investment you have by this point. Dating has to be reciprocal, and why waste your focus and energy on a connection that isn’t putting in the same effort? Move on to the next—bye!

Concluding Thoughts

Sometimes it is really hard to have good, engaging convos on dating apps! But with the right approach and a little flair, it’s totally doable to nurture them while keeping them interesting and engaging. You can accomplish all of these things by personalizing your follow-ups, asking open-ended questions, sharing things about yourself, and being real—this sets the stage for great connections!

Each and every conversation is a breakthrough in terms of understanding what you’re looking for in a romantic partner, and with some patience, a little extra effort, and a dose of strategic thinking, you are headed in the right direction—a beeline to turning those matches into romantic relationships.

Molly Davis
Molly Davis

Molly is an East Coast writer who lives on West Coast time. She’s been in the journalism field for over 20 years — newspapers are her first love but she’s finding digital media to be just as fun and challenging as print! When she’s not giving therapist-quality dating advice, she’s curled up watching movies, reading, or volunteering at local dog shelters.