Online Dating: How to Break the Ice

Woman breaking the ice with potential matches on dating apps

When you’ve found someone you’re interested in, it can be a bit intimidating. How do you break the ice? How do you get things going and set a romantic course in your direction?

You could always try the safe approach and go with the tired “hey” conversation starter. Or, worse, you could go with the increasingly unpopular “hello.” That leaves them room to reject you without putting in too much effort. And if you don’t try, maybe you won’t be disappointed if things don’t work out. But is that really what you want?

Nope! Although it can make you feel vulnerable, you want to entice and entrance your romantic prospect with a hook that makes them want more. 

Online dating is challenging because it requires you to put yourself on the line a bit if you want to find success. But being left to your own devices and hoping they’ll impress your love interest can be a super stressful experience.

That’s why we’re here to help! There are enough experiences out there that we can figure out some strategies that work when you’re trying to break the ice. Of course, there’s never a guarantee. But tried-and-true, time-tested methods are better than saying too little or too much and risking saying something out of pocket.

So what are these ice-breaking methods, and how can you put them to use in your online dating life? 

Look at Their Profile​

People put a lot of effort into creating their online dating profiles. I mean, didn’t you? Making people interested in dating you at a glance makes you want to put the best and most exciting things about you on your profile.

That said, the things they like most about themselves are already plain to see! You can see their vision for what makes for an ideal partner right there on your screen. This resource shouldn’t be ignored – it’s just too valuable! Make that time and effort they put into their profile mean something by reading it and scoping out some conversation topics. 

You can come right out of the gate with one of these topics, too. 

Breaking the ice is easier when you can immediately show them you’ve already taken an interest in who they are, not just their picture. It makes them feel appreciated and special – they know you’re not just hitting up everyone you come across. That makes someone want to answer your call.

Their hobbies, jobs, and pets are all great launching points. You can use whatever they’ve included in their profile text to break the ice. Not to mention – they probably want you to bring up those topics. It shows that you’re interested in them and that what they wrote worked – it convinced you to reach out to them.

Flattery will get you somewhere, and that’s covert flattery at its best!

If there are bunches of pictures in a particular place or event, that’s a great choice to open with. They obviously had a really wonderful time there and feel confident in those photos – especially if they posted enough of them. That’s probably something they want to talk about with a potential love interest, being you. 

Make Sure Your Profile Is Filled Out​

So you can get a wealth of information about the person you’d like to date from their profile. But what about your profile? If they like your message but then do some legwork before answering you, what will they find?

People use far too many detached and disinterested responses as copouts. If your profile is currently sporting the “I’ll fill this out later,” “Just checking this out,” or “I hate being here,” – stop. Now! Get rid of it and put something on there that’s honest and meaningful to you instead!

Putting your hobbies, lifestyle, and favorite things on your profile can be uncomfortable for many people. Again, it makes you vulnerable. 

The short and sweet messages that say you don’t care can be much easier to slap on your profile because it shows you don’t care. And if you put yourself out there and don’t get the results you’re looking for, you could get disappointed.

The fact is, love is risky, and online dating isn’t safe from that risk. Even in filling out your profile, you’re risking getting rejected and disappointed. However, without taking on that risk, you leave yourself a minuscule chance of success. It’s up to you to decide whether the risk is worth taking. Starting small with an honest and fully completed profile will get you on the right track to getting the love you’re looking for!

And this gives them a reason to continue talking to you. If they see something they like there, it can keep the conversation flowing.

By filling out your profile correctly, you’re helping to break the ice before they even answer your message. Or, it could encourage the right person to reach out to you! 

Don’t Start with Their Appearance​

This can seem like an easy way to be honest and expressive. But trying to break the ice by commenting on someone’s aesthetic appeal is a notoriously lousy strategy. 

Even if you’re not trying to be creepy, you will likely come off as super creepy. Any body part you talk about will probably seem like an odd choice to the recipient. And saying they have amazing eyes is tiring, boring, and still pretty creepy sometimes. 

Does your date have a deep artistic side? There are a wealth of museum tour options that you can sign up for! Are you going on a date with a nature lover? There are a wide variety of parks that have breathtaking virtual tours. Does your date have a soft spot for animals? Zoos offer outstanding virtual tours too!

How would you feel if someone reached out to you and only talked about your face? Aren’t you more than your face? And now that you’ve spent time filling out your profile, isn’t it a little disappointing that they couldn’t find anything in what you wrote to talk about (if they even read the text)? If they’re not willing to put in the time and effort now – when it’s easiest – are they the type of partner you want in your life?

Nope! And they’ll think the same thing about you if you try to break the ice with your eyes instead of your mind. 

Ask Them a Question​

So you’ve done the work – read their profile, filled out yours, and come up with something great to break the ice with. That’s perfect – but not if it doesn’t start a conversation that can keep going. And a great way to help the conversation flow is to ask questions instead of just making statements.

Picture this: you get a message, “Hey! Your dog is so cute.” And that’s awesome – but you really don’t know how to respond to that. You could say, “Yes, I think so too!” and then… where do you go from there? The conversation could drift away from you as soon as it started. 

Now, let’s take it in a different direction. What if they asked you a question instead?

You get a message, “Hey! Your dog is so cute. How long have you had that beautiful beast?” Now you know what to say because they’ve already opened the door. You respond, “Oh, thank you! I’ve had them for about 3 years now. Do you have a dog, too?” 

You’re more tempted to ask them a question in return if they ask you one first. And asking questions back and forth is how you get to know each other! 

Any conversation with people making statements about each other won’t last very long. If that’s the basis, it can feel to both parties that the other person is just not interested in getting to know them – they just want to talk about themself. 

So ask a question right away. Start the conversation in the right direction so you can be on the road to hooking your love interest!

Use the Template​

We’ve officially laid the groundwork for the perfect first message template that’ll set you up for the response you’re looking for! You might even be able to guess it at this point – but we’ll lay it out for you just in case, so there are no faux pas. 

Start with your greeting! “Hey!”, “Hello,” or “Hey there!” are all perfectly acceptable greetings. Whatever you would usually start a text to one of your friends with is a safe and natural choice. Be yourself, and greet them how you’d want to be greeted.

Then, follow up with the point you found from their profile that you want to discuss. Is it a common interest? If it is, make sure to mention that! You could say, “Your dog is adorable – I have one too!” or “I see you love skydiving – I love it too!”. And if it’s just something great about them, you could try a statement like “That is so amazing that you love skydiving!”

Last but not least comes the question. Follow up your statement with a question that keeps the conversation going and is easy to answer. If you’ve mentioned something they care about in your message, they should be happy to answer the question!

Consider the Ice Broken!​

If you take all these tips to heart, you’ll show the person you’re trying to talk to that you’re not afraid to put in a little effort. You’ll also show them that you’re genuinely interested in learning about them. Those are great qualities in any partner and will make them far more likely to reply. 

Fill out your profile, find someone who’s filled out their profile – and don’t hesitate! Once you’ve found an interesting tidbit to discuss with them, you don’t have to wait around. As long as it’s a decent time of day and you’re not sure they’re sleeping, go ahead and hit send!

These strategies have proven themselves to work well time and time again. Follow the template, put in a little work, and enjoy your chat!

Leroy Vandalay
Leroy Vandalay

Leroy Vandalay is a dating app veteran with over a decade of experience using these services for his own personal life. He ultimately looks forward to sharing this acquired knowledge with you, the readers.