How to Message a Guy on Bumble, What to Write, How to Compliment a Guy: Tips & Ideas for Cute, Witty, Funny Conversation Starters, Openers, First Move

Dating apps have come a long way since the days of Match.com, OkCupid and even Tinder. There are more apps out there than ever before and each app lends itself to developing a strategy to optimize for success whether it is photo selection, bio completion and content, photo captions, swiping strategy but after all those initial hurdles, it all comes down to that introductory line, conversation starter, and first message.

How is Bumble Different?

Bumble is unique in that it requires women to make the first move and message men in order for conversations to start after a match is made (a match is made by mutual blind likes). Bumble with its women first approach has caused some anxiety and uncertainty for many women who consider themselves old-fashion and prefer men to make the first move and/or flounder when it comes to think of something witty or funny to say. 

To add to the anxiety of coming up with something unique and creative to say, Bumble has a 24-hour countdown clock before matches expire unless the woman messages then guy or either party extends the window to provide a little extra time to figure out what to say. 

On top of all this, gender ratios on Bumble tend to be a little more balanced than say Hinge and definitely Tinder. Some guys hate not having control over messaging a woman first after matching. Other guys dislike the limits Bumble imposes on the types of allowable photos (i.e. no guns and tasteless bathroom selfies).

First Impressions

When all you have to judge a person is there photos, bio, a few prompts and whatever items they filled out in their bio, the first message can make or break you (more so for men but still quite possible for women on Bumble). For the longest time women on apps like Tinder complained that men were crude, lazy, too forward/sexual or lacked manners when initiating conversation. Cliche and copy and paste pickup lines from Reddit and PUA (pick-up artist) sites led to a barrage of low-effort messages from men. Couple with the volume approach guys use (like as many women as possible to yield the most matches possible as to give oneself the more possible opportunities to message and ideally meet in person).

Now that the tables have turned, guys are getting a taste of their own medicine. Maybe not as forward or crude remarks but definitely on the lazy, low-effort spectrum of boring messages. Hi, hey, what’s up, heyy, or even “.” or “…” are not unheard of. Short, generic openers like this are the quickest and easiest way to turn away a guy. Even if a guy sticks around and replies, he may not take you seriously and may mirror your energy and effort with a casual demeanor. 

Women are not just competing for a guy, they are competing against other women. Competing on time, effort, appearance, creativity and energy. If you want to improve your chances for landing the guy you are attracted to, you have to do better than hi, hey. what’s up.

Bumble About Me Section, Photos and Bio

Before you start to worry about what to write, you have to focus on your own profile. Having conversation starters with good photos, insightful, interesting takes as well as a reasonably filled out bio will go a long way to make it easier for a guy to respond to any message. Incomplete bios are generally viewed as individuals being indifferent or seeking something casual.

If you want something state it but do so carefully. Saying you want to have kids asap may turn away most men as they might be viewed as merely a placeholder but there are a few men out there who might be on the same timeframe but you won’t know unless you communicate this and discuss this. Also, if your photos are of you partying, with guys all the time, dressed a bit sloppy or too casual, you might be turning away guys who are a bit more polished and want someone more mature, sophisticated.

Regardless, you attract who you are not what you seek. If you use cliche, boring or worthless prompts and answers like pineapple on pizza, Jim and Pam Office references or have a bunch of modeling photos from Tulum or Taj Mahal, guys will make quick assumptions in their swiping activity. There is nothing more annoying than seeing the same profile prompts, photos and bios again and again (this is true of men on apps but not so obvious to women on apps). 

Many women I have talked to and worked with are a bit afraid of showing vulnerability and being rejected. By creating a lazy profile or only casually attempting to make an effort with dating apps could be a signal that a woman is not serious about meeting someone OR she is trying to hedge her bets. What I mean by this is that it is easier to accept rejection if you don’t make a sincere effort – you can play it off more easily than if you poured your heart and soul into something (tactfully yet playfully) by answering all the questions, filling out the bio, and asking genuine questions.

No one likes being rejected and it is natural to be scared about someone turning you down because it feels like an attack on your personally vs. an attack on superficial or partial glimpse of yourself. When it comes to love and dating apps, you have to be aggressive and go for what you want.

Deal-Breakers, Nice-To-Haves, Filters, Preferences & Red Flags

Before thinking about what to write your match, take a pause and review the profile in more detail. Does the guy’s energy, effort, sincerity, maturity, lifestyle match with what you seek? Are you ignoring red flags because of looks, height, pedigree, lifestyle? Conversely, are you being too picky about what you seek and are the deal-breakers you created in your mind really deal-breakers or nice to haves? Every item on a list of deal-breakers is another hurdle in your quest for love.

A great article entitled Women Need To Date Carpenters Like Men Date Yoga Instructors, does a great job of showing how men cast a wide open net for women (age, education, profession etc.) while women tend to be more selective (height, looks, education, lifestyle, ethnicity). Additionally,  men are more likely to contact more women, and more women outside their league than they would in person, offline. Sometimes it feels like you can be searching to fit a mold rather than taking the time to see if someone matches with you or if you could possibly develop feelings over time.

The common pitfall men and women both have in common is approaching dating like a job interview. Too much quantifying worthiness, screening and assumptions vs. exploration, experimentation and patience. Only you can know what is a deal-breaker, what you can compromise on and what you are willing to relinquish in terms of waiting for perfect storybook romances.

Dating takes time, trial and error and unfortunately social media and one off cases from friends who managed to meet their partner in a matter of days or weeks and/or get engaged within a year puts too much burden to meet the perfect person. The perfect person cannot be figured out in a profile, in a couple messages but over time, through difficult situations and through acts and prioritization.

TL;DR: Bumble First Messages, Opening Lines & Conversation Starters

Coming up with an opening line is not rocket science. You don’t need to balance effort, creativity and enthusiasm. Some guys are naturally awkward or lack good communication skills so anything you can do to cautiously stroke an ego, make a slight joke about or convey something interesting will go a long way. Matching energy, timeliness and quality of messages is key.

Referencing an answer to a prompt or photo is usually the best way to go. Asking someone what they are looking for or asking why did you swipe right on me are the worst things you can say to kick off a conversation. If a guy is holding a fish in his photo and for some reason that doesn’t bother you, you could poke fun about how small the fish i.e. “looks like we’ll be eating lots of vegetables and takeout if you plan on relying on your fishing skills to provide meals”. 

If a guy has a travel photo up, you could ask when did you go to X? Did you happen to stop by Y during your time there? I think Z is the best place for espresso martinis – can’t wait to go back this winter. The comments express similar interests, can attempt to get an idea of how old his photos are, provide an outlet for him to respond with questions, rebuttal or confirmation. These types of opening lines are still a little playful, superficial but at least they are relevant and show you read his profile.

If a guy has a certain type of song or playlist in his feed, you can ask about attending concerts, types of music venues he/she has checked out or if you know nothing about the band, style of music, ask for advice. Guys love giving advice – it makes them feel wanted or at least appreciated or relevant. Some guys have a hard time expressing feeling or emotion so if that is the case, asking them about something they are animated about and passionate about is a good way to get him to open up a bit.

Every so often you will come across a profile where there is little go by in terms of ideas for opening lines. In that case, you can reference something going on in the world, or locally. During Covid-19, you can ask something like whether they picked up new skills, have developed a favorite quarantine cocktail recipe or if they actually look like their photos or are looking more like Tom Hanks in Cast Away these days.

Asking about the latest find on Netflix is a much easier way to tread waters without seeming too eager or desperate. It’s next near impossible to connect over something so mainstream like Tiger King or GoT. Something more independent or not so obvious like Shtisel could not only open about interests in shows but in this case open up about religion, values, customs and family-planning + expectations.

Pro-tip: Be sure not to come off as someone seeking a tour guide to give them trips for their next travel destination. Make sure your comments and questions are relevant to him rather than a general request for information.

Other Things To Consider

If you are struggling from getting matches, you might want to review your profile again to make sure you are not self-sabotaging your efforts. Too many ambiguous group photos or photos with attractive friends, too many photos with sunglasses, lack of full body photos, harsh lighting in photos, snapchat filters, or cliche bios could be an automatic left-swipe (dog mom, ask me anything, brunch, the office, museum of ice cream or color factory photos etc.). Check out this cliche dating profile bingo card to see how many you check off: https://eddie-hernandez.com/cliche-dating-bingo-cards-for-men-and-women/

Last note on this… it’s common for men to swipe on profiles based on your first photo only and then review your profile in more detail after matching or even after receiving a first message. With that in mind, make sure your photos are consistent (don’t look material different in terms of age, hair style etc.). Men and women after often judged on their worst photo. Similarly, studio shots, professional photos that are photoshopped are a red flag for most guys. If you hire a photographer for photos, make sure they take natural, candid, organic photos and not staged, stiff photos… someone like me! 

For additional tips on all things Bumble related, check out my other Bumble posts here: https://eddie-hernandez.com/category/dating-apps/bumble/

If you need help with a profile critique and makeover, contact me today: https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-profile-critique/

About Eddie Hernandez 

Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer, dating profile consultant and offline dating coach specializing in natural, candid online dating photos, authentic bio structure and organic approaches to meeting people offline.

Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, body posture, communication skills, and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/

Dating Profile Critique

For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.

Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/