How To Keep The Conversation Going On Dating Apps: Matching Energy, Enthusiasm, Interest. How To Respond, When To Reply, When To Take Things Offline

Many folks struggle with app choice, photos, bio, prompts, likes, matches and first messages. It’s not uncommon to never make it past exchanging a few lines with matches. It’s quite a feat to get conversation starters down to start exchanging some meaningful banter, connections and experiences.

The novelty of a new match and person to talk to can quickly dwindle. Repeat conversations can feel like Groundhog’s Day. One can only answer how a day, weekend, week or SIP is going before wanting to rip out eyeballs.

Now more than ever, it’s tough to keep conversations going long enough before they fizzle out or before a date is scheduled. Nervousness about safety, lack of open places open, crowded trails, streets and parks make it challenging for people to plan dates. Isolation along with job-security can wreak havoc on one’s mental health.

One of the common mistakes people make it joining dating apps before they are ready. It’s one thing to be emotionally ready from a relationship that ended or being in the right state of mind, but it’s another thing to be socially ready

Even if both individuals are interested in each other, there is no certainty around what intent means to each person. Dating apps are more like introduction apps – the purpose is to get introduced, spend time to get to know each other and decide if both parties want to meet up.

Nowadays there are many lonely people looking for pen pals, people who are taking their time to get to others and of course those that don’t know what they want. Uncertainty and indecisiveness can kill the momentum and raise doubts about sincerity, effort and enthusiasm.

Being a good conversationalist requires skills. Often it’s not something one can just wing. A good communicator is one who has a lot to draw from in life, often in terms of experiences such as travel, work, education, hobbies, interests, friends, family, classes and more.

The less one has to draw from the more difficult it is to come prepared to engage in quality conversation. The most interesting people are those that have versatile backgrounds, are a bit of an odd-ball, have varied interests and those that are charming, enthusiastic and convey a healthy dose of energy.

Without energy, effort and enthusiasm, it’s hard to keep conversations going. It’s hard to be excited about someone who doesn’t show and match the same level of these qualities that you possess. Boring, cliche conversation starters get repetitive, especially during covid. Treating conversations like interviews feel like an extension of Zoom job interviews. Too many people try to play it cool with simple, straight-forward questions and topics but the best conversations are ones that allow both parties to geek-out, be a bit vulnerable and keep the other hooked.

Fear of being one’s true self is an easy way to kill a conversation quickly. Even if a convo dies within a few messages, at least time is saved and both people can move on. There is nothing wrong with letting a conversation die if one or both parties are not interested.

Great conversations involve connections, shared experiences, agreement / disagreement (banter) and/or learning something new. In order to teach someone something new, one has to have the arsenal to be in a position to teach. Being an expert in a variety of fields is a great way to do this. Having strong passions and interests across slew of areas shows dimension, intrigue and uniqueness.

If someone lacks experience with hobbies, interests, social context, culture, arts or awareness and interest about the world around them, dating apps will be brutal and I generally recommend these people get off apps until they come ready to engage, learn, fail, explore and teach. Dating requires give and take and too often people join apps to fill a void, feel better about themselves, or merely see what’s out there.

Don’t waste time or other people’s time on dating apps. Be prepared to give of yourself including time, effort, energy, and vulnerability. A life filled with hobbies, interests and friends will help immensely with one’s dating life. Showing up with nothing to offer is a recipe for despair, fatigue and general miserableness on dating apps. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, talk to a few people at once and then focus on those you are most interested and want to meet.

Be curious. Ask questions. Provide thoughtful answers. Forget about being cool or polished or proper. It’s ok to be clutz sometimes. It’s normal to make mistakes. It’s fine to be nervous. Online dating (like all things in life) takes practice. Not everyone will be worth your time and that’s ok – that’s why it’s called dating and not arranged marriage. Dating is meant to discover others, what you like, what you cannot stand and what you attracted to. Dating should be viewed more so like a learning experience rather than an ordering app. 

One-worded answers, never being the first to kick off conversations and taking too long to reply are queues one is not interested or at least not worth the time. Focus on those that match your energy. If you don’t have many options to be picky, take a break from dating apps and improve your profile (photos, app choice, hobbies, bio etc.).

Don’t make excuses in your head for others particularly if they never ask. People who are genuine, thoughtful will let you know if they are busy or when they will be free. They will reschedule dates if they cancel on you. Don’t be the one doing all the work. Dating requires give and take.

It’s important to get off the apps asap and not let conversations go on indefinitely as they can quickly fade. One should not match with others if he/she is unable to meet in person within a week or two. When requesting a date, do your research. Find fun places for a date, research alternatives (just in case), consider the weather and location given your date’s location.

Show some effort. Be excited. Don’t expect others to be more excited than you and what you convey through your messaging. Be specific with dates, times and activities. Vague questions get vague answers. 

Being familiar with an area, going to places alone or with friends ahead of time, being curious, developing interests and figuring out what your match is possibly interested will go a long way. Writing more about oneself in a bio and through appropriate prompts makes it easier for others to engage. Hiding details, being vague and providing cliche answers is a sure sign that someone is insecure, not ready to date, boring, or is not going to put in the effort you are looking for. Take queues in the photos, bio, and communication.

When in doubt, volunteer, take classes, explore new routes, dine alone, read the news, check out local culture publications around food, travel, or events. Become a regular anywhere. Talk to strangers. Don’t be afraid to mess up. Those that are not willing to put themselves out there for others signal that they are not ready to meet someone amazing.


About Eddie Hernandez 

Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he is a dating coach and consultant providing guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas.

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