Dating online is the new normal, but there’s hardly anything normal about it — including how you pick someone up. So dating app Hinge found which opening lines are most likely to get a positive response, and you might be surprised by what actually works.
Online dating has a lot going for it: It’s easy, fast, wide-ranging, and the electronic screen can lessen the blow of rejection. (Although it also seems to lessen some people’s politeness filter, but that’s another topic.) Still, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed online, and that’s the need for a solid pickup line.
Saying “hey, I’ve been creeping on your profile for weeks” somehow doesn’t do the trick. The perfect opener needs to convince the other person that a) you’re not a serial killer, and b) you’re not a lying liar who lies. Ideally it will also convey how smart, funny, charming, attractive and interesting you are. That’s a lot for one sentence. So it’s no wonder that people often get stuck at the meet part of meet-cute.
More: Everything you should and shouldn’t put in your online dating profile
Technology is trying to help. OKCupid and Match give you things in common with which to start a conversation. And for the next generation, Tinder tries to take out the opening line altogether by just making it about pictures. But while it’s plenty easy to swipe right on someone, you still have to find the right thing to say. Plus, what works in your neighborhood bar (“I like your shoes”) often doesn’t online (“Wait, how do you know what my shoes look like?”).
This is why Hinge, a Tinder-style app that’s geared toward relationships rather than hookups, decided to sift through its data and do a study to discover which pickup lines work best for online dating.
First, what doesn’t work: Only use the line “hey, what’s up” if you’re talking to a horse. According to their study, this one almost never works. (And duh — boring.) Also unpopular were questions about jorts (that is, jean shorts; that is, why why why would you bring this up in the first place?), hiccups vs. sneezes and most awkward movie watched with one’s parents.
There are a lot of quirky one-liners that do get great responses, though. The overall most-answered question, according to the app, turned out to be, “Two truths and a lie: Ready, set, go!” which is awesome both for getting to know people and for allowing us to relive our middle school years. The next most popular lines were, “Sunday priorities: exercise, sleep or aggressive mimosas?” and “Best discovery ever: Netlix or avocados?”
Women and men differed in their preferred pickups lines, unsurprisingly. Women were 40 percent more likely to respond to questions about food, like, “Chocolate, red velvet or Funfetti?” while men were 98 percent more open to assertive messages, like, “Free this weekend?”
Age also played a part in preferred come-ons. The youngest crowd, those under 23 years old, showed their relative lack of life experience by preferring novelty questions, like, “What’s your painkiller personality: Tylenol or Advil?” People aged 24 to 28, the stage where people establish their lives, enjoy lifestyle questions, like, “What’s a better adventure: rock climbing or scuba diving?” Folks aged 29 to 34 want to skip the games and get straight to personal questions. And the oldest group, those 35 and older, like to pretend they’re younger with questions about pop culture, like, “Taylor Swift of Katy Perry?”
So what are we to take from all this? Clearly the formula for a successful pickup line is anything involving colons (the punctuation, not your bowels) and multiple-choice answers. Although, my personal favorite lines followed none of these rules and weren’t even a question: “Please confirm you are not one of those people who claps when the plane lands.” Who wouldn’t laugh out loud at that one (and then text back)?