1. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 0: Super Basics
  2. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 1: Understanding Tinder
  3. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 2: Preparations
  4. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 3: Considerations
  5. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 4: Profile Creation
  6. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 5: Settings
  7. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 6: Swiping & Behavior
  8. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 7: Messaging & Beyond


Having swiped your best swipe, you should hopefully have at least some matches to show for it after a few days. If not, it might be a good idea to have another look at your profile and if you’re really putting your best foot forward. You may also consider getting professional help with that, or maybe simply try out other dating services. Assuming you have gotten some matches, or will get some if you’re reading this in preparation, now is the time to think about maybe messaging some of them.

Tinder Messages

The First One

As you know, as soon as you match with someone you gain the ability to send them messages, though coming up with the first of which can be a daunting task.

As you may know, I’ve already written down everything I know about writing first messages some time ago, and not much has changed since then, so feel free to read that rather lengthy guide in detail. The short version:

In general you have to imagine your match getting dozens or hundreds of messages a day, so standing out is important. Unless they are super into you already, of course. At the same time, you don’t want to make a monkey of yourself, dancing for their attention, because that dynamic is going to stick going forward.

  • Keep it short. The chances of them being interested in your novel right of the bat are slim at best.
  • Keep it clean. Very light innuendo is okay and can work out very well, but you don’t want to overdo it in the beginning no matter your ultimate intentions. This also because there’s a good chance of getting reported if they don’t like your overly sexual message, in which case there’s a high chance of getting banned for it.
  • Reference their profile, images, or prompts. If possible. No, this won’t make you stand out on its own as everyone and their grandma is gonna ask them if they can pet their dog, so if at all possible try not to go for the obvious option. Maybe you like the beer she’s got on the table in one pic, or you know something about the book on the shelf behind him, or maybe you’ve got an interesting comment on xheir prompt.

If all else fails, and that is very possible given the vast sea of completely personality-free profiles out there, you can always go the minimalist route of

“Hiho [name], nice to “meet” you :-).

How’s your day going / How was your day?”.

This has been surprisingly successful for me in such situations, and it does stand out a little bit. It’s not exactly the same as an even more minimalistic and far more common “Hi :-)”:

  • “Hiho” isn’t exactly common but somehow cute, standing out a bit.
  • The quoted “meet” is a bit whimsical.
  • Asking how their day is going is a call to action, and a much better one than “Hi.”. You’re already giving them something to talk about without them having to think of anything to say.

If they’re interested in you and not overwhelmed with messages, this leads to surprisingly good conversations more often than not (for me). YMMV and you may come up with your own “last resort” opener in time that may work better for you.

The Subsequent Ones


I firmly believe that there is no formula for great online dating conversations. Each of your matches is as unique as both you-, and the dynamic of your characters clashing is. What works for one match will not necessarily work for another, and a crude joke that made an earlier match unmatch you instantly might make this one burst into tears laughing.

The conversation should flow naturally, though you might have to pick it up sometimes, changing topics to another one of your shared interests, to their hopes and dreams, to what they’re looking for in a partner, and so forth. In the end, you want to form some kind of connection, which is unlikely to happen if you’re following a cookie cutter script you found on some blog. You might even miss out on something great that way.

There is a way for online dating experts to help you with your messages more directly, but because this is so individual and nuanced, there are simply no one-size-fits-all solutions to write about here.

The assumption here is that you do want to find some kind of connection, because if you were looking for PUA material, you have chosen poorly (because the description of the ebook should have told you as much).

Common topics to avoid until you know each other a bit better include religion, politics, and more obscure obsessions. Opposing views in these areas can be deal breakers early on, but you might be surprised what is suddenly not such a big deal anymore when you really like someone and want to make it work. Of course, once again, exceptions exist, and if you’re picking up on something on their profile you agree with, you might hit it off based on one of these supposedly forbidden topics.


Once you’ve got the ball rolling, it’s important not to drop it, and also to score a goal ASAP. I’m not good at sports metaphors.

Of course, the whole point of messaging is to figure out if you’ve got anything in common and whether you believe there’s a chance you might like this person. Or maybe, depending on what you are looking for on Tinder, the whole point might be to get the other person into bed as quickly as possible no matter their character. In either case, you do have to move rather quickly.

(If of course, you’re not feeling it, then the chat fizzling out is an acceptable outcome as well)

Once again you have to keep in mind that there is a high chance your match is getting buried in messages all the time. So even if they are into you initially, that momentum will only get you so far. Sooner or later, they may get distracted by a new, more exciting chat, or Tinder may misbehave and drop your chat, or you might get banned (for no reason at all), and the contact will be lost.

You don’t have to rush to the finish line in a day, or even two or three. That is likely to put most people off (exceptions exist. Use situational awareness). But you do want to move from Tinder to a different medium of communication as quickly as is feasible and feels natural. That is why the last Tinder message is very often not (only) about setting a date, but rather getting their number (or snapchat or whatever).

Another consideration and reason is that there is a good number of people on Tinder who have no intention of ever meeting anyone, and are only there to bolster their self esteem, or collect Instagram followers (same difference). In that case, it’s better to call their bluff early on and force their hand than to end up on their leash, always yipping for attention while they find another reason why they can’t go out this week. Just cut those people loose. No good can come of them.

The Last One

If your conversation is going well, and you feel like you might want to meet this person to find out if you get along in real life too, you would be well advised to get their number and/or a date soon, for the above described reasons. If all else fails a simple “Hey, let’s get a coffee this Thursday for lunch. Can I get your number?” will suffice.

Ideally, you’ll have been talking about some event you would both like to attend, or about some new coffee place in the neighborhood, so the transition to asking for a date is as smooth and natural as can be. Lacking such an opportunity, simply asking for their number is valid as well. Just get to the date proposition soon thereafter, as getting off of Tinder doesn’t buy you an infinite amount of extra chatting time (unless you’re really going for a pen pal relationship).

However, you shouldn’t force the issue. If they agree to a short coffee date, but not to give you their number just yet, don’t insist. People have valid reasons for not wanting to give out their personal details before meeting up and sniffing you out.

If they shut you down completely, it is possible to recover the conversation and try again later, if things were going well before the proposition. As always, these things are situational and they might just need a bit more time, again for perfectly valid reasons. If on the other hand you weren’t sure about them anyway, and/or you feel like they’re just stringing you along, and/or you have a number of other options, it may be better to leave it be and look elsewhere. Who knows, they might pursue the conversation further and let you know they are still very much interested, in which case it might be best to not play hard to get for too long and just give it another shot. Feel the room.

Beyond Tinder

Obviously, the end goal of any Tinder conversation is meeting up in person for what we online dating experts like to call a “date”. Now the scope of this guide is limited to Tinder, and you can find an overwhelming amount of information on date ideas, dating etiquette and tips online, but I do have a few parting words on the matter:

Your first date doesn’t have to consist of the most interesting activity in the world.

Yes, ideally you’ve propositioned your match to do that thing together that you’ve agreed you would both love to try, or to attend that once in a lifetime event that you’re both psyched for together. And if you share such passions, there’s a good chance you’ll get along swimmingly and shouldn’t have to worry too much about committing to spend several hours together for a first date.

But: For a first date following a Tinder (or any dating platform, really) match and conversation, it is perfectly reasonable and commonplace to meet up for a quick coffee first, especially if you live in the same neighborhood and the time investment is minimal.

I like to call such dates Date 0, because they really only serve to see whether or not the person you’re meeting has anything at all in common with their profile, if they’re giving off serial killer vibes, and if you can stand being near them for even a short time. As such, they may legitimately only last the 20 minutes it takes to order and consume a coffee and end with either a real first date planned (ideally), -committed to (acceptably), or a “we should do this again sometime” (which is code for “we will never see each other ever again if I can help it”).


And that is it. I hope this guide will help you get from zero online dating experience (or success) to that coveted date zero. From zero to zero, if you will.

Good luck out there, stay safe, and happy swiping!