A note from David Osteen, in-house data scientist at CMB
Picture this: You open your Coffee Meets Bagel app and see you’ve made a new connection!
First comes that rush of exhilaration: you’re imagining all of the rom-com scenarios that are sure to unfold. But then, your brain busts in with a dose of negativity. Remember those connections that fizzled out with lackluster, forgettable messages?
As a data scientist at Coffee Meets Bagel, I’ve seen too many chats meet an untimely end due to an inability to convert a match into a fun, meaningful conversation. So, what gives? Why do some chats sizzle and other chats fizzle?
My team and I started looking into some of the chat data to answer this question. Here are my insider tips for turning your chats into conversations that lead to great dates.
1. Check Small Talk at the Door
Let’s be real, no one enjoys small talk. You grin and bear it at office Christmas parties. Why should you willingly engage in it when it comes to dating? Your time is more valuable than that.
Start your chat off with a bang by asking a question you genuinely want to hear the answer to. Say you’re a comic fanatic, ask who they think the best Avenger character is and share yours too. (It’s Captain Marvel, obviously.)
Feel weird about diving right into a chat with a question? CMB has an Icebreaker section for this very reason, which you can update from your profile details whenever you’re ready for a topic change.
Here are some other questions to try out:
💬 What book are you reading?
💬 Have you picked up any new hobbies lately?
💬 What video games are currently obsessed with? (We should play together!)
Make sure you provide your own answer to your question, too, to help spark conversation. And, while my examples are a good start, feel free to get creative.
2. Don’t Wait to Break the Ice
If someone’s profile is interesting enough to earn your “like,” why wait to have a conversation? Procrastination may or may not be your middle name, but that won’t fly here.
It’s best to strike while the iron — or should I say bagel — is hot. Chats started on Coffee Meets Bagel within three hours of matching are 52% more likely to get a response!
Once you get rolling, don’t drag it out. Nothing kills conversation momentum quite like a reply that takes 16 hours. By that point, you don’t even remember what you were talking about without rereading past messages.
And plus, if conversation is flowing and you’re both feeling a spark, you’re that much closer to a great first date.
3. Don’t Be Scared to Make the First Move
For the love of all that is good, don’t let outdated, cliche dating rules lead you astray.
Guys should make the first move? Nope. You liked them first, so now it’s their turn? Forget it. Initiating the conversation gives away your power? Absolutely not!
My advice here is very simple but also very important: It’s just a chat. Don’t put so much pressure on it.
Reaching out first isn’t equivalent to a marriage proposal, it just means that you matched and would like to know more — it’s as simple as that. If you allow those misguided notions to dictate your dating life, you might miss out on promising opportunities.
4. Give Phone Calls a Chance
In today’s day and age, most of us freeze up when our phone actually rings. But when it comes to getting to know someone, a good ol’ fashioned phone call is invaluable.
That’s right, I’m suggesting that you pick up the phone, dial an actual number and talk on the phone like it’s 2005. Not only will you give your poor thumbs a break (hello, carpal tunnel!) but a phone call is a great change of pace. It can make you stand out and give you a better read on someone.
With online chatting and texting, people have time to craft the perfect, cool response. But, you can’t really get a feel for someone’s personality until you have a real life conversation. Chatting on the phone will reduce the chances you’ll be surprised within the first five minutes of meeting a bagel they just aren’t what you thought they’d be.
5. Take the Next Step or Wrap It Up
After a few exchanges, you should have a pretty good idea of whether you’d like to take this conversation face-to-face. And what better way to do that than with a virtual first date?
I know, virtual dates are a new concept we’ve all had to embrace thanks to our new world full of social distancing. But hear me out, because they have their perks:
💜 All you need is your laptop and boom – you can get to know someone from the comfort of your own home. No pants required (Just kidding, I insist you should wear pants.)
💜 It’s a safe and low-commitment way to get to know someone outside of a chat. Sometimes you can’t discover that spark until you have face-to-face interaction (even if it’s technically virtual).
💜 You can try out new date ideas that you normally wouldn’t – from virtual cooking classes to streaming an opera to playing virtual questionnaire games together.
And here’s another reason to give virtual dates a chance: Everyone is new to this. We’re all fumbling and figuring it out together. Don’t believe me? We polled CMB daters and found out more than 80% of our users are open to virtual dates!
So if you want to have a virtual meetup with your bagel, don’t overthink it — just ask! This calls back to not putting so much pressure on the situation. If they say yes, congrats! If they say no, it’s all good — at least they were honest and didn’t waste your time with a date that would lead to nothing.
On the flip side, if you’ve been chatting but the spark isn’t happening, be honest and respectfully end the conversation. And I can’t stress this enough: don’t ghost!
Here are some ways to end a lackluster chat or politely decline an invite to meet:
💬 “I enjoyed chatting but I don’t think we’re a good fit. Thanks for the conversation and I hope you meet your right match!”
💬 “I enjoyed our convo but I don’t feel the connection. It was great meeting you and good luck with future bagels!”
Bonus: Keep an Eye Out for Scams
You’re here to meet people and have a good time, so don’t let the scammers of the world get in your way. While CMB does have an internal tool that runs 24/7 to combat scammers, it isn’t perfect (yet).
So, protect yourself, and your identity, by keeping personal information like phone numbers and email addresses to yourself until you are 100% comfortable.
Trust your gut and be aware of suspicious behavior, like someone pushing you to meet before you’re ready or asking for money. If it looks like a scam and walks like a scam… you get the picture. Report these people right away.
For more info on online dating safety, be sure to peek at our guide: “Online Dating Safety Tips: 5 Ways to Spot a Scammer.”
Time to Get Chatty
Now that you’re armed with these pro tips, it’s time to put them to the test and get to chatting with your matches! Every time you match with a bagel, a new convo with an icebreaker will appear in “Chats.” To get there, open your app and simply tap “Chats” in the bottom right corner.
Chatting isn’t meant to be hard, you just have to get out of your own head and be genuine. Keep my tips in mind and you’re sure to find yourself lost in conversation without breaking a sweat. Happy connecting!
Feeling a meaningful conversation? Download the app now on iOS or Android if you haven’t already.