7 Dating App Lines You Shouldn’t Use

It’s true that dating apps have made dating easier — for the most part. Where we used to only have prospects in our extended social circles, now we have access to thousands of people at our fingertips (and our friends can even find matches for us now, thanks Ship). But one thing that dating apps have made harder? Starting a conversation. Anyone who has ever gotten writer’s block, or even tried to sign their classmate’s yearbook, knows the feeling of “WTF do I write???” Well, I can’t tell you exactly what to write — that’s highly dependent on your dating app goals, the other person’s profile, your personal style and tone, etc. Sorry! But I can tell you what not to write, which I think is just as valuable, if not more so.

In case you missed it, we created a dating app called Ship, where you can find matches like you would on any normal dating app. But there’s a twist: your friends, family, concerned mother, and anybody else with a vested interest in your dating life can also create a profile on Ship, and they can find matches for you. It doesn’t matter if they are single, in a relationship, married, in a throuple — they can all come together and help you by finding matches.

So whether you’re looking for yourself or someone else on Ship, here are a few dating app lines to avoid.

1. “Hey”

It might be obvious, but there are still people out there who are saying this, thinking a one-word greeting will suffice! Look, it’s 2019, we as a culture need to step it up beyond “hey”. Opening with “hey” or “hi” or an equivalent on a dating app is basically the conversational equivalent cooking your significant other a totally unseasoned chicken breast. That’s not going to cut it! Because really, what’s the best-case scenario with this conversation?

You: Hey
Other person: Hey what’s up
You: Chillin u
Other person: Not much

See?? You could have met the love of your life on Ship, but you’d never know because your conversation is now DOA. And look, I get the impulse to not launch immediately into a monologue or canned question about which dead person you would ask to dinner if given the chance, so if you’re going to open with a greeting, you need to follow up with a question. A question that can not be answered with “yes” or “no”.

2. “Drinks next week?”

Okay, LOOK. I am all about shooting your shot (I have been known to tell my friends that 2019 is hereby dubbed “Shoot Your Shot 2019), but even I think that opening with an invitation to get drinks is a little… how do I put this… INSANE. First of all, you don’t even know this person! What if they’re incredibly boring? You don’t want to open right off the bat with a meetup. You’d think this would be a given, but I see guys do this all the time. The only thing it communicates to me is that you are really out here putting your safety and good times on the line by asking literally anyone out to get drinks. Instead, try exchanging a few messages to make sure you can actually hold a conversation with the person first.

3. “If You Were Stuck On A Desert Island And Could Only Bring Three Things, What Would They Be?”

I know that this line is meant to be fun and playful, but I hate it. Here is why: I am a realist, and if I were really stuck on a desert island, I sure as sh*t would not bring Bananagrams or Nutella or whatever ~quirky~ answer you’re expecting me to bring. I would bring Vaseline (can’t live with cracked lips), water, and like, a journal to write in. Sorry, I’m boring! I also feel like this question doesn’t really reveal as much about a person as you think it does. Oh, so you like your phone, how riveting. For a similar question that will make you seem fun and irreverent, ask your Ship match who they think should play them in a movie made about their life.

4. “You’re cute.”


Objectification is not limited to men — gender equality and all. I’ve definitely been tempted to lead straight into “you’re hot” one or two times in my life (what can I say, my friends are good at finding guys who are my type). But then I thought about it, and I didn’t really like getting those types of messages myself, so why would I lead with that? Generalized statements of attractiveness feel impersonal and cheap, so a better way to go about this would be to compliment a specific feature. Think “cute smile” instead of “you’re cute”. I would even go more specific and compliment something like their makeup (if, like, they’re wearing an interesting lipstick shade) or an item of clothing they’re wearing — and as an extra bonus, if you find something interesting in a photo that is not their first one, go with that. This shows that you actually looked at their profile and are not just blindly swiping.

5. An emoji

Guys, come on. This is seriously just lazy. At least if you’re going to type out “hi” (please don’t, though), that requires you actually typing something out. An emoji just means you scrolled through all the emojis your phone has to offer and likely chose a random one. And again, what is the end game here? How do I respond to the dancing emoji? Another dancing emoji? And then what? We keep sending emojis back and forth? Let’s not and say we did(n’t). If you want to talk about emojis (which I do very often, so no judgment here), ask the person what their favorite emoji is, which one they use the most, or which one they’d get tattood on their body if they had to choose. (Eye roll emoji, flame emoji, 100 emoji, respectively.)

6. “*Dog emoji* Hey Charlie what are you doing in there? Come back boy!”

I am not going to lie, the first time I saw this dating app opener, I thought it was funny. However, like many jokes, this was ruined by the internet because everyone started using it. The first few people to drop a dog emoji and pretend like their dog ran away probably got a number, because it was original and cute. Now? Not so much — if I see this all I know is that you have an Instagram explore page. An iteration of this joke that I like better is to send a ball emoji, pretend your ball accidentally ended up in someone’s Ship DMs, and then say you were just trying to shoot your shot. I will make Shoot Your Shot 2019 happen, I don’t care what you say.

7. “Are you my appendix? Cause I don’t understand how you work, but this feeling in my stomach makes me wanna take you out.”

Anatomical incorrectness aside, I have seen this and iterations of it a few times. Variations include “You’re not the trash, but I’d like to take you out” and “Are you Chinese food? Cause I’d like to take you out.” I feel like, in the early days of dating apps, using cheesy pickup lines was the only way to get a response in a sea of “hey”s. But now I feel like we really are out here on Ship trying to make a genuine connection, and a prepackaged pun isn’t going to get the kind of response you think it will. I promise you, I have received many! The best response you can really hope for with this is “haha that’s a good one.” If you really need to lead with a dad joke, here is how I recommend doing it. First, alert the person that you intend to lead with a dad joke, and ask them to grade you on it. That makes it more interactive, and gives them a heads up that you are not using internet pickup lines earnestly, which lightens up the mood a lot.

Starting a conversation on Ship is the most difficult part, especially since you don’t even have to do the work of finding your own matches because your friends can do that for you. So don’t mess up their hard work by opening with a lame line! Hopefully with my suggestions you can get a good conversation going, and maybe even (*gasp*) meet up with someone in person. If you do, I would like an invite to your wedding — don’t worry, I don’t even need a plus-one!

Images: Giphy (4)

Presented by