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)

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This Reader’s Online Dating Story Is Everything That’s Wrong With Dating

Last week, Twitter user, @SingleintheSou1 tweeted Betches with a screenshot of her text conversation. The texts were with a guy she’d matched with on Hinge a few days before, whom she had yet to meet. After bonding over a shared interest in football (can’t relate), they swapped numbers. Then he decided to casually remind her what a hot commodity he is by mentioning he had a date. @SingleintheSou1 was not pleased. This led to a debate of sorts in our mentions. Some people said the guy did nothing wrong. Some people (me) called him trash (mentally, not publicly on Twitter). So we decided to reach out to the original poster to get her version of the story.

It all started with this offending text:

He thinks he can just slide that in there and I won’t notice? We just matched a week ago and have a date sent for this weekend…. #WellThatsCancelled #cantmakethisup @betchesluvthis @seriouslybumble pic.twitter.com/gBDLaMFZK8

— Single in the South (@SingleintheSou1) September 4, 2018

LOL. Okay, my first reaction here was twofold. (Threefold, if you count the initial “green text” cringe.) First, good on @SingleintheSou1 for calling him out and not just being like “haha that’s fun.” (Definitely what I would’ve done, and I get wrecked by f*ckboys like it’s my job. Just saying.) Second, how did this guy respond to her calling him out? Typically, there are two camps of douche here. Type A is your typical bro who will go with “u jealous? ;)” and then send a picture of his penis. Type B is the guy who will spend your entire relationship trying to convince you his emotions are more pure and urgent than yours, and who will act genuinely wounded when you don’t want to discuss his date with him. Luckily, I reached out to @SingleintheSou1 and we have our answer.

Yep, type B douche if I’ve ever seen one, which definitely sucks because these are the guys who are much harder to get rid of. They tend to take “I’m not going on a date with you,” as a jumping off point for debate, which it’s really not. But hey, why tell you when I can show you. Screenshots continue below.

LMAOOOO. This is like, every single tactic guys try when they f*ck up with a girl, but all in one text convo. What a gift. What a goldmine. First, he tries to turn the fact that he mentioned dating other women into an abstract discussion of online dating. Doesn’t he know that’s what Twitter threads are for? Next, we’ve reached the “clearly begging” phase of trying to reset with “how was your day.” Finally, we’ve got the “all right I’m going to CONFRONT her on this,” (at 8:24am no less—anyone else think he drafted this the night before?).

The confrontation is classic bullsh*t. He tries to make her feel like she missed out on something he already said he wasn’t interested in (“I was going to cut it off with them”—and LOVE that there’s a “them” now). He weirdly tries to suggest this her fault (“you might ghost me at any time”). And finally, he turns it around on her with “were you not talking to other guys?” Never mind that that’s in no way the point—she just didn’t exactly want to chat with him about other women.

Anyway, my opinion is that this guy was a joke from the moment he mentioned his other date. But not everyone on Twitter shared that view. @daniellenpeart had the following to say:

If you’re not in a committed relationship what’s wrong with dating around?? I’m confused. It’s a little weird that he slid it in there, sure.. but at least he was honest.

— Danielle Peart (@daniellenpeart) September 4, 2018

@SingleintheSou1 then responded:

Just like they said – no we aren’t in a committed relationship but it’s rude to be shady and talk about it before you’ve even been on a first date

— Single in the South (@SingleintheSou1) September 6, 2018

Yeah, I’m still going to have to side with @SingleintheSou1 on this one. It’s true that guys should be honest if they’re seeing other people—if you ask them. Sorry, but I guess I’m just not enough of a ~modern woman~ to want to discuss prospective matches with someone I thought I’d be going on a date with. I think a lot of the problems with online dating come from the fact that everything is so transparent already. Everyone knows that you can go home and swipe through hundreds of matches at any time—and nothing’s stopping you from continuing to do that even if you meet someone you like.

But dating has always required building the illusion that you’d rather spend more time with that person than anyone else, even when it’s really, really not true. You both have to be there in good faith, making an effort to make a connection. And that’s hard to do when they insist on announcing it every time they go on a date with someone else who they would like more. Just my two cents. @SingleintheSou1, best of luck in your future pursuits—and thank you for including us on this journey.

Got a sh*tty dating story? Email us at [email protected] with subject line “Dating Horror Story”. 

Images:  Single In The South; SingleintheSou1, daniellenpeart / Twitter

These Summer Date Spots Are Huge Red Flags

I don’t know about you, but this heat wave is seriously fucking me up. After spending all winter becoming one with  my couch, I was really ready for another four months on my couch to get back out there this summer. Instead, I’m finding myself yearning for the days when lying under a blanket didn’t feel like entering a sweat lodge. SO: even though we all get a pass on going outside this week, summer should be your most social season—and dating is no exception. Sunlight makes people happy, happy hours make people drunk, and drunk, happy people have more fun on dates. It’s basic math. Of course, not all summer dates are created equal. So while you’re fielding texts from Hinge matches, keep in mind that many invitations are still worth ignoring. Here’s what these date locations say about your date’s intentions.

Their Local Coffee Shop

In non-summer months, this has potential to be a fine option if you’re on antibiotics.  It’s easy to cut short, requires minimal dressing up, and is overall a low-cost alternative to meeting for drinks. And going to the guy’s usual local spot can give you a sense of his overall vibe, though the implication that he’s hoping you’ll go home with him obviously stands.

During the summer though, this invite is all kinds of sus. If they’re trying to meet you at 2pm on a Saturday down the block from their apartment, they likely haven’t left their apartment in six weeks and will be rolling out of bed, wiping Cheeto crumbs off their shirt, and contemplating cancelling five times before they finally walk down the block. Oh, and they’ll probably try to steer the “date” back to their place to continue whatever TV show they were binging within 30 minutes of meeting you. With all the outdoor options and day-drinking venues summer has to offer, if the best they can do is a non-alcoholic beverage in their zip code, they either don’t give a shit about this date at all, have no social life to speak of, or both.

Picnic In The Park

Whether or not this is a red flag is kind of subjective. If you’re a fan of watching ants climb all over your food while dodging Frisbees, enjoy! (Yeah I hate picnics. Sue me.) The plus side of a picnic invitation is that it’s (meant to be) romantic, so the person who suggests this is definitely making an effort. The downside is that they require a ton of work to pull off effectively. So in Scenario A, your date shows up with a small suitcase worth of supplies (coolers, something to sit on so you don’t get grass stains, etc). While sweet, it also makes it painfully evident how much effort they put in and could be a turn-off early on. It also makes it impossible to continue the date afterward because they’re carrying around 10 pounds of picnic supplies.

In Scenario B, your date brings two 99 cent cans of Arizona iced teas and nothing else, you’re both covered in sweat and grass stains within 10 minutes, he gets embarrassed and tries to act like you’re too high maintenance to cover up that he planned a shitty-ass date. Ultimately, inviting you to a picnic means they’ve thought about this date way too much (and have probably done this exact date with their ex) or way too little. You can appreciate the gesture, but I do not recommend going on this date.

^The last time someone actually enjoyed a picnic.

Rooftop Bar With Their Friends

This is also kind of a mixed bag, but for different reasons. If they invite you to this a few days in advance, it’s ideal. It likely resembles the weekend plans you would have made for yourself anyway, and it means they want you to meet their friends. Win-win. If they invite you to this while they’re already there, it’s a very different story. This means they got drunk and horny, and are too awkward to actually meet someone at the bar full of equally drunk singles. Instead, they started going through their phone and messaging their last week of matches. While the commitment to not meeting people is admirable, you’re better than this. Being available on-demand for whenever they’re done with the social part of their night and just want to get laid is never a good look.*

*If you’ve been on a few dates already, this could be a cute “had a few drinks and started thinking about you” type text. But keep an eye on whether they actually introduce you to their friends when you show up, or if they just try to hustle you home.

Weeknight Dinner Reservation

Like the coffee date, this is normal/fine other parts of the year. But IMO, scheduling an 8pm dinner on a Wednesday is a little formal for a summer date. Has he never heard of happy hour? And is he just expecting you to waste prime drinking hours just to exchange information about your siblings and hometowns over cloth napkins? This date option implies that they’re highly traditional, operate by a strict schedule, and are probably not that much fun. This holds especially true if the restaurant they choose also offers a happy hour menu and they purposely choose not to do it. Who hurt you????

Their House In The Hamptons

This date is the easiest to decode. If they invite you to their house in the Hamptons, MARRY THEM. Seriously. Lock that shit down before the next heat wave rolls through.

Ultimately, dating in the summer is easier than dating in the winter. But because we can’t have nice things, that doesn’t mean some red flags don’t apply. Summer is the time to be your most fun self, taking advantage of long summer nights and half-off drinks. If their best self doesn’t crave margaritas after 12pm from June-September, think carefully whether this is someone you’re interested in dating. And maybe give your number to the people you see out at your favorite summer bars instead. At least you know they have good taste.

Images: Giphy (5); Jelleke Vanooteghem / Unsplash

This Is How Long You Should Talk On Dating Apps Before Meeting Up

We’ve officially reached a point where dating apps are a standard way to meet people. Much like CD’s replaced the cassette and the record before that, technology is changing and making things more convenient, which your grandma will argue makes them less worthwhile. Can I live, Nana? In the case of dating apps vs meeting people IRL, you’re still talking about yourself to people and judging their ability to make you happy for life. We’ve just gone from watching their dance moves at the sock hop or whatever to swiping through vacation photos and judging their ability to write a short witty bio and wondering why so many guys pose with dead fish.

But no matter how witty someone is on Tinder, they still don’t matter until you’ve met them in person. I mean, remember Smarterchild? You can talk with a bot on AIM for hours, but that bot will never care how your day went. So obvs the goal of dating apps is to actually meet someone in person to decide if you’re into them or not. How long should you actually talk before meeting up? Here is our definitive guide to when you should and shouldn’t meet up with someone.

You’ve been talking for about week constantly but you haven’t exchanged numbers yet: So if you and a guy are hitting it off, you should make a plan to hang out within the week you matched. That means you probably have had time to figure out the basics like job, location, whether he can reply to texts on time or not, and how likely he is to murder you and wear your skin. Plus by then Facebook will have decided he’s your soulmate and start putting him in Suggested Friends. You know he’s seeing the same thing on his profile. If you don’t make plans to meet and he’s already worked his way into your algorithm, you’ve waited too long.

It’s best to make a plan for that weekend or the next week, because anything later means you’ll probably just cancel on each other. Once you make plans, instead of simmering on the dating app, you should give him your number so you can text each other in the day leading up to meeting IRL. Switching from dating app messaging to texting a few days before the date will make it feel like you’re building to something. You’ll be able to have longer conversations that won’t feel like you’re talking to ten other people at the same time.


You’ve been talking on and off for almost a month, and neither of you have made plans to meet up: I mean, he sees that you’re witty and hot and still hasn’t asked you out? Then he’s probably in a relationship and def just using Tinder to power play his way out of feeling trapped. If he hasn’t asked you out yet but you’re also not that into it, you’re probably both keeping each other as backburners for when you’re both bored. You should unmatch him because your time is precious and why waste perfect conversation on a mediocre match?

He asks you to get drinks as soon as you match: If he asks you to meet up on the first conversation you have, he’s just trying to fuck. Like, this guy doesn’t even know that you have a job or that your hobbies don’t include arson, and he’s already trying to meet up? Only reason he’d risk that is for the pussy. He’s not trying to get to know you. So unless you’re one day post-breakup territory, him pushing to get drinks right away is usually a red flag. If that’s not what you’re into, just unmatch him. Don’t even bother giving an excuse.

Boy Bye

He asked you for your number after talking to you for a few days: He probably does want to meet up with you but is intimidated. I mean, why wouldn’t he be? If he’s already asked for your number, he is interested. Ask him if he wants to get drinks—if he made the move to get your number he’ll appreciate you taking the lead on setting a plan.

He says things like “We should get drinks sometime” but doesn’t actually make a plan and sometimes takes weeks to respond: Fuck this guy. He wants to keep you on his radar for a hookup in the very distant—and I mean distant—future. I mean, if you’re into that and need to add a new guy to your rotation, then by all means entertain this fuckery. But you’re not a priority to this dude and in reality you’re more likely to meet John Stamos on a plane and have him tell you you’re pretty than actually get drinks with the Tinder dude. It’s like he’s already gone out on dates and came back around and found you and thought, “oh yeah… her.” You don’t want to be a sweater he found while cleaning out his closet that he decides to try on for fun. Block that bro.

He makes a plan for two weeks from now: He is either going to cancel on you, or you’re going to cancel on him. Neither of you really care that much about each other or you’d try harder to hang out. In the back of your mind you think he could be the love of your life if you just met him, but deep down you know that’s def not true. Like, you probably enjoyed 3 out of 5 of his photos, and he may have said something politically insensitive that makes you think you are not going to enjoy talking to him. Unmatch him and move on, you don’t need new friends.