On dating apps like Bumble or Tinder, once you’ve made a match with someone, the focus shifts from how attractive you are in your profile picture to how entertaining and amusing you can be in a chat environment. For some people, this is a welcome shift, while for others, it’s a nightmare. Some of us need time to come up with the right thing to say, and almost nobody finds it easy to be witty and sincere on demand. If you’re having a bad day, it’s even harder to shift into flirtation mode with your match, but people often worry that if they don’t respond quickly to messages, your match will be unhappy and maybe even unmatch you.
But in reality, it’s often a good idea, or even a necessity, to take your time in responding to a Bumble chat message. In doing so, there is always a fear that “what if my match knows that I’ve seen their last message?” After all, lots of social media chat apps provide you with labels or visual feedback that indicate a message has been sent or seen by the recipient. Does Bumble do the same thing? Does your match know that you’ve seen their message? The answer is “sort of.”
The Short Answer
- The Short Answer
- How to Keep a Conversation Going on Bumble
- Communicate What You Are Looking For
- Don’t Start with Hi
- Respond ASAP
- Mirror Your Match’s Messaging Style
- Ask Good Questions
- Be Honest
- Aim for a Lighthearted Tone
- Reference Earlier Conversations
- Respect Your Partner’s Conversational Cues
- Show, Don’t Tell
- Don’t Be Afraid to Move
- Don’t Waste People’s Time
- Don’t Use Pet Names
- Let Me Hear That Sexy Talk…Not
- Carry Your Half of the Conversation
- Confidence is Attractive, Except When it Isn’t
- If You Lock Up, Start Asking Questions
- Transition Time – Asking Your Match Out
- A Final Thought
The short answer: Bumble doesn’t tell your match that you’ve seen their message. (You may have noticed this on the flip side: you don’t have any feedback telling you that your match has seen YOUR message.) However, the sender of a message CAN see that the message has been “delivered.” What does that mean? It means that Bumble has sent the message on to the person’s device, and they now have access to it. Whether they read it or not is an unknown factor – but they have the potential to be able to have read it. If you go into a Bumble chat and send a message to your match, you will see the “Delivered” text almost instantaneously after you send the message.
Is This Good or Bad?
There are positives and negatives to this feedback-less approach. On the plus side, this gives you time to think things through before you respond without worrying that your match KNOWS it’s taking you six hours to answer their question about what you’re looking for in a mate. You can take a screenshot of your conversation and ask for advice from a friend. You can even tell a little white lie and, when you do respond, say that you’ve been offline for a while. Your privacy is protected to a degree. Plus, if you are someone who has limited free time and who only goes on your dating app(s) a couple of times a day, you can send your messages when you have the time to do so, without feeling pressured for an immediate response that you might just not have time for.
There is a downside. However, Some Bumble users dislike the uncertainty. If you stop receiving messages, you can’t know what’s going on with your match. Did they lose their phone? Have they decided just to not talk to you anymore without telling you why (aka “ghosting”)? Are they just busy? Are they so enamored of you that they feel pressured to write the perfect message in response, and that’s taking them all day to do? You have no way to know.
How to Keep a Conversation Going on Bumble
So with that settled, the focus shifts to how to keep a great conversation going with your Bumble matches.
Communicate What You Are Looking For
People use Bumble Date for different reasons; some people are looking for Mr(s). Right, while others are more interested in Mr(s). Right Now. Some users are having chats with everyone who matched with them; others are concentrating on one or two potential relationships at a time. (Bumble will let you have as many matches as you want; see this article for more details on that.) You won’t know what your partner is doing until they tell you, or until it becomes obvious; a good part of the initial conversation between you and your match should probably center around setting the expectations of what you’re each looking for. If you’re looking for a wife and she’s looking for a hookup, you should get that out of the way early before someone gets their feelings hurt. My strong suggestion is, to be honest upfront in your profile and in your messaging about what you are looking for on Bumble.
Don’t Start with Hi
In male-female pairings on Bumble, women start the conversation, although a lot of men work around that requirement by essentially starting a conversation on their profile. (Here are some tips on creating a great profile.) Regardless, the first message you send is an important one – it can set the tone for the whole conversation, or even determine whether there’s going to be a conversation. After a match is made, the woman has 24 hours to send a message, or the match goes away. So what should the first message be?
Generally speaking, it should be something memorable – “hi” should be eliminated from consideration, as should a simple smile emoji or something similarly designed to just put the burden back on the man to actually start the conversation. Some of the best conversations start with a question that references something from your match’s profile. If there is a question in the bio, you can start by responding to it – or you can reassert the initiative and go in a different direction. Don’t be afraid to start with a joke, or even an animated GIF if it’s funny and on-point; humor lowers the stress level and sends a signal that it’s OK to be a bit silly or unserious in the conversation to come. (We’ve created an article on how to write a great first message; check it out!)
When someone messages you for the first time, you have 24 hours to respond. After that, the match will expire. It’s really not a great idea to wait until the last minute to respond. Once you have a conversation going, it’s fine to move at your own pace, but that initial conversational exchange should happen as quickly as you can manage it.
Mirror Your Match’s Messaging Style
Everyone has their own communication style, and text messaging is no exception. If your match uses full sentences and proper capitalization, that’s a signal to the level of communication they are aspiring to. This doesn’t mean that you absolutely must match their style, but responding to their thoughtful paragraphs with all one-word answers and emojis is unlikely to bring about a positive reaction. Mirroring their style to the extent that it is compatible with your own is a way of signaling that you want to be in sync with them, and a sign that you’re paying attention to the conversation. (What should you do if your match sends you one of those worthless one-word initial messages? Read this article to find out.)
Ask Good Questions
People like to talk about themselves, and one great way of encouraging them to do that is to ask questions about their life. You want to be careful not to turn it into an interrogation, however, and you also want to be sure to share your own life story at the same time. If the conversation does lag, however, then another question is often a good way of getting it going again. I suggest keeping to light-hearted questions, and if your match wants to avoid a certain subject, you should respect that and not press. Here are a few good open-ended questions:
- If you could only eat one nationality’s cuisine for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
- What’s the best thing about your career?
- If you had enough money to live comfortably without working for the rest of your life, what would you do with your time?
- What are you passionate about in your life?
When your match asks you questions, in turn, you should be as honest as possible. Sincere conversations are easier to continue. Plus, even simple questions about your tastes can tell you if the match is going to work out. If she likes DC movies and you’re a Marvel guy, might as well shut it down now before things get ugly! (Just kidding, of course. Nobody likes DC movies.) At the same time, you don’t necessarily have to go into every last detail. You should tell the truth, but you’re always going to have to select a subset of the truth to tell because there isn’t enough time in the world to give the full background on everything. It’s OK to provide a truthful summary and leave things at that.
Aim for a Lighthearted Tone
Don’t be scared to go off-topic. Telling jokes and stories is more important than sticking to a script. You should have fun and make things fun for your match. Avoid long speeches, especially at first, and always give your match an easy way to respond. However, if things do start to get real, and you start to have a meaningful conversation, don’t be afraid of that. It’s OK to open up, especially via chat, when the conversation goes in that direction, and particularly if they have opened up. You don’t have to be a full-time comedian.
Reference Earlier Conversations
It’s important to show that you’ve been paying attention to the conversation and are thinking about what you’ve been told, not just responding blindly to the last message you saw. Reference things that your match has said before to demonstrate that you’ve been reading what they tell you and consider it important enough to remember.
Respect Your Partner’s Conversational Cues
You should avoid any pushy behavior. While you want to be assertive and enthusiastic, you don’t want your match to feel cornered. If they want to drop a topic, let them drop it. If you make a proposal (for a meeting or a phone number exchange) and they demur, respect that and back off. Don’t be a drama queen about a conversational deflection or even an outright rebuff; that makes you look needy and/or crazy. Just accept that they may not want to tell you about some things right now, or might not yet feel comfortable giving you a phone number or meeting for coffee or what have you, and go on with the conversation.
Show, Don’t Tell
Which is more compelling, someone telling you, “I’m super cool and fun to hang around with!” or someone telling you a funny story about how they met Mick Jagger in an elevator in Vegas and ended up getting drunk with him in the hotel bar? Don’t talk about how much you love animals; mention that you volunteer at a local shelter. Don’t brag about what a big deal you are at work; say how lucky you feel every day getting to go do something meaningful and important. Telling comes across as bragging, showing CAN come across as bragging (we all know a humble-bragger or two), but if you do it right, it is a lot more natural and smooth.
Don’t Be Afraid to Move
So you’ve been talking for a while now, and things seem to be going well. You like one another, it’s clear that there’s a mutual interest, and you’re running out of funny Mick Jagger stories to tell. Whether you’re a man or a woman, it might be time to get things into gear and move on to the next stage. It’s OK to ask to escalate the relationship, and it’s also OK to take no for an answer and not freak out. A low-key and non-pressuring invitation can be an excellent way to move things along: “So I’ve really enjoyed these conversations, and I’d love to see if we have the same chemistry in person. Would you like to grab coffee Wednesday?”
Don’t Waste People’s Time
If it’s clear that your match isn’t interested in what you’re interested in, then don’t waste their time by pretending to be something that you aren’t. Game-playing and time-wasting are immature, pointless, and frankly rude. You can just clearly but politely communicate that it’s clear things aren’t going to happen between the two of you, wish them well in life, and move on. If things are just so bad that you can’t even communicate with the person, it’s OK to unmatch without a message if you really need to, but try not to be “that guy” and just disappear; send a message if you can do so without putting yourself in danger.
Don’t Use Pet Names
Why on earth would anyone ever think it was appropriate to call an absolute stranger on the Internet “babe” or “sweetie” or “honey” or anything like that? I don’t know, but a lot of people do it. If your match has invited you to this level of personal intimacy, that’s one thing. But to start out with “Hey babe” or something of that sort is just rankly disrespectful and a guaranteed turnoff to 90% of your matches.
Let Me Hear That Sexy Talk…Not
Do not engage in sexual banter until it is obvious and invited by your match. Ideally, when they’ve done it first! If they’ve broken the ice, or if they are expressly inviting you to break the ice, then it’s perfectly all right to follow their lead if you’re comfortable in going there. But starting out with sexual talk is just the worst.
Carry Your Half of the Conversation
Both men and women complain about this, and from the many chat transcripts I’ve seen in Bumble, Tinder, and other dating apps, both sexes have a point. Having a conversation requires a little bit of work. People have to be thoughtful; they have to read one another’s bios; they have to think about what they want to say. If your contribution to the conversation consists of “hey,” “yeah,” “oh for sure,” and “not much wyd” then you’d better be an absolute supermodel in your looks if you want anyone to bother carrying the conversation any further. Say something interesting. Ask a question. Answer the question in an exciting way. “Not much wyd” is a 60-pound sack of rotten potatoes of an answer; “I had to wash my dog and soap got EVERYWHERE, and now I am just reconsidering my life decisions” opens up a dozen possible conversations.
Confidence is Attractive, Except When it Isn’t
Most people find confidence attractive, and being confident in dating apps is an excellent way to further a conversation. But there are limits, and an excess of confidence can turn into “jeez what an entitled jerk bag” pretty quickly if you aren’t reading the room properly. Be confident, but don’t act entitled just because you’re attractive, or wealthy, or funny, or whatever your best attribute is. Acknowledge who and what you are, but don’t be a jackass about it.
If You Lock Up, Start Asking Questions
Sometimes you just don’t know what to say. It’s your turn to contribute, the conversation has potential, there is mutual interest – but you’re just locked up in terms of what to ask. This is a good time to ask a new question about a new area of inquiry. Don’t ask one of the boring conversation-killers like ‘how was your day’ or ‘so what are you looking for on Bumble’ – take it deeper. You’ve been talking about her graduate studies – ask her to explain something that you don’t understand. He’s told you about his kids – ask him if he thinks he’ll want more children. It’s OK to go deeper into a conversation on the app. Don’t be overly prying – don’t ask her how she’s funding her grad studies or ask him which kid is his favorite – but people like answering real questions about themselves.
Transition Time – Asking Your Match Out
So you’ve been chatting for a while, and there’s clearly a connection, and you definitely want to ask this person on a date. How do you make the transition from “so tell me more about your dogs” to “hey, let’s get busy”?
(NOTE: DO NOT SAY “hey, let’s get busy” AS YOUR TRANSITION TO ASKING SOMEONE OUT.)
Step one: Have a great conversation. Have you done that yet? If you haven’t done that yet, then go back to the previous section and have one. It’s key unless the person has made it clear on their bio that they are totally open for very casual dates. (Something like “don’t chat with me forever, just ask me out” is a good cue.)
Step two: Identify from the great conversation some things that your match enjoys doing. Have they talked about loving to watch the sailboats at the lake? Is coffee a major feature of their profile? Do they talk about the bar scene a lot?
Step three: Ask them out, simply and directly. So many people engage in cute banter like “so how would a guy like me persuade a beautiful lady like you to go on a date?” thinking that it is clever and will charm the other person. It isn’t cute, it isn’t clever, and it most definitely will not charm the other person. It’s cringey, and it makes you sound like you have no self-esteem and feel that you have to trick people into being with you, which is an gross thing to project.
Instead, be straightforward, direct, and crystal-clear in your language. If you want to take someone for coffee next week, here is how you phrase that: “Hey, how about we grab a coffee on Tuesday at four after you get off work?” The way to ask someone to a movie is, “We both love superhero movies – want to go with me to the Spiderman flick at the mall Friday night?” The way to ask someone to dinner is, “I’d love to take you to dinner on Saturday.” Simple. Direct. No indirect language, no beating around the bush, no “would you maybe like to if you could” stammering. “Let’s go out. Here are the details. OK?”
A Final Thought
With Bumble, you can focus on the fun parts of dating.
The app’s creators care deeply about privacy, which is why Bumble doesn’t offer read receipts. It’s easier to relax if you don’t have to worry about things like that. You can just take your time and enjoy getting to know new people.
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