How to Respond to “Hey” Messages on Bumble
Bumble is a “feminist dating app” built around the concept that women should initiate the conversation when an opposite-sex couple match. Traditionally, men are expected to initiate conversations “in the real world” and that cultural habit has persisted into the online dating arena, despite the fact that a mutual right-swipe in a dating app like Bumble means that there is already mutual interest and so either party should feel free to start talking. Bumble reverses that expectation, partially to even things out, but also because on dating apps like Tinder, a subset of the male population has a habit of opening with gross or inappropriate messages.
With women setting the initial tone and expectations for a conversation (whether that tone be gross or classy), the environment is more welcoming and women are more likely to take a chance on a right-swipe since they know it’s not going to open them up as much to an unprovoked “let’s smash” or something similarly intellectual. This leaves men in a novel situation, however, because men have to wait for a message on Bumble. Some men simply aren’t used to that role reversal, and it takes some adapting. However, once they get a little practice in, they’re able to handle it. It’s just a slightly different norm.
One problem that does arise, on Bumble or any other dating site, is the infamous “Hey” message. The ultimate in low-effort messaging, there are worse opening texts that one could send but not many. “Hey” is a copout message, lazy and unthinking, and you might as well type “I don’t feel like putting in any effort on this, so if you want something to happen, the ball’s in your court.” Despite this fact, “hey” remains highly popular because truth be told a lot of people (of either sex) just don’t know how to start a conversation. They aren’t intending to be lazy and passive, they’re just not sure how to be active.
So if you receive a “hey” message on Bumble, one of your first tasks is to try to decide whether the person is really being that low-effort, or if they’re just shy or tongue-tied. In the one case, you might want to just blow it off unless you’re interested in a low-effort connection; in the other, you want to make them comfortable and draw them out. In this article, I’ll present some suggestions and tips for both of those strategies.
Time Keeps on Ticking
When you start making matches on Bumble, the app keeps them all in the “Beehive”, a list of all your connections and conversations. Aren’t those the same thing, though?
The answer is no. When a match is first made, a 24 hour clock starts to run. In an opposite-sex match, the woman has 24 hours to send a message to the man to start a conversation. (In other matchups, anyone can initiate.) If no initial message is sent, the match expires and the connection disappears from both people’s Beehive. However, either party can use an Extend (one Extend per day for free members, unlimited Extends for premium subscribers) to reset the clock and add 24 more hours. This is one way that men can signal strong interest – they can Extend a conversation deadline, thus telling the woman “I really want to talk to you!”
In addition, after that first message is sent out, another 24 hours clock starts to run. This time it’s the other party who has to answer. If they don’t respond within 24 hours (or unless someone Extends the connection), then the conversation expires and vanishes from the Beehives. Only after one person initiates and the other person responds does the conversation become a permanent part of each person’s Beehive, and move to the “Conversations” section.
So How Do I Respond to “Hey”?
You’ve got a few different options here.
One fairly popular approach is to respond with a “hey” of your own. There, now the conversation is permanent, and the ball is kicked right back into the original person’s court. It’s a bit passive-aggressive, but then again, so was that first “hey”.
Another approach is to ignore the message and let the match expire. This doesn’t really help you in the quest to make meaningful matches and meet people, but it might help other people down the line. If someone sends out a lot of “hey” openers and gets unmatched as a result, they may reconsider their low-effort strategy and put a little more thought into their openers.
If you want to be REALLY passive-aggressive, you can let the match almost expire and then use an Extend…but still not answer. Do this a few times and they might get the message that you expect them to come up with something meaningful and try again. This assumes you have Extends to spare, of course. (If they “hey” you again, you’re probably dealing with someone clever. Be cautious <g>.)
One thing to remember is that the other person might not be trying to be passive-aggressive (or just passive) – they might just be having a hard time coming up with an opener. In that case you might want to go to the effort of reviewing their profile again, finding things that are compatible or at least interesting between the two of you, and taking the lead. On Bumble, it must be said, there are some women who want the man to take the lead and so they send “hey” as a signal for that. It’s up to you to tease that information out of them later.
Some Good Responses
If you decide that you do want to message back, and not just with “hey”, you have a lot of choices.
One thing you can try is to pretend they didn’t say “hey” at all, and just send them the opener you would have sent if you were on Tinder or some other dating app without the conversational rules of Bumble. This defeats the purpose of the Bumble rule – but you’re probably more interested in making good connections than you are in helping Bumble to change the dating world.
You could try to warm up the conversation slowly, by saying “Hey, how are you?” or “Hey, thanks for matching! What’s up?” or something along those lines. This is a low-key escalation of the conversation from its extremely dry beginning, and might be ideal if the person you’re messaging is just shy. This is one area where a close read of their profile is essential. If they have a half-dozen pictures of them partying wild at Mardi Gras, they probably aren’t that shy and that “hey” was an invitation for you to take over. If they have one picture of themselves hiding behind a book and their profile bio reads “Shy”, then the slow ramp-up might be just the thing to stay in their comfort zone.
Another approach is to address the “hey” itself directly. This can be viewed as sarcastic or confrontational, but that might be your personal style. Something like “Whoa, whoa, calm down ma’am, I’m not that kind of boy!” or “OMG I feel the same way! We must be soul mates!” can break the ice, with the right kind of person. Or it’ll break the match, for the wrong kind of person. Oh well, you aren’t paying by the match anyway.
Using emoticons in your response can soften a sarcastic response or punch up a low-key one. Text messages are very bad at conveying emotional tone, so what is obviously a joke might not be a joke to your match if there isn’t a smiley face to tip them off.
Whatever you do, it’s important to remember not to be rude or overly confrontational. In general, simple and direct communication are best in dating apps.
Do you have Bumble success stories or suggestions on how to respond to “hey”? Please, share them with us below!
Want more suggestions on Bumble?
Tired of the Bumble scene? Here’s a guide on how to delete your Bumble account.
If you want a fresh start on Bumble, you should check out our walkthrough on resetting your Bumble profile.
You should definitely read our guide to creating a great profile on Bumble.