You’ve taken the plunge and sent the first message. Or maybe someone messaged you and you responded, but their reply fell flat with an, “oh that’s nice.” Isn’t it funny how we can spend so much time worrying about those first couple of sentences, only to be stumped after sending them?
There are entire online dating blog posts and forums dedicated to the first message. But what do you do after you send those first few lines?
Unlike a speed dating set-up, there isn’t anything forcing you or the other person to rapid fire questions and answers. No buzzer is going to ding if you haven’t conversed with each other by 7pm this evening.
So the ball is in your court, now it’s time to make a play. Otherwise the game is going to fizzle out and leave you standing all alone on the court. If you want to keep a conversation going, there are some easy and effective ways to do so.
Ask open ended questions
Everyone likes talking about themselves, so you can’t go wrong with asking questions. Avoid the yes or no answers though, because that won’t take the conversation very far.
Instead, focus on thought provoking questions. If there is one way to get to know someone while online dating them, this is it. Stumped about what to ask? Be creative, but keep it simple. Here are some of our favorite open ended questions to ask someone on an online dating site:
- If you could vacation anywhere in the world, and cost wasn’t an issue, where would it be?
- What is something on your bucket list that you hope to complete in the next year?
- How many siblings do you have? Do you still see them on a regular basis?
- What is your favorite down time activity?
Thoughtful questions will open the doors to a conversation wide open. You’ll be surprised at how the dialogue picks up with ease after a few good questions!
Their answers (and how they answer them!) can also help you decide if they are someone you think you want to stay connected to.
Take advantage of your Catholic dating style
What is something that you can use to your advantage that a lot of other people embarking in online dating cannot? Your Catholic faith. Some people talk about the same mundane things in the beginning of a relationship, but you have such a bigger well to pull from!
When you are a Catholic dating, the faith opens up so many topics for conversation. Maybe it’s a question, “So, are you a Mass on Sundays kind of person or an everyday Mass kind of person?” Or maybe it’s a suggestion to pray together. Not together together, obviously, but in unison for a particular intention.
Our faith is a foot into any conversation because we share one major common denominator: God! Bringing him up early in a conversation is a great way to make small talk real talk.
Catholic dating can be a wonderful experience when you use the tools of the faith as your aids.
Follow up on topics
In a discussion about how to keep conversation going, several people on Quora gave this piece of advice from Imo Emah a thumbs up. Why? Because as Emah points out, when you ask a follow up question, it shows you’re dialed in.
“It shows you’re actually listening and not just waiting for a chance to talk. Don’t just ping pong with questions and leave answers hanging. When they say something interesting, try to find out more and keep them on course.”
This is a great rule of thumb for in person as well as online dating. Good conversation happens when both parties act equally interested in each other.
Let’s say you’re talking with a guy who mentioned that he loves dogs. Maybe circle back and ask if he has a dog himself or is thinking of getting one. Chatting with a woman who ran a race last weekend? Bring it up. Ask her how it went and be interested in what she has to say about it.
A person that will invest time in bringing up things that are important to you is probably someone you want to keep the conversation going with!
Know when to take online dating offline
It can be a lot of fun messaging back and forth on the computer. It can become easy and comfortable. But the truth is that a conversation kept only online will most likely fizzle out eventually.
If you have been back and forth with each other for a bit, consider setting up a phone call. Hearing someone’s voice can be a great step into an eventual in person encounter.
This isn’t saying you have to make a phone call tonight or meet in person next week. Just talk about setting something up. Suggest a time to talk and use their response to guide your way. If they seem hesitant, let it go for now. If they appear to be open to the idea, pencil in a time that you can expand your relationship by adding that extra element of reality to it.
Keep things moving
When all is said and done, the best piece of advice for online dating conversation is to keep it going. Ask questions, give good answers, be interested and creative.
Imagine sitting with someone on a bench in a park. You’re just getting to know them. You’re not going to just sit and stare ahead. You’ll fill the air with conversation be it questions or talking about yourself. Online dating should follow the same protocol. By not responding or reaching out for conversation, you’ll allow for too much dead air.
Use the tools above to spark conversation and build a relationship that will morph into a two person, active ball game. It’s always more fun when there’s a partner to pass to!
Ready to start (and continue!) conversations with other single Catholics? Create your online dating profile with Catholic Singles today. We’re the only established Catholic dating site to offer free messaging!