When it comes to initiating a discussion in online dating, there is a fine line between what works and what fails miserably.
Unfortunately, too many people use what fails miserably.
Studies show that the average response rate for messages on dating sites sits somewhere between 1% and 10%, depending on the website and how well you’ve set up your profile.
So, it makes sense that you want to stand out and be memorable.
But, it’s easy to go too far and stand out in a bad way.
Fortunately, if you join a faith based dating site for singles, like CatholicSingles, your shared faith can be a great starting point to break the ice or to inspire a great opening message.
In this blog post, we’ll cover:
- Why icebreakers are so important. Get that first impression right and the conversation will start itself.
- 7 Icebreakers You Should Definitely Try. These focus on using your faith to start a conversation.
- 5 More General Icebreakers to Try. While these don’t focus on your faith as much, they do provide a great way to start a conversation.
- Some Do’s and Don’ts with Icebreakers. As I said earlier, it’s easy to stand out in the wrong way…
- 3 Tips to Make People Open Up and Talk. Move past the icebreakers and into real conversations.
Why Are Icebreakers so Important?
It seems like meeting people on an online dating site should be easy. After all, everyone on an internet dating site is here for the same reason: to meet people.
So shouldn’t it be easy to start conversations?
Unfortunately, it’s not. In fact, the average response rate to the first messages sent hovers between 1% and 10% on most dating sites.
That’s why it’s important to make a great first impression. Using a solid icebreaker can be be your ticket to the first impression you want to make.
Icebreakers Are Your Keys for a Great First Impression
Online dating sites are filled with a wide variety of members.
While it would be great to think that everyone has the same motivations and desires, that simply isn’t the case.
As a result, many members keep their guard up. Whether it is fair or not, the first message that you send to another member will be scrutinized as soon as it is received.
Are you desperate? Over-confident? Will responding to your message open an unpleasant conversation, or are you potentially interesting enough to talk to?
More importantly, if you want to start a conversation, you need the person receiving the icebreaker to actually respond.
A good icebreaker will increase your chances of getting a response and also help spur a conversation that will lead you to getting to know them better.
Set the Stage for a Great Conversation
People love to talk about what they love and what they are passionate about.
It is important to keep in mind that relationships are about getting to know someone else: to discover their passions, their past, and to see the world – even in tiny glimpses – from their point of view.
A good icebreaker should do more than just make a good first impression, it should open the door for a great conversation by uncovering what someone loves and to get them to open themselves to you so you can learn who they are.
What do you hope to find out from someone in your first conversations? Do you want to know their religious convictions? Are you looking to see if you have a ‘spark’ with them?
Whatever your goals, good conversations start with good questions.
Start Your Relationship on the Right Foot
It might sound a bit far-fetched to say that a good relationship can start from a great icebreaker, but if we think about icebreakers as those questions that open the door to a conversation, and that a good conversation opens the door to a relationship…well, you can see why you would want to start things off right.
In online dating, many people tend to be a bit defensive. They want to be careful who they start conversations with, and they definitely want to be careful about who they start a relationship with.
Whether it’s fair or unfair, it’s easy for someone to judge you from that first contact.
How you decide to break the ice will help shape those first discussions (and whether those first discussions even happen) which are so important in a new, developing relationship.
Filter Your Matches Better
Out of all the reasons you should focus on how you start a conversation with someone, there might be none that are as important as this: great icebreakers can help you filter your possible matches better.
Let’s face it: there are alot of variables when it comes to finding someone that you want to start a relationship with.
Will you get along with them?
Are you going to fight about politics all the time?
Do they take things more seriously than you? Or not seriously enough?
A good icebreaker in online dating should serve a few purposes:
- It should help start a new conversation
- It should make you stand out…but not in a bad way
- It should help you learn about the person you are talking to
All these things can help in your search.
7 Icebreakers You Should Try
The best icebreakers are those that come from you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look to a few icebreakers for inspiration.
With that in mind, here are 7 faith based icebreakers you can try out or use as inspiration.
Focus on Principles
These icebreakers focus on a person’s principles – not only their morals (we would assume we know what these basically are), but also what is most important to them.
The goal and the hope is to learn what drives them, what motivates them, and what they really care about.
What Do You Love Most About Your Faith?
You want to find someone who loves the faith, so lead with this question!
People love to talk about what they really love. This ice breaking question invites a discussion into what really matters from the first conversation.
Keep in mind that someone’s love for the faith can be very personal, so you might find that they hold back a little bit.
But don’t let that discourage you. By starting with this question, they’ll know that your faith is important enough to you that you want to lead with that question.
How Often Do You Go To Mass?
File this question under “let’s get down to the essentials”. It’s a forward question and one that sets the tone from the beginning.
The answers you get can tell you a lot about a person right away. You will probably find that answers will vary significantly: some people go to daily mass (or multiple times per week) while others are struggling to make it a few times per year.
It’s important that you do not judge someone based on this question alone. If someone is making an effort to keep mass as a part of their lives, you should be encouraged.
Remember that everyone is on a journey to Christ. If your goal and hope is to meet someone who loves Christ, keep in mind that people are at different stages in their journey to Him.
What are Your Values or Mission in Life?
When you want to get to know someone well, you have to move beyond just regular small talk and silly questions.
While these can provide a basic start to a conversation, you eventually want to get into the things that really matter.
Talking about your core values or your mission in life does just that. Learning about someone else’s core values and missions helps you see just who they really are.
Even if your conversation doesn’t lead to a romantic relationship, many of these conversations will leave you inspired with hope for humanity as you see that there are a lot of people who really have a deep desire for good.
What Was Your Upbringing Like?
While a lot of these questions dig into who someone is today and how they perceive themselves, you can often learn more about a person by how they describe their past.
The fact is, when we think about our past, we often think about those things that went into making us who we are today. So when we describe our past, we often begin to describe ourselves today.
This question also has the benefit of giving the person who is answering the option to keep things light, or to get into more in-depth conversation.
How Long Have You Been a Member of Your Current Parish?
Does the person float from one parish to the next?
When I was single, I didn’t join a parish. I considered myself in a transition period in my life and I didn’t want to commit to a single church.
But that was me. Others have an incredible sense of community and attitude towards service.
This question can open up a discussion about what someone loves about their parish, or what they’d like to see changed. You can learn what values they hold dear, and what tenets of the faith are strongest in their life.
What Role Does your Faith Have in a Relationship?
Let’s face it: if you are a member of CatholicSingles.com, you joined because your faith is important enough that you want to share it with someone else.
Anyone who has tried interfaith dating knows that it can be particularly challenging, especially when you start thinking about the future.
In addition, our faith has such strong teachings on issues of personhood, love, sexuality, and marriage that it is almost impossible to not address these questions at some point as you get to know someone.
What is One of Your Favorite Verses From the Bible?
Getting to know someone should be fun, and your first discussions should be meaningful.
What bible verses do you find yourself going to regularly? For me, I find 1 Corinthians 13 is one of a few that always comes up.
Maybe you have favorite bible verses on love, or maybe your favorite verses are meant to strengthen you in a time of trial.
5 More General Icebreakers to Try
Even though you are on a Catholic site, that doesn’t mean that every discussion needs to revolve around the Catholic faith.
There are a lot of more generic icebreakers which are great ways to start a conversation.
Here are 5 you might want to try.
What Do You Like to Do on Your Free Time?
If you want to start a conversation, give someone an excuse to talk about themselves!
What someone does in their free time is usually what they love to do. Anytime you can start a conversation with what someone is passionate about, you have the chance of starting off a great conversation that can move into something bigger.
What Are Your Life Goals?
You could replace this with a question about someone’s bucket list, or just find out what they want to accomplish in the next 5 years.
Obviously, this question tells you a bit about what a person values, but it also gives you insight into what life would be like with them in the future.
Of course, you shouldn’t read too much into any answer. The point of an icebreaker is to start a conversation, not decide if you are ready to marry that person.
How Do You Feel About Online Dating?
The truth is, most people are uncomfortable going online despite the fact that online dating is far more socially acceptable in today’s world.
This icebreaker is a great question to ask because it addresses the ‘elephant in the room’.
Few people are very comfortable with online dating, but there is comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone in that way!
How Would You Describe Yourself?
You should save this icebreaker until you get a first response from someone.
It is hard to describe yourself to someone, but if you can get someone to do so, you can learn a lot about them.
If someone describes themselves, you’ll likely learn what they value most. Is it their job? Their career? Their faith? Their family?
Keep this question light so as to not make the other person uncomfortable. Make a joke about it and let them know that you are really just interested in getting a conversation started with someone you find interesting.
What’s Your Most Embarrassing Moment?
If you are going to ask this question, you are almost obligated to tell your most embarrassing moment.
Of course, that’s not a bad thing (well…unless your most embarrassing moment is really bad).
This question is great for getting rid of the early conversation jitters. It says “let’s make ourselves embarrassed to get the nerves out of the way!”
It opens you up to being human and shows that you are real, humble, and willing to poke fun at yourself.
Now That You Know What Questions to Ask, Let’s Talk About Some DO’s and DON’Ts
Having a good icebreaker can certainly help you get your conversation started the right way, but our hope is that the conversation continues and builds into something more than just a “hello”!
With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the common do’s and don’ts to keep the conversation going (and going well).
Keep the Conversation Fun
The #1 mistake people make in online dating is to get too serious too quickly.
While most members want to meet someone, they want it to feel natural. Rushing into discussions as to whether you could make a relationship work with someone before you’ve even had a chance to see if you can laugh together is a sure sign to a quick end of a conversation.
Getting to know someone should be fun, so make it fun!
Not sure what to say? Pick a few topics from our 99 questions to ask on a first date blog piece.
It’s easy to feel intimidated at the beginning of a relationship, and it might be tempting to bend the truth a bit to make yourself look just a bit better.
But don’t be tempted to do this. Dating sites are notorious for having liars on them (over half of online daters, actually).
With numbers like these, being honest about yourself will actually make you stand out! In addition, being honest shows that you are comfortable with who you are which is a trait a lot of online daters find attactive.
Don’t Start the Conversation with “Hey”
If you want to stand out, don’t start your conversation with a word that will make you blend in.
“Hey, how was your weekend?”
Take advantage that dating sites like CatholicSingles give you a chance to peek into who a person is through their profile and use that to start your conversation.
Did they list “Princess Bride” as one of their favorite movies? Maybe start out with a quote from the movie. Do they like their steak rare? Make a joke to poke fun at people who would like their steak well done.
Be memorable…just not in a weird way.
Don’t Use Creepy Pick-up Lines
You know them, don’t use them.
The only thing that a pick up line is good for laughs, and even then, you are better off taking any pick up line you may have and burning it out of your memory forever.
File this under the “be honest” section above.
This should go without saying, but a relationship that starts out with a lie is a relationship that is destined to have problems in the future.
Not only is it morally wrong to lie, it makes it impossible to build a relationship when it is built on a lie.
4 Tips to Make People Open Up and Talk
Icebreakers and small talk are great ways to start a conversation, but if you want to really get to know someone, you need to get them to open up and talk.
Until you start to talk about things that really matter in life, you’ll never know if this is a person that you want to actually spend more time with.
So here are just a few tips that you can use to get others to open up and talk about themselves.
People Love Talking About Themselves, So Ask Questions About Them
One of the most common mistakes people make in conversations is that they always tie something said back to themselves.
Great conversationalists are great at investing in the other person.
There are a few qualities that can really help you invest in someone else:
Listen. It goes without saying, but actively listen to the other person. Don’t just wait for them to finish what they are saying so you can tell your next story.
- Ask questions about what they say. If they are telling you about something that happened in their life, ask them questions about what happened or about what others thought. Take the time to think about what they are telling you and fill in the gaps.
- Don’t assume you know. People often don’t ask questions because they assume that they know the answers.
Become passionate about investing in other people and you’ll be surprised just how fascinating they can be!
Find Things You Have in Common
While the first rule of a great conversation is to ask a lot of questions, you should also work to find things that you have in common so you can discuss that.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that once you find something you have in common that you should immediately take over the conversation. Use it as a way to go deeper.
If you find that you both love to watch documentaries, find out what type of documentaries they like and dig deeper. Why do they like that type? What have they learned? What are their favorites?
You’ll find common ground and be able to talk about what you have in common.
Don’t Be Judgemental or Negative
Be slow to judge someone, and be slow to tell them what to do.
First, any relationship that starts out in a judgemental way is doomed to end up as a one-sided relationship.
Second, until you really get to know someone, you should be slow to judge their opinions and beliefs.
Finally, if you find that someone believes something different than you, don’t rush to judgement. Rather, explore that topic and conversation. Learn why they believe that and ask questions.
On the other side of good questions is a great conversation.
Most Importantly, Listen
There is no skill as important as listening.
Take the time to get familiar with active listening skills. Learn to be curious and ask insightful questions.
People love to find others who are genuinely interested in them. Don’t waste the opportunity to discover just how incredible other people can be!
Starting a conversation might seem intimidating at first.
While you want to stand out and be memorable, you want it to be for the right reasons, not because you are memorable in a bad way.
In online dating, you are expected to start conversations with others. In fact, if you are not proactive in starting conversations, the chance of meeting someone go down significantly.
There is an art to learning how to break the ice and start a great conversation. While we offered a few suggestions above, you can certainly use your own icebreakers to start great conversations.
So go ahead and try a few of these icebreakers today and see if you can get a great conversation started!