Science of People - Logo

How to Start a Conversation on Bumble (and find your match!)

Bumble’s unique features as a dating app offer a fascinating case study for successful conversation starters and common mistakes to avoid.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Online dating is on the rise. 

Pew Research Center1 reported that one-in-ten adults who are married, living with a partner, or in a committed romantic relationship met their significant other through a dating site or app.

And Stanford2 released a study that more couples now meet online than any other way. Another study found that 51% of Americans under 34 are currently single. 

That’s a LOT of dating potential!

On the one hand, that’s excellent news for those of us who are single. On the other hand, how on earth can we expect to find the best match with so many possibilities?!? 

Well, here at Science of People, we know successful romantic relationships are based on the same principles of communication and trust as all other relationships. 

One of the big players in the online dating world is Bumble, whose unique framework makes for a fascinating case study of how to start conversations on a dating app. 

What is Bumble?

Bumble is a dating app designed to allow women to initiate interaction. Unlike other apps, a man can’t initiate the conversation until the woman has indicated interest by sending a smile. 

The app was developed to prioritize kindness, respect, and a safe relationship-building community. 

The woman messages first and has 24 hours to respond if the man messages back. The flip side of this unique feature is that it frees men from the traditional dating role of making the first move.

Ready for some fun facts about Bumble? 

  • There are twice as many men3 on Bumble as women. 
  • 63% of men4 said that “women making the first move” was a factor in their decision to make an account. 
  • Since its launch as a dating app, Bumble has also added Bumble BFF for same-gender friend building and Bumble Bizz for initiating professional relationships. 
  • Women on Bumble end up on more dates5 than those on Tinder or Hinge, averaging dates with 20% of their matches. 
  • 85% of Bumble4 users are looking for a committed relationship. 

All of which brings us back to the topic at hand… 

How do we get from the thrill of seeing a match appear to that magical relationship? 

We start at the very beginning… 


Not to worry! You’ve got this!

How to Start a Conversation on Bumble

The goal of starting a conversation is to find a common interest you can discuss. Research shows6 that people tend to marry someone with similar attitudes and values. But beyond that, when marital quality and happiness were analyzed, similar personalities, not attitudes, were related to marital satisfaction. 

This could explain why 55% of women5 on Bumble say the man’s personality is the most significant factor in choosing to match with him.  

If a committed relationship is the goal, you’ll want to look for opportunities to learn about their personality. Are they persistent? Creative? Patient? Loyal? Flexible? Compassionate?

It’s just as valuable to take time to consider your personality traits. To make it simple, check out our personality quiz

Once you have an idea of what you’re looking out for, here are some tips for crafting an attention-grabbing message: 

  • Find a Commonality: The best way to get to know each other is for both people to be genuine and call attention to any true similarities. Otherwise, you may invest a lot of time and emotions, only to find that the connection wasn’t based on your true interests and connections. Find something specific you like about their profile and call it out.
    • For example, “I love the Psych reference – it’s one of my go-to TV shows. What are you watching right now?” 
    • For example, “I saw you are a big fan of theater like me. Is it watching theater or performing that you like best?” 
  • Personalize: use their name in your message, or come up with a nickname based on their profile. This shows you’ve taken the time to look at their profile and want to get to know them individually.
    • For example, “Greetings, Mr. Chili-Champion-of-the-Arizona-State-Fair! What’s the most secret ingredient in your recipe?”
  • Keep it light and friendly: Start with an inviting and easygoing comment to put the other person at ease.
    • For example, “What’s your dog’s name? They’re adorable!!”
  • Use open-ended questions: A wonderful strategy for starting and maintaining a conversation is to ask a question that can’t be answered in one word.
    • For example, instead of “How are you doing?” try “Anything exciting going on in your life these days?”
  • Make an observation about their dating profile: Dating influencer Anna Kai shared her experience, saying, “Do your research. My husband’s bio on Bumble was ‘condiment lover.’ So I asked about his favorite condiment. We have a lot of hot sauce in our fridge now.”
  • KISS: During a first meeting?!?! Well, if you’re thinking, “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” then by all means! Opening messages should be one sentence, maybe two short ones.
    • For example, ”That’s a beautiful mountain view in your picture. Where were you hiking?” 

Great Conversation Starters to Use on Bumble

Now that we have the basic concept in place, skim through these other examples and see which ones feel right for your personality.

Step Up Your Question Skills

While there are many boring and bland questions, with a little reworking, they can turn into awesome questions for getting to know a potential date. 

  • Replace “What do you do for fun?” with “What are your creative outlets?”
  • Replace “What do you do for work?” with “Working on anything exciting lately?”
  • Replace “What’s your story?” with “What’s something that inspired you recently?”
  • Replace a physical compliment with “You look like someone who…” (Insert something positive)

For other examples of asking better questions, check out 30 Great Conversation Starters For Introverts.

Cute and Fun Conversation Starters for Bumble (or dates!)

Sometimes, having a lighthearted icebreaker is the best way to ease in. 

  • Are there any secret talents you have I should know about? 
  • If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Do you have a favorite movie or TV show recommendation? 
  • I’ve been looking for a new podcast/book/audiobook. Do you have any suggestions?
  • Do you believe in aliens? Asking for a friend… 
  • I’m on a hunt for the most _______ meme. Do you have any favorites? 
  • Ok, I have a joke. Are you ready? (For ideas, check out 136 Funniest Work Jokes For The Work of The Day (Ultimate List)

Deep Questions For the Thinkers

If you’re hoping to find someone interested in intellectual topics, here are some ideas that can lead to deeper conversations. 

  • What skill would you like to master?
  • What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
  • Have you ever read a book that changed your life? What was it, and why?
  • What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned in your career?
  • What do you daydream about?

Questions for Music Lovers

Music is a universal topic and a great way to settle on a common interest. 

  • What do you listen to on repeat? 
  • Do you play any instruments?
  • What’s your favorite band/musician lately? 
  • What was the last concert you attended?
  • If they are wearing a band’s shirt: “That’s a great [band name] shirt. What’s your favorite song by them?”
  • What song can you not stop listening to? I’d love some playlist suggestions. 
  • Check out their Spotify, if it’s linked, and find something you have in common.

Getting to Know You Bumble Questions

Instead of the generic “tell me about yourself,” try some of these questions: 

  • I saw you’re from ______. Did you grow up there? (A follow-up could be “What did you like about where you grew up?”)
  • What’s something about you that comes from your family?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What’s your opinion on…? 

Starting A Conversation With A Man

If you’re feeling at a loss on how to start a conversation with a man, here are some suggestions for good first impressions. 

  • Just take the initiative to reach out (63% of men joined Bumble because they liked the option for women to make the first move, remember?) 
  • Offer a sincere compliment 
  • Ask about his hobbies 
  • If you’re nervous, try internally repeating your favorite self-affirmation 3-5 times to boost your confidence. 
  • Offer him a chance to talk about himself, like asking, “Working on anything exciting lately?”

For more ideas, take a look at 30 Ways to Effortlessly Start a Conversation With A Guy

Starting A Conversation With A Woman 

Ah, the age-old question: what do women want? Honestly, it’s going to depend a lot on the woman! But here are a few prompts to get you started. 

  • What’s your guilty pleasure?
  • How do you feel most misunderstood?
  • What do you wish more people knew about you?
  • Can I get your recommendation on (food/music/movies to watch, or local activities)?

Common Mistakes When Starting A Conversation

As you’ll see, many common mistakes are the inverse of what we’ve already discussed. That being said, let’s make a quick list to cover our bases!

  • Using generic messages: “What’s up?” Or “How’s it going?”
  • Asking questions with one-word answers: “Hey, have a good day?”
  • Sending a long list of favorite things: “I saw you like movies; I do too. My favorites are Jurassic World, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Indiana Jones, and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. What about you?”
  • Being too aggressive: “So, you wanna go out?” 64% of women on Bumble5 say a man should wait for more than ten messages before asking her on a date.
  • Not being genuine: You get to fill in the blank on what this means to you! Don’t fake it or pretend to be something you’re not; it will only set you up for difficulty down the road.
  • Focusing only on their physical appearance: “Wow, you looked so beautiful; I just had to talk to you.”
  • Being needy or desperate: I’m so glad you matched with me! I’ve been swiping on everyone for weeks, and no one has responded to my messages. 
  • Not asking questions or showing interest in the other person’s life: “I’m really picky when it comes to dating, but you seem different” (Honestly, where do you go from there?!)
  • Flirting too much or too quickly: “Is it just me, or do we have some serious chemistry here?”
  • Complaining: This is pretty self-explanatory! People prefer positivity.  

How To Keep The Conversation Flowing Naturally

You’ve avoided common pitfalls and successfully started the conversation; congratulations! 

Now what? 

The endless cycle of a few bland exchanges until someone just stops responding? Heaven forbid! 

In improv theater, there is a technique called “Yes, And…”. 

The idea is that saying “no” shuts down a conversation, so to keep it going, one accepts the other person’s contribution (yes), then adds onto it (and). 

This isn’t intended for deep discussions where opinions and beliefs can and should differ, but it can be a valuable strategy for moving a conversation forward. 

For example, there’s a picture I love of myself: reading a book on a beautiful autumn day. If a man saw that picture and commented, “It seems you really like that book!” consider these two responses: 

  • “Actually, I just grabbed that book out of my friend’s car while we were taking pictures.” 
  • “I’ve been a total bookworm since I was a kid! I actually listen to a lot of audiobooks these days since I spend a lot of time driving. Do you prefer reading or listening to audiobooks?” 

The first sentence is true but is actually a “no” statement. The second is also true, and as a “yes” response, it offers us a chance to continue talking about reading, which is a topic I enjoy. 

There are other simple ways to keep a conversation going: 

Listen actively

The human brain can process 400 words per minute7 The average conversation speed is 150 words per minute. The average reading speed is 250 words per minute. That means anywhere from half to ⅔ of your brain could be thinking about something other than the conversation at hand. 

Active listening is the process of focusing on what the other person is saying and considering their comments while they are speaking, and waiting to formulate a response until after they are finished. 

Share your experiences

As we discussed at the beginning, part of getting to know others involves building a relationship of openness and trust. As you feel comfortable, consider sharing experiences from your life. Allow the other person to get to know you. If you begin opening up, they will likely reciprocate.

Use humor

We humans love to laugh. Find a way to bring appropriate humor into the conversation. Read How to Effortlessly Develop a Sense of Humor (& Humor Types) to brush up on your humor skills.

When you’ve got the basics down and are ready for even more Conversation Mastery skills, School of People is ready for you!

Communicate With Confidence

Do you struggle with small talk? Do you often run out of things to say or feel awkward and self-conscious in social situations?

💪 Speak so people listen,
🤐 No more awkward silences,
🚫 No more small talk.

Let’s Make It A Date!

We mustn’t forget the goal we proposed at the beginning of this grand adventure: to court and eventually find a partner!

Here at Science of People, we strongly believe in the power of face-to-face interaction. 

So if you still want to get to know the other person after some time, suggest an in-person meeting. No need to overthink it – you both chose to swipe right and, hopefully, found common ground. The other person may also think it’s time to meet but not know how to bring it up. 

Use your common interests to propose an activity you feel comfortable with and one that will allow you an opportunity to continue getting to know each other. 

Suggesting a specific activity, as well as time and place, will help minimize tedious logistics messages. 

For example: “Ok, that’s the third time you’ve mentioned the amazing desserts at your favorite restaurant. How about we meet on Saturday at 7:00, and you can introduce me?” 

Making The Most Of The Bumble Experience

Dating in any form, in person or online, has the potential to be a long, grueling, and sometimes painful process. At the same time, when approached with curiosity, it can be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about yourself, what’s important to you, and what you are looking for in a future partner. 

So what do the experts say about making the most of it? 

Dating influencer Anna Kai recommends, “Trust who makes you feel comfortable. You might not know if you love someone right away, but you know who makes you feel at home.”

Dating Coach Matthew Hussey offers an important perspective, “Play the long game instead of rushing into something. It takes so much time to get into relationships with the wrong people.”

Stop Bumbling Through Conversation Starters!

Here are some takeaways for starting your next conversation on Bumble:

  1. Craft an attention grabbing message: You can make an impression with simple strategies like being authentic, personalizing your message, and asking an open-ended question. 
  2. Test out different conversation starters: Have fun coming up with messages. If you enjoy thinking about the question or topic you discuss, they are more likely to enjoy the conversation as well. 
  3. Steer clear of common mistakes like being too generic, too aggressive, or not showing interest in them personally. If they don’t feel like you care about getting to know them, why would they want to keep talking? 
  4. Keep the conversation flowing: Once you’ve gotten the conversation going, practice actively listening, sharing your experiences, and using humor to get to know them better. 
  5. Ask for a date if you’re interested: Remember that people are often on dating apps because they are looking for a relationship. If, after some time, you’d like to continue getting to know the other person, ask them out!

And before you head out for your night on the town, check out 11 Science-Backed First Date Tips To Make Your Date Great!

How to Deal with Difficult People at Work

Do you have a difficult boss? Colleague? Client? Learn how to transform your difficult relationship.
I’ll show you my science-based approach to building a strong, productive relationship with even the most difficult people.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Get our latest insights and advice delivered to your inbox.

It’s a privilege to be in your inbox. We promise only to send the good stuff.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.