Online dating has become the most popular way of meeting new people and finding love nowadays. Although protected by the anonymity of a screen, breaking the ice with someone you don’t know is still not easy. What should you say? Which details about yourself should you reveal? Which questions to ask?

1. What Do We Have in Common?

Instead of doing a massive outreach, rely on the online dating site’s compatibility score to filter just a few profiles. Then, check them out thoroughly and look for common interests the two of you might have. This can be a hobby or a TV show, anything that would make the conversation flow. The moment you found a common topic, it will be easier to slide to the next one.

2. Avoid Pointless Questions

It’s always nice to start an online dating conversation with a polite “how are you?” Remember, it’s a lovely innocent question but not a real conversation starter. Follow up with something interesting, funny and open to say. It can be as simple as “first dates slightly embarrass me”. Your date will probably sympathize with you and comment accordingly. Think of ice breakers. That’s the key.

3. Yes/no Questions? Bad Idea!

Although questions are generally good online dating conversation starters, this is a type of interrogative sentences you should avoid. Or, at least use them only as an introduction to the subject and use a follow-up question to ask what, why, when, or how. Remember to always leave an opening for a longer answer than “yes” or “no”.

4. Listen

A mistake many online daters make is stressing out too much. It’s often unavoidable and causes people to talk and talk, and ultimately you vomit words like crazy. There is someone else at the other end of the chat window or table. Breathe. Take the time to listen/read the other’s replies as they can represent a good source of inspiration for your next topic of conversation.

5. Don’t Forget, it’s Not a Job Interview

As much as you would like to know the other better, refrain from turning the whole talk into a job interview. Questions like “where do you see yourself in five years” might sound right when applying for a professional position, but they are not really suitable for in the dating scene. You don’t want to encounter the raising of an eyebrow, but rather smiling eyes.

Starting a meaningful online dating conversation with someone you don’t know at all might seem difficult at first. However, if you keep these simple guidelines in mind, you will see that things will come your way.