Conversation Nuggets in Online Dating
There’s one very simple piece of advice you can follow to improve your online dating profile, and profile photos, and online dating messages tremendously: inject all of them with as many conversation nuggets as you possibly can.
- What is a conversation nugget? Simply, something specific and potentially interesting that can be the subject of a conversation.
- How can I start using conversation nuggets? For everything you have in your profile, photos, or messages, ask yourself “how could this start a conversation?”
- Instead of the photo of you with a bunch of random friends, share the photo of you drinking a gigantic beer at Oktoberfest.
- Instead of saying in your profile that you like Indian Food, name which restaurant is your favorite. Instead of saying that you’re thinking of getting a dog, say what breed you plan to get and why. Better yet, pose the question right in your profile: “should I get a Beagle or a Boston Terrier?”
- Instead of sending a message to a match asking her about her proclaimed nutrition expertise, tell her you just ate a bunch of broccoli, and you swear you can feel the detoxifying enzymes in your body ask, “is this possible?” in one-line hook form.
Even if she’s never heard of the restaurant you mention, or the dog you want to get isn’t her favorite type, you’ve already painted much more colorful images in your match’s head. And if it so happens that is her favorite restaurant, or breed of dog, then you have already begun to form a connection with them. You already have something to talk about.
Learning from the class clown
Improvisers call this specificity and not only does it make it easier to keep a scene going, it also keeps an audience engaged because it’s just more colorful to hear that the man on stage is holding a Dunlop X-Fire tennis racket instead of just “a tennis racket.”
To warm up, improvisers will play a game called “yes and.” The basic premise of this game is to agree with what the person next to you just said, and then build on that. So, a game of “yes and” might go like this:
- I went to the store today
- Yes, and I bought a mango
- Yes, and I had to wait until I got home to eat the mango, because they’re so tricky to eat.
- Yes, and it’s always hard to get that last bit of mango off of the seed.
See how much more colorful and interesting things got as the statements built on top of each other. This is how your conversations should go. Whether your match knows it or not, she will build upon your conversation nuggets, and you better build upon hers.
So, if you need help with your conversation nuggets, try this exercise:
- Look for opportunities in your profile for conversation nuggets. “Favorite things” on match.com is a good place for this.
- Get a piece of paper (or a text document) and do the yes and exercise. Maybe it goes like this:
- I like to go out with my friends
- Yes, and we go out after work
- Yes, and our favorite bar is The Map Room
- Yes, and my favorite beer there is Delirium Tremens
Awesome! You just turned “I like to go out with my friends” into “I like to hit The Map Room after work with my friends for a Delirium Tremens.” Which is more interesting? Which is more likely to feed a conversation?