“Dating” apps have come a long way since Grindr revolutionised the way we had sex in 2009. They’re as much a part of our lives as hair product and credit card debt.

But when it comes to communicating, we’re still having trouble. Here are the most loathed openers and what to try instead…


Poor “hey” – once the laid-back, chilled bro-dude of intros, now a lazy, sleazy filler of dead air. Same, unfortunately, goes for “hi”, “hello”, “howdy” and any variation of greeting. Live by the principle that logging on itself is already a hello; you don’t need it. Cut to the chase. Don’t be afraid to go a little off-the-wall. “Would you change surgery if Doctor Foster was your GP?” I am interested.

02. What you up to?

I am on fucking GRINDR staring at identical “hey mate” avis and lying about my age; what do you THINK I’m up to?

03. What you looking for?


Best start with what you’re looking for. “We could chat for hours about what we’re ‘into’ and swap dick pics, or we could meet for a drink within the next hour and… see for ourselves?” Much better. Don’t be afraid to meet – even a waste of time is always a lesson learned.

04. How are you?

“Yeah fine, thanks. You?” “Good, you?” “Yeah, cool, ta. You?” This can go on for EV-ER.

Sometimes you just want to answer: “I have cholera but I’m feeling perky and optimistic.” Again, straight to the goods, please. “Do you think we should just let pandas be extinct? It seems to be they really can’t be arsed” is perfect. I’d marry this person.

05. Pic?

If you don’t have a picture of yourself, do not, under any circumstances, say this. It’s not that you’re wrong to ask, but people LOVE to go absolutely nuts about this (NO FACE PIC = BLOCKED OK THX) so you’ll spend the next hour playing discretion tennis with someone who might be even uglier than you! Just send a good headshot – not that head – and hope for the best.

06. I like your [feature].

I never gave two shits whether someone on a hook-up app liked my smile – not that I’ve smiled in public since I was 17, of course. Oh my mouth is nice? Great, but ummmmm, also a bit creepy. Photos lie – compliments work best when delivered live and direct, in person. Even the vainest gym bunny gets sick of hearing “nice bod”. Or so I’ve been told, anyway.

07. [Out of the blue and inappropriate sexual comment].

I know, you’re not here for hearts and flowers and want to get on with it, and some guys respond very well to “sit on my face” or “destroy my anus”. But in my experience, the vast majority react like Victorian ladies who just caught sight of the chimney sweep’s wrists. Show personality; it helps. Even if you only want a zipless shag. Nice guys don’t finish last, they get blown in their living room by a friendly neighbour on a hungover afternoon. They do!

08. “You’re close.”

You’re very observant. And as close as you’re going to get.

09. [Sends picture of penis].

The effort’s always appreciated but what do you want? Marks out of ten? All you’ll get is “nice” and no further reply. Want to make an impression? Send a cool pic of yourself or a fun one making a face, or a personalised meme. Think outside the box, for the love of God. Shirt is always optional. But no dick, and definitely not straightaway.

10. [Bizarre insult masquerading as flirtation].

If you don’t like my apples, don’t shake my tree, bitch.