Swipe, Chat, Sealed: Unveiling The First Messages That Brought People Together

Jun 22, 2023

When you’re chatting with the person who will become your future spouse, how will you know they’re The One? Are they going to say something unique and different than everyone else? Will it be a specific emoji? Or will you just ✨know✨?

We dove into some of the first messages exchanged between people who met on Mutual to see if these conversations had a special ingredient. We also followed up with these couples and asked them what they remembered about these initial conversations – if anything stuck out. We’re letting you have a peek into those conversations! And we’ll also share what we learned as we analyzed them. 

TLDR; What We Learned

Every conversation we looked at was completely different, but we found some similarities throughout all of them. Here are some valuable things we learned from their conversations that you can start to implement into your own conversations:

  1. Don’t try too hard to be clever. Sure, a cute pickup line might stand out and be different than what other people are messaging them, but that’s not going to be the game-changing factor in your conversation. In the end, they will mostly remember how you made them feel. Be friendly, be respectful, and don’t waste time thinking too hard about what to say next – just get to know them!
  1. Being interested is more important than being interesting. You don’t have to have the best pickup line. Most of these conversations from people who met on Mutual start with a friendly greeting and a question about the other person. Don’t think so much about impressing them. Think about getting to know them!
  1. Answer questions and ask follow-up questions. Don’t let the conversation be one-sided! If they ask you questions about yourself, answer them, then ask follow-up questions to get to know them. Try to make your questions open-ended so they can give more than a “yes” or “no” answer. They’re trying to get to know you just as much as you’re trying to get to know them, so make sure you give to the conversation just as much as you take.
  1. After the initial connection, plan to meet for a date. That’s right; I’m telling you to get off the app. Believe it or not, we don’t want you to spend forever swiping! The sooner you can move from in-chat to in-person, the better. That doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to use the app to message each other, but meeting in person is where the real connection will happen. (For tips on worry-free first dates, check out this blog post.

    If you’re in a long-distance situation and in-person isn’t an option, try using the app’s video chat feature instead! The point is to try and get face-to-face as quickly as possible to determine whether that in-person (or, in this case, as close as you can get to in-person) chemistry is as evident as your chat chemistry.
  2. Be yourself. All of these conversations look different! Some are long, some are short, some have lots of emojis, some are serious, some are flirty, and some are straightforward. You may think you need to be more ____ to “get more guys” or act more ____ because “that’s what girls like,” but remember you’re not trying to get lots of guys or be a ladies’ man who gets all the girls. You’re trying to find ONE person to be with FOREVER. So it’s okay if your approach doesn’t work with 90% of the people you chat with. It only matters if it works with the person you end up marrying. (Spoiler alert: it will.)

A Deeper Dive

*These images are of REAL conversations between REAL couples who met on Mutual. Names and photos have been changed for privacy purposes.

“Liam likes our first conversation because I reached out to him first!” Kaylee recalls. While we don’t have any data to back it up, the common consensus is that guys are typically more likely to initiate a conversation with a girl. The fact that Kaylee wasn’t afraid to make the first move showed initiative, which stood out to Liam.

Also, notice how they jump right into getting to know each other. Remember, you’ve already discovered that there’s a mutual attraction between the two of you, so now the purpose of these conversations is to learn about each other.

Jake doesn’t shy away from getting specific with Alexia right off the bat. He noticed something in her profile that stood out to him and used it to start the conversation. Don’t think too hard about coming up with a clever pickup line. If something is in their profile, it’s probably something they want to talk about, so use that to your advantage! Bonus points if it’s something you have in common because then you’ll both be excited to talk about it.

We also love that he didn’t leave her hanging. He knew that he needed to end the conversation temporarily, but let her know that he planned on messaging her again tomorrow. Even if you have the best of intentions, if you don’t communicate those intentions with the person on the other end of the conversation, they can get confused. Read more about ghosting and improving your communication skills here.

Olivia was impressed that Michael would take time out of his busy schedule to call her. 

“I usually didn’t give people my number that quick on dating apps,” she remembers, “but he sounded so genuine and asked to call rather than text. That was HUGE for me! No one had ever done that! When he called me, we had a really fun conversation! I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember he was still at work really late studying for a super big test for a new job he was getting, and that showed me he was really dedicated. I was with my roommate when he called, and she knew right then that we would get married! She was totally right.”

Ashley remembers seeing that Alex had used a Note on her, which stood out and made her reconsider her down swipe. Read more about Notes here

Need an extra Note? Get them here!

“I was giving up on dating and honestly just swiping out of boredom and being on autopilot,” she said. “I swiped past him but saw that he sent me a Note that said we were in the same ward and to let him know if I wanted to go out sometime. So I used my undo and was like, ‘I mean, he used his Note, and he remembered me from a singles ward we were apparently both in after I moved out a year prior. I can at least have a conversation with him.’ And then Jesus took the wheel and was like, ‘Just go on the date.’”

Zach and Courtney’s conversation is another example of getting to know each other right off the bat. Zach didn’t waste time trying to be clever or suave. Courtney mentioned moving to Arizona in her profile, so Zach jumped right into discussing it with her. This shows that he was swiping intentionally and paying attention to the details in her profile, not just quickly swiping through the first pictures he saw.

Zach and Breanne’s conversation looks a little different than the ones we’ve looked at previously. Zach used a fun question to break the ice and start the conversation. If you’re more comfortable doing that than jumping right into the get-to-know-you questions, that’s totally fine! Just don’t put pressure on yourself to figure out the perfect opening line, and shortly after breaking the ice, move into getting to know each other or setting up a time to meet.

Maybe messaging just isn’t your thing, and you’d rather get to know someone in person. That’s okay! You can use the Mutual messaging feature as a bridge from matching to meeting rather than a facilitator of your conversation. Zach and Breanne’s conversation is short and to the point and quickly moved to planning to meet, but that’s what worked best for them! Your dating experience doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.

If the person you’re messaging would rather meet up but you would feel more comfortable getting to know them a little bit first, express that. You should never feel pressured to move faster in a relationship than you want to, and the only way for the other person to know what speed you are comfortable with is if you tell them. Try finding a middle ground that you are both comfortable with. If they don’t like messaging, but you’re not ready to meet in person yet, maybe try a phone call or a FaceTime instead.

Grace and Tyler’s conversation is an excellent example of asking open-ended questions and giving sincere, detailed answers. If you ask someone, “Do you like cheese?” their only options for answers are “yes” or “no.” If you ask someone, “What is your favorite kind of cheese and why?” you’re prompting them to give more details about their answer, making it easier to continue the conversation.

Remember that a conversation goes two ways. If someone asks you questions about yourself, try to give as many details as you’re comfortable with. Remember that you WANT this person to get to know about you because that’s how you’ll discover if you’re a good match or not. If you continuously give one-word answers or ask questions about them in return, you’re forcing the other person to carry the weight of the conversation. They can only give so much in a conversation without getting anything in return, so if you’re not willing to put in equal effort, don’t be surprised if the conversation runs dry.

Emma was picky and didn’t respond to every message that came in, especially if it was generic. “I liked that James’ initial question came from something I had T’d up in my profile. It was something I enjoyed talking about and had a lot to say about,” she recalls. “It was an easy jumping point for a conversation. It also had a natural return question…. Where was his favorite place he’d ever been?” 

Emma also remembers that the way that the conversation ebbed and flowed was just as important to her as how the conversation started. “The key for us is that we took turns asking questions. After a while, we ran out of small talk questions, so we started asking the real stuff. We got to actually know a lot about each other before we ever went on a first date. There were times when there were natural lulls in the conversation…. But looking back, instead of ghosting, one of us would say something like, “I’m hanging out with friends right now, so I am going to step away. Have a question for me when I get back. I’ll do the same.” It made it natural to reset and keep talking.”

“We still play this back-and-forth question game, and it’s been almost a year and a half,” she told us, talking about how those initial messages have influenced their current relationship. “Sometimes they are still get-to-know-you questions, but now they are more like ‘What can I do to make your week happier this week?’ or ‘On a scale of 1-10, how are you feeling about xy and z?’”

The Secret Formula

After our careful analysis, we’ve decided that there is no secret formula that will guarantee success in every conversation. People are just too different with different quirks, preferences, and life experiences for there to be a “one size fits all” solution! However, we did come up with the following equation to help make your conversations more productive and successful:

Cheerful greeting + (ask questions + genuine interest) + plan to meet

Try it out, and let us know how it goes! When it works, we won’t say we told you so. 😉

Kaleigh Adamson
Marketing Coordinator at Mutual | + posts

Kaleigh is a Marketing Coordinator for Mutual. She has worked with couples, relationships, dating, and love in a creative role for over a decade. She's a hopeless romantic who loves that her career allows her to help people find their soulmates. She downloaded Mutual when it first launched in 2016, coincidentally the same year she met her husband! They now live happily ever after in the Midwest with their two kids and dog.


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