The CSI’s of Online Dating – Starting a Conversation

“How do I start a conversation?”

That is the question I get asked most frequently. Each conversation can take its own path. Not to mention, it’s hard to give specific advice when each dating site has their own social norms. Sites like eHarmony and Match can differ from apps like Tinder and Bumble. Regardless of the medium, fundamental principles of good conversation remain the same.  I came up with an acronym a few years ago which really resonated with clients, helping them simplify how to start conversations online. That acronym is called the CSI Method – as in “the CSI’s of online dating.”

Huh? It will make sense, trust me.

Connect. Share. Inquire.

Connecting begins by exploring someones profile for an open avenue of conversation. This is why we emphasise the importance of good profile writing and photo selection at Icebrkr. Bonding over commonalities and similar viewpoints makes you feel closer to the person you’re talking too – it’s one of the fundamental aspects of building rapport.

For example, if a dating profile is full of cliches or blank – it takes away any opportunity for a meaningful conversation.

Sharing specific information gives the message receiver something they can relate to. This information can trigger a memory or good story from your past that now becomes easier to disclose.

Inquiring is closing your opening message with a direct question. Asking a question, clearly places the onus on the other person to reply. Making a statement or comment can often leave a conversation stuck in purgatory.

CSI In Action

Let’s take a look at how this could play out if your match’s profile mentions they’re a die hard Patriots fan:


“I’m a huge Patriots fan too, super excited for the season to start. My mother won season tickets at work and gave them to me when I was in 8th grade. I’ve been addicted since.

How did you become a Patriots fan?

Here’s a second example for someone who mentions they like seasonal, fall desserts:


“Totally on the same page with you when it comes to fall desserts. Fresh apple pie with a side of vanilla ice cream is my weakness. Don’t even get me started on pumpkin whoopie pies. I’m close to perfecting the recipe. 

What are your top two favorite fall desserts?”

The conversation doesn’t have to be earth shattering and there’s no need to overthink it. I will say the format and the cadence matters. Opening messages are nothing more than a quick show and tell to break the ice and begin a conversational thread.

The key to avoiding a dreaded “conversation to nowhere” is to follow the CSI method from the start. Specific conversations lead to better rapport. Better rapport leads to better conversations and you guessed it, better conversations lead to a better chance at getting to meet your match face-to-face.

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