Of all the challenges that come along with online dating, knowing how to start a conversation can be one of the most difficult. We can feel some pressure to say something witty or attention-grabbing to increase our chances of getting a response. If you’re anything like me, you may rack your brain for a few minutes trying to craft the perfect conversation starter, only to end up with something generic like, “How’s your day going?”
Rather than opening a dialogue about the weather, opting for more creative conversation starters can make your scrolling sessions on a dating app more fun. Especially if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, there are plenty of ways to connect with new people and have more meaningful conversations.
When I first came out as queer and began talking to women in addition to men, I was beyond nervous. The idea of dating women was intimidating enough — actually starting entire conversations with them was another battle. That said, drumming up some LGBTQ+ conversation starters is much easier than it seems. You can swap “coming out” stories, chat about your favorite queer dating experiences, or start slowly by comparing your music taste or hobbies.
1. “What Does Your Ideal Life Look Like Five Years From Now?”
When you first meet a potential partner, you’ll want to learn everything you can about them. Where they’re from, what their family is like, and even their favorite TV shows can tell you a lot about a person.
But if you’re looking for a meaningful relationship, understanding their vision for the future and how it lines up with yours is important. This conversation starter can help you compare notes on where both of you see yourselves a few years down the line, and whether your goals and desires are compatible.
2. “Name Your Anthem, and I’ll Share Mine.”
Music is the universal language, so chances are you’ll find it easy to strike up a fun and flowing conversation by bringing it up first. Learning about your match’s favorite artists or the best concert they’ve ever been to is an interesting way to get a glimpse into what inspires them. Asking to swap playlists or even just your all-time favorite song can not only serve as a creative way to introduce new music to each other, but learning what a person’s jam is may be a gateway into their soul.
3. “What Was Your Gay Awakening?”
Most LGBTQ+ folks can think back to a few moments in time when their younger selves were clearly displaying curiosity or confusion about their sexuality.
Personally, as a late-bloomer in the queer world, these moments came about while I was watching movies or TV shows with strong, confident female lead characters. Many friends of mine experienced this earlier in life, when they developed crushes on their same-sex friends or found themselves more interested in playing with toys that were marketed for other gender roles.
Nevertheless, a lot of queer people have some pretty hilarious or relatable moments to share about when they started reconsidering their sexuality, so this question can open up an entertaining dialogue.
4. “Who In Your Life Makes You Feel Seen and Supported?”
One of the best ways to truly get to know a potential partner is by learning about the relationships in their life. Do they have a big circle of friends? Are they actively involved in any community groups or organizations?
Asking them about the person or people who lift them up and support them most can give you a special understanding of how they relate to other people in life, and also tell you a lot about what they value in those connections. It’s nice to know whether they’ve stayed close to a favorite teacher or if they confide in their siblings about everything.
5. “What Are the Top Qualities You Look for in a Partner?”
Although it may seem generic, asking a question like this to start off a conversation gives you a broad overview of what someone may want their relationship to look like in the future.
Diving into their preferences and why they place the most value on those particular traits gives you an opportunity to see where they’re coming from and you can start to evaluate whether that might align with what you’re looking for yourself.
If they want a person who is a homebody and loves sports, but you’re a big traveler and prefer the fine arts over basketball, it’s better to know that upfront so you can decide if pursuing a romantic relationship is worth your time.
6. “What Do You Like to Do to Celebrate Your Queerness?”
From attending parades during pride month in June to watching RuPaul’s “Drag Race,” there are endless ways that people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella can celebrate and validate their identities. Everyone is different, and so are the ways in which they choose to appreciate who they are.
Try asking your suitor about the methods they use to feel proud of who they are and who they choose to love. You may just find yourself scoring a date to the local queer karaoke night.
7. “How Do You Prioritize Self-Care?”
Life can be stressful sometimes, and taking time out for ourselves is one of the best ways to avoid burnout or anxiety. This is especially true for a lot of LGBTQ+ people, who often face an extra layer of adversity in life because of their sexual orientation.
Implementing self-care into your daily life is important — no matter if it comes in the form of a nice bubble bath or a stress-relieving workout at the gym. Spark up a discussion with your significant other about how they make self-care a priority in their life, what they do, and how it has impacted their wellness.
8. “Where Would You Live if You Could Live Anywhere?”
Even if you’ve never been struck with the travel bug, there’s bound to be a place or two that you’ve fantasized about starting a new life in. Maybe it’s among the gorgeous Swiss Alps or somewhere warm and tropical — it could even be somewhere only a coast away. Your dream destination says a lot about what you value in life, so consider asking your date about theirs.
9. “What Is the Relationship With Your Family Like?”
While no one is ready to “meet the parents” immediately after starting to chat with someone new, it’s never too early to talk about what their family dynamic is like. This doesn’t have to necessarily involve their blood relatives — they may have a strong network of support from their chosen family instead.
LGBTQ+ dating sometimes involves navigating difficult family situations, so if you’re interested in finding a queer relationship, it’s never a bad idea to establish an understanding of where each of you stands with your families, and how a new partnership might fit into that.
10. “What Do You Like Most About the LGBTQ+ Community?”
Being a member of any type of community can bring a sense of belonging, safety, and appreciation. When your community involves something as personal as your sexuality or gender identity, like the LGBTQ+ community, a lot of trust and connection has to be built to make it healthy and strong.
Decades of activism and advocacy have led to where the queer community is today, and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate and be thankful for that. Swapping stories or ideas of what you and your date love most about being LGBTQ+ is a great way to start a positive and meaningful conversation.
Lean on Your Common Ground
While it goes without saying that everyone is unique and has their own way of forming relationships, LGBTQ+ online dating offers a fantastic chance for you to connect with people who automatically have something in common with you. Even if you prefer country music while they’re a heavy metal fan, or they dream of living near the beach when you can’t stand the sand, dating another queer person provides a sense of relatability that can bring a lot of comfort and connection to any conversation.
When you’re figuring out what to say in your first message or on a first date, remember that you both are a part of a big, awesome community of folks embracing who they are and how they love.