If there's one thing I, a 20-something millennial, know how to do — and how to do well — it's starting a dating-app conversation. Beyond the boring "Hey" and the generic prompts like "Do you think pineapple should belong on pizza?," I have found what might possibly be the greatest dating-app opener of all time: "What's your most controversial opinion?"
Throughout my six years on and off dating apps, this opener has received a response 99 percent of the time. It's also kicked off my conversations on a way more fun note than "Hi" 100 percent of the time.
Though my opener may seem a bit chaotic to send first thing to a stranger, that's why it's so great. It skips right to the good stuff — the information I actually want to know about someone. Because while I'll certainly listen to a dating-app match dish on their weekend, tell me about what they like to do for fun, and mansplain what "financial consulting" means for work, I'd much rather them tell me their controversial thoughts right from the beginning.
This way, if they are actively antichoice, think that COVID-19 is a hoax, or believe Donald Trump to be the greatest president of all time (which are all things I consider dealbreakers, by the way), I can unmatch them instead of waiting to find out this information on date number four or five. In other words, it helps me weed out my dating-app matches quickly and saves me from wasting my time and energy — like the kind I would have spent shaving my legs for someone who doesn't think I deserve bodily autonomy.
Another thing: the way a dating-app match responds to this question tells me a lot about who they are. Is their controversial opinion that global warming isn't actually a thing? Or is it that Little Caesars is the best pizza chain out there? Because even though I asked for a controversial opinion — and I'll welcome answers that are both serious and not serious — seeing whether my dating-app match uses the opportunity to play up their humor gives me insight into their personality that I wouldn't otherwise receive from a "Hey, what's up :)." It just sets the conversation off on a fun, playful tone. Plus, I love Little Caesars.
How someone responds and whether their answer aligns with my moral compass will help me connect with a dating-app match sooner than "So how many siblings do you have?" ever will. It lets us get deep and dive into even deeper conversation once we've established that we can handle each other's controversial opinions. In a world where dating-app conversations can be extremely superficial, if I can get a glimpse of something you care about or where your passions lie — regardless of how other people may judge you for it — that's the quickest way to make me interested.
Now while I think you should absolutely try this if you want to upgrade your dating-app convos, I won't be offended if you don't. Let's be honest, we're not always on Tinder looking for "meaningful conversations" — you do you. But if you decide you'd like to surpass the dating-app fatigue, take it from me and trust that this is the move. Imagine how much easier your life will be if you know someone isn't compatible with you right from the beginning vs. 10 weeks down the road when you've already told your mom about them.