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Grindr conversation starters, ranked

Website masthead

Grindr conversation starters, ranked

Hey sexy, thanks for the tap 🖱


I recently saw this rawe as article from the Spinoff featuring a ranked list of all email signoffs (although their #1 ranking is highly questionable, imo). Here's the thing. Each email signoff is so personal and context-specific. Some have implications or connotations. The way you end an īmēra can 'make or break' an office relationship... And you know what all this reminds me of?


The way us queers start our chats on Grindr


That first Grindr message can be the difference between meeting your next amazing hook-up, your best friend, hell - you could even meet the love of your life on Grindr. But... you're also equally likely to have the most bizarre, boring, chaotic and/or even downright offensive interactions as well.

I believe that as a community, we can do better. So, to start off the Grindr revolution, we've ranked all the common (and not so common) ways that you can start a conversation with a stranger on Grindr. 

Note: This blog is not affiliated with Grindr in any way, and the views and opinions expressed here are purely our own.

Keep in mind, handsome...


Coming up with this ranking was definitely not a simple exercise! Not all Grindr conversation starters are made equal, and context can change things quite a bit. As our team delved deep into this topic, it quickly became apparent that there needed to be a lot of caveats before we got to work:

💬 Like any ranking, this is purely subjective.

💬 Since the way we interpret Grindr conversation starters is dependent on a number of factors, I have split the full list into categories of similar vibes.

💬 These apply to any app, not just Grindr.

💬 This is definitely not an exhaustive list.

💬 I’ve not included any taps because, to me, they’re not actual conversation starters.

💬 If you’re in an altered state, I don’t think it’s fair to rank your incomprehensible 5am gooning along with the more sensible ‘hi, how’s it going’ that you might send once you’re sober.

💬 It’s difficult to rank anything drug- or kink-related without making a judgement on it, so I also haven’t included these.

💬 For the purposes of this ranking, I’m assuming everything included in the ranking is written to a stranger.

Ranking Categories

We've broken down this ranking into 4 categories:

💬 Traditional Greetings 📸 Visual Greetings 🔥 DTF Greetings 🤠 Wildcard Greetings

Into Vanilla: Traditional Greetings

We're starting off by ranking the simple, ordinary and a tad generic openers that we're all familiar with. 

🔟 Hi (repeated)

'Hi', on its own, gives off ‘I’m messaging a lot of people in quick succession’ vibes. Which is fine! But as a recipient, it doesn’t feel very special. To make matters worse, however, is repeating that ‘hi’ after not receiving a reply to that first lonesome 'Hi'.

Now, listen; sometimes people miss a message in their inbox. But if they haven’t replied to you after three attempts… that's your answer. And if this is only happening because you’ve lost your history of who has/hasn’t responded in the past – that’s on you for not backing up your chats


9️⃣ A pic request... when you haven't provided one yourself

This is ranked slightly better than a repeated ‘Hi’ simply because it’s not repeated… but it’s still not great because a) there is no greeting and b) it is a universally accepted rule of Grindr etiquette that if you’re requesting a pic from someone, you damn well better have one in return.


8️⃣ A pic request... when you have provided one yourself

This is ranked slightly higher because obviously you have either sent a pic or have one in your profile, so it's a fair message. But this doesn’t excuse the lack of a greeting. You couldn’t even add ‘hello’? Come on now…


7️⃣ A greeting in a language that you know they speak

This is likely to be a divisive ranking. I've put it at number 7 (not too high, not too low) for a few reasons...

  • It can be a quick way to build rapport and connection with someone, especially if you're both from the same culture. If you speak Samoan, and you're chatting to a fellow Samoan, then go for it, uce. Just don't be all Judith Collins about it.
  • If you're travelling in Spain, or you're talking to a Spanish tourist who is more comfortable in their language, then a 'Hola' can be pretty welcoming. Just be prepared for an awkward follow-up in which they're assuming you also speak Spanish... and now you've got to whip up Google Translate and tell them, defeatedly, that sorry, you only speak English. 
  • As a Māori, if I get a message from a non-Māori (especially a Pākehā); I  appreciate a 'Kia ora' or 'Mōrena' (bonus points if you use the tohutō correctly) because if you're comfortable in speaking basic te reo Māori, then it indicates that there's likely to be at least some level of safety for me to interact with you. It's important to mention that not all Māori feel the same way as me on this one, though. 

Overall, my recommendation is to let them lead.

If they use their own language and you can reply in turn, great! 


6️⃣ A complimentary statement i.e. ‘hot’ or ‘zaddy’

Definite points for effort, and the intent is clearly in the right place. But this could come across as objectifying, especially if you're pointing out something specific about their body that they haven't invited you to sexualise (e.g. 'Nice ass')

...And there’s still no actual greeting!


5️⃣ An emoji

This is, of course, highly dependant on the emoji in question. 😍? ✅  🤡? ❌

Generally, I think this adds at least a little bit of personality – plus, the emoji usage might be a conversation starter in of itself. Sometimes a picture says a thousand words, right?


4️⃣ Up2? / Wyd?

This might seem like a strange ranking, but in my defence, I decided to rank anything including a question as relatively high because it gives the recipient something to work with. However, it is the lowest ranking question. Why? It’s 90s text speak that should have been left in the previous millennium.

I may get roasted by the Zoomers for this, but I’m a millennial and this is my ranking.


3️⃣ A miscellaneous te reo Pākēhā greeting (hey, hello, good morning, sup etc)

I mean, 'it does what it says on the tin'. It's fine. If you're lucky enough to get a lot of attention on Grindr, constantly responding to these one-word messages can get pretty boring, pretty quickly. But they're friendly enough. Solid third place. 


2️⃣ A miscellaneous te reo Māori greeting (kia ora, mōrena)

I may be biased, OK, I'm definitely biased, but as mentioned earlier: as a proud Māori, I always prefer our very own reo. 'Kia ora' is lovelier than any English greeting. Yeah, I said it. I mean, it literally transliterates to 'be well' or 'be healthy'. (Again, this is the opinion of just one Māori)


1️⃣ A greeting paired with a question (hey, how's your day going? / kia ora, kei te pēhea?)

As far as standard greetings go, you can’t beat this classic. Is it the most original? No. But it’s friendly, includes a greeting, it asks a question (which gives them something to respond to), and indicates you at least kinda care about what they have to say.


Pics? Visual Greetings

If you’re only sending something visual, I would consider whether you want to pair it with a greeting too. Idk, call me old fashioned, but it's polite! If you insist though, here's how I'd rank them...

🔟 A NSFW pic with a partner/s with face/s

Yikes. BIG YIKES. Just think about this... you're sending a photo of you having sex, with someone's face included in the photo (whether it's yours or your partner/s), without even a greeting or a prompt beforehand. Even if you've had consent from the person/s in the photo to share it on Grindr... you likely haven't had consent from the person you're sending it to. There's also legal implications here. Don't do this.  


9️⃣ A NSFW pic with a partner/s without face/s

I mean, as above, it's arguably just as bad of an idea to send this pic as your first message. But for the purpose of this ranking, it's the lesser of the two, because at least the face of the person/s involved is kept private. But, still, it's a shitty thing to do to the person you're messaging AND the other person/s in the photo. Also, just because there isn't a face involved, that doesn't necessarily mean the people in the photo can't be identified or recognised - so this doesn't change anything as far as consent goes. 


8️⃣ A NSFW album

Eagle-eyed readers may notice that I’ve ranked all NSFW images at the top (i.e. bottom) of this list because consent is super important. It's worth repeating: Even if they have said they accept NSFW pics in their profile, this doesn’t mean they will want them a) from you, and b) straight away. Never send nudes before asking.

Now, I’ve ranked this at number 8, because at least the album needs to be clicked on before the pics can be seen. It's still risky though. The only way I can see this working is if you pair it with a message like: 'This album contains NSFW pics, btw'.


7️⃣ A hole pic

There are lots of people out there who may appreciate a good hole pic. But my extensive research tells me that more people are likely to be ok receiving a dick pic than a hole pic. So if you’re sending a hole pic, you’re more likely to annoy someone. The person might be on a bus, or with their parent, or at work. Unless they specifically ask, just don’t.


6️⃣ A dick pic

Maybe slightly more acceptable than a hole pic, but it’s still quite confronting, especially in public. Personally, I don’t care whether it’s hard or soft or somewhere in the middle. It’s still a dick pic and it’s still not ok without consent.


5️⃣ An ass pic

By ass, I mean ass without hole. So, it’s explicit but not so explicit you wouldn’t see it on an HBO show. Which makes it slightly better in my books. But still, best to ask.


4️⃣ A GIF

I’ll admit, I struggled to determine where to put this one. Grindr GIFs aren’t explicit, so I’m ranking it higher than anything NSFW but only just. It’s a bit random. Like, sure, it might attract a bit of attention, but, idk, I reckon you can do better.


3️⃣ A revealing but not explicit pic 

Definite points for not sending something explicit. This clearly articulates what you’re looking for in the moment and gives them a taste of what to expect. So, that’s pretty great! You may not always get a reply, as not everyone is looking for ‘right now’, but you’re putting yourself out there and that’s what counts.


2️⃣ A PG album

This is a great way to display all the (PG) facets of yourself - the only risk is that the receiver won’t know it’s PG until they open it and may avoid it if they’re in public to be on the safe side.


1️⃣ A PG pic

This is by far the safest option. It’s upfront (not hidden inside an album), still lets the person know what to expect, but leaves things open to interpretation as you naturally aren’t going to know what mood someone is in when you first message them. You can always build up to more naughty / explicit images if that’s the vibe and they consent.


Keen? DTF Greetings

If you’re simply messaging someone because you’re DTF - not including intoxicated / middle of the night messages, which are excluded from this ranking - here are your ranked options: 

6️⃣ Eyes emoji (👀)

Too passive. Like, we all know what it means, but don’t make them do all the work.  


5️⃣ Devil emoji (😈)

This is just the thirsty equivalent of a ‘hi’ and doesn’t necessarily say you’re actually DTF right now, so might not be the clearest option 


4️⃣ U Up?

In line with my other rankings, this is higher than the emojis because it’s a question, but let’s be real, it’s a boring question. And it’s only applicable in certain times of the day, so it’s not very versatile.  


3️⃣ Horny?

Pretty straight up, I respect that. But there is an implicit expectation that they’ll be interested. Like, I might be horny but not be into you, and that’s ok  


2️⃣ A fantasy scenario

Definite points for effort here. You know the one. “You come in and I’m ass up on the bed…” etc etc. Lots of room for creativity. This is the kind of chat you get while watching Netflix and then before you know it, Schitt’s Creek is on pause and you’re having an impromptu wank and hoping your flatmate can’t hear you. That’s hot.  


1️⃣ Looking?

For the purpose of this type of message, nothing beats this no-frills classic. The word itself has become defined by its Grindr usage. What I like best is that it’s not presumptive; it implies a second question – are you interested in me? To which the answer might be no. It doesn’t assume it’ll be a yes, like asking ‘horny?’ does.


Wildcard Greetings

There are, of course, a lot of other random options out there. Here are some of the more common of the uncommon ones, ranked: 

7️⃣ A 'live/I see you' message

Picture this: You’re at the gym and get a message saying “your ass looks good doing those squats”. This would send me into a full-blown panic attack. Especially if they don’t have a profile picture. Which, 99% of the time, they don’t. Please don’t ever do this.  

6️⃣ A voice note

I don’t think this requires any further elaboration. 


5️⃣ A passive aggressive message

Direct from the lips of our wise former leader, Jacinda Ardern; be kind.  


4️⃣ A message that indicates you clearly haven't read their bio...

If someone has taken the time to write a thoughtful bio that tells you a little bit about them, take the cue! If they’ve said what they do for work, you don’t need to ask, you’ve been given a great little conversation starter. Use it wisely! 


3️⃣ The open and close

For example, “Hey, you probably won’t respond but just wanted to say you look great. Have a nice day”. This is kinda sweet, tbh. It’s not presumptuous, but the person can still choose to re-initiate the conversation if they want.   


2️⃣ The random / off-the-wall opener

This might be a bit of a risk, but the greater the risk, the greater the reward, right? Give them a message they simply have to respond to. At the very least, you’ll be memorable.  


1️⃣ A profile reference

I’m someone who has put a lot of thought into their Grindr bio, so perhaps I’m biased. But nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than someone who not only reads it but alludes to it in their opener. If they’ve say they’re polyamorous, tell them that’s cool and ask about it. If they use a favourite quote, look up where it’s from and mention it. It’s the small things that really make a big difference 


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