25 Best Questions To Ask On A Dating App, From Relationship Experts

by | Jan 24, 2024 | Relationships

If you’ve been on dating apps in the last year or so, you know that they’re kind of a hot mess right now. Some people are on the apps because they’re bored, they want to play games, or worse—they don’t know what they want at all. But there’s one clear way to navigate that nuance and set the stage for a strong connection: asking the right questions.

“The more correct information you can obtain from a person, the less you are going to feel apprehensive or anxious around this person,” says Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, PhD, a professor of sexual and interpersonal communications at California State University, Fullerton. Then, you can make a decision about them and whether you two will be compatible. But how do you navigate the art of dating app questions? Our experts are here to help.

Meet the experts: Jess Carbino, PhD, is a dating and relationship sociologist who has worked with Tinder and Bumble. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, PhD, is a professor of sexual and interpersonal communications at California State University, Fullerton. Sara Nasserzadeh, PhD, is a social psychologist specializing in sexuality and relationships and author of the upcoming book, Love by Design: 6 Ingredients To Build A Lifetime Of Love.

How to ask meaningful questions on dating apps.

The first step is being very intentional on dating apps. Think about what kind of relationship you want and openly communicate that on your profile. Are you seeking someone who shares demographic characteristics, like religion, education, or geographic location? Let your profile reflect that then, says Jess Carbino, PhD, a dating and relationship sociologist who has worked with Tinder and Bumble.

“There is a myth that if you are too forward about what you’re looking for, that you wouldn’t get that many matches,” says Suwinyattichaiporn. “But my philosophy has always been quality over quantity.”

With your intentions in mind, being thoughtful about the questions you ask can help establish if this person is someone you’re a) interested in and b) comfortable with going out with. “It’s essentially more of a screening tool,” Carbino adds. That might look like asking meaningful questions (if you’re comfortable with it), but our experts caution against bringing up sensitive topics (say, their past relationships).

Ahead, learn about exactly what you can ask someone—plus, how to take a conversation off of the apps and get to that first date—straight from the experts.

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Questions to ask on a dating app

1. What are some of your passions?

The important thing here is how you phrase this question. When you ask someone, “What are you passionate about?” it can make someone think they have to be passionate about one interesting thing, Suwinyattichaiporn says. Instead, if you ask about their passions, it “will help you understand that this person is self-aware and spends time on things that they care about,” she says. (On the flip side, if they say they have zero passions, that might be a red flag.)

2. What got you into those passions?

This question is great because it builds off of the first one—while giving you the opportunity to dig a little deeper. “Knowing why they got into these passions will allow you to understand a little bit of their journey and how they have developed these interests,” Suwinyattichaiporn says.

3. What are some of your plans this year?

Not that someone has to have a strict plan, but it allows you to understand their life orientationSuwinyattichaiporn says. Are they spontaneous or more of a planner? From there, you can decide where you’d fit in. They might even mention they’re making a big move this year, in which case you can decide whether they’re a viable option for you, she adds.

4. If you were a car, which one would you be and why?

IDK about you, but I love a silly question. Here, you’ll be able to see if you both share the same humour. Plus, “you get to the idea of how they [view] themselves in a very funny, silly way,” says Sara Nasserzadeh, PhD, a social psychologist specialising in sexuality and relationships and author of the upcoming book, Love by Design: 6 ingredients to build a lifetime of love.

5. If your alter ego was a celeb, who would it be and why?

Here’s another silly Q to ask if you want to get to know their sense of humour, says Nasserzadeh. If they say something like, “Oh, I’m Zac Efron because I can always sweep the ladies off of their feet,” maybe they’re a little bit of a narcissist. But if they say, “I’d be Adam Driver, because I like to live a bit under the radar but still work hard and do my job,” then they might be a bit more interesting.

6. How do you spend your spare time?

When thinking about points of attraction—whether intellectual, physical, or something else—you’ll want to know what they do in their free time. Do they go to the gym? Read? Have any fun hobbies? From this Q, you’ll be able to see if you have a “shared vision,” Nasserzadeh says.

7. What is keeping you excited these days?

This question will let you know if they, too, are addicted to the latest Sunday Night HBO Max television show drop. But seriously, this question is similar to asking how they spend their spare time, except it’s a bit more timely. Maybe they just joined an intramural soccer team and they’re excited about it. That’ll start a whole new conversation, while tapping into their values, Nasserzadeh says.

8Where are you from originally?

Carbino suggests asking “things that would build rapport,” like this query. “That would be appropriate to build connections.” It might give you a bit of their backstory, without too much prodding.

9. When did you graduate [insert college]?

“I would ask somebody questions related to where they’re from, where they went to school, things that are very demographic in nature,” Carbino says. If you notice they listed a certain college on their profile, like the University of Cape Town, ask them about that. Maybe you ask when they graduated and build off of that conversation by mentioning that your best friend went there, she adds.

10. How did you choose to live where you’re living now?

If you see that they moved to Port Elizabeth—and maybe they have a few photos of them enjoying the beach—ask what brought them there from where they used to live, Carbino says. “Be curious if there’s something in their online dating profile that they mentioned that seems important to them,” she adds.

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11. Who are some of your best friends and what are they like?

“It’s mindful and important to ask this,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. “That’s a very interesting question to understand how they are related to their social network.” And keep in mind, if they say they don’t have many friends, that might be a red flag, she adds.

12. What was the most recent movie you watched and what were the main points that you took away from it?

You could ask this question in regards to any form of media—books, TV shows, movies—the list goes on. This will let you know how ~deep~ they are, in addition to how they spend their time. It’s another way to make sure your values align, Nasserzadeh says.

13. What do you think the best bookstore in the city is and why?

Maybe there’s a photo of them reading on their profile and you get the sense that they love books. A good question to ask would be, “What’s your favourite bookstore?” From there, you can find out whether they go to book readings and their current favourite author. (There’s lots of good opps for follow-up Qs here!) “These are all things that are relatively immaterial in terms of who the person is,” Carbino says. “People’s interests matter, but it’s more trying to uncover their values and their approach to life.”

14. What was your life like growing up?

At this point, you can ask about their childhood. “Understanding how they grew up can help you really understand the full story of this person,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. Of course, because you’re chatting on a dating app, it won’t give you a full understanding of the person. But still, it can inform you of whether you might want to invest time and effort into them.

15. What was the last cultural experience you had?

This question is great for “touching into the value system,” Nasserzadeh says. Maybe they just went on a cool road trip to the most southern point in Africa or visited the Observatory Museum for the first time. It’ll give you a sense of how they like to spend their time and even if they like learning new things.

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16. What holidays are important to you?

If you’re *super* into having your Christmas gifts wrapped by November 30, but they’re not coming up with gift ideas for their fam ’til the week before, that’s probably important for you to know. Unless it’s a dealbreaker for you, again, this is a good way to find out their values, according to Nasserzadeh.

17. How do you like to take care of your mental and physical health?

Another page you should be on together? How you view health. Do they exercise? Meditate? Practice yoga? “It will allow you to get a feeling of their lifestyle and whether or not it’s compatible with you or conflicting with your personal health and wellness beliefs,” Suwinyattichaiporn says.

18. What is your relationship with your name?

This question is super interesting and probably more appropriate after you’ve already had some quality banter. If you ask someone about their name and who gave it to them, “it’ll tell you a lot about the person’s family, a person’s heritage,” Nasserzadeh says. “It opens up a whole new door for intimacy.”

19. How do you view [time, money, relationships]?

Nasserzadeh says the main goal of this question is to find out how they “allocate their resources.” That’s a fancy way of saying how they view their money, time, or energy. For instance, do they like to spend lots of money on dinners with friends? Do they have time and the bandwidth for a relationship? Would you share friends or finances? With that, you can find out where a potential relationship fits in their life.

20. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?

Here, you’ll learn more about their personality. “We want to make sure that we’re dating someone who’s self-aware, but also aware of what’s going on in the world and has somewhat of an idea of how we could potentially make it better,” Suwinyattichaiporn says.

21. What are the three things you find attractive in a romantic partner?

“This will help you understand their attraction type because there are so many types of attraction,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. Maybe you care more about physical attraction (like if a guy is above 5’11) and your match cares more about intellect. It’s important to make sure you both understand each other’s thoughts and needs.

22. What are your top three dealbreakers?

Yup, this is a good question to ask—even if you’re afraid you might have one of the qualities named, Suwinyattichaiporn says. Still, “it really helps you see if you are compatible,” she says. You can (and should!) tell them your dealbreakers, as well.

23. What are you looking for on this app?

Oh yes, *the* dreaded question. After asking some lighter warm-up questions, you’ll probably want to know what they’re looking for so you don’t waste any time, in case it’s not a match. “This will allow you to see if you have a similar goal for the relationship,” says Suwinyattichaiporn, whether it’s something long-term, short-term, long-distance, or local.

24. How important is sexual connection to you in a long-/short-term relationship?

Here, there’s no right or wrong answer, according to Suwinyattichaiporn. However, the importance of sex, especially in long-term relationships, isn’t something you should overlook, she adds. “It’s about finding compatibility when it comes to perspective on sex,” so you’ll want to be on the same page with this topic, she says.

25. What would be an ideal situation for your life and a relationship three years from now?

This question is an open-ended way to see what they want out of life. It will “allow the other person to really think and visualize and dream and tell you what their dream life would be,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. Whether they say, “I want to be married and trying for children” or “I want to travel the world without kids,” their answer will be very informative to you.

READ MORE: 10 Questions To Definitely Ask Before Dating Someone With Kids

Taking your convo off the app

Suwinyattichaiporn recommends asking about five of the above questions to a match. If you still like them and their answers don’t contain any red flags, then you can schedule a FaceTime or phone call date. (From a safety perspective, it’s a good idea to not give your number to someone until right before the date.)

In terms of *how* to say it, Nasserzadeh recommends saying something along the lines of: I’d love to get to know each other better. Do you want to text or speak on the phone? I’d prefer [insert preference].

However, if you’re not into the idea of FaceTiming, you can simply keep the conversation on the app until you’ve met in person—or actually decide to go on a date with them, Carbino says.

Now, for some final advice. When chatting with matches, remember to be yourself and stay curious, Carbino says. Instead of writing back one-word answers, like you might when texting friends, ask follow-up questions or say, “Tell me more.”

And in the process of online dating, make sure to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, dating app fatigue—a.k.a., becoming exhausted and possibly pessimistic, about dating from spending time on the apps—is real. To prevent it, “fill your cup first, take care of yourself and show up as your best self in a limited amount of time on these dating apps and have intentional conversations,” Suwinyattichaiporn says.

You got this!

This article by Addison Aloian was first published on Women’s Health US.

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