Sometimes not even swiping right is enough to make a connection. A 2016 Oxford University study found that 49 percent of messages on dating apps go unanswered. Here are three real-world ways to start a convo:

1. Make eye contact. Our bodies tell people whether or not we’re interested long before we say hello. If you spot a Gosling, hold his gaze a split second longer.

2. Try the “Do you come here often?” approach – or at least a variation of it, says Toronto-based relationship expert and psychotherapist Nicole McCance. “You want to find something you have in common, and in this moment the only thing you really have in common is your environment. So try saying ‘I love this bar. Do you live around here?’”

3. Once you’ve broken the ice, avoid yes or no questions. “If you want to be interesting, be interested,” says McCance, noting that this strategy also takes the pressure off people who tend to get tongue-tied. “When they’re chatting, it’s less nerve-racking for you.”


This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of ELLE Canada.