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How to Tell if a Conversation is Going Nowhere

The best thing about sites like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Blorp, Peff, Jeebo, or whatever the hell else is out there is how easy it is to start conversations with multiple people at once. It’s kind of like being at a speed-dating event, but when it’s just you, your phone, and 10 simultaneous chats, it’s as if the speed-dating event is intended solely to find a date for you.

This can be kind of an awesome ego-boost: it’s as if all these people are lining up to talk to you. But it can also be overwhelming trying to maintain that many conversations at once. After all, you’re not on Tinder to find 10 different partners – you’re just on there trying to find one.

On the other hand, you might not want to talk to 10 people at once. Maybe you just want to have one substantive conversation at a time. Either way, the point of apps like Tinder and Bumble is to give you the opportunity to meet and talk to as many people as possible, so if you’re talking to someone who isn’t really that interested, you’re wasting your time.

Here’s how to tell if a conversation – either on a dating app or via text – is going nowhere.

Long Periods With No Contact

Everybody’s busy. Most of us can’t dedicate entire days to chatting with people we met on a dating app, and that’s okay.

It’s perfectly fine to take a break from a conversation if you’re having a particularly busy day or if something else pops up that requires your attention. But if the conversation goes quiet for a day or two at a time, then kicks back up at random intervals before going dark again, it might be a sign that it’s time to move on.

If someone’s really interested in getting to know you, they’ll make an effort to keep the conversation going. Even if they’re absolutely swamped at work, they should still at least give you a heads-up so you’re not sitting there wondering what happened. If you find yourself spending more time wondering why you’re not talking than in actual conversations, it’s safe to assume it’s a dud.

Tons of Small Talk

At the beginning of a conversation, small talk is a necessary evil. Asking someone what they’re up to, what movies they enjoy, how about this weather, huh? Hoo boy, crazy, I’ll tell ya, that’s all perfectly okay to kick off a conversation.

The point of small talk is to get a better idea of the other person’s interests. That way, you can identify the interests they have that match your own, then use those shared interests to take the conversation into more meaningful territory.

But if you’re chatting with someone and all you’re getting is small talk, there’s a good chance that you two just don’t have anything in common. Small talk is like sugar in coffee: it’s okay to load it up the first few times, but ideally you should reach a point where you don’t need it at all. (I’m told, anyway. I still love sugar in my coffee.)

You’re No Longer Excited To Talk To Them

There’s a real thrill in meeting somebody new and getting to know them better. The possibilities are endless, and it’s kind of exhilarating wondering where those possibilities might lead you.

But if you find yourself rolling your eyes or even intentionally ignoring someone’s messages, it’s probably because, to quote the late, great B.B. King, “the thrill is gone.” The early stages of a budding relationship should make you feel invigorated – you should be looking forward to talking to them every time you chat. If your enthusiasm has waned, it’s a sign that you should cut your losses and move on.

Great Conversation – That Never Leads To A Date

Finally, there’s the dreaded “marathon conversation.”

Marathon conversations aren’t necessarily boring. After all, it’s a lot easier to call it quits and move on if the conversation sucks. What makes these chats so hard to cut off is that, more often than not, they’re really good conversations.

These kinds of conversations seem to flow effortlessly – except when it comes to lining up a date. As soon as that subject is brought up, everything gets weird and hinky.

There can be any number of reasons for a marathon conversation, and the reason we let them go on for so long is because we start making excuses for the other person. Maybe they just got out of a relationship and they’re a little gun-shy, or – usually if you’re a guy – maybe they’re concerned about safety.

But the fact of the matter is, if lining up a date is proving to be impossible, then there’s really only one reason: They’re not that interested in you. (Well, either that or they’re catfishing you.) If they were, it wouldn’t be so damn hard to schedule a face-to-face meeting.

Remember: depending on where you live, there are hundreds – maybe even thousands – of people out there. So if you find yourself in any of the situations mentioned above, it’s best to chalk it up as a loss and move on. Don’t waste your time on someone who isn’t worth it.

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