Bumble, the dating app where women have to make the first move, was founded by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe in late 2014. In part, the American tech entrepreneur’s decision to leave Tinder was motivated by the sexual harassment and discrimination she said she faced in the workplace.
But Wolfe also had other reasons for wanting to launch Bumble. She felt that a dating app required heterosexual women to message men first would improve the user experience for both genders: men would feel less pressure to always initiate contact, while women would be less likely to receive unsolicited sexual messages.
Both of these are obviously Good Things. But if you’ve ever used Bumble, you’ll know that the pressure of sending that first message can be daunting. It’s just like they say: with great power comes great responsibility.
Fortunately, Whitney Wolfe is on hand to explain which kinds of messages are most likely to get a response.
In a recent interview, Wolfe reveals that how you phrase that all-important first message can massively increase your chances of getting a reply. And apparently, it’s all about getting personal.
“Response rates go up by 60% when you personalise the first line,” the 26-year-old tells Business Insider.
“So instead of saying ‘Hey!’, if you say ‘Hey’ and include their name, your chance of a response goes up 60%. Personalising a first message really, really helps.”
Wolfe adds that using “a little humour and some lightheartedness” can also help in prompting a reply.
She also explains just why she thinks Bumble is so important in the world of dating apps.
“Having women make the first move might seem like a small product change, but it actually has a huge punch,” Wolfe says. She observes that often, “men are always expected to send that first note – so when they receive that first text, I think it’s extremely flattering.”
It’s not entirely clear why, in an era of massively increased gender equality, there remains a pervasive expectation that men should initiate heterosexual romance. However, in a 2011 study, psychologists at the University of Waterloo in Canada observed that social expectations discouraged women from directly pursuing potential partners, instead encouraging women “to resort to passivity or indirect strategies to shape their relationship outcomes”.
Despite this (or, indeed, because of it), some 90% of 5,000 single straight men said they would be comfortable with a woman asking them out, in a recent survey conducted by dating website Match.
So go on: make the first move without fear. And if you're on Bumble, just remember to say their name...