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How to Keep a Conversation Going…

Nailah Dean

            It’s a match! Those three little words indicate the beginning of endless possibilities. Matching with someone on the app is exciting (and nauseating) because you know there is mutual interest, and therefore a chance for love and marriage. So after the first message is sent, the tennis match of back-and-conversation begins, and boy, can it be stressful to keep that ball in the air! Here’s a few tips as to how you can keep up the conversation. 

Go Beyond the Small Talk

In the beginning, you’ll do the introductory stuff--what city do you live in, where did you grow up, what do you do for work? You know, small talk. It’s good to go through those basics, and get a general outline of the person. You can tell how articulate they are, and whether they have enough manners to ask you those same questions. Maybe they’re good listeners, or maybe they’re just interested in talking about themselves. Either way, small talk can be good to get the ball rolling, but don’t stop there!

Establish what direction you want the conversation to go in. Find out if you both are looking for the same type of relationship. How do they define the courtship process? Are they serious about marriage? Or do they just need another online friend? Do you need them to talk to your parents or wali? Do you feel comfortable meeting up in person early on? Set boundaries, or address expectations. If you both are on the same page, then you can move forward and ask deeper questions. 

Be Real, But Don’t Go Too Deep 

The biggest complaint that people have about the apps is that they get tired of doing the elevator pitch about their lives. We all lament the end of a relationship because it means going back to the starting line in the race towards marriage. Again, and again, and again. Because of this constant reboot, there’s an inclination to just blurt out everything in the initial conversation running through all the serious questions about timelines, finances, and babies all in one go. Just like throwing a fistful of darts on a board, you run through your checklist to see if this person meets all your requirements. 

I know that technique because I’ve been there before. While that may work with some people, it can be off-putting for others. Everyone has different levels of comfort and experience with dating-to-marry stuff. Some people are just not as comfortable as others revealing their visions for the future to a stranger, so ease into it. This isn’t an interview. The person on the other end isn’t just another prospective spouse, they’re a human being and sometimes you need to establish a basic connection before they can open up about what they want for their future. 

On the other hand, be real. Don’t waste someone’s time. Push past the small talk! After you’ve established what type of relationship the person is looking for (and yeah, I know you’d think everyone was looking for marriage in a halal way, but nope!), find out what makes them tick! What are they passionate about, what’s the craziest travel story they have? How did their parents raise them in the West while teaching them to be good Muslims? Find out if there is even any compatibility with this person. Do you like the same movies or food or books? Are you both into exploring or cooking or volunteering? Once you establish some sort of connector, raise more serious questions about the future. If you have established a connection and both are seeking marriage, then it’s okay to start going through the check boxes. Don’t be scared!

Get on a Call!

It’s always best to meet in-person. Relationship experts (not me), say that when you meet someone online, it remains fiction until you meet in real life. Basically, no relationship exists until you establish a relationship off the apps, outside of cyberspace. That makes sense right? Texting is just words on a screen, and while words are powerful, they aren’t real without supporting evidence which comes with seeing someone in person. But since you are probably meeting people in different states or even countries, the best thing to do is to jump on a call. 

Phone conversations are key. Hearing someone’s voice is not only another element of attraction, but is also a faster way to cut through the small talk and get to the more serious stuff. It’s hard to get a full conversation in over text, but within the span of even just a thirty minute call, you can traverse so much territory. 

So remember the basics: push past small talk, establish expectations, find connections, and push the conversation offline and onto a phone call or better yet, meet in-person. Happy swiping!

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