Them: Hey, vague opening statement about how you seem cool from the lack of obvious red flags on your profile. I also like 1-3 of the books/movies/music/tv shows you listed, even though we both know that that has very very little to do with how much we'll both like each other, but it proves that I actually read your profile and didn't just copy/paste this message to 50 people at once! The same boring question I ask everyone to show that I'm interested in what you have to say and also to increase the chances that you respond to this? You: Hi! Yeah, I agree that the thing we both like is great, cementing that arbitrary piece of culture as the bond our entire conversation will be built upon despite neither of us actually liking it as much as we did back when we created our profiles. A not-that-interesting story about that thing to pad out this message without spending any more time on it because I feel pretty ambivalent about you already. Answer to your question without furthering the line of conversation in any way. The same question right back to you because I'm too lazy to think of a question of my own? Them: Haha for no reason, that story is awesome even though it totally isn't! Answer to your question that clumsily shoehorns in some unsolicited information about my job/neighborhood/friends to make sure you understand that I'm employed/cool/social. What'd you do this weekend, so I can attempt to suss out whether you'll drunkenly sleep with me based on your usual drunken activities? You: Exaggeration of the coolest-sounding thing I did this weekend to make it sound cooler. The same question back to you to avoid facing my sneaking suspicion that you're not right for me? Wait, are you also interested in this other thing that I know very well you're interested in because it says so on your profile, and this should give you a window to ask me to get a drink already since I don't want to seem too eager by asking you myself? Them: Yes! Overenthusiastic gushing about that interest. Actually, nonsensically, it would really be better to talk about that more in person than online. (Admission of embarrassment about meeting you through an online dating site even though obviously we are both using that site right now so that's a little insulting to you.) Want to get a drink sometime? You: Sure! Agreement out of sheer relief that you finally asked me out and we can stop this horrible messaging process! Suggestion of a night this week? Start to the tiring process of figuring out where we both work and live and where is the most convenient neighborhood to meet and what kind of bar I'm going to have to suggest that you're going to judge me for choosing. Them: Oh, actually, a reason that this week is suddenly no good for me because I'm waiting to hear back from another OKCupid person who's better-looking than you, but we should try for the week after, which I tell myself I mean in all good faith despite both of us knowing deep down that if I REALLY wanted to meet you this week I could manage it. You: Not a problem, even though that tiny amount of rejection has crushed what little optimism I had about you and my romantic life in general. Lie that my week is crazy too, because I'll be busy wondering why I'm subjecting myself to this masochistic process of repeatedly getting my feelings hurt by someone I wouldn't even deign to flirt with if I met them IRL. Let's plan to definitely shoot for next week, which will never happen because I'm now irrationally furious at you for making me feel this way! Talk to you never!