Dating apps are one of the most common ways to meet nowadays - and during lockdown, they proved a lifeline for singles, robbed of office flirtations and banter in clubs and bars.
The only problem is, striking up the chat can be awkward, as many failed liaisons have proved. Some go too emotionally deep too soon, others make crude jokes or ramble due to nerves. Some get hot and heavy before they've even exchanged basic details, others hold back, or weep over their exes.
So to avoid your new online romance going sour before the profile photo loads, here's what goes well as a conversational topic - and what isn't quite so welcome, according to a new survey by Curry's PC World.
A hefty 38 per cent said hobbies are the top 'safe' topic, allowing you to reveal a little about yourself without going too far. An efficient 29 percent thought work was a good bet, and 27 per cent were keen to talk about future goals and plans.
Meanwhile, almost a quarter thought it best to get down to basics, and discuss why you're on the app in the first place.
However, once the polite stuff is out of the way, daters can stray into a minefield.
1. Don't discuss your finances
A huge 93 per cent thought discussions of each other's finances were a big no-no, with only 7 per cent willing to open up on that topic- perhaps because they're very rich and happy to boast.
2. Sexual preferences
Almost as bad was sexual preferences. In an initial 'getting to know you' chat, 91% thought this was out of bounds. However, that still leaves 9% perfectly happy to reveal all to a total stranger, and we're guessing they might be mostly male.
A significant 89% thought going anywhere near politics initially was a bad idea, perhaps all too aware that words such as 'Brexit' and 'masks' could spark a meltdown on both sides.
Political debate and disagreement is generally saved for further down the line, usually when you're meeting their parents for the first time and suddenly realise they're terrible old bigots.
4. Past relationships
A sensible 86% also steer clear of discussing past relationships, knowing that any chat about exes- particularly recent ones - can never go well. It will either end in them crying because they're not over the ex, getting angry because they're not over the ex, or being bitter because they're not over the ex. If they are, there's no need to bring them up - ever, except in the most basic, factual terms.
("Yes, Juan was a marine biologist in Chile who wrote amazing poetry. But he's happily married now, and we send Christmas cards.")
Explaining why you got divorced ("...and it really affected my daughter's school work, we had to get her extra tuition..") is a clear case of TMI at this stage.
5. Your horoscopes
The fifth most terrible idea, however, with a no-don't-mention-this rating of 84%, is astrology.
Yes, the dreaded "what's your star sign?" question is real, and likely to lead to "Oh my god, you're a Taurus? I'm a Leo, and that means we might clash sometimes because we're both stubborn but ultimately we share the same values..."
Rest assured, amateur astrologers, there's only 16% of you drawing up birth charts. Everyone else is wondering how soon they can pretend there's someone at the door.
Reporting by Flic Everett.
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