Ah, Tinder – originally conceived as a sort of straight answer to the popular gay hookup app Grindr, the tech giant is now synonymous with millennial culture’s obsession with convenience. “I’ll never have to pick up people at the bar again,” we all thought. “I can meet my next bae while in my pajamas.”
We were so naïve.
Tinder may not be the swipe-right-for-love utopia we all wanted it to be, but nevertheless, it does have its success stories – and not just for one night stands. Everybody knows someone who met their partner on Tinder, and with its simple, clean format, it’s less clunky (and less work) than OkCupid, its more personality- and compatibility-based competitor.
For every match made in swiping heaven, however, there are countless horror stories, and even more users who feel like they struck out completely on the ubiquitous dating app. If that’s you, you might be in need of some strong Tinder tips. Here are seven common Tinder mistakes you might be making, plus how to fix them:
Your Pictures Aren’t up to Snuff
Regardless of gender, everyone who’s used Tinder has run into the same dilemma: you see someone who you think might be cute, but whose photos are grainy, lackluster or otherwise bad.
The complaints about these kinds of photos vary from having too many group photos, having photos of children without explaining whether or not they’re yours, too many mirror selfies, having photos of animals or objects that aren’t you, or, in some cases, just having a single photo.
People want to see you from a variety of angles, so give them what they want. You don’t need to shell out for headshots or professional photography (although high-resolution photos do seem to make a difference), but having a variety of photos is sure to help land you some more dates.
Your Profile Length Could Use Some Work
There are two types of people on Tinder: those whose profiles are novel-length, and those whose profiles are, like, four words long. Both are major turnoffs, and for similar reasons: people want to be able to get a feel for your personality from your “About Me”, but don’t want to know your every like or dislike (or worse, the 101 things you aren’t looking for in a match).
A few sentences seems to be the sweet spot, and it’s best to avoid drily listing your interests or profession (you can list the latter separately now anyway).
Your Profile Is Corny or Rude
Even if your profile is a suitable length, what you write in there still matters. Few people have used Tinder without seeing the profiles that say, “Nobody ever reads these things,” “No feelings,” or, worst of all, “I won’t respond if…”.
There’s also a special breed of Tinder user that thinks dad jokes are a hilarious way to a match’s heart, and will write out fake testimonials from The New York Times in the corniest way imaginable (sorry, but this format is seriously played out).
If you’re in doubt about what to write in your Tinder bio, do some one-on-one market research with friends of the gender you’re interested in. Ask them to describe their ideal match’s bio, show you good ones they’re come across, or even help you come up with a killer bio based on their knowledge of you.
You’re Making a Bad First Impression
First impressions are everything, and you are basically selling yourself with your profile, photos and your first message on Tinder. Most Tinder veterans have shared a common dilemma: messaging someone and getting no response. While it’s possible that person just isn’t interested, it might be that your first message was a turn-off.
There are two types of crappy first messages: the boring kind, and the overly-sexual kind. Boring first messages that only contain the words “hi” or “what’s up” are common, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying.
The overly-sexual first message seems to be mostly a straight guy thing, but it can come from others, too. There’s no need to describe this kind of message, because you’ve likely either received one or heard about them from your friends. Suffice it to say that nobody wants to be asked for sexual favor on the first (or third) message from a Tinder random.
Recovering from this mistake is pretty easy: just send the kind of messages you’d like to receive. A good Tinder tip is to ask about stand-out pictures (“Where’s the beach in your second pic? It looks amazing!”) or interesting information in your match’s bio – you could ask them to rank Kanye West’s albums if you’ve got him in common as a “like”, for example, or ask how they know a mutual friend.
You’re Not Telling the Truth
Assuming that you’re not a serial killer or diaper fetishist (in which case, you should probably be on FetLife), it seems weird to consider the possibility that you’re being less-than-honest on Tinder. But there are some subtle lies that we all seem to tell on our profiles that people can smell from a mile away.
One of the first red flags for a lot of people that you might be lying on Tinder is your listed occupation. If you’re a struggling writer who hasn’t been published yet, just list your high school or college – don’t list yourself as a freelancer. If you’re an entrepreneur, don’t list your company unless you actually are making money from it. If you’re just starting out with your acting career… you get the drift.
The other obvious example of Tinder untruthfulness is, of course, cheating. It’s one thing to use the app if you’re in an open or polyamorous relationship, but it’s another thing altogether to claim that you’re in an open relationship when you’re not – or, worse, to use Tinder while you have a monogamous partner who doesn’t know about it.
Thanks to the new “Swipe Buster” site, your partner can find your secret Tinder, but if you’re attempting to use Tinder to cheat, know that other people can and will bust you, too.
In Tinder, as in life, honesty is always the best policy. Don’t exaggerate your height or your income – just be honest about yourself, and the right matches should follow.
You Over (or Under) Swipe
Everyone’s heard of the dude who swipes right on every girl he sees in an attempt to get laid – but the reverse can be just as damaging to your dating prospects.
Swiping right on people whose profiles you didn’t read or who don’t appear all that attractive to you is a waste of your time and theirs, and always swiping left out of pickiness is a guaranteed way to never get any traction out of Tinder.
You can solve this, of course, by finding a good middle ground between over- and under-swiping. If you’re an under-swiper, take a minor leap on that person who isn’t necessarily your type but who seems kind and cute, and over-swipers should stop swiping right on people you have no intention of ever speaking to.
In short, swipe on people who are interesting and attractive – you know, what you downloaded Tinder for in the first place!
You’re Too Shy
Tinder is, in theory, a shy person’s dream: you can meet cool, attractive people without actually having to walk up to them at a bar or in the grocery store and think of something witty and inoffensive to say. In practice, however, some people find it difficult to message a match first, or end up in endless conversation that never seems to go anywhere.
Fixing this is incredibly straightforward: just message them! Use whatever witty or interesting thing that comes to mind (see above for tips), and get it out of the way. And once you’ve been talking for a bit, ask them for their number to get things moving in the IRL direction. They’ll definitely thank you.
Tinder isn’t brain surgery, but it’s not formulaic either. People have different styles of swiping and different methods of success. Try to figure out what you want out of Tinder before using it, and then go after it. It doesn’t have to be serious, but it’s also not a total game. Now that you’re armed with these strong Tinder tips, go forth and swipe with conviction!
Need to calm down? Read all about ASMR and why the internet’s going crazy for it.
- Words: Noor Al-Sibai
- Lead image: wired.com