How To: Use Dating Apps Pt. 1

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Now I know Tinder has been around a while, has gotten plenty of social media publicity and there have been plenty of guides and articles written about great success stories, funny profiles, etc. But what I haven’t seen is a simple, honest guide on how to have success with dating apps without using any funny “tricks” or whacky pick-up lines. Note: I have also used Bumble a bit, and this applies to that as well as any other dating app.

As a bit of background, I’ve been using Tinder on and off for the last 4ish years, with a few periods of not using it while dating girls or traveling or just wanting a break from it. Without trying to brag, I’ve had lots of success with it, many great dates, and multiple experiences where I started dating or seeing the girl casually for a while afterwards. Considering how popular dating apps are these days, they can be a great way to go on plenty of dates with minimal time spent setting them up. This post will cover how to convert matches to dates in a quick, efficient way, no matter what you are looking for (this will be explained in Step 2), and I will cover first dates or anything past that in future posts.

Step 1: The Profile

The fact is, if you don’t have a good profile to attract any matches, you won’t have anyone to talk to. There are plenty of articles and guides out there that discuss how to make the best profile, so I will focus on the 3 most important points. Pick photos that you a) look good in, b) show you doing fun stuff that you’re interested in and c) gives an accurate reflection of what you look like.

For A, your first and at least half of your pictures should be ones where you look your best. These are your pictures that will make the other person think “oh wow, I’m attracted to this person and would consider talking/going on a date with them.” Pretty straight-forward, and a good tip is to ask a friend of the opposite gender to help you go through your photos to pick the best ones.

For B, you want to mix in a photo or two that doesn’t necessarily show how good looking you are, but it shows that you have hobbies/go on adventures/do more than spend your whole life on dating apps. Good examples of these would be of you playing a sport, camping, traveling, cooking, etc. These can be great conversation starters if you match with someone with a similar interest, and it gets them thinking “cool, this person is passionate about something and there’s more to them than a pretty(ish) face.”

C is a little less self-explanatory. While you do want to show yourself at your best, you also don’t want to mislead anyone. Hiding a “bad angle” is one thing, but hiding your body completely or photo shopping every picture to make yourself look better is a bad idea. Why? Because sure, you may match with a few more people, but if they are disappointed when they meet you in person (sorry if this sounds shallow, but after having some of these experiences and discussing it with many people of both genders, it’s the reality), you won’t get much farther than that first date. So if you’re looking to either seriously date someone or have something more than a one-time thing, I highly suggest accurately portraying how you look.

As far as posting a bio goes, this is pretty subjective. I don’t use one, but having a clever/original one-liner or 3-4 of your interests never hurts and may even attract some matches that wouldn’t have swiped right otherwise. This is up to you, but keep it short, as in 1-2 sentences at most.

Last note: Height- whether girls admit it or not, this matters to over 90% of girls out there. I’ve never had to deal with this issue because I’m just under 6’4, but keep in mind that girls do consider this. If you’re above average height, hopefully that comes across in your photos or maybe you want to list it specifically (I know some guys that do and some girls that appreciate it). If you are shorter, it’s your call. I can’t say I have ever dealt with this issue so I won’t pretend to know what works, but either way, be confident no matter what. Good confidence can trump any physical aspect any day of the week.

Step 2: Deciding What You Want

Before you start swiping and talking to matches, figure out what you want to get out of the app. This will help you down the road as you’ll see in the next few steps. What you want could vary widely: long-term relationship, casual relationship (eg. Fwb), one night stand, person to talk to, etc. As well, what you want can vary from one day or month to the next. For example, maybe you just got out of something serious and want something more casual, or maybe you’re sick of one-night-stands and want a serious relationship.

Knowing what you want will help in two ways: First, it will help guide how you swipe and talk to your matches, and second, it will play into your “game” down the road when you’re talking to your matches about why you’re on the app (these will both be discussed in the next few sections).

Step 3: Swiping

Swiping is also very subjective. Everyone has their own physical preferences and certain bios might appeal to some but not others, so for this you’re on your own. However, I will give a few pointers and “lessons” I’ve learned from swiping over the years:

  • If they aren’t showing full body/clear shots of themselves, it’s generally for a reason. You can take a chance if you’d like, but I learned this the hard way
  • For the same reason, I avoid profiles where the first few/all of the pictures are in groups. If they are afraid of clearly showing you what they look like, it’s probably for a reason. Also, my low patience level might have something to do with it…
  • Very long bio generally means crazy. Now the level of crazy can vary, but if someone posts a 3+ paragraph life story as their bio, again, it’s generally for a reason. A reason I like to avoid
  • Adapt your swiping to reflect your “wants” from Step 2. What this means is that I will swipe differently depending on what I’m looking to get out of the app. For example, if I’m looking for a long-term relationship, I’m looking for girls I’m genuinely attracted to, closer to my age and keeping an eye out for things such as similar interests, a good degree/job, etc. On the other hand, if I’m looking for something short term or casual, I widen the level of attractiveness I swipe right on (“Ya I’d bang her” as opposed to “I could see myself with this girl long-term”), don’t care much about age and care less about interests/schooling/job
  • Have fun and don’t overthink it. My general rule is: when in doubt, swipe right and re-evaluate if you match. Some people swipe just off the first photo, but for me it depends. If I’m lazy and only have a few minutes, I’ll swipe based off the first picture, but if I’m in bed trying to kill some time, I’ll look through the profiles that peak my interest

This post very quickly became a lot longer than I had intended and I’m only about half way through, so I’ve decided to break it into two or three posts. Part two will cover how to start conversations with your matches, how to convert those into dates and the best places/things to do on those first dates. Check it out here!

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment on the post, any questions or suggest other topics you’d like covered.


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