Advice for Dating App Users

I’ve been using dating apps on and off since I first moved to Washington D.C. in September of 2014. My roommate at the time convinced me to try Tinder and for an introvert unaccustomed to thinking of herself as worthy of anyone’s attention (let alone the attentions of the opposite sex), I liked the instant gratification that matches provided.

I’ve had some dates and one successful relationship turned friendship because of Tinder so I’d say my overall experience with apps has been positive. I’ve also tried out Bumble, Ok Cupid, and completed some exploratory research on Happn, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Hinge. Each app has it’s benefits and drawbacks. If you’re open minded to the idea of online dating as a whole, you’ll likely find an app that works for you.

However, across all the platforms, I’ve consistently found that it’s the people and their profiles that are the biggest form of discouragement. So I’m here to offer a little unsolicited advice. (Note: I’ve only opted to view male profiles so my advice is limited and targeted to that specific gender, though I’d say it’s probably applicable more generally, too.)

Believe it or not, outlining your intentions (however nefarious they may be) is more helpful than it is offensive. A quick line in your bio expressing what you’re looking for (hookup, long term relationship, etc.) is perfectly fine and gives a heads up to anyone reading your profile. I certainly wouldn’t want to waste time talking with someone who doesn’t share the same intentions as me and I’m sure you don’t either.

Conversations have to be an exchange. If you reply to my question with a dead end answer, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. I’m just going to assume you’re as incapable of conversing in person. Nobody wants to feel like they’re pulling teeth on a date and I definitely don’t want to waste my time doing it on a messenger app. You get one pass, maybe two if you’re really cute; then I’m going to move on.

Put some thought into your photo. Maybe you’ve put up a doofy looking headshot from college as a test to see if girls bother to scroll through. Maybe you just don’t have anything recent that you like. Maybe you really do love that sweaty post workout gym mirror selfie. But you know what? I don’t care. If you really want your best chance at winning a match, put a simple, well lit smiling photo of yourself on top of the deck. It’s as simple as that.

There’s a limit to how long messaging can last before things have to move offline or die. It’s going to vary by the number of messages exchanged, how much time is generally between them, and your own personal comfort levels, but there’s always a line. Don’t miss it. Once things start flowing well, take the plunge and ask for a date. Either she says yes and things are great or you save yourself time lost to an online pen pal who probably never intended to meet you anyway.

Avoid any kind of insulting commentary or making assumptions about the people viewing your bio. A lot of people seem to think they can write anything they want in their bios because the majority of people don’t read them. And that’s probably true. But some people, myself included, do read the bios. So instead of trying to sneak in something trite, you’re better off assuming that at least a few people will read it and that they’ll be doing so with the best of intentions. It may not always be true, but then you’re won’t look like an ass to those who do take your bio at face value.


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