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These days, Tinder is a one-stop shop for anyone looking to date, hook up or simply see what kind of interesting people might be in their area. Online dating sites have been waning in favor of dating apps for some time now, and Tinder has cornered such a large portion of the dating app market that, for many young people, the very name of the brand and its functions have become synonymous with dating – you’re likely to hear young singles saying “I’m back on Tinder again!” as a shorthand for their relationship status, and “I’d swipe right!” is a widely-understood shorthand for finding someone attractive.
Tinder is an always-available, pocket-sized method for finding the woman of your dreams – or, at the very least, a regret-free hookup – but the app can be frustrating when you don’t completely understand its functionality and culture. To ensure you get the most out of your experience, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to dating with Tinder. Here’s everything you need to know:
- 1. Does Tinder Work for Guys?
- 2. Crafting Your Tinder Profile
- 3. Understanding Tinder Swiping
- 4. Sending The Right First Tinder Message
- 5. Tips For Landing A Tinder Date
- 6. Alternatives To Tinder
1. Does Tinder Work For Guys?
The first question on the minds of plenty of guys is, “Does this thing even work!?” The answer is “It certainly can!”, but that depends on a few key components on your end, including your profile, swiping strategy and messaging technique, as well as first clarifying what you even mean by “work”. Let’s take a closer look at Tinder’s purpose before we move on to some tips for getting matches:
Is Tinder For Dating Or Hooking Up?
There is widespread confusion among men about what Tinder is even for. Is it for serious dating, or just for casual hook ups? The short answer is both: women use Tinder for a variety of reasons, varying from simply making friends (yes, seriously, and there’s even a whole new “Swipe with Friends” section to cater to these types, in which you can match with groups of friends nearby) to casual hook ups to dating with the intention of finding The One. While Tinder started life as a hookup app, it’s no longer appropriate to assume that everyone who is using Tinder is looking for casual sex.
How Do You Know Why Women Are On Tinder?
If Tinder is used for so many different purposes, how can you tell whether the women in your queue are looking for friendship, hook ups or serious dating? Well, there are a few key signs and phrases. For example, if you see the phrase “no ONS” on Tinder, that stands for “no one night stands”, and means she’s very unlikely to be interested in casual sex. The same goes for phrases like “no hook ups”, “seeking something serious” and “no players” — anything along these lines will indicate that she’s looking for something more serious. Equally, if she is seeking casual sex only, this will usually be apparent from wording like “no strings” or “casual fun only”.
What Are You Looking For?
You can use Tinder for any of the above reasons too, but it pays to be clear with yourself and everyone else exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re not looking anything more than a casual hook up, you should make that clear, ideally in your bio (“not looking for anything serious,” “seeking hook ups”) or at the very least once you start chatting to your matches (and more on that below). If you’re looking to date seriously, that should also be immediately evident to anyone interacting with you.
Once you’re clear about what you want and you’ve made sure everyone else is too, you’re going to need to craft a perfect profile to maximize your chance of getting matches:
2. Crafting Your Tinder Profile
If you’re one of the few remaining singles who is curious about Tinder but inexperienced with it, the first step is to create the best possible profile. The very first thing you’re going to need to consider is which pictures to upload. Yes, Tinder is largely a looks-based endeavor and can sometimes feel superficial for that reason, but remember that it’s not really any different to meeting someone at a party or bar: you tend to approach the people you find physically attractive in real life, and then talk to them to see if there’s a deeper connection. It’s the same story with Tinder, so make sure that you’re creating an excellent first impression by following these Tinder photo tips:
It’s important to use a flattering (but not misleading) picture of yourself in your profile, and starting with a clear, well-composed, smiling head shot is your best bet. Make sure that your leading pic is a solo shot without other people in it — you don’t want potential matches to fall in love with your best friend, only to be disappointed when they scroll through your subsequent pictures and realise he isn’t you! Group shots are even worse as a leading image, but the inside word is that you can stack the odds in your favor by holding an adorable kitten or puppy.
RELATED: How A Bad Tinder Profile Photo Can Ruin Your Dating Chances
Helpfully, Tinder has a function called Smart Photos which continually tests the success rate of the photos you’ve uploaded to your profile and automatically show your best-performing photo to other users first. It’s well worth enabling this function: it doesn’t cost anything extra, and Tinder claims that it boosts right-swipes by 12%.
It pays to take advantage of all six photo slots Tinder allows you, to provide as much information as possible to potential matches. Consider that your pictures give away crucial information not just about what you look like, but also how you like to spend your time: matches are going to form a certain impression of you depending on whether you’re squatting in the gym, splayed out on a beach with friends or chugging back beer at the game, so choose images that accurately reflect your hobbies and interests. Don’t partake in kittenfishing – the lite version of catfishing – by uploading misleadingly flattering photos, and make sure your images are recent enough to show what you look like now. Remember, there’s no point in being dishonest: it’s all going to come out in the wash when you meet a match IRL, so be upfront from the start.
Your bio is optional, but we highly recommended that you include one. You’re allowed up to 500 words to advertise your dazzling personality here, but we’d suggest you err on the side of relative brevity: No one wants to read a novel while they’re swiping on Tinder, and you’re definitely going to want to avoid the unattractive habit of some men who use their Tinder bios as an opportunity to gripe about women, including long tirades about the type of women they’re not looking for. Instead, make your bio about you, and keep it short, simple and friendly — it’s a bonus if it’s funny, but don’t strain a muscle trying too hard.
All we know about you is that you’re picky and hard to please. Be more positive!
Make your bio about you! Keep it short, simple and friendly — it’s a bonus if it’s funny, but don’t strain a muscle trying too hard.
Funny, gently self-deprecating and informative without being too long: This is a great bio.
3. Understanding Tinder Swiping
Depending on how much cash you’re willing to shell out, Tinder has several useful options to maximise your chance of getting matches. The Boost function can be a goldmine for accumulating matches: it works by pushing you to the front of the queue for people in your area for half an hour, and after the Boost session is over, you will see stats on how much more exposure your profile got (4x, 8x, etc). Of course, you have to pay for the privilege, and free users cannot dictate where in the queue their profiles appear.
One potential pitfall of Tinder is that swiping becomes so reflexive that it is easy to accidentally swipe left on someone because you’re going too fast, and Tinder’s Rewind function is invaluable in those cases: hand over a few bucks, and you can recover the woman of your dreams who you accidentally swiped left on (free users will simply need to slow down and pay attention to what they’re doing).
If you’re willing to pay for Tinder’s subscription services, Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold, you can unlock the Passport function, which allows you to swipe in different locations. So, for example, you could be in London but visiting New York in a week’s time, and Passport will let you start swiping on New York-based profiles from across the pond.
However, even if you’re not willing to pay to use Tinder, there are some swiping strategies that are available to you. One is to use the Super Like function, which alerts a user that you really like them and brings you to the front of their queue (free users get one Super Like per day). Another is to bear in mind that women who’ve already swiped right on you are likely to show up near the beginning of your queue, so it’s worth paying careful attention to profiles that appear early in your swiping session. That being said, constantly right-swiping to game the system is a bad idea: it just means you’ll match with women you may not be interested in, which is annoying for both of you and wastes your time. Swipe right only on women you genuinely hope to match with, so that when you see that coveted, “Congratulations! It’s a match!” alert, it actually means something.
Tinder has now introduced a “Tinder Plus” option: a paid version of the app which gives you various benefits — at a cost, of course. The app introduced the paying form of Tinder in 2015, with a controversial age-based fee system, where individuals under 30 are charged around $9.99 per month for Tinder Plus features (depending on location and currency), but users over 30 are charged closer to $19.99 per month.
So, what’s the point in getting Tinder Plus? Here are some of the touted benefits:
Match Around the World
One coveted benefit of Tinder Plus is the ability to match with users around the world, as opposed to just in your area — if you live in California but have an upcoming holiday in Paris, for example, you can start swiping in Paris and accumulating matches before you even arrive.
Rewind Left Swipes
Another prized feature of Tinder Plus is the ability to rewind your last swipe. This means that if you accidentally swipe left on a user and instantly regret it (because you’re swiping too fast, perhaps), you can “rewind” the swipe, bringing that user back into view so that you can swipe right instead.
Tinder Plus also allows you to send more Super Likes: Hit the blue star instead of the green check mark — or simply do an upwards swipe — and you will show up near the beginning of this Tinder user’s queue, and she will be able to see that you have Super Liked you. The Super Like helps you show a potential match that you are definitely interested in her, and it will guarantee that you are made visible to her, but it still won’t ensure that she will swipe right on you (sorry, but no Tinder feature can force a right swipe or guarantee a match!)
Tinder Plus users get five Super Likes per day compared to the sole daily Super Like allotted to regular users.
Tinder Plus users get one free “boost” a week, which means that Tinder will make you the top profile in your area for 30 minutes. Ordinary Tinder users can also pay for individual boosts which can be bought via the app at a rate that changes depending on how many boosts you buy. For example, one boost costs £2.29 ($2.82), but a bundle of 10 works out at around £1.50 ($1.85) each. This is a way to potentially get more matches by making you much more visible to other users — but again, it’s no guarantee, so spend wisely.
Turning Off Ads
Tinder Plus users won’t see ads. This is perhaps the least tempting of Tinder Plus’ range of benefits as ads are a relatively minor annoyance for regular users, but it still doesn’t hurt.
So, is everything crystal clear? We won’t blame you if all of the above sounds pretty confusing, as Tinder is becoming ever more complicated and laden with new features. While you should be able to understand the basic mechanics of using the app now, there are still some common questions on people’s minds when it comes to using Tinder:
If You Swipe Left Are They Gone Forever?
One question on the minds of many men is the permanence of the left swipe: if I’m not interested in someone and swipe left, does this mean I can’t change my mind at a later point?
The short answer is yes: once you swipe left on someone, they are gone and will not return to your queue. However, there are two caveats. The first is that Tinder Plus users can rewind swipes, as mentioned above, so if you think you accidentally swiped left on your soulmate, you’re going to need to shell out some cash for the ability to rewind.
RELATED: Check Out WeightlossPlans’s Official Tinder Review
The second is that Tinder is still a bit buggy, and users have reported seeing left-swiped users popping back up into their queue. It’s also possible to delete your account and start again with a fresh account, meaning that you will have a chance of seeing someone you swiped left on once again. However, these are not rock solid options, and there’s no guaranteed way to revisit a left-swiped user unless you get Tinder Plus.
If You Swipe Left Can They See You?
A Tinder user will not be notified or otherwise alerted if you swipe left on them, meaning that you don’t need to feel too worried about hurting someone’s feelings. Obviously, if she swipes right on you and you aren’t a match, she will know that you haven’t swiped right, but this could be for a variety of reasons: either you haven’t seen her profile yet, or you are not a frequent user of the app, or you have indeed swiped left for a variety of potential reasons. She won’t know which is the case, so you can swipe left honestly on Tinder.
How Do You Know If Someone Swiped Right On You?
The only way that you can tell for sure if someone has swiped right on you is to swipe right on them and see if you become a match. However, we’ll let you in on a secret: People who’ve already swiped right on you are likely to show up near the beginning of your queue, so it could be worth paying careful attention to them as you are likelier to be a match.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Match?
There is no set answer for how long it takes to get matches on Tinder — in fact, there’s no rock solid guarantee you will get matches at all. However, if you have a strong profile and sound swiping strategy, you should theoretically be getting matches as soon as you start swiping for a few minutes.
How Long Do Matches Stay?
Tinder matches and any associated messages will remain until either you or your match deletes their Tinder account. Tinder users also have the option of “unmatching” users, which means that even if you become a match, either one of you can change your mind and unmatch the other. Otherwise, Tinder matches hang around until you decide to finally strike up a conversation, unlike other apps such as Bumble.
Why Don’t You Have Matches Yet?
If you have been using Tinder for a while and still don’t have any matches, you’ll need to reevaluate your profile. Check out the profile section above, and perhaps even ask a female friend or two if they could help you make your profile more attractive to women.
Can You Find People You Know On Tinder?
It’s perfectly possible to see someone you know appearing on your queue on Tinder. If one of your friends or coworkers lives in your area and happens to be on Tinder with the same age and gender parameters as you, they may well appear in your queue, and vice versa.
Some people find the prospect of being seen on Tinder slightly embarrassing, but there’s really no reason to: it’s a hugely popular app and people use it for a variety of different reasons — plus your friend or coworker is also a user! So if you see someone you know, you could right-swipe and have a laugh about it if you match, or else swipe left and forget about it.
Should I Swipe Right On Everyone To Get More Matches?
Constantly right-swiping to game the system is a bad idea: You’re not at an all-you-can-eat buffet, and women aren’t morsels to consume. Swiping right indiscriminately just means you’ll match with women you may not be interested in, which is annoying for them and you, wasting their time and clogging up your messages. Swipe right only on women you genuinely hope to match with so that when you see that coveted, “Congratulations! It’s a match!” alert, it actually means something.
4. Sending The Right First Tinder Message
Success! You’ve matched with that babe with cute photos and a witty bio, and now you’re in the enviable position of being able to talk to her directly. Don’t rest on your laurels just because you know she’s swiped right on you, though: You can make or break the match depending on your approach, and a lazy or creepy opener might even mean that she unmatches you, blocking you from any further contact.
RELATED: How To Talk To Girls On Tinder, Explained
Your opening line is crucial. Your matches are likely to have dozens of other men in their Tinder messages section, most of whom will be approaching with a tired, “Hey”, or, “How are you?” There’s no need to overcook it by opening the conversation with a sonnet, but it will work in your favor if you approach her in a friendly, novel and interested way – try asking an unusual question, like “if you won a million dollars today, what’s the first thing you’d do?” or compliment a particular detail in one of her photos (“that’s a really cute French bulldog! Is it yours?”).
A disappointing number of male Tinder users think it’s appropriate to start a conversation with lewd innuendo and overtly sexual “compliments” right off the bat, such as the below gentlemen:
Guys, please: Don’t start a conversation like this. Not every woman is on Tinder looking for casual sex, but even the ladies who are keen on a no-strings hookup are unlikely to be swept off their feet by a rude and juvenile approach. Make your approach flirty and friendly, and definitely avoid the negging strategy advocated by so-called pickup artists: backhanded compliments are not going to endear you to anyone at the best of times, but they might be even worse on Tinder, where women can simply unmatch you with a couple of finger taps. Be positive, complimentary and charismatic instead.
If you find yourself pleading into a void, it’s time to move on.
Another thing to bear in mind when talking to your Tinder matches is that defensive, passive aggressive opening lines are fairly common, but rarely ever work: “Quite a lot of selfies you’ve got there,” for example, or “I guess I’ll get the ball rolling because women never start talking first”.
Don’t dump your frustrations with other women onto your poor, unsuspecting Tinder match! Instead, spend a minute or two crafting something friendly and subtly flirty (or check out these Tinder conversation starters for ideas), and finish with a question to keep the banter flowing. Being kind and showing enough genuine interest to keep the conversation rolling is a winning strategy and should help to convert your matches into IRL dates
5. Tips For Landing A Tinder Date
Hopefully your opening line (or hers!) has progressed into a natural, lively conversation, and you’re now both interested enough in each other to go on a first date. It can be a useful first step to exchange phone numbers so that you can text or chat over the phone, because Tinder’s messaging system can make for slow-moving and disjointed conversation. Apart from that, Tinder dates work like any other: Think of something pleasant to do, and show up on the agreed time and date, looking sharp and ready to have a great time.
When To Ask Her Out
There’s wiggle room here, and every user will have a different idea of the ideal time to progress from Tinder conversation to an IRL date. However, it’s not out-of-place to ask for a date within a day or two of chatting — or even an hour or two if things are going brilliantly. If you’re really hitting it off and you’ve had a great conversation, it’s fine to say something like, “You seem really cool! Would you like to grab a beer/coffee/juice sometime?”
Don’t be too perturbed or offended if she says no — some women are cagey about meeting men from Tinder and may wish to wait a while before bringing it into the IRL realm, while others will relish the opportunity to meet in person. You really just have to try your luck by asking.
Where Should We Meet?
You are much more likely to convince a woman to meet with you IRL if you suggest meeting at a cafe or bar rather than at your house or hotel room. Even women who are interested in using Tinder for casual sex are unlikely to want to come straight to your bedroom, for a variety of reasons including her own safety. Remember, you two are essentially still strangers even if you’ve had a lively conversation on Tinder, so take things slowly and be sensible. In short, meet in public.
How Many People Actually Meet Through Tinder?
For fairly obvious reasons, it’s impossible to know with any certainty how many people are actually meeting up with their Tinder matches. But rest assured that it’s happening: ask any of your friends or coworkers who use the app and they can regale you with stories about their Tinder dates, both good and bad, and Tinder’s Twitter account even claims that the app is leading to a “sh*t ton” of marriages (although hard data is thin on the ground here).
So that’s how Tinder works: From swiping to crafting your profile all the way through to sending the perfect opener and setting up a great date, we’ve got you covered. Tinder can be as effective in finding a new relationship as more traditional dating sites like Zoosk. Stick to the advice above and you can’t go too far wrong.
It’s true that Tinder can be frustrating and that some users are time-wasters, but it can also be an incredible way to meet people who you would otherwise never have encountered. Once you have a handle on how the technology works, simple, timeworn techniques are still what it takes to make approaching women rewarding rather than scary. Be warm, interested and gracious in the face of rejection, and it’s hard to imagine things going too badly for you. Now get swiping!
Read the full WeightlossPlans review of Tinder here.
6. Tinder Alternatives
Of course, Tinder isn’t the only option out there, and in fact the user experience can be pretty exhausting. Tinder is hugely popular and has its perks — an intuitive interface, millions of users and the fact that most features are free, for a start — but there are real downsides, too, and the fast pace, unresponsiveness, superficiality and difficulty of transitioning into IRL might start to get you wondering what else is out there in terms of dating tools.
Well, there are plenty of other options if you know where to look. If you’re willing to pay to get a better experience, check out the following alternatives:
Match.com has all of the usual features of a reliable dating site, but one advantage that stands out in particular: you get a generous six-month money back guarantee. So, you can really experiment with how things are going for you and how much luck you’re having on the site before you have to truly commit — financially, that is.
While approval on the site is not instant and the month-to-month costs are higher than average once you are approved, you’re in for a strong user experience once you’re in the ranks: a continually improved algorithm guides your matches and incorporates user feedback and behavior, and new features are being added all the time.
Click here to check out Match.com.
Zoosk was voted the #1 dating site in WeightlossPlans’s awards for a reason: it has a large member base and user-friendly mobile app, a layout that’s easy on the eye and simple to navigate, and multiple options for promoting your profile and increasing your chances of getting matches.
You are going to need to do things the old fashioned way and browse profiles one-by-one, but, hey, that might actually be a good thing after the indiscriminate swiping that goes on on Tinder. Zoosk is well worth a try.
Click here to check out Zoosk.com.
Targeting a sophisticated, slightly older market, Elite Singles is the go-to site for serious and professional singles looking for a genuine connection.
The site uses a questionnaire that analyzes 29 character traits and matches you accordingly — there’s a commendable focus on personality rather than looks alone here — and while the signup process is admittedly lengthy, you’ll be browsing comprehensive profiles of women who are serious about dating once you’re in — no time-wasters or ghosters here!
Click here to check out EliteSingles.com.
On the sexier side, AdultFriendFinder is the go-to avenue if you’re looking to explore your fetishes, or if you’d like to facilitate various sexual arrangements online. It’s a reputable site with a large, loyal, open-minded membership — we’re not talking some sleazy internet corner here — and you can express your sexual self through profiles, blogs, webcams and more.
No one’s 100% sure on the male-to-female ratio (the data isn’t publicly available), but it’s worth checking out if you’re wanting to explore your more primal side in a safe environment.
Check out AdultFriendFinder
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