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Tinder has become a one-stop shop for young people who are looking to date, hook up or simply check out who else lives in their area, and frontrunner online dating sites like pof.com are starting to pale in comparison to the popularity of apps like Tinder, which are potentially becoming a more efficient way to meet romantic prospects. There are an estimated 50 million people using Tinder today, and Tinder has boasted that the app has caused over 8 billion "connections" to occur since it launched in 2012 — although it's not clear whether "connections" means matches, IRL meetings, a combination of the two or something else altogether.
Tinder now constitutes such a large part of the dating world that, for many young people, it is the dating world: an always-available, pocket-sized method for finding the woman of your dreams — or, at the very least, a regret-free hookup. However, many men still have plenty of questions about dating with Tinder: What should the app be used for? What's the perfect first Tinder message once you've matched with your dream girl? And, perhaps most importantly, how do you land an IRL date? Well, we've compiled a comprehensive guide to dating with Tinder to help you understand the app intimately, so read on for all the answers:
- 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
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've decided you want to start using Tinder, you need to begin by creating the best profile possible. First things first: Yes, your pictures matter, perhaps more than anything else. Tinder is largely a looks-based endeavor, but there is room for providing some deeper information about yourself: you can include a bio (as we'll discuss soon), and Tinder now allows you to link your Instagram and Spotify accounts to your Tinder profile, so that potential matches can get a sense of your music tastes and personal interests.
So what should the perfect Tinder profile look like?
It's important to paint a flattering (but not misleading) picture of yourself in your profile, and it will help to kick things off with a clear, well-shot, smiling head shot. It's preferable 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. Group shots are even worse as a lead, but you can stack the odds in your favor with a pic of you holding an adorable cat or dog — think twice before adding yet another fish or tiger, though!
RELATED: How A Bad Tinder Profile Photo Can Ruin Your Dating Chances
If that all seems like too much hard work, Tinder has an opt-in feature called Smart Photos. If you turn this feature on in the "Edit Info" section, Tinder will continually test each of your photos for the level of engagement they receive, and ensure that your most successful picture appears first. If you want your picture order to be in the hands of Tinder's algorithm magic, select this option, but if you want to retain control, make sure it is deselected.
It pays to take advantage of all six photo spots Tinder allows you, so that you can give as wide as possible an impression of what you look like and get up to for fun. Your pictures are giving away crucial information about you, whether you're squatting in the gym, splayed out on a beach with friends, chugging back beer at the game or gazing adoringly at your beloved puppy. Be honest! There's no point in giving the impression that you're a party animal if you're really a bookish, stay-at-home type: It's not going to be a sustainable front to keep up, and besides, why would you want to alienate the bookish, stay-at-home girl of your dreams?
Finally, it's optional but highly recommended that you include a bio, which can be up to 500 words. It's lazy to have nothing at all, but err on the side of relative brevity: There's an unattractive tendency for some men to use their bios as an opportunity to gripe about women, including long tirades about the type of women they're not looking for ("swipe left if you take duck face selfies, wear wedges, use emojis or eat kale.") Remember that you control who can match with you, so there's no need to list what you don't want, and it can be pointlessly limiting to do the reverse, too — "I love redheaded, freckled cat-lovers with university degrees who can cook" is very specific, and comes across as a little entitled.
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
The next thing that users sometimes find confusing when embarking on their Tinder journey is the whole concept of swiping. It's ostensibly a simple process: When faced with any particular Tinder user in your queue, you can swipe left to indicate that you aren't interested, meaning that you definitely won't be a "match," or you can swipe right to indicate that you are keen to be matched up with this user. If you've swiped right, you'll only be "matched" with this user if she has also swiped right on you. Simple enough, right? Well, hang on a minute, because Tinder has introduced a lot of new features, some of which take a bit of getting used to:
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.
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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 girl you were crossing your fingers over, and now you're in the enviable position of being able to message her. Don't get complacent at this point: You can make or break the match depending on your approach, and a dud 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. The women you've matched with are likely to have dozens of other matches, most of whom will be approaching with a tired, “Hey”, or, “How are you?” There’s no need to overcook it by opening with a novel, but it will work in your favor if you approach her in a friendly, novel and interested way that stands out.
A disappointing number of men on Tinder think it's appropriate to start a conversation with lewd innuendo and "compliments" right off the bat, such as variations on the below theme:
Guys, please: Don't start a conversation like this. Not every woman is on Tinder looking for casual sex, but even those who are keen on a no-strings hookup are unlikely to be swept off their feet by a rude and juvenile approach.
So, how do you open instead? A simple, effective way to open is by referencing something she's mentioned in her bio. Has she said that she loves football? Ask her about her favorite team and build in some friendly banter. Does her bio suggest she's new to the area? Inquire about what prompted the move, and where she came from. You can comment on her pictures, too, but avoid a dogged focus on her appearance. Try something like, "Hey, you've got a great smile! Where's that beach in your second pic?"
If you find yourself pleading into a void, it's time to move on.
This should go without saying, but make your approach flirty and friendly, rather than hostile and defensive. "Negging," the strategy advocated by self-described pick-up artists, is a really bad idea in person, but might be even worse on Tinder, where users can simply unmatch you with a tap of the finger.
Moreover, some men wear their fear of rejection on their sleeves, and open with defensive, passive-aggressive lines: "Quite a lot of selfies you've got there," "I guess I'll get the ball rolling because women never start talking first," and so on.
Don't dump your frustrations about rejection onto your poor, unsuspecting 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 conversation flowing. You'll be happier and she'll be happier, and whether or not it leads to a date, at least you will both have had a pleasant exchange.
5. Tips For Landing A Tinder Date
Hopefully your first move (or her first move!) has progressed into a natural, lively conversation, and you're now contemplating setting up your first date. It can be a useful first step to exchange phone numbers so that you can text or chat on WhatsApp or iMessage, 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.
Like it or loathe it, it looks like Tinder is here to stay. The app is a nebulous beast, used by millions of people for a variety of purposes ranging from sheer boredom to horniness to a desire to find a marriage prospect. It can take a while to get into the rhythm of things and get your head around the various features and idiosyncrasies of the app, but once you do, Tinder will no doubt prove to be a novel and effective way to meet people in your area. Good luck, and get swiping!