Tinder is often villainized as “the hookup app.” When in reality, it was created for users to "connect" with “new and interesting” people around you — or so the website says without sarcasm. While it would be naïve to suggest a great percentage of Tinder’s users aren’t seeking sex and only sex, the truth of the matter is that there are indeed people looking for love on Tinder, too. In fact, I’m an example. I met my girlfriend on Tinder — though she’s not exactly fond of admitting how she and I met (due to the aforementioned villainization), so she dances around the answer and ultimately manufactures a semi-true story.
I reached out to the Tinder Society’s resident Wing-Woman and author of Nailed It , Kristi Allain, to suggest strategies we can use to find love — not sex — on Tinder.
The Tinder Society, for those unfamiliar, is a group of well-trained and respected “Tinder Hackers” who’ve turned the art of dating on the app to a science, of which they want to share with us, the Tinder-using public. “The trick is to know how to spot the right person, and to be the right person yourself," Allain says.
1. Show the real you.
Love is about finding someone who likes you for who you are. Speed up the process of finding this person by letting them see the real you in your profile. Don’t hide your face, cover it with tons of makeup, or use crazy filters in your pictures. If they're only attracted to you because of a filter, they're not your soulmate.
2. Tell stories that showcase your values and best qualities.
If you're crushing on one of your matches, the best way to show them what a catch you are is through storytelling. Stories allow you to cast yourself in a positive light and flaunt your most attractive qualities.
Here's how to do it: Imagine your perfect partner. Make a list of the qualities they might look for in a partner, and circle the ones that you possess. Then, find stories you can tell about yourself that showcase these qualities. For example, you could tell a story from a recent trip to show your sense of adventure.
3. Don’t speak negatively about others.
People often look for a love interest who gets along well with others; someone who can be trusted. How can you show that you fit the bill? When messaging your match, stay open-minded and don’t be quick to judge or criticize. Try not to complain about your boss, your mother, or your best friend. You don't want your match to think that dating you means drama. Likewise, trash-talking your ex or past Tinder dates will only show them that you're still not over it. It's best to keep the language in your bio positive, as well. Don't make sweeping judgments or say things that will make you seem bitter.
4. Show that you are multi-faceted/multi-dimensional.
You’re more likely to swipe right on someone who you can imagine fitting into your life. When you see images of someone participating in a shared interest, that makes it much easier to visualize a future together. Set yourself up for success by showcasing a variety of your interests in your Tinder profile pictures. You want to attract someone who likes you for you. There's no need to include any of the above ideas if they do not fit into your true self. Be authentic and you will attract like-minded, authentic matches.
Your bio is another opportunity to show some personality. A well-written bio is a catalyst for thoughtful conversation. It shouldn’t read like a resume, nor should it rattle off a dozen things “you don’t want.” Rather, keep it short and sweet, and give your match something to talk about.
Lastly, you can also use the "Moments" feature to share pictures of things that are important to you. When a match “likes” your moment, it shows up in your conversation log. This can be an excellent icebreaker to talk about shared interests.
5. Inquire about about their goals and passions.
Once the messaging gets started, ask questions to find out what your match is passionate about. What drives them? For example, "What’s the most important value in your life right now?” or “What are your long-term goals and short-term goals?" These are great ways to get to know someone better, which will empower you to be better able to spend time with matches who are compatible with your own ambitions. This is not the kind of thing you want to open a conversation with, but certainly worth learning about. If it doesn’t come up before a date, don’t be afraid to have the conversation in-person.
6. Message first.
To increase your chances of finding love, send the first message inviting him or her to have a conversation with you. Many people won’t send the first message because they’re afraid the other person won’t even respond or they don’t know what to say. Just because you make the first move doesn’t mean you have to lead the whole relationship.
Some people think that if they message first, it shows that they’re lower value. This isn’t true. If they don’t respond because you sent the first message to break the ice, they probably aren’t relationship material anyway. This will help you find mature matches and weed out the players more quickly.
7. Learn how to spot the red flags.
Looking for love on Tinder can be time consuming, and if you don’t know which red flags to look out for, it’s easy to waste time on prospects that are less than promising. In the interest of saving time, here are the types you may want to avoid:
- They make sexual references or only message you at night instead of asking you on a proper date
- They overcompensate by bragging or being cocky in their bio
- They use cheesy, generic pick-up lines
- They start the conversation by telling you how hot you are
Their pictures include any of the following: bathroom selfies, pictures that don't show their face, pictures with their ex with the face edited out, or a profile that only has one picture. You should also look out for profiles that include more than one of the following: they’re shirtless or half-naked, multiple pictures with someone who could very well be their significant other, group shots, photos taken in clubs, gym pictures, etc.
8. Learn how to spot the keepers.
As you swipe through a potential match’s pictures, pay attention to their surroundings. Notice where they hang out and who they hang out with. The way they dress in their pictures will also say a lot about their maturity level. Use this information to decide whether they could make a compatible match. For example, don’t swipe right for someone with camping and rock climbing pictures if you can’t stand the outdoors.
9. Go on more dates.
Tinder is a numbers game. The sooner you can accept that (and use it to your advantage), the sooner you will surround yourself with the highest caliber dates. When a conversation is going well, don’t be afraid to move the conversation off Tinder, or even suggest meeting in person. Getting some face-to-face time will make it much easier to identify potential attraction.
A date doesn’t have to last all night. In fact, it does not have to be at night at all. Meeting for lunch or coffee on a weekend afternoon is a great way to ensure that it won’t drag on for hours (unless of course, you want it to). If the date turns out to be uninteresting or just not a good match, you still have the rest of the day for yourself. This can even be used for a second date with a new prospect.
10. Change your beliefs about finding love on Tinder.
Although it might sound cliche, your beliefs and attitude will shape the reality around you. If you believe that finding love on Tinder is impossible, then it will be. If you believe Tinder is full of "fakes" and "creeps," you'll keep encountering them. Be confident that Tinder is a place where you can find a diamond in the rough. After all, you’re a catch, and you’re on Tinder.
Images: anatoliycherkas/Fotolia; Giphy (10)