Social Media

Here’s How Facebook Dating Works

No, your mom can’t see your matches.

A woman turns on Facebook Dating to use the app's best features.
fotostorm/E+/Getty Images

You definitely weren’t expecting The Princess Switch 3 to inspire any romantic inclinations in you, but here you are, thinking about finding your royal match for cuffing season. And though you recognize it could have been the eggnog, the desire to make a connection has not faded. While most dating apps are built similarly — to make swiping easy, and sometimes mindless — some apps allow you to paint a fuller picture of yourself. If you don’t have the time or energy to fill out a detailed dating profile, but like the idea of using a service that takes your interests into account when connecting you with potential matches, Facebook Dating might scratch that itch.

Facebook Dating launched in 2019, but was updated in August 2021 with new features to accommodate post-lockdown life, like virtual dates. All you have to do is activate Facebook Dating from your preexisting account to cruise prospective lovers with the same ease as browsing through Facebook Marketplace for midcentury modern gems. Whenever you open Facebook on your phone, you’ll see notifications for your dating profile on the lower menu, just as you would for your Groups or Newsfeed. Here’s how to navigate the one-stop shop for a future soulmate.

How To Activate Facebook Dating

Facebook

Log into the Facebook app on your mobile device and tap the menu bar on the lower right corner. Under All Shortcuts, you’ll see Dating with a heart icon. Tap that. You can also access the Dating feature by typing "Facebook Dating" into the search bar on your Facebook app. The platform is only available on the Facebook apps for Android and iPhone — you can’t access it on your desktop. One you fill out your profile, you’ll find the Dating feature has been added to your shortcuts and will appear in the lower menu when you open the app.

Building Your Facebook Dating Profile

This private space will have no affiliation with your main Facebook page, so you can take advantage of the opportunity to present yourself differently than you would to family, friends, and co-workers. The only information you can’t change is your name and age, for verification purposes. You can edit your job, location, and school info.

Next, you’ll pick who you want to date, and then will be prompted with questions whose answers will be visible on your profile, like height, whether or not you have kids, or substance use. You can skip these questions if you don’t want to share, and you can always change your answers to these questions in Settings. Pick up to nine profile photos, and then you’re into the dating pool and can start swiping.

Facebook Dating

Tap the “Answer a prompt” pop-up to make your profile a bit more personal. You can pick from options like “My favorite time of day is...” and “Something I’m embarrassed to admit that I love is...”. In editing mode, you can also add an intro to appear in your dating profile to more explicitly state what you’re looking for or what you want people to know about you.

“Ideal Match” On Facebook Dating

Your “Ideal Match” is basically all of your high-priority traits in a partner, and will help Facebook’s algorithm surface stronger matches for you. Tap the Settings wheel in the upper right corner to edit your Ideal Match’s basics, like how far away they live, age range, languages spoken, religious beliefs, and more. You can note whether this is a “strong preference,” too. You can also tap General to link your Instagram, see suggested matches you passed on, and update your notification settings.

How To Start Swiping On Facebook Dating

At first glance of someone’s profile, you’ll see a photo, a first name, an age, a location, and an x and a heart. But scroll down and find things you might have in common, like events you’ve attended, groups you’re both in, and whether or not they’ve notified the app that they have a secret crush on you already. This is where Facebook Dating stands apart from other apps; this kind of backlogged information might help you make stronger or more informed connections.

Use The “Match Anywhere” Feature On Facebook Dating

With more people working remotely and thus living in new towns temporarily, the Match Anywhere feature allows you to add up to two additional locations so that you can cruise for matches at all of the places you’re splitting time between. You can update your locations by heading to your profile, tapping Edit, and then Dating Location.

Take A Lucky Pick On Facebook Dating

While you might think you know what you’re looking for, there’s always a chance that someone who might be outside of your filters could actually be very right for you. That’s why in August, Facebook introduced “lucky pick,” or prospective matches that are outside of your stated interests. Note that one of the preferences this feature ignores is distance, so your Pick might be someone who lives a few hours away,

Audio Dates On Facebook Dating

If you match with someone and want to get to know them better, you can send over an invitation for an audio call without leaving the app. It’s less personal than a traditional phone call, as it falls within the app’s Virtual Dates feature, but it’s more intimate than messaging back and forth. If they accept the call, your first name and profile photo with be displayed on the screen while you talk.