Dating apps have become a standard way to meet someone when you’re single, so if you’re currently swiping or have done so in the past, welcome to the club. A 2019 survey by Pew Research found that 48% of U.S. adults aged 18 to 29 have used a dating app or site before — which means nearly half have taken to swiping through the dating pool at one point or another. And, if you want a serious partner rather than a hookup or friends with benefits situation, how you use the apps — including how you craft your profile and the way you communicate in messages — makes all the difference.
The first thing to remember when looking for a relationship in the digital world, according to master-certified relationship coach Amie Leadingham: Be patient. “Don't expect to find your soulmate after swiping right a few times. Finding someone who shares your values and is looking for the same thing as you takes time,” Leadingham tells Bustle. After all, patience is a virtue — and you can’t rush love.
Sifting through all of the profiles on Hinge or Bumble can bring anyone dating fatigue, especially when you’re using an app to find a long-term partner. So if you’re looking for your forever farmer’s market date, you’re in luck: Here, experts reveal their top dating app tips for finding a relationship.
1. Get Specific In What You’re Looking For
The sheer number of people you might need to swipe through in order to find suitable matches can be overwhelming, so Leadingham recommends first getting specific when creating your profile. “Be clear about your intentions from the start, and you'll be more likely to find someone looking for the same thing,” Leadingham says. “If you want an LTR, don’t be afraid to be upfront on your dating profile. Being honest will help weed out people not on the same page and invite the more serious prospects into your inbox.”
2. Be Picky With The Dating App You Use
The type of app you use can also have a notable effect on your success rate in terms of finding quality matches, says Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, a professor of sexual communication at California State University Fullerton and host of the Luvbites by Dr. Tara podcast. “Choosing the right dating app can help with weeding out people who only want to hook up,” she says, noting that Tinder has a reputation for being a “hookup app” (although that’s not the founder’s intention). “Bumble, Hinge, Match.com, Zoosk, and other paid apps are more suitable because if you're paying to date online, you’re probably pretty serious about finding a romantic partner,” Suwinyattichaiporn says.
3. Craft A Clear Bio
As the second thing someone sees when they come across your profile, writing a great dating app bio is critical — especially when you’re looking for love.
Beyond using it as a chance to show off your personality or sense of humor, Suwinyattichaiporn says that getting clear with what you’re really looking for in your bio can help sort out the profiles that aren’t a good fit. “Yes, you will get fewer matches — but quality over quantity,” she says. Although it may seem rudimentary, defining exactly what it is you do want out of your matches can be a good option as well. “You can say ‘Looking for long term relationships’ or ‘Not into short term or casual relationships.’ You can also be more clear about sexual expectations if that's your intention, for example, ‘I don't do hookups’ or ‘Emotional intimacy before sexual intimacy,’” Suwinyattichaiporn tells Bustle.
4. Define What You’re Looking For In A Partner
In addition to being clear that you’re looking for a relationship, Leadingham suggests adding in some specific traits that you’re looking for in a partner to your profile. “Including at least three values if you’re looking for a serious relationship is important,” she says. “For some examples, you could say, ‘family values,’ ‘willingness to volunteer with me,’ and ‘a passport filled with stamps.’” She also notes you should include the statement “Only looking for an LTR” in your profile. Narrowing your scope even further, rather than casting a wide net, is helpful for attracting the kind of people you want — and lessens the chance of matching with those you don’t.
Something to note: Although outlining your non-negotiables in your bio is a good step to finding a relationship on a dating app, Leadingham warns about sounding too jaded or demanding when you’re crafting yours. “What you shouldn't include in your profile is any negativity. Too many singles make the mistake of saying ‘no drama’ on their profile, which comes off very bitter and may show that they attract a lot of drama. Focus on positive statements, as like attracts like,” she says.
5. Send The Right Opening Line
Once your profile starts bringing in potential suitors, it’s time to get chatty. If you’re looking for a partner, Leadingham says to try connecting about the things you might have in common. “One of the best ways to start a conversation is by finding common ground by focusing on something you connect with on their profile,” she says. “It could be a travel photo or something they listed like ‘hanging with my family’ as one of their interests, so why not ask about how often they connect and what they love to do? This can help you better understand their reasoning and give you something to talk about later on.”
While you’re crafting the perfect opening line, Leadingham also reminds you to keep the flow of conversation going by asking open-ended questions. “When getting to know someone, asking questions that will elicit more than a yes or no answer is essential,” she says. “Instead of asking, ‘Do you like the outdoors?’ try asking, ‘What's your favorite thing to do outdoors?’” This strategy can also help if you meet someone great, but who turns out to be a bit of a dry texter.
6. Be Intentional In Your Messages
Suwinyattichaiporn also encourages you to not shy away from being upfront in your messages — in order to save both you and your match time and energy. “Outline what you're looking for by saying something like, ‘Hi! I'm excited about our match. TBH I'm looking for someone who is a good match romantically, spiritually, sexually, and financially, that has a similar lifestyle and shared values. Does this align with you?’”
No matter what, of course, do what feels right for you. Follow your intuition, stick to your standards, and remember that you are worthy of whatever kind of love you want.
Amie Leadingham, master certified relationship coach