This Sunday Will Be The Biggest Day For Dating Apps This Year

Experts reveal their top tips for the swipe-a-thon.

A woman with bleached blonde hair swipes for dating app matches on Dating Sunday, the biggest dating...
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It's time for the biggest holiday of the year — not Christmas, not New Year's, not even Arbor Day, but Dating Sunday. The day to find your true love and connect on a soul level. Or, at the very least, to find someone to FaceTime with. So, what is Dating Sunday? The first Sunday in January typically marks the busiest online dating day of the year. People spend it swiping, and chatting, and super liking — and it's been going on for quite a while now. Way back in 2017, for instance, Dating Sunday led to 44 million Tinder matches being made in a single day. And in 2018, Hinge reported that usage shot up by 22.5% on Dating Sunday.

Tinder told Bustle in 2018 the spike likely stems from the tradition of setting goals for the new year, as well as people being open to trying something new — like signing up for a dating app for the very first time. But these aren't the sites that experiences a huge surge in matches.

In 2021, OkCupid expects to see over 25 million new matches made in January alone, Melissa Hobley, the app's global chief marketing officer, tells Bustle, which is why you'll want to amp up your profile in preparation. Ready to get more matches on Jan. 3? Then read on below for some tips from the experts.


Fill Out Your Bio

An empty bio not only comes across as non-committal — or even a little bit creepy — it's also a wasted opportunity. According to a Tinder spokesperson, leaving your bio blank makes it difficult for others to connect with you and strike up a conversation. So go ahead and fill it out.

Answer the prompts on your dating app of choice, fill in the "About Me" section, and be sure to provide details about what you like and who you are as a person. Add your favorite books, what you do on the weekends, pepper in a few jokes — and just like that the matches will start rolling in.


Up Your Photos

If you're in the habit of uploading the same photos year after year, it's more than time for a refresh. According to Saskia Nelson, a professional dating photographer and founder of Hey Saturday, you'll want to scroll through your profile and decide whether your pics tell a story and help you stand out from the crowd.

This can quite literally come down to eye-catching colors. For example, most people wear neutrals like black in their profiles, which is why it might be helpful to include a photo of yourself wearing that amazing red sweatshirt you recently thrifted.

But it also has a lot to do with the types of photos you include. You'll want them to show off your interests, like the fact you go rock climbing, which is way more interesting than a snapshot from your friend's wedding. (Though one or two of those is OK, too.)


Show Some Teeth

While it's annoying to be told to smile, consider that a whopping 95% of daters on OkCupid prefer photos of people grinning, Hobley says. So while you can certainly include that iconic photo of yourself staring wistfully into the distance — because how could you not — consider throwing in a smiley one as well, and see if it draws matches in.


Take A Stand

2020 saw a huge rise in people posting hashtags — like #BlackLivesMatter — and having important conversations on dating apps. Hobley predicts it'll be even more common in 2021, since OkCupid research shows over 40% of Millennial women and almost half of Gen Z folks already consider themselves to be activists, and want a partner who shares these views.

While you might initially connect over favorite bands and movies, you'll probably want the conversation to go a little bit deeper, which is why taking a stand in your profile is key.


Mention If You're Open To Socially Distant Dates

2020 was the year of socially distant dates, which meant meeting up in parks and going on walks. (So many walks.) And the start of 2021 is shaping up to be more of the same.

If you're open to the idea of meeting up in person — and it's safe to do so in your area — be clear about it. According to Hobley, three in five daters are still down to go on mini adventures close to home.

Just make sure you talk about getting COVID tested and/or quarantining, first! Many dating apps are offering ways to update your testing status and/or start a conversation about it — like with ice-breaker questions — so you have an easier time broaching the subject.


Say Hey

According to data from Bumble, short and catchy first messages (of about 10 to 15 words) tend to be the most successful in getting a response, compared to long-winded messages. So if you want to up your game, and increase the odds someone writes back, keep this in mind.


Be Intentional With Your Swiping

For many people, swiping through dating apps has become a sort of reflex. You open them up without even thinking and, while barely paying attention, scroll through potential partners. It's an easy past-time, but if you're serious about getting more matches, experts recommend slowing down.

"Often when people use dating apps, they are ambivalent," Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, a relationship therapist, tells Bustle. "They [...] swipe through the apps when they are doing other things. They aren't paying that much attention because they assume that anyone who would be a good match for them will automatically jump out."

But that isn't the case! Instead, take the time to sit down and really read through people's profiles. Consider why they seem like they have potential, craft a great opening line, and reach out. Hopefully, all these tips will add up to a successful Dating Sunday — and lots of matches in the new year.


Saskia Nelson, professional photographer

Melissa Hobley, OkCupid's global chief marketing officer

Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, relationship therapist

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