Superficial. Ridiculous. A sign we’re devolving as a species. Whatever your thoughts are on Tinder, the fact is, it’s pretty damn popular. The dating app currently boasts over 600 million swipes each day, leading to 6 million daily matches, and shows no signs of cooling off anytime soon. So if your goal is to meet young, cute, single people in your area, it’s probably about time you got good at leveraging the app.
Dos and donts
Just because Tinder is the best wingman you can get doesn’t mean that it’s automatically going to work for you. In other words, even though Tinder’s on your side, you can still fuck it up. According to the Tinder-friendly ladies out there, following these Do’s and Don’ts should put you in good stead:
DO keep your info basic
The only real place Tinder gives you to screw up is in the tagline, a short phrase meant to entice. This where simplicity is your friend. Guys who try to communicate what they’re looking for — or, instead of casually introducing themselves, post awkward TMI — get overlooked.
“Artist*Free Spirit*Truth Seeker” is an example of a tagline that’s probably not going to earn a lot of clicks. Similarly, “deep” quotations that might be found on a high school graduation page probably won’t send anyone into a tizzy, nor will boastful lines meant to express that you’re a catch. Witty and simple are the name of the game here.
DO choose your photos wisely (you only get five)
This means the photo where you’re in shadows and wearing glasses and a hat needs to go. Similarly, that urge you have to show what you do for a living — which causes you to choose a photo where you’re doing stand-up comedy, futzing around with a video camera or coming out of the courtroom — is probably better off suppressed. Here’s an app that allows all of us to forget what we do for a living, so why not just show what you look like, then let us ask you what you do once we meet up?
DO remember that Tinder is a game played at warp speed
With online dating sites, there’s a rhythm and a sort of cat-and-mouse dynamic in which both parties try not to look too eager or desperate. Days can pass between messages. Tinder is all about the immediate response. If you get a message that a girl you clicked “yes” on also clicked “yes” on you, this is not the time to play it cool or wait for her to reach out. Write her immediately, and if she responds right then, keep the dialogue going. If you don’t strike while the Tinder iron’s hot, she might go find a new ironing board altogether.
DON’T let insecurity stop you from signing up
I have several male friends — wonderful, hilarious, charming guys — who have said that they’re not good-looking enough for Tinder. And I have told them what I’m now telling you: that’s ludicrous. Women aren’t as looks-oriented as guys seem to think (see my last piece for more on how women view your profile). What we really care about is that you’re pre-screened.
So if you’re insecure about your looks — especially if you’re insecure about your looks — take this opportunity to get in with the women you want simply by virtue of the fact that you share friends and then win them over with what really matters: personality.
DON’T assume that because Tinder is a lot more casual than Match, you can get by with making no effort at all
Sending a message such as “Your hot” — or, say, “UR hot” — is what’s known as not making an effort. Also, don’t troll for clients using Tinder, no matter what your job is. (Apparently the casting people for Millionaire Matchmaker have Tinder accounts, and when they see women they think might be right for the show, they do the old heart click.) There are plenty of other ways for all of us to get our jobs done. Why not let the dating apps stay dating apps?
DON’T message back-and-forth forever
You know what I just said about warp speed? Take that into consideration as you lob those messages to and fro. This is not the time to find out about her hopes and dreams or see how she feels about full moons. This is the time to close.
After you’ve established that you have a rapport, why not initiate a plan? This is a girl who’s on a dating app that’s been called the straight version of Grindr (more on that in a minute), which means that she’s into immediacy. When it comes to Tinder, the slow-charm route runs a high risk of being the no-charm route.
DON’T assume that Tinder is the same as Grindr
Here’s the thing about straight women: we don’t, for the most part, decide that we’re unbelievably horny and open an app to find a nearby hot person to scratch that itch ASAP. So don’t just invite her over to your place before you’ve learned her last name. Asking her out may seem like a more circuitous route, but it’s going to get you what you actually want a lot more effectively. (And no one says you can’t suggest the bar down the street from your place.)
Tinder-busting tips from the Tinder expert himself
We asked Tinder expert Blake Jamieson — president of the new service Tinder Done for You and a man who once “hacked” Tinder to get over 2,000 matches overnight — to give us his top 10 Tinder-busting tips. Note: They generally work better in bigger cities — dense populations mean many hot options within a short radius.
Think outside the box
“When I started using Tinder after moving to Phoenix, I got an idea to try to tweak my profile picture with Photoshop to basically make it look like I was endorsed by Tinder and I was the match of the day,” says Jamieson. “I thought that girls would think it was funny. And then just to see how well it did, I was swiping right on everyone. Quite quickly. And it did really well.”
“You basically make a message that seems like it’s very in-context and relevant to that particular person, but in reality you can send it to 20 people.”
Set up a game in your bio
“There’s a line in Starsky & Hutch where Owen Wilson says, I like your style. And Ben Stiller says, I like your moves. So I basically put a challenge at the end of my very short bio where I said: If I said ‘I like your style,’ what would you say back? (There’s only one correct answer.) And I got tons of messages from girls. Most of them didn’t get the answer right. But a lot of them wanted to try it.”
Send mass messages that seem personal
“Tinder has all of these expressions like, You can tell your kids that you met on Tinder. So something that I learned from my business partner Scott Valdez is that you can basically play off these messages. For example, you could say, Tinder says we can tell our kids that this is where we met, but I don’t want kids. You basically make a message that seems like it’s very in-context and relevant to that particular person, but in reality you can send that message to 20 people.”
Get a friend’s thoughts on your bio and pictures
“Everyone is their own biggest critic. It’s honestly easier for me to go in and look at someone else’s profile and say, OK, these are the things that could be done better than it is for me to look at my own profile and do the same thing. From the inside sometimes it’s just so hard to see certain things that are obvious to an outsider. So when you get a friend coming in and giving feedback, it’s really valuable.”
Move the conversation off Tinder as quickly as possible
“There’s kind of this awkward barrier where you’re in this app, and ultimately you want to meet up, but usually that has the intermediary step of getting her phone number. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to say, What’s your phone number? I’ll text you. A good way to play that off is to say, Hey, I always forget to check this app, maybe we can continue this conversation over text.”
Use Facebook to your advantage
“Another option is moving the conversation to Facebook first, which tends to work really well because it shows that you’re a real person. You can look at more pictures of them, they can look at more pictures of you, and they can see that you have all these things going on in your life and you aren’t just some random dude with only a couple of pictures on Tinder. So Facebook works really well as far as establishing trust.”
Once you get a phone number, strike fast
“Usually on Tinder, if it’s gonna happen, it’ll happen quickly. So if somebody on Tinder gives you their phone number, that shows there’s interest. You want to turn that around into a meeting pretty quickly. I’m not saying that you should text her immediately and just say, Hey, wanna get coffee tonight? but I’d say you should probably contact her that same week.”
Keep the first meeting light
“If you’re going on first dates trying to feel out a relationship, you might not want to put hours of planning and hundreds of dollars into something where there might not be chemistry. So public places like a coffee shop or a bar are good spots to meet. You could also do a picnic in the park or something like that. Which might be more original than a Starbucks, but it’s still not costing you an arm and a leg.”
Have someone else do all this for you
“Tinder Done for You launched in June. It’s just like the name says. Ideally, the clients do the swiping and choosing which women they like, because that’s very subjective. But then, after a consultation, we’ll write their bio, select their best pictures and basically help that person put their best foot forward in terms of their profile. Then we’ll do the messaging with matches and get the conversation offline and onto a date as quickly as possible.”
Have extremely white teeth
“I guess I just have good genes. I don’t use Crest White Strips or anything. I just use this regular Arm & Hammer toothpaste. I also don’t drink a lot of coffee or soda. I think that helps.”