Not everyone can be a Tinderella.
Case in point: Once upon a time, I sent "Sucks to BU? *smiley emoji*" to a match who went to Boston University, the rival school to my alma mater, Boston College. That time... was one week ago.
I sent it and immediately put my head in my hands. No thank you, self. I hadn't been using the apps much as of late, but now I'm back to being single AF, forcing myself to make an effort with them. That being said, my game is rusty.
Tinder is an art form. From not being sure if using that profile picture will get you attention, to wondering if it's alright to mention death in your initial message, there's a lot of potential to mess up while trying to flirt with someone on dating apps.
Since we can't all be expert profile curators, Elite Daily spoke to Tinder's in-house sociologist, Dr. Jess Carbino, about the things you're probably doing on Tinder that are killing your game, and how to fix 'em.
1. You Only Open With "Hey"
"Hey" is a three-letter Tinder fail.
"Hey" is what my barista says to me when I'm about to order a coffee. According to Carbino, 20 percent of messages sent on Tinder begin with the word “hey,” which is 1-800-BORING. Can you be any more vanilla?
Starting with anything other than "hey" is an improvement, but just dive right in. Open with a question.
A question signals your interest, and your desire to learn more about the other person.
Carbino explains that "over 60 percent of men and 70 percent of women want to receive an opening line that signals investment - so ask about your match's vacation photo, comment on their Tinder anthem, or find out the name of the dog in their picture."
Asking your match a question not only shows your interest in them, but also piques their interest. They want to know about you simply because you wanted to know about them.
"People perceive investment based on whether their match talks to them or asks them questions about themselves," says Carbino. "Asking a question will help avoid any missed connections."
We're human, and we all love talking about ourselves, so just do that here.
2. You Sit Around Waiting To Be Messaged First
You've just matched with a very attractive gentleman.
He looks clean, has no man bun prominently featured, and he appears to be a doctor of some sort.
But that's it. Crickets. There are days of radio silence with no contact whatsoever. He looked like a gentleman, but never follows through like a gentleman would. You stare at his profile patiently waiting for a notification... or, you can woman up.
Make a move.
"How many times have you matched with someone you think you would really enjoy spending time with, simply to wait for them to start a conversation and it never happens?" says Carbino. "If they matched with you, they're clearly interested in talking, but they may be busy or too shy to send the first message."
So rather than let your dream guy go, take the initiative. Comb through his pictures, come up with a question you genuinely want to ask him, and go for it.
It's 2017, what guy wouldn't love to receive a message from a confident lady asking him about his skydiving trip?
3. Your Biography Is Bland (Or Nonexistent)
If your biography is blank (or just features your Instagram handle), someone swiping will assume that talking about the weather is about as deep as the conversation will get.
Don't be boring. It's not weird to write a sentence that describes yourself. In fact, it's pretty damn helpful to for the people swiping past you.
"Tinder users should make sure they are giving others a sense of their personality and interests through their bio," says Carbino. "This also helps encourage matches to message you because they have information from your profile to spark a conversation."
Again, the goal here is to give your match more to work off of. You could put that you're a "Chicago-raised lawyer seeking the best margarita in town" or something more playful like, "Life is short, I am not."
These are easy for a guy to engage with and display your personality at first swipe.
4. Your Pictures Don't Bring Anything To The Table
Sixty-three percent of men and 65.4 percent of women believe the opening line on Tinder signals investment. Make opportunities to show that investment by having something in your pictures to be asked about.
I know you wouldn't dare use a duck face in 2017, but if your picture rotation includes a tightly framed selfie, you with friends suckling rosé, and that professional work photo you have... well, it's time for a makeover.
"A photograph of a man surfing in Los Angeles is fairly common and does not allow users to understand how you differ from the 60 other men in your area that have photos of themselves surfing," says Carbino. "Around 20 percent of men and women prefer to send an observation about a person as their opening line, so give them something to talk about!"
Have you traveled anywhere cool? Do you have a picture where you're doing something outrageous for your job? Are you standing with a celebrity?
People always ask me about my picture with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem if they are a fan.
(Or, they ask if they should know who that bearded guy is... but that's still something!)
5. You Let Most Conversations Shrivel Up And Die
Following up on a message trail that has fizzled out a bit is not a sin. It doesn't mean you are giving up your lady power — it just means you are interested.
"An important strategy to use when the message trail has gone cold is re-engagement," says Carbino. "At times, people with whom you are corresponding are busy and they may have not responded because of their schedules. By sending a brief text to re-engage and follow up, you can keep the conversation going. This also helps establish investment."
There's that word again. Investment.
The key to anyone's heart is to pique their interest by showing yours. If you follow up with a guy who was messaging you, he will probably be impressed, and he will most definitely feel complimented by your initiative.
Wouldn't you be?
The first message you send sets a tone for the kind of dating you want to do, so send a grown up one.
If you're looking to find someone to share those hot summer nights with, get real with yourself and your Tinder game.
Remember, as weird as online dating may be, Tinder is not a crapshoot in which you wait around for your soulmate to "choose you," like Chatroulette. It only works if both parties actually engage with each other.
Tinder is about investment, and where you invest your time and energy will directly impact who you end up swapping messages with (and hopefully, dating).
The art of Tinder is difficult, but possible to master. With just a little effort, you'll be sipping drinks with that cute guy IRL in no time.