In the fast-paced (and arguably superficial) world of the popular mobile dating app, Tinder, a user can only use a few photos to measure potential compatibility with another person. But contrary to the related criticism that Tinder is only based on immediate physical attraction, a photo can communicate a lot about a person.
Next time you're browsing the app, as you scroll through your potential matches, keep in mind that what you’re seeing is the version of the person that he wants you to see.
Each guy chooses specific photos from all the choices available on his Facebook profile. Thus, the golden rule of online dating is: The photos do not necessarily accurately represent a person so much as they accurately express the kind of person for whom the person is looking.
Because of this, it is totally warranted to judge a book by its cover by swiping "yes" or "no" based on little more than a few photos. Below are just a few of the qualities I can glean from a guy’s profile just from looking at his photos:
1. Who he's with in the photo.
I have seen more than one guy post a picture of himself surrounded by beautiful blondes in bikinis while he grins like an idiot.
There is no way that this guy thinks that this kind of photo will grant him anything close to a meaningful relationship with a smart and beautiful woman. But obviously, he’s not looking for a meaningful relationship with a smart and beautiful woman.
He's likely using that photo to weed out women who aren’t interested in a one-night stand. Swipe left (i.e.: Tinderspeak for "no way").
This example is extreme, so let's consider other options for how to navigate when a guy’s not alone in his photo:
-If he’s holding the same baby in two or more of his photos, I must assume it's his and swipe left.
-If one of his photos features him holding a woman intimately, I must assume he has no tact, or that he and his sister have a really weird relationship. Either way, swipe left.
-If there are no pictures of him with any other people at all, I might assume he doesn't have any friends and may swipe left.
-If his main picture features him with a bunch of same-sex friends, it's probably because one or more is more attractive than he is, and he thought he could fool me. Swipe left.
2. Where he is.
It's not a deal breaker if one of his photos was taken in a bar (or even several). However, if he's seemingly proud of a photo in which he looks totally trashed at some pool party, or is covered in whipped cream or some other substance, or obviously stoned, he's looking for a party girl.
If he has a lot of pictures in exotic places, it shows he's adventurous and enjoys travel — points for that.
3. What he's doing.
Any of the following qualify for an automatic swipe left:
-He is holding a gun in any of his pictures.
-He is riding a tractor.
-He is pumping iron.
-He is climbing mountains in all of his photos.
4. Pictures of other things that aren't him.
If he posts photos of objects (that don’t also feature him in the image), it leads me to believe that he doesn't have good pictures of himself, or that he isn't attractive. Some perplexing examples I’ve come across:
-A car or motorcycle: he is obviously trying to compensate for something — and I am not impressed.
-A picture from his vacation of the ocean.
-A pet: He might as well post text instead that says "I don't have much to offer, but I do have this really cute cat!"
5. Other miscellaneous disqualifiers:
-He's wearing a “wife beater” or he posted a mirror selfie.
-He's wearing Oakley sunglasses.
-He's holding a beer or a shot in EVERY picture.
-Tattoos cover his whole body.
The beauty of Tinder is that it is so simple and efficient, so take a look at your own profile: What do your photos imply about you? What messages are you sending?
You may be looking for a casual hookup, friend with benefits or other kind of partner, but whatever it is, there are people out there looking for the same things as you. All you have to do is find them.
Top Photo Courtesy: Tinder