I've been on close to 250 Tinder dates since originally downloading the app back in January 2013. I consider myself to be a pioneer, of sorts.
This fact is typically followed up with grunts of frustration or questions from peers about how horrible the dates were. Quite frankly, I've only been on one bad Tinder date, and I 100 percent expected the date to go exactly as poorly as it did.
You get what you put out in this world, and the same goes for online dating. In order to attract the people, experiences and relationships you want on Tinder, focus on how you're presenting yourself online.
Over the last few years of crushing Tinder, here are a few key takeaways on how to attract the people and experiences you're aiming for:
I can tell by a guy's profile picture if we're going to have chemistry, whether it will be platonic, purely sexual FWB status or future bae status. I know what you're thinking, but hear me out.
Your profile photo is everything. It should always be current and represent your personality and values. I define a current photo as any photo taken of me within the last month.
I can't believe I even have to say this, but include your face in your profile photo and feel free to cover your friend's faces with emojis to respect their privacy and avoid confusion.
When I first moved to LA, I decided to cut my hair into a cute pixie cut an hour before meeting up with a date for the first time. Bold, right? I was super self-conscious that he would look at me as some sort of catfish, as my profile contained six photos of me traveling that month with long hair. I made sure to communicate this dramatic change via text and headed to our date.
Being in the land of the superficial, and unsure of how I even felt about my first-time pixie, I was pleased when my date lit up when he saw my hair. Our date rocked, and it quickly led to my best and most influential relationship to date.
You only get six profile photos, so chose them wisely. I tend to use photos of me by myself experiencing things I would like to share with a partner. Whether you enjoy traveling, dive bars, mustaches or reading, someone else out there wants to enjoy these passions with you. You just have to give them a hint.
During months of unemployment, I still kept my occupation as a freelance writer. Why? Because that's what I am. I have supported myself fully for months at a time off of my writing.
At the same time, being unemployed is nothing to be ashamed of. These days, an increasing number of jobs aren't posted online and are filled through referrals. Talking about your unemployment status may actually lead to an introduction to a connection, or even a job opportunity.
Additionally, in the land of the gig economy, someone calling themselves an entrepreneur does not completely discredit them. In LA, I meet people of all sorts of life who are gainfully self-employed entrepreneurs. Whether you're building an app, walking dogs or dancing at a bar for money, to each their own. And quite honestly, the most important part of my relationships and who I meet isn't defined by how they make a living.
But at the same time, there is a fine line. Calling yourself the co-founder of a startup when you don't even have an LLC, let alone landing page is slightly offensive and for sure crossing the line.
Always put your legal name or the name your peers know you by. If you make a separate Facebook account with a different name and use it on Tinder, things can get weird. Imagine showing your friend the cutie you matched with online, just to find out you have friends in common and they're lying about their name. Awkward much?
Also, if you're making a second Facebook account strictly for Tinder to avoid running into matches on Facebook, your thought process is flawed. That's a Facebook algorithm that connecting your contacts with Facebook, and then pulls them into your "People You May Know" section.
Simple fix: Don't give someone your phone number until they pass the first date test. There's nothing wrong with keeping your interactions within the app. If a date goes poorly, it's pretty simple to message the person, thank them for their time, explain how you felt and un-match them.
Don't lie about your age. Tinder isn't broken. We understand why many of you lie about your age. You do it to make sure you're not being filtered out because of your age. I see this a lot with guys in their 30s.
If you're going to lie about your age, you're already starting off on a bad foot. Stop chasing approval of the wrong people. By lying about your age you're already starting off on the wrong foot by attempting to attract the wrong women. The reality is you can't force someone to like you, and if someone is willing to write you off as a loss because of your age, just keep swiping.
Plus, lying isn't cool and will lead your partner to wonder what else you're capable of lying about. I once caught a friend of mine in the act. He had two Tinder accounts with two names and two different ages on his profile. Neither of them were accurate.
You get 500 characters, which is a ton to work with, but keep in mind that only about 230 characters will show “above the swipe," or "above the fold," as they call it in journalism. It's the amount of text a person will see without scrolling down on your profile, which makes the first half of your profile the most important.
It's not about what you're doing now, it's about how you got there. Share a line or two about how you ended up where you are now. Mine says, “I'm one of those Millennials who quit their job, traveled for three months and moved to LA on a whim. #DigitalNomad." I'm looking for thrill seekers and people with a passion for remote work.
Be direct. I personally enjoy when I know what someone's looking for before I swipe. “Looking for people to explore dive bars and speakeasies with," is a perfect example. Knowing what someone else is into for fun is important, and will attract people that are either interested sharing these experiences with you.
If you're only in town for the weekend, make that sh*t clear. I personally think it's the worst when I match with someone, start a great conversation, and suddenly have to ask why they're currently 2,000 miles away just to find out they were in town for one weekend. Some people are looking for love or friends in their local area. Respect that.
If you're using Tinder for threesomes, make it clear. You can't force someone to be your third wheel, but trust me when I say there are tons of people who are interested in joining you and your partner if you make it clear to them.
Write in your voice. Stop letting your friends write your profile for you. Mention things you're passionate about. I personally love politics, so I don't shy away from a good old fashioned political joke.
And one more thing, ditch the “new to this” and “Tinder sucks” lines. If you think Tinder sucks so much, I have a solution. Delete Tinder, and let the people who are interested in enjoying themselves have fun and carry on.
Keep calm, carry on and happy swiping, y'all.