If you're dating in 2017, you're using at least one app. Apps are the new "Can I buy you a drink?" except they don't happen at a bar; they happen on a tiny rectangular screen. Recently, I've been trying to put myself out there, so I've partaken in some major swiping sessions. So major, in fact, that I've had a lot of "been there, done that" rematches across platforms. I live in a city of eight million people — how is this happening? And are there Tinder hacks for getting more matches?
Ever a perfectionist, I like being good at things. (Um, who doesn't?) Rematching with the same 20 finance bros does not make me feel like I am very good at navigating the Wild West of dating we call "the apps." Rather than complain any longer, I decided to speak to 14 experts. That's right, 14. (OK, so this perfectionism and overthinking might have have something to do with my singledom.)
In order to optimize responses, I asked each expert one question and one question only: "If you could give one piece of advice to women navigating the dating apps, what would it be?" The advice was all a little bit different, but very valuable. (This is why we ask 14 experts, no?) Here are the best pieces of advice, according to the pros:
1. Choose A Photo Where You're Smiling
"Make sure you look deliriously happy with a huge smile in your primary photo, instead of posting blurry shots, selfies, or pics with sunglasses," says cyber dating expert Julie Spira.
But I hate showing my teeth, and I love protecting my eyes from the sun! Still, closed mouths are best reserved for people you're not looking to have open mouths with in the future. (See what I did there?)
2. Be Open Minded When You Swipe
"I think a great tip is to be open-minded. Don't go into swiping with someone in particular in mind or your idea of the perfect partner," says Alex Williamson el-Effendi, Bumble's head of brand.
"I always encourage people to be open-minded, because you may meet the love of your life, or you may meet the person who connects you to the love of your life. In any case, you can meet people who introduce you to your city (restaurants, experiences, friends) in ways that help you get out of your social group."
Amen. Another possible benefit to going on a date with someone who isn't the love of your life: networking.
3. Refrain From Putting Up A Selfie
"A trick or word for the ‘wise' is to use a photograph that is the best, but accurate representation of yourself. Do not have friends in the pics with you and do not use a selfie — have a friend take a good picture of you or use a professional photograph," says Brooke Wise, founder of Wise Matchmaking.
While Wise specializes in offline matchmaking, her advice is great. Be really clear on what you actually look like. And to reiterate: Selfies are rarely that.
4. Put Up A Recent Picture
"Put pics of [you] being a real person. Clear and recent pictures that show [you] doing things [you] love," says dating coach John Keegan.
Nobody likes a catfisher, so while you looked bomb on Halloween 2013, maybe it's time to retire that pic.
5. Seriously, Put Up A Picture Where You Look Happy
"Researchers found that men are attracted to pictures of women that are smiling, inviting, and look like they are having fun. No real surprise here," says Dawn Maslar, award-winning author and dating expert.
You don't need to be double-fisting margaritas on a unicorn pool float, but this is a second vote for saving that resting b*tch face for catcallers on the street.
6. Go On The Apps More Often
"Log in everyday. Active users get a 10 percent boost in our algorithm," says Meredith Davis, head of communications at The League.
The more you swipe, the more you match; that's just math. And The League actually incentivizes you to log on more often. How 'bout that?
7. Be Authentic In Your Photos
"Don't try to come off as something you're not in the photo. If you're a serious student and never go out for a drink, it's better to post an accurate picture of you behind your laptop with your organic chemistry textbook open," says Lori Salkin, senior matchmaker and dating coach.
It seems counterintuitive, but here's the thing: If things work out with your match, they're eventually going to find out the truth, right?
8. Don't Get Too Weird In Your First Picture
"Use a photo of yourself that shows you with an open posture, smiling and doing something fun and original, but not too out of the ordinary," says psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Grant Brenner.
Of course you should let your freak flag fly once you get to know your match, but a pic of you taking your cat for a walk on a leash is perhaps a bit much when it comes to first impressions, you know?
9. Put Up A Picture That Says Something About Your Life
"Photos that show what your life is like will get you more swipes because it creates a connection with the other person," says Laurie Davis Edwards, founder of eFlirt.
You don't need to put your childhood bedroom on display, but a picture of you skiing out west or hiking in South America is definitely a conversation starter. (Because why is it that everyone who has been to Machu Picchu on the apps is also an avid skier?)
10. Write A Great Bio
"Say something witty in your bio/profile and end with a question. That way, it encourages people to respond," says Julia Bekker, dating expert at Hunting Maven.
People love giving their opinions, so give them something to have an opinion on, like "Where are the best tacos in the city?"
11. Open The Apps With A Positive Attitude
"Do whatever it takes to feel good about yourself before clicking on that dating app. Feeling love for yourself will attract more love — even if it means not clicking on the app for today so you can do what you need to do to feel better about yourself and your life," says dating coach Lindsay Chrisler.
I really think you need to love yourself before anyone else can love you, so don't go into the apps with a "Pick me!" mindset.
12. Consider A Professional Picture
"Have a fantastic profile pic. Get a professional one if what you have isn’t fantastic. You should be smiling and looking at the camera," says dating expert Meredith Golden.
Sometimes, professional photos can give off the "trying too hard" vibe, so maybe try to get a great "plandid" (planned candid) from the professional photographer at your friend's wedding next weekend?
13. Swipe On People You Normally Wouldn't
"Swipe liberally — there’s so little information on a dating profile that you really need to get past the match and into a chat/text to find out if someone is right for you," says certified dating coach Damona Hoffman.
Yes, the first swipe is inherently shallow. You've probably only looked at one or two photos of your potential match, so swipe on some people who might seem "off brand" from your type at first glance. You won't know what they're really like until you start chatting.
14. Finally, Consider If You Really Want More Matches
"More is not necessarily better when it comes to dating apps. Meeting quality men is much more important than the number of men you meet," says psychiatrist and dating expert Dr. Susan Edelman.
Too many matches can feel overwhelming on an app. Instead, focus your attention on one or two promising matches, invest some time, and get your buns on a real date sooner than later. So often the way we portray ourselves online is different than the way we come across in real life. So get out there and see if their pheromones smell good in real life.
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