Dating apps are nothing new or novel. In fact, over 320 million people worldwide used some dating app in 2021 alone. 20 million of those users even sprung for premium features.
But many of these people still struggle to connect with others and find a long-term partner. We’re here to help you with some tips and etiquette on how to use dating apps in hopes that you can beat those odds, and make a real connection.
1. Don’t Misrepresent Yourself
Everybody has that one picture they took five years ago. Where the lighting was just right, their outfit was perfect, and their hair was on its best behavior.
But if you meet a person through a dating app, they’ll meet you as you are today. So if you drastically changed your haircut, grew facial hair, lost or gained weight, or simply got older—don’t hide it.
No one likes to be catfished. And you want someone who’ll like you for who you truly are anyway, warts and all. So make sure your images give an accurate representation of how you look. You can read what research suggests are the best profile pictures. Additionally, don’t lie about your age or height.
2. Put Some Thought Into Your Bio
Especially if you’re on dating apps to find a relationship, don’t be lazy with your biography. If you want someone to make an effort with you, you have to set an example. So no prompts like “I’m overly competitive about: everything” or “how to get to know me: just ask”. You’re better than that.
3. Put Some Thought Into Your Messages
The same goes for sending the first message. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than a simple “hi” or “how was your weekend”. If your match wanted to tell someone about their weekend, they’d probably tell their friends. They’re not running to have a chit-chat with a total stranger.
Instead, look at their profile (you know, the detailed, thought-out one) and try to find something that interests you. Then try to start a conversation about that. Or send them a compliment about a photo that you enjoyed, but not a generic “I love your smile”. Be creative.
4. Don’t Demand an Answer (Or Feel Obligated to Answer)
As we’ve mentioned, a match on a dating app is still a stranger. You don’t know each other and don’t owe each other anything. So if you send someone a first message, and they don’t reply, let it go.
In most cases, it’s not about you anyway. Maybe they had a bad day, maybe they got back with their ex, maybe their phone doesn’t work, or maybe they changed their minds about dating. If you try to get a reply from them, in most cases you’re not going to like it anyway.
In the same way, you don’t have to answer anyone if you don’t feel like it. We’re talking about people you haven’t met in person yet. And you don’t owe them any explanations.
Social media has made it pretty easy to locate people outside of dating apps. Sometimes, people will connect their Instagram to Tinder, and you can simply click through. Other times, you can find them with their name and other information from their profile.
But if someone didn’t specify that they want to connect outside the app, don’t do it. It’s just creepy. It’s even more creepy, and even scary if you didn’t match in the first place, or they blocked you. This means they don’t want to talk to you, so move on.
If you’re the one who feels uncomfortable, make sure to read up on tips to help you stay safe while online dating.
6. Don’t Send or Ask For Nudes
Remember we said that nothing is a bigger turnoff than sending “hi” as your first message? We lied. Actually, sending an unsolicited picture of your genitals to a person you haven’t met is unacceptable.
While some people may enjoy risqué messages, trust needs to be established. Don’t let someone to push you into this and don’t pressure anyone else to take part either.
7. Actually Schedule a Date
Let’s say you’ve been chatting for several days. You enjoy each other’s witty comments and have great banter. It’s time to take the relationship out into the real world. No one is here looking for a pen pal.
Whatever connection you’re after, whether it’s a hookup or long-term relationship, it won’t happen over text. And if you don’t see it going anywhere, cut it off and spare the other side. Don’t waste both of your time.
8. Don’t Ghost After the First Date
If you don’t reply to a person you have never met, there’s no harm done. But once you both made the effort to put on nice clothes, commute, and pay for drinks, the least you can do is let them know it’s not a good match and that you wish them the best.
And if you did like them, don’t wait three days to let them know. Be honest and text them the morning after the date that you’d like to see them again. Worst case, they don’t feel the same, and you’ll get your answer right away instead of having to wonder for the rest of the week.
Enjoy Yourself and Don’t Take Dating Too Seriously
The most important part about online dating is to not set your expectations too high. Not every person you meet will be “the one” (by definition, there is only one). First, you have to get to know them and see if you even like them.
So treat dating apps as a way to meet new people, and maybe even go to new places and experience new activities in the process. If you find the one, that will be a happy result.