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Tinder 101

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

The bar is bubbling and alive with music. One girl I don’t know at the end of the table begins stating how dumb dating apps are and that they fundamentally don’t work. Someone else agrees how they only re-enforce hook up culture.

Thing is I have had amazing luck with the dating app Tinder. I am currently dating an amazing man I met there. He does annoy me though because I was his first match and his first date so he gets bragging rights. Quite a few friends have asked me to write about how I get it right so lets go!

This is on finding how you truly connect and how to approach dating online. A lot of these tricks really work for all dating and I encourage you to apply them to daily life.

1. Your Profile!

Your online profile on a dating app is your first impression. It is an important step in starting, so often people make basic mistakes on their profile which cause the conversation to stop before it starts. Ensure all your photos aren’t exactly the same. Variety is key. Often the photos we love are not the photos people love about us.

If you’re struggling with which photos to begin with ask your family and friends which is their favourite recent photo of you. Go on facebook and see which of your profile pictures got the most likes that was taken within the last six months.

A good formula to work with is:

1 photo close up photo showcasing your smile

1 full body photo

1 photo with no make up

1 photo doing an activity you love

1 group photo (this should never be your first photo)

and then add the photos you really love be it of you travelling, with friends or your beloved pets.

2. your Bio!

A bio is your personality in a paragraph. A seemingly impossible yet possible feat!

This is a more nuanced and unique part of your profile. Ways to help you figure it out is to ask people close to you for three words that describe you. For example if you get told you are: funny, smart and cheesy. Then that can help you on what to point out.

Also think of some of the things you love. For example are you a pizza connoisseur? Do you collect photos of every dog you see? Do you love pokemon? Game of thrones?

One of my favourites I’ve seen on dating apps is ‘pillow fort expert’ the point of these is to help people online see what you are interested in. The bio is a great incentive to finding like minded people and for conversation starters! Which leads us to the next step!

3. starting conversations!

Regardless of how amazing your profile and your bio are the conversation is the real beginning of any online relationship. Quite often people don’t know how to start a conversation and sometimes “hi” or “hey” just don’t work. Look at the person’s bio and find something you think is interesting and ask them about it.

One really successful way to do this is to leave a challenge in your profile. I have a unique laugh and I warn about it on my profile yet I don’t mention what it is. This often leads matches to asking almost immediately what the secret to my laugh is. I then would tell them they would need to make me laugh on a date to experience it.

One I really enjoyed is one of my matches had the challenge “can you guess where my travel photos were taken?” and if you got it right he would treat the first round of drinks of the first date.

These are just two examples but its important and fun to make the conversation interesting and unique.

4. What are you actually looking for?

Are you looking for a serious commitment? Are you looking for hook ups or just a causal relationship? Are you looking for a short holiday romance?

Before you date online it is important to ask yourself what you want. Often the answer I have gotten on tinder conversations are “I don’t know.” and that’s okay but then I ask them to think about it.

Generally some guys have come back and have answers. Some of these guys have said “I want a one night stand” and I respect that. It just isn’t what I personally want. I generally look for something causal yet exclusive to allow time for both people to figure out if they really like each other.

Ninety percent of the time once I tell these guys that while I respect them that isn’t what I want. They generally thank me and we unmatch and move on happily.

Some people don’t know the exact thing they want. That Is okay too. But then between the two people you need a conversation to find out what you DO want. By doing this you start establishing your boundaries and an open communication.

It might seem crazy to have these conversations so early in a chat but it honestly saves you a lot of time. It also helps you find people looking for the same thing. There are tons of people online and just because one match wants something different doesn’t mean your wants and boundaries are wrong.

5. Catfishes, dangers and safety

So you have found the perfect person... okay in reality you have a match and the conversation is going well. Your gif game is on point and you really like this person.

Often people immediately ask for your cell phone number and it seems like a great idea and yet, it really isn’t!

Here are one of my horror stories; this guy and I were chatting. He mentions he’s leaving home and tinder eats data so can he have my number and we continue on whatsapp. I caved because I was enjoying the chat.

We whatsapped for about thirty minutes before he goes into creepy detail of desires to kill his co-workers and he thinks he might be a pyschopath. I end the chat and tell him I don’t want to talk further and blocked him on whatsapp. I was quite freaked out. He ended up immediately sending me about 60 texts on how it was a test and I failed and I didn’t deserve him and a lot of really mean texts.

A sort of test that I am really glad that I failed. So how do you protect yourself?

DO NOT give out your number.

Can this backfire? Yes. Is it still worth it? Yes. I’ve had a few guys get very angry I won’t give them my number - honestly a level of anger that is misplaced.

As a girl online you need to keep yourself safe and if your match doesn’t respect that and more importantly not respect your boundaries then that is his loss.

This applies to both genders though. On our first date my boyfriend asked me how tinder works and after working through the above I mentioned the no giving out your number. He nodded and we had a great date. Since we weren’t exclusive yet we both were still talking to other people on tinder and my boyfriend gave a girl his number.

She kept sending him texts over a month later still despite him having never responded. He was so shocked that I was right.

So when can you give your number out? The first challenge! You can get my number after the first date. This works really well for a few reasons:

1. You get rid of catfish and fake profiles.

2. You can meet the person and decide if you are physically attracted to each other.

3, Is there chemistry?

4. Can you talk to each other?


If you get a bad feeling, trust it. A first date can be lovely and you can still not go on a second date. After the date or even during it you can decide when to give your number to the person.

Always have your first date in a public place that you know. Do you have a favorite bar with a lunch menu? Or maybe a restaurant at a mall with a great specials menu?

If you are a girl I also recommend having one friend aware of your date with the picture of the guy/girl for in case of emergency.

6. What next?

So you have safely found a human who you like and who has your number. What on earth is next?

This leads us back to the 3rd question what were you looking for. Open communication is the foundation to any successful relationship but what does that mean?

It means that you shouldn’t expect your partner to read your mind. Be vocal on how you feel even when you don’t understand it yourself but always in a respectful way.

Sit together and talk about what you want, your expectations, your hard No’s (personally I do not tolerate cheating, you cheat and I am gone) and what you want to achieve.

For example do you want a friend who you can be romantic with? Do you expect exclusivity or a heads up if your friend with benefits sleeps with someone else? And is there an end date for this set up?

Are you looking for night fun? A one night stand? Awesome. Do you believe in both parties getting STD tests first? Where do you meet and have you sent a friend your location? Perfect. Have all the fun.

Are you looking for your life partner? Do you want kids? Or are you proudly child free? Do you want to get engaged before thirty or do you not believe in marriage?

All of these are valid and awesome but important questions to know the answers too. It protects you from unnecessary heart break.

In your twenties, life is changing and happening and it’s beautiful. But it also means that maybe a great person you meet on tinder is about to move to the other side of the world. Or you are unsure of what and who you want to be so you aren’t ready for commitment.

The most important thing with dating online is to never expect to have a great first date because everyone is nervous on a first date! So go in with the expectations of leaving with an interesting story.

It makes you more relaxed and if it does go badly then you can shrug it off. A bad date can make for a funny story and then you can look forward to your next night out with your friends. If it goes well that’s awesome and maybe you end up friends with the person or if you meet the right person in the right time you can get an awesome partner.

Just remember to avoid some of these that I have experienced in the past:

1. Don’t lie about your height and elongate your photos (its hard to hide a 40cm difference in person) the issue here is not the height but the lying. Just be yourself.

2. Don’t tell your date what they should eat.

3. Don’t tell a girl your penis is a god and she must worship it.

4. Please, if you are a recovering alcoholic, tell your date and don’t let her set the date in a bar.

5. Don’t insult yourself during the whole date.

My luck on tinder is due to the fact that I kept looking despite some crazy date stories and I have truly benefited from it. I can honestly say my tinder relationships have been healthier due to more direct communication on all fronts but this is also true as I have been personally growing as a human.

Good luck with your dating and embrace this amazing time we live in. You never know how lucky you will get. Now if you will excuse me, my amazing boyfriend baked cookies and is passing me a glass of wine.

Thank goodness I swiped right!


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