Love + Sex, Love

You can actually find great people on Tinder. Here’s how

For those looking for a partner, Tinder can be a helpful tool as long as you use the app consciously and with a critical mind.

Tinder has a reputation of being the “hook-up” app, but strangely enough, that’s not what it was designed to be. The founder of Tinder, Sean Rad, actually found his wife on the controversial app. Believe it or not, Tinder does have some eligible people on it. Not everyone is looking for a one-night stand or a booty call. Tinder offers a solution for those of us too busy to go out and meet people, because we can judge 50 people in two minutes which is statistically preferred over spending 50 minutes assessing one potential partner.   

 In my experience, there are ways to better filter your matches to find potential mates that may actually work out, and turn into a longer commitment. These 10 steps can help you match with better potential dates and to figure out who is worthy of meeting in person.

1. Look for similar interests:

Tinder shows you what people have liked on Facebook for a reason. Use that to figure out how they are similar to you. Once you have matched with that person, look for more shared interests or opinions. Seeing that someone liked Harry Potter or Disney on Facebook gives you examples of conversation topics to bring up if you match.  

2. Read the descriptions:

In the description, there are people who will write a paragraph about themselves in order for you to get to know them. That’s a good sign. If even before the initial match they are opening up to you (and every other person on the app) you may as well take the time to read it. Often it’s just what shows they watch or whether they can play an instrument, but all these details help you form an opinion about the person. Even a funny quote or joke can tell you something about their sense of humor.   

3. Look at the types of pictures they post:

Everyone has their own preferences here, and it all depends on what you’re looking for.  For example, I have a rule that if someone is needlessly shirtless in a picture I swipe left (reject). You will find your own rules, and we are able to make exceptions. However, recognize that not everyone is photogenic, and that pictures can sometimes tell you more about an individual’s character than what they look like. The travelling shot, the mirror selfie, the clubbing picture, sports shots – all of these give an inside look into the type of person they are and what is important to them. These pictures are what they’ve chosen to represent themselves to you, so use them  to find someone who attracts you both physically and mentally.    

4. Mutual friends – pros and cons:

When I first downloaded the app, I refused to swipe right for anyone I knew or who knew some of my friends. It can be embarrassing for friends to know you are on the “hook-up” app. One of the pros of going for an outsider is that if it doesn’t work out you can disappear without a trace and never see or talk to them again – that’s the beauty of online dating. On the other hand, you know literally nothing about this person; they could be a catfish or a murderer! When you  swipe right for people you know (and want to know better) or friends of people you know, you can at least be sure that they are a real person. You probably already know some things about them, and may know some of the people they hang around with and be able to judge them accordingly to see if they are the right fit for you.  

5. Don’t be afraid to message first:

Once you have matched with someone interesting, do not be afraid to message them. Some people are busy with their lives and don’t have time to look through new matches all the time. Try messaging them and get to know them better. If they’re not messaging back, or you are the only one initiating conversations with them, it is time to move on.

6. Style of messages:

This may seem obvious, but the style of messages a person sends you often exhibits a lot more than just the message itself. Emoticons, “lols,” phrasing, grammar, etc., all indicate something about that person and how interested they are in you. In addition, take a look at the size of each message. Those consistently responding with one word answers are either boring or not interested, so move on.  Furthermore, it helps if you have similar messaging styles. When you complement each other in communication style, even over messaging, that says something about your potential compatibility.

7. Twenty Questions and Truth or Dare:

What’s your bra-size?” “Do you sleep naked?” “Do you roleplay?” These kind of questions indicate exactly what they want to know about you, and they are usually uninterested in learning much else. Tread carefully when a match asks you to play these games (especially if it’s within the first few messages). These jerks are not the ones you want a relationship with. Those looking for a serious relationship will not want to play stupid games. So ignore them, unmatch them, or just tell them to go screw themselves, because you have better ways to spend your time.    

8. Frequent messagers:

These come in two shapes: the interested match and the creepy stalker. That distinction is defined by one thing –  your interest in the match.

Those who are interested in getting to know you will want to do so on a regular basis, if not daily. Take note of those who take that time to get to know you, but remember that you owe them nothing. If someone’s interest makes you uncomfortable, unmatch or ignore them. Furthermore, you are under no obligation to go out with them or meet them just because they’ve messaged you “Good Morning Beautiful” every day for a week, month, even a year! You are your own person and you get to decide when you want to meet someone. It’s also interesting to see who stays around even after you say that you are not comfortable meeting with them now or that you just want to be friends. How a match handles rejection displays so much about their maturity and their interest in you.    

9. Filtering through matches:

When you have talked to the same people for a while, you can determine what I like to call “favorites.” If you use the app long enough, you will have your own favorite matches who you enjoy talking to. Those are the matches who you can engage in deep conversations with about religion, politics, sex, race, or Game of Thrones. Always be open to new conversations with new matches, but also try to focus your energy on a few people and get to really know them – as opposed to many at once.

10. Tinder dates:

Meet up ONLY if you feel safe, confident, and ready to take that step. Do not let anyone rush you. You are under no obligation to give anyone your number or personal information. It doesn’t matter if you like them or not, safety should be your number one priority. It took me a couple months of conversing before I agreed to go on my first Tinder date, so take your time. To each their own, and if you are sure after a few days, great! But there’s only so much you can learn about a person in a couple days, so be sure to be careful. When meeting someone, ensure a friend or family member knows where you are, who you’re meeting, and when you should be back home.    

 There are a lot of cool, interesting people on Tinder, and there is someone for everyone. Ultimately, there is no quick and easy way to find a solid relationship. Even when using Tinder, there are steps to finding the right person for you. For those looking for a partner, Tinder can be a helpful tool as long as you use the app consciously and with a critical mind.