One of the key things to include on your Tinder profile is what kind of relationship you’re looking for. That saves you time matching with and potentially dating people who aren’t on the same wavelength. But what you’re seeking can be nuanced, so figuring out the right words to indicate exactly what you want is an art.
Your best bet is to “focus on making a compelling case for what you want, why you want it, and why you’re a good bet for it,” says online dating consultant Steve Dean. Here are a few ways to do that, according to professionals and Tinder users themselves.
1. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship
The best way to attract a long-term partner is to show what you would be like as a long-term partner. “No one cares that you’re looking for an exclusive relationship if your profile makes it seem like you’d be a lackluster partner,” says Dean. “Use your photos and profile text to paint a picture of your next five to 10 years’ plans so you can show you’re really thinking long-term about what you want next and challenge others to do the same.”
You can also just say upfront that you’re seeking a long-term partner. “You might consider including more information about your interesting hobbies, travel, and career, as those are things people who are looking for a long-term partner are going to want to see,” says dating coach Kyle King.
Another option is to have a sense of humor about it, like Sarah, 25, who “hatched a plan to make my bio reflective of my personality (pretty straightforward, a little weird), stating what I wanted (reliable soft bois) while also warding off those who lack intelligence, emotional or otherwise (aka fuckboys).”
2. If you’re looking for a nonmonogamous relationship
People in the nonmonogamous community tend to look out for certain buzzwords, says Dean. A few of these are “poly,” “open,” “partner,” “MoreThanTwo,” and “EthicalSlut.” Dean himself uses “ENM,” which stands for “ethically non-monogamous.”
“If you’re already dating nonmonogamous folks, it can be fun to showcase some of the experiences you’re sharing with them in your photos (with their permission) so that your matches can enjoy pondering what it might be like to exist in your spheres and potentially join your dynamics,” he says. “Mention the partnerships you’re in. Mention the partnerships you’d like to be in. Describe their shapes, textures, and vibes. Sell the vision you’d like to see, and invite others to share their own with you.
3. If you’re looking for hookups
Some people are just looking for hookups on Tinder, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s you, Dean suggests making your photos enticing and non-generic. “Rather than a simple selfie, take a selfie holding a vape pen or stretching in your room to make prospective hookups look forward to joining you for those stretches before you get busy,” he says. In your bio, you can describe your ideal night, whether that involves cuddling, ice cream, or BDSM.
You can also say outright that you’re looking for hookups. “I put that I’m interested in casual dating and hookups so that whoever I match with has an idea of what I want,” says Amanda, 26. “It’s just a starting-off point for talking about wants and needs, but I don’t want anyone to message me with an expectation of anything exclusive or monogamous.”
4. If you’re looking for a friend with benefits
If you want a more ongoing hookup situation, describe what you want out of the “friends” part of “friends with benefits.”
“If your profile doesn’t make it seem like you’d be an awesome friend, then people will naturally only see you for the ‘benefits,’” says Dean. “Share things about your ongoing projects and side hustles, the shows and events you want to attend, and the places you want to explore. But also include a line touching on the underlying physicality you’re potentially eager to include as the friendship develops.”
It helps to put as much as possible out on the table. Amanda, 25, states upfront that she’s looking for a friend with benefits and explains her gender identity so that there are no misunderstandings going in.
5. If you’re looking for casual dating
Casual dating means different things to different people, so Dean suggests describing why you’re interested in it and what it looks like for you. “Are you recently out of a formal relationship and aren’t looking to jump right back into a situation where you’re giving up autonomy all over again? Are you new to dating and not sure if a committed relationship is right for you? In either case, be specific about what you want and don’t want.”
Reshae, 27, went with “let’s build a friendship first” to indicate that she doesn’t want to jump into anything serious. “I love meeting new people, so ‘friends first’ works for me, and if it becomes something more, then that’s cool,” she says.
6. If you’re looking for friendships
“When you are just looking to meet friends on Tinder, you need to be very clear very early about it,” says King. “Tinder is much more commonly used for dating…so if you are looking for something different, it needs to be obvious. That means having a headline that includes something like ‘only looking for friends’ or something similar.”
If you want someone to engage in a specific activity with, Dean suggests describing that activity. “Be as specific as you can about the activity you want to do. Link to it. Be clear about when it’s happening. Be explicit about the ideal type of person you want to do this sort of thing with. Bonus points if you can specify other things you’d pair with that activity so that the right person gets even more excited to join.”
If the activity you’re interested in happens to be attending a music festival, Tinder’s Festival Mode allows you to add a concert badge to your profile to help you find your crowd before the event.
Ellie, 35, took the approach of listing the different things she’d like to do with friends. “I was trying to convey that I want friends and new experiences, and I’m open-minded and want to be relatable to similar people,” she says.
7. If you’re looking for locals
If you’re traveling or just moved to a new city, you might use Tinder to find people to show you around. In this case, Dean recommends saying something like, “I’m new here. Looking for new friends…Mostly new experiences. Plz message me with things you love about this area — ideally things we can indulge in together. Bonus points if they involve being outdoors and let us make new friends in the process.”
Some people say they’re looking for a tour guide when they really want a date, says King, so if you want the relationship to be platonic, you should say that upfront. Angela, 32, was looking for “light dating” or friendship, so her profile left both prospects within the realm of possibility.
8. If you’re open to a number of things
You don’t need to describe a specific relationship type on your Tinder profile — if you’re open to seeing where things go, you can focus on the qualities you look for or the dates you want to go on, says Dean. “Mention some things on your bucket list and challenge your suitors to come up with creative date ideas that stitch those together.”
That’s the approach that Geena, 28, took. “My bio helps make it clear that I like to have fun and see where things go,” she says. “I’m not necessarily looking for anything long-term, but if we hit it off, the ‘having fun’ can turn into something more.”
Another way to convey your openness? “Say that you’re looking to meet great people,” says King, “and that you’re open to whatever possibilities might unfold between the two of you.”