It can be really hard to know exactly what someone you’re talking to on Tinder is looking for. One person may find witty banter irresistible, another may prefer straightforward chats, and someone else could want a mix of both. It can make saying and doing the right thing feel like a science experiment. While everyone is going to continue to have different preferences — we are all unicorns, blah blah — there are a couple of universal truths to keep in mind when messaging a match. Don’t say we never did anything for you.

1. Hitting them with “what’s your IG?”

If someone wants you to have access to their Instagram, they’ll link their Instagram to their profile. By asking this question, you’re 1. assuming that they want you to follow them and 2. not giving them the option to say no in a non-awkward way. Their only options are to ghost you, give you their handle reluctantly, or have to send an uncomfortable message telling you no. None of these scenarios really lend themselves to starting off on the right foot. 

2. Messaging “guess not, lol”

Enough with the passive aggressiveness, please. Digitally stomping your foot like a child when someone doesn’t answer you within whatever number of hours you deem too many might stall the conversation, will probably get you unmatched, and makes you look very unattractive (is that a crimped nose hair I see?). I understand that someone not answering you can be disconcerting and anxiety-provoking. But you have to remember that not everyone is on the same schedule as you, and just because you respond ASAP doesn’t mean everyone else can or has to. Also, someone not answering your last message may mean you said something offensive or made them uncomfortable. Before trying to make your match feel bad or like they should be answering (an unfair power play), check whether you were out of line.

3. Asking for personal information too fast

If you met someone at a bar, would you walk up to them and ask for their first name, last name, and phone number without chatting with them first? No, because that would be weird, and the person would run away. The great part about matching with someone is entering the getting-to-know-you stage and figuring out if you vibe. Yes, the goal is to eventually meet up, and if and when you establish a strong enough rapport to do so, you can start in with your questions (but please still avoid the third degree). 

4. Giving TMI

Being super open isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it can definitely lead to some interesting conversations and foster stronger connections. But there’s a fine line between being personable and relatable and recounting in detail every trauma you’ve ever endured. If someone told you their entire life story in one essay of a Tinder message, how would you react? You’d probably be a little freaked out, figure there was nothing left to learn about them, and bounce. I’m not saying you should be totally closed off, but if you find yourself wanting to disclose your social security number, maybe take a few — or 100 — steps back.