The process of using Tinder might seem simple enough: “Like” the people who appeal to you, shoot your matches clever messages, and escalate things to a date if you hit it off. But the truth is, for many users, getting the most out of the app requires a strategy.
If you know how to use it, Tinder can be amazingly fruitful. “Within about five to 10 taps of your fingers, you can go from never having heard of the app to already having someone’s phone number and a date planned,” says Steve Dean, online dating consultant and founder of Dateworking. “But on the other hand, you can just as easily end up with zero dates after over a thousand swipes, hundreds of matches, and dozens of lackluster conversation threads, resulting in an ever-growing graveyard of past matches who you never ultimately met up with, let alone even had a meaningful online interaction with.”
So, what’s the difference between those who spend hours on Tinder and have nothing to show for it and those who find love seemingly as quickly as they can flip through a profile? We asked professional dating coaches for the best ways to stand out on and use Tinder it to its fullest.
1. Make plans quickly.
While the convention may be to spend a few days on back-and-forth before meeting up, dragging digital conversations on can lead them to taper off. So, don’t worry about coming off overeager. When it comes to planning dates, sooner is better.
“The average online dater may spend as little as 1% or less of their screen time in a week on dating apps, and they divide that time across two to five dating apps, potentially divided further into dozens of conversations on each app. This means their attention is quite scarce,” says Dean. “If your starting conversation doesn’t directly lead to increasing connectedness and a phone-number exchange or a meetup date set on the calendar, it’s very likely that you’ll end up in each other’s conversation purgatory, having missed the golden window of opportunity when you were both paying attention to the app and potentially ready and willing to meet.”
2. Put an icebreaker in your profile.
The decision of what to say in your opening message can be so paralyzing, it could stop someone from messaging you altogether. You can take the pressure off your matches by creating opportunities right in your profile.
“Posing a question makes it easy for someone to reach out with a message,” explains Scott Valdez, founder and president of the online matchmaking service VIDA. “All they have to do is answer it. Make it something fun and easy to answer, like ‘Your turn: Chocolate, cheesecake, or Chunky Monkey?’ or ‘Your turn: hiking boots or art galleries?’”
Another way to break the ice is to include interesting photos that spark a reaction. “Starting a Tinder conversation can be hard, but not when all someone has to do is comment on your adorable dog or ask where an intriguing photo was taken,” says Valdez.
3. Choose photos that are easy to understand.
The phrase “easy on the eyes” is literal: People tend to like photos that are easy to understand. “Research suggests people instinctively find images that are simple and uncomplicated more attractive,” says Valdez. “Save the cartoonish filters and ‘creative’ angles for Instagram, and select a good quality, sharp image where your face and eyes are clearly visible.”
Another way to make your images digestible? “Choose photos where there’s a high degree of contrast between you and the background so that your image immediately stands out when someone is [going] through their feed,” Valdez advises. “Tinder is packed with people wearing beige, brown, navy, and black, so a bright pop of color, like a red shirt, will catch someone’s eye immediately.”
If you don’t have any photos that fit this description, consider hiring a professional photographer — but make sure they’re willing to work outdoors, says Valdez. “Those boring blue studio backgrounds are the kiss of death on Tinder.” Since we’re not always the best judges of our own photos, he recommends using Tinder’s Smart Photos for an unbiased assessment of your pics.
4. Say what you’re looking for in your profile.
The less time you waste talking to people who are just looking for hookups when you want a relationship or vice versa, the more time you have to get to know people who want what you want.
“Let people weed themselves out by making your intentions known in your bio,” advises dating and transformation coach Myles Scott. “No need to burn yourself out by having to manually filter through all the potential partners who aren’t aligned with what you want. Let them do it themselves!”
5. Take advantage of busy Tinder times.
One simple way to find more matches is to log onto Tinder during its busiest hours. Sunday evening is considered prime time for online dating, but weekday evenings are also high-traffic, says Celia Schweyer, a dating expert at DatingScout.com.
To expand your pool of options even more, use Tinder’s Boost function during one of these times. “Thursday evenings are another great time to Boost your profile, as that’s when a lot of singles are starting to think about the weekend — and not wanting to spend Saturday night alone,” says Valdez.
6. Be open to meeting more than just an S.O.
These tips aren’t guaranteed to find you lasting love, but the more open-minded you are, the more you’ll get out of them, says sex and relationship therapist and coach Cyndi Darnell.
“Are you genuinely open to a new friendship?” she asks. “There may not be chemistry, but you may be great drinking buddies or travel companions. Keep an open mind.”