If you think Tinder is ridiculous then perhaps you aren’t using it correctly or are missing its point. Yes, I use Tinder as an actual dating app. My experiences with it have all been extremely positive, and I see no reason to feel shame over that.
Here are some rules to follow, and why they work.
Step #1: Swipe left if you’re not initially attracted.
I know it sounds harsh. But you won’t be willing to invest the time it takes to get to know someone over the Internet otherwise. The matches I’ve made are all pretty nice looking dudes in my opinion. How is swiping left any different than being approached by someone you’ve never met in public? Oh, it’s not. Just like Tinder, you’d use some form of communication to express disinterest. That’s not shallow. That’s basic human biology.
Step #2: Read their bio.
I feel like this is common sense, but before I swipe right, I actually look at people’s bio. It lets me know what kind of party someone is looking for. If it says anything that even remotely raises a red flag (i.e., “Just in ATL for the weekend”), then I don’t swipe right.
Everyone hates on Tinder and our “hook up culture.” But why can’t we just appreciate the honesty and move on? No matter how you date, you’re bound to run across people with differing end goals. Don’t take it personally. Don’t see it as a tragedy. We’re all at different places in life, so quit complaining about how all guys on Tinder are douches and all girls are sluts. Hate to break it to you—they existed before Tinder was even conceived and will continue to exist long after Tinder dies. I’m just thankful to have a disclaimer built in to my dating life now.
Step #3: Wait.
I very rarely initiate conversations on Tinder. When I do, it’s because something on a guy’s profile is awesome. I wouldn’t want to miss the chance to know more about him. Otherwise, I wait for the guys to start a conversation.
Again, this is no different than regular dating—if someone sparks an interest, you’d do what it takes to learn more.
Step #4: Have a conversation.
In regular dating, you don’t just meet someone, say two words to each other, and then agree to go on a first date. You talk to them, you laugh with them, and you flirt with them. Then you decide whether they are worth your time. It’s the same with Tinder.
I generally stick to my gut feeling on this one. If the conversation is fun and he seems great, I don’t just meet up with him the same day we matched. Why rush?
If he’s genuinely interested in you (see Rule #3), he won’t give up that easy. When a guy is willing to maintain contact for over a week or two without meeting you, you’ve given yourself enough time to learn two important things: (1) how respectful he’ll be if you want to take things slow; and, (2) whether you could see yourself going a second date with him.
Step #5: Date.
I have met a total of three guys on Tinder over the last six months. All three were incredibly nice, smart, funny, and completely dateable. In fact, I dated each of them for a month or more. Sadly, if I had met any of them in person, I probably wouldn’t have given them the chance they deserved.
- Boy #1 was a total frat boy who I figured was probably an asshole based on his ridiculously chiseled bod. He took me to a concert for our first date, helped me study for finals, and made my best friend waffles when she was drunk at 2 am.
- Boy #2 was 6’5 (I’m 5’2). Barring the height difference, he was the male version of myself. We had a ton of common interests, great chemistry, and deep conversations.
- Boy #3 and I didn’t share a lot of common interests, but he made me laugh non-stop with cheesy one-liners and puns on puns on puns. I waited over a month before giving him a chance. And after dating for two months, it was me who ended up falling for him.
So why am I going on about how great Tinder is if I’m still single? Well, it’s a game you can keep on playing. And isn’t that how dating in your 20s is supposed to function?
You actively try to meet people you’re interested in.
You try out different people and see how they fit in your life.
You start over and slowly figure out what you do and don’t want.
You learn about yourself and grow from each relationship you have.
Step #6: Delete Tinder.
Eventually, you find someone that makes you want to quit dating. You know, the person I wouldn’t think twice about deleting Tinder for.