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How to up your dating app game

It’s easy to download dating apps, but they’re not necessarily simple to master. You not only have to pick photos of yourself to show the world, but you also have to figure out how to fill out your profile, chat with matches, and, eventually, ask someone out on a date. Dating is hard! Here’s how to make the most of your profile, and, hopefully, find some love online.

How to pick your app

To increase your likelihood of finding a partner, you might want to download more than one app. However, if you are going to start with just one, think about which app might attract the people you’re most interested in dating. Is religion important to you? Maybe try a dating app that’s specific to your religion, like Christian Mingle or JSwipe. Think of dating apps like bars: each one fosters its own community and has its own priorities that can determine how people act on the app.

Bumble, for instance, only lets women message first, whereas OkCupid and Grindr offer pronoun options. That could impact who’s on the app and what they value. Basically, you want an app where the people you want to date are. If you aren’t sure, try one out or ask a friend. You can also pretty much assume every single person is on Tinder since it is by far the largest dating app owned by Match Group (which also owns OkCupid and Match.com).


Image: Tinder

How to pick a photo

Once you’ve chosen your app, you’ll have to select photos of yourself to show the world. The rules here are clear: make sure prospective matches can see your face, don’t use too many selfies, steer clear of a bunch of group shots, and don’t post photos with someone who could be mistaken as (or was!) an ex.

Everyone on an app wants to know what you really look like, so make sure that’s clear and easy to figure out. I, personally, don’t like people who wear sunglasses in every photo because it doesn’t give me a good sense of their face. Maybe other people are more flexible about this, but the notion still stands: show off your face. Also, if you have photos of yourself participating in a real activity, like a sport or creative field, that’s great, too.

Of course, the classic criteria for a good photo apply. Work your angles and rely on natural light. Have at least a few quality photos on hand that you can use on dating apps.

How to fill out your profile

Be yourself. Really, just lean on your personality here. Apps range in how much effort they want you to put into for your profile. Hinge, for example, gives users prompts to answer, whereas Tinder just has a basic bio field that users can fill however they want. Give people something to work with when you’re thinking about what to write. How can they respond to your profile? It’s pretty much the only thing they’ll have to go off other than your photos, so craft a bio that’s interesting and shows what you’re really about. The more personality you can bring to it, the better.


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Image: Bumble

How to send the first message

This can be tricky, for sure, but Hinge CEO Justin McLeod tells me that a confident statement performs 25 percent better than a question in terms of whether a conversation eventually moves off the app. Lead in with a comment about whatever your match wrote on their profile. Definitely don’t rely on a “hey,” or “hi,” or “how was your day?” That’s boring, and it’s not going to facilitate an interesting conversation. You spent time thinking about what you wrote on your profile and would probably want someone to acknowledge it, so do the same for a match.

Okay, now that you’ve successfully mastered the apps, take it easy out there and chat it up.


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