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Struggling to Get Matches on Tinder? Let’s Change That

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February 28, 2020

How to Use Tinder for Hooking Up (and More)

Tinder has become the go-to app for people looking to date, hookup, find a long-term relationship, or simply see what kind of interesting singles might be in their area.

Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, online dating sites have been waning in favor of dating apps for some time now, and Tinder has cornered a massive portion of the dating app market.

For many young people, the very name of the brand and its functions have become synonymous with dating – you’re likely to hear young singles saying “I’m back on Tinder again!” as a shorthand for their relationship status, and “I’d swipe right!” used as a widely-understood idiom for finding someone attractive.

RELATED: Best Tinder Conversation Starters to Get a Response With

Yes, Tinder is an always-available, pocket-sized method for finding the person of your dreams – or, at the very least, a regret-free hookup – but the app can be frustrating when you don’t completely understand its functionality. To ensure you get the most out of your experience, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to dating with Tinder.

Here’s everything you need to know, from how to use Tinder to how to get matches, and how to move from the app to the real world:

Contents

1. Does Tinder Work for Guys? 2. Crafting Your Tinder Profile 3. How to Use Tinder 4. Frequently Asked Tinder Questions 5. Sending the Right First Tinder Message 6. Tips for Landing a Tinder Date 7. Best Alternatives to Tinder 8. More Tinder Info

hookup app, it's no longer appropriate to assume that everyone who is using it is looking for sex — some really are just looking to extend their social network.

How Do You Know Why Someone Is on Tinder?

If Tinder is used for so many different purposes, how can you tell whether the person in your match list are looking for friendship, hook ups or serious dating? Well, there are a few key signs and phrases. For example, if you see the phrase "no ONS" on Tinder, that stands for "no one-night stands," and means that person is unlikely to be interested in casual sex. The same goes for phrases like "no hook ups," "seeking something serious or long-term" and "no players" — anything along these lines will indicate something more serious. Equally, someone hinting at casual sex or a one-night stand will probably use wording like "no strings" or "casual fun only," or less explicitly, with phrases like "only here for a good time."

What Are You Looking For?

You can use Tinder for any of the above reasons, but it pays to be clear with yourself and everyone else; if you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll have a better chance of finding it. If you're not looking for anything more than hooking up, you should make that clear, ideally in your bio ("not looking for anything serious," "seeking hook ups") or at least once you start chatting to your matches (more on that below). If you're looking to date seriously, that should also be immediately evident to anyone interacting with you.

How a Bad Tinder Profile Photo Can Ruin Your Dating Chances

Helpfully, Tinder has a "smart photo" function which continually tests the success rate of the photos you’ve uploaded to your profile, and automatically shows your best-performing photo to other users first. It’s well worth enabling this function as it doesn’t cost anything extra, and Tinder claims that it boosts right swipes by 12 percent. Like it or not, choosing the right Tinder pictures is the key to your online dating success.

Photo Diversity

Ideally, you want to take advantage of all the photo slots Tinder offers you to provide as much information as possible to potential matches. Consider that your pictures give away crucial information not just about what you look like, but also how you like to spend your time, matches are going to form a certain impression of you depending on whether you're squatting in the gym, splayed out on a beach with friends or chugging back beer at the game. 

Don’t partake in kittenfishing – the lite version of catfishing – by uploading misleadingly flattering photos, and make sure your images are recent enough to show what you look like now. Remember, there’s no point in being dishonest. It’s all going to come out in the wash when you meet a match IRL, so be upfront from the start. If you're really having trouble selecting photos, you could consider linking your profile to your Instagram account.

Bio

Your bio is optional, but we highly recommended including one. You’re allowed up to 500 words to showcase your dazzling personality here, but we’d suggest you err on the side of relative brevity as online daters don't want to read a novel while they’re swiping. Make your bio about you, and keep it short, simple and friendly — it's a bonus if it's funny, but you don't want to come across as trying too hard, either.

All we know about you is that you're picky and hard to please. Be more positive!

Funny, gently self-deprecating and informative without being too long —this is a great bio.

Tinder Plus" option: A paid version of the app which gives you various benefits — at a cost, of course. 

So, what are the advantages to Tinder Plus that make it worth all that extra money? Here are some of the touted benefits:

Match Around the World

One coveted benefit of Tinder Plus is the ability to match with users around the world, as opposed to just in your area. So, if you live in California but have an upcoming holiday in Paris, for example, you can start swiping in Paris and accumulating matches before you even arrive. Tinder is truly a global dating service.

Rewind Left Swipes

Another prized feature of Tinder Plus is the ability to rewind your last swipe. This means that if you accidentally swipe left on a user and instantly regret it (because you're swiping too fast, perhaps), you can "rewind" the swipe, bringing that user back into view so that you can correct your mistake and swipe right instead.

Super Likes

Tinder Plus also allows you to send more Super Likes. Hit the blue star instead of the green check mark and you will show up near the beginning of this specific Tinder user's queue with a notification that you used your Super Like. The Super Like helps you show a potential match that you are definitely interested, and it will guarantee that you are made visible without a guarantee that they'll swipe right on you (sorry, but no Tinder feature can force a right swipe or guarantee a match!)

Tinder Plus users get five Super Likes per day compared to the sole daily Super Like allotted to regular users.

Boosts

Tinder Plus users get one free "boost" a week, which means that Tinder will make you the top profile in your area for 30 minutes. Ordinary Tinder users can also pay for individual boosts via the app at a rate that changes depending on how many boosts you buy. This is a way to potentially get more matches by making you much more visible to other users, but again, it's no guarantee, so spend wisely.

Turning Off Ads

Tinder Plus users won't see ads. This is perhaps the least tempting of Tinder Plus' range of benefits as ads are a relatively minor annoyance for regular users, but it still doesn't hurt.

Swipe Life

Swipe Life, a resource where singles can visit for advice when navigating dating in the digital space. The website offers date ideas, dating stories, the best restaurants and bars for dates in different cities and a whole bunch of fun and playful content catering to the general Tinder users.

4. Frequently Asked Tinder Questions

So is everything crystal clear? We won't blame you if all of the above sounds pretty confusing, as Tinder is becoming ever more complicated and laden with new features. While you should be able to understand the basic mechanics of using the app now, there are still some common questions on people's minds when it comes to using Tinder:

If You Swipe Left, Are They Gone Forever?

One question on the minds of many men is the permanence of the left swipe. If I'm not interested in someone and swipe left, does this mean I can't change my mind at a later point?

The short answer is yes: Once you swipe left on someone, they are gone and will not return to your queue. However, there are two caveats. The first is that Tinder Plus users can rewind swipes, as mentioned above, so if you think you accidentally swiped left on your soulmate, you're going to need to shell out some cash for the ability to rewind.

RELATED: Check Out AskMen's Official Tinder Review

The second is that Tinder is still a bit buggy, and from time to time users have reported seeing left-swiped users popping back up into their queue. It's also possible to delete your account and start again with a fresh account, meaning that you will have a chance of seeing someone you swiped left on once again. However, these are not rock solid options, and there's no guaranteed way to revisit a left-swiped user — unless you have Tinder Plus, that is.

If You Swipe Left, Can They See You?

A Tinder user will not be notified or otherwise alerted if you swipe left on them, meaning that you don't need to feel too worried about hurting someone's feelings. Obviously, if someone swipes right on you and you aren't a match, they'll know that you haven't swiped right, but this could be for a variety of reasons: Either you haven't seen their profile yet, or you are not a frequent user of the app, or you have indeed swiped left for a variety of potential reasons. 

How Do You Know If Someone Swiped Right on You?

The only way that you can tell for sure if someone has swiped right on you is to swipe right on them, too. However, we'll let you in on a secret: People who've already swiped right on you are likely to show up near the beginning of your queue, so it could be worth paying careful attention to them as you are likelier to be a match.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Match?

There is no set answer for how long it takes to get matches on Tinder. In fact, there's no rock solid guarantee you will get matches at all. However, if you have a strong profile and sound swiping strategy, you could theoretically be getting matches as soon as you start swiping, though for most people, it will take from a few hours to a few days to start seeing results.

How Long Do Matches Stay?

Tinder matches and any associated messages will remain until either you or your match deletes their Tinder account. Tinder users also have the option of "unmatching" users, which means that even if you become a match, either one of you can change your mind and unmatch the other. Otherwise, Tinder matches hang around until you decide to finally strike up a conversation, unlike other apps such as Bumble which instill a time limitation.

Why Don't You Have Matches Yet?

If you have been using Tinder for a while and still don't have any matches, you'll need to reevaluate your profile. Check out the profile section above, and perhaps even consult a friend or two who  could help make your profile more attractive and appealing.

Can You Find People You Know on Tinder?

It's perfectly possible to see someone you know appearing on your queue on Tinder. If one of your friends or coworkers lives in your area and happens to be on Tinder with the same age and gender parameters as you, they may well appear in your queue, and vice versa. That's just how social media works, folks!

Some people find the prospect of being seen on Tinder slightly embarrassing, but there's really no reason to. It's a hugely popular dating app and people use it for a variety of different reasons, plus your friend or coworker is also a user! If you see someone you know, you could swipe right and have a laugh about it if you match, or else just swipe left and forget about it.

Should I Swipe Right on Everyone to Get More Matches?

How to Talk to Girls on Tinder, Explained

Your opening line is crucial. Your matches are likely to have dozens of other potential prospects in their Tinder messages section, most of whom will be approaching with a tired, “Hey,” or, “How are you?” There’s no need to overcook it by opening the conversation with a sonnet, but it will work in your favor if you approach in a friendly, novel and interested way. Try asking an unusual question, like “If you won a million dollars today, what’s the first thing you’d do?” or compliment a particular detail in one of their photos (“That’s a really cute French bulldog! Is it yours?”)

A disappointing number of male Tinder users think it's appropriate to start a conversation with lewd innuendo and overtly sexual "compliments" right off the bat, such as the below gentlemen:

Guys, please: Don't start a conversation like this. Not every person is on Tinder looking for casual sex, but even those who are keen on a no-strings hookup are unlikely to be swept off their feet by a rude and juvenile approach. Make your approach flirty and friendly, and definitely avoid the negging strategy advocated by so-called pickup artists: Backhanded compliments are not going to endear you to anyone at the best of times, but they might be even worse on Tinder or other dating apps, where you can easily be unmatched with a couple of finger taps. Be positive, complimentary and charismatic instead.

If you find yourself pleading into a void, it's time to move on.

Another thing to bear in mind when talking to your Tinder matches is that defensive, passive aggressive opening lines are fairly common, but rarely ever work: "Quite a lot of selfies you've got there," for example, or "I guess I'll get the ball rolling because women never start talking first."

Tinder conversation starters for ideas), and finish with a question to keep the banter flowing. Being kind and showing enough genuine interest to keep the conversation rolling is a winning strategy and should help to convert your matches into IRL dates.

6. How to Land a Tinder Date

Hopefully your opening line (or theirs!) has progressed into a natural, lively conversation, and you're now both interested enough in each other to go on a first date. It can be a useful first step to exchange phone numbers so that you can text or chat over the phone, because Tinder’s messaging system can make for slow-moving and disjointed conversation. Apart from that, Tinder dates work like any other: Think of something pleasant to do, and show up on the agreed time and date, looking sharp and ready to have a great time.

When to Ask Them Out

There's wiggle room here, and every user will have a different idea of the ideal time to progress from Tinder conversation to an IRL date. However, it's not out-of-place to ask for a date within a day or two of chatting, or even an hour or two if things are going brilliantly. If you're really hitting it off and you've had a great conversation, it's fine to say something like, "You seem really cool! Would you like to grab a drink sometime?"

Don't be too perturbed or offended if they say no — some are cagey about people from Tinder and may wish to wait a while before bringing it into the IRL realm, while others will relish the opportunity to meet in person. You really just have to try your luck by asking.

Where Should We Meet?

You are much more likely to convince someone to meet with you IRL if you suggest meeting at a cafe or bar rather than at your house or hotel room. Even those who are interested in using Tinder for casual sex are unlikely to want to come straight to your bedroom for a variety of reasons including their own safety. Remember, you two are essentially still strangers even if you've had a lively conversation on Tinder, so take things slowly and be sensible. In short, meet in public.

How Many People Actually Meet Through Tinder?

For fairly obvious reasons, it's impossible to know with any certainty how many people are actually meeting up with their Tinder matches. But rest assured that it's happening — ask any of your friends or coworkers who use the app and they can regale you with stories about their Tinder dates, both good and bad, and Tinder's Twitter account even claims that the app is leading to a "sh*t ton" of marriages (although hard data is thin on the ground here).

So that's how Tinder works: From swiping to crafting your profile all the way through to sending the perfect opener and setting up a great date, we've got you covered. Tinder can be as effective in finding a new relationship as more traditional dating sites like Zoosk. Stick to the advice above and you can't go too far wrong.

It’s true that Tinder can be frustrating and that some users are time-wasters, but it can also be an incredible way to meet people who you would otherwise never have encountered. Once you have a handle on how the technology works, simple, timeworn techniques are still what it takes to make approaching dates rewarding rather than scary. Be warm, interested and gracious in the face of rejection, and it's hard to imagine things going too badly for you. Now, get swiping!

AskMen review of Tinder here.

7. Best Alternatives to Tinder

Of course, Tinder isn't the only option out there, and in fact the user experience can be pretty exhausting. Tinder is hugely popular and has its perks — an intuitive interface, millions of users and the fact that most features are free, for a start — but there are real downsides, too, and the fast pace, unresponsiveness, superficiality and difficulty of transitioning into IRL might start to get you wondering what else is out there in terms of dating tools.

Well, there are plenty of other options if you know where to look. If you're willing to pay to get a better experience, check out the following alternatives:

Match

match screenshot

Match.com has all of the usual features of a reliable dating site, but one advantage that stands out in particular: you get a generous six-month money back guarantee. So, you can really experiment with how things are going for you and how much luck you're having on the site before you have to truly commit — financially, that is.

While approval on the site is not instant and the month-to-month costs are higher than average once you are approved, you're in for a strong user experience once you're in the ranks: a continually improved algorithm guides your matches and incorporates user feedback and behavior, and new features are being added all the time.

Click here to check out Match.com.

Zoosk

Zoosk was voted the #1 dating site in AskMen's awards for a reason: it has a large member base and user-friendly mobile app, a layout that's easy on the eye and simple to navigate, and multiple options for promoting your profile and increasing your chances of getting matches.

You are going to need to do things the old fashioned way and browse profiles one-by-one, but, hey, that might actually be a good thing after the indiscriminate swiping that goes on on Tinder. Zoosk is well worth a try.

Click here to check out Zoosk.com.

EliteSingles

Targeting a sophisticated, slightly older market, Elite Singles is the go-to site for serious and professional singles looking for a genuine connection.

The site uses a questionnaire that analyzes 29 character traits and matches you accordingly — there's a commendable focus on personality rather than looks alone here — and while the signup process is admittedly lengthy, you'll be browsing comprehensive profiles of women who are serious about dating once you're in — no time-wasters or ghosters here!

Click here to check out EliteSingles.com.

AdultFriendFinder

On the sexier side, AdultFriendFinder is the go-to avenue if you're looking to explore your fetishes, or if you'd like to facilitate various sexual arrangements online. It's a reputable site with a large, loyal, open-minded membership — we're not talking some sleazy internet corner here — and you can express your sexual self through profiles, blogs, webcams and more.

No one's 100% sure on the male-to-female ratio (the data isn't publicly available), but it's worth checking out if you're wanting to explore your more primal side in a safe environment.

Check out AdultFriendFinder

8. More Tinder Info

Not quite satisfied? No worries! We’ve got more Tinder content for you. 

Tinder’s LGBTQ Efforts

The most recent additions to Tinder are designed protect and better include the LGBTQ community (who account for an estimated 24 percent of the U.S. population) in an effort to facilitate the company’s belief that “everyone should be able to love who they want to love.” 

ILGA’s executive director, André du Plessis, praised Tinder’s effort, saying, “We work hard to change practices, laws and attitudes that put LGBTQ people at risk — including the use of dating apps to target our community — but in the meantime, the safety of our communities also depends on supporting their digital safety.” The following are Tinder’s efforts to support and protect the LGBT community.

Orientation

Tinder partnered with GLAAD to allow users to select and display their sexual orientation on their profiles. To make the designation, simply edit your profile, tap “Orientation” and select the identity that best suits you. By visiting your Discovery Preferences, you can view people of your same orientation first.

Traveler Alert

As an added precautionary measure, Tinder worked with ILGA World to introduce what they’ve dubbed a Traveler Alert that will appear when Tinder is opened in one of the 69 countries where same-sex relationships are illegal. (FYI: In nine countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, prosecutors can seek the death penalty against same-sex acts and relationships.) This feature protects users from unknowingly placing themselves in a potentially dangerous circumstance. With Traveler Alert, queer people will not appear on Tinder when they open the app in these areas. Once the alert is activated, users will have the choice to remain hidden or opt into making their profile public – without information indicating their sexuality – so that they can connect with new people. Users' profiles will return back to normal once they leave a protected area.

How Tinder Works

Considering it’s an app people use in order to potentially meet the love of their life, people are very curious about how exactly Tinder works.

The app’s user interface is more complicated now than when it was first launched, but the essential principle remains the same: Swipe left on profiles you’re not interested in, right on profiles you are and you chat with your matches when both of you indicate interest.

But how, you might be wondering, does Tinder decide who to show to whom, and in what order? That’s the real question at the heart of how Tinder works. 

The answer, similar to almost every app out there today, is a proprietary algorithm whose exact details are secret to the general public. However, we do know a few things about how the Tinder algorithm works.

The Old Model

A 2016 article revealed that at the time, Tinder used a ranking algorithm to assign each user a score based on how people swipe on them — the more left swipes you get, the lower your score goes; the more right swipes, the higher your score rises. 

However, it wasn’t as simple as simply adding or subtracting one point every time someone swipes right or left on you. The algorithm is apparently based on the complex ELO score used to rate chess players, meaning who is swiping is also a factor. 

If someone with a high score swiped right on you, you’d be likely to jump higher than if someone with a low score swiped right on you. Similarly, a high score swiping left on you would drop you further than a low score swiping left on you. 

In this way, people who got a lot of right swipes — the Tinder elite, if you will — had a greater impact on people’s scores than people most people aren’t crazy about. 

The New Model

However, in 2019, Tinder announced that they had moved away from the ranking model in favor of something that tracks your like patterns to get an idea of what type of person each user is interested in. 

As well, Tinder keeps track of things like how much time you spend on the app, how often you return to it and what percentage of swipes are right vs. left in order to develop a profile of what type of user you are, which it uses to construct your user experience — who you see, and in what order. 

In short, nothing you do when on the app seems to go unnoticed. The app knows that data analytics is key to producing a more streamlined product, and they’re not shy about using it. Next time you see someone’s profile pop up, know that they’re being put there according to a very complex set of calculations. 

Whether those calculations will lead to anything more, though? That’s a whole other layer of complexity that even Tinder’s data analysts can’t accurately predict. The only way to find out is to swipe right and see if you match. 

What’s Next for Tinder

Tinder’s become the go-to online dating platform for American singles for since its introduction back in 2012, but the app isn’t interested in sitting on its laurels. 

2020 marks a year where Tinder is making serious strides when it comes to an often under-considered aspect of the user experience for dating apps: the user’s safety once they put their phone down and begin the actual date. 

Noonlight

Tinder’s finally recognizing that it has a role to play in making sure a Tinder date doesn’t go south in a horrible way. Partnering with a service called Noonlight, the app is giving its users the opportunity to notify others when they’re going on a date, when and where it’s going to be and an option to quickly alert authorities if they begin to feel unsafe.

Photo Verification

As well, Tinder is unveiling a system where users can verify their profiles by taking a real-time photo. Tinder’s internal software will attempt to match it to your existing, uploaded profile pictures, and if the pictures you uploaded and the new, candid picture you took are judged to be of the same person, you’ll get a little checkmark icon next to your name in the app. 

It’s a little detail that can help ensure that you don’t end up getting catfished by someone who looks nothing like their picture. However, this functionality won’t be necessary for all users, so people without check marks might be fakers (or they might just be lazy).

Improved Messaging

Tinder is introducing another feature aimed at improving the general tone of discourse in chats between matches. 

While it takes two right swipes to create a conversation, that’s no guarantee of conversational compatibility, sadly, and Tinder’s been dogged for years with a reputation for fostering unfriendly and sometimes downright abusive conversations. In fact, it’s an aspect of the app that’s only contributed to Bumble’s success as a Tinder-like app with a vastly different messaging set-up (men can only message a match once the women has sent an opening message). 

Now, Tinder will attempt to flag unpleasant messages before they’re even sent, asking users if they want to “undo” a message it deems potentially unpleasant. As well, users have the option to report interactions that make them feel uncomfortable. 

Safety Center

To round out the suite of safety-oriented additions and updates to the app, Tinder is also adding a “Safety Center” to the app, where you can go to discover handy additional resources on dating safety. 

This might not sound like a huge deal, but easy access to crucial, potentially life-saving information and hotlines that pertain to sex and dating will now be much closer at hand, which could make a huge difference for some users who might not otherwise seek it out.

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