Ah, dating in your 20s. Is there anything on earth more exciting yet simultaneously terrifying and frustrating? As a single girl in my mid (OK, nearly late) 20s one of the biggest problems I have is actually finding someone to go on a date with. I’m long passed the age of being at school or uni; I work alone so the chances of meeting a guy in the workplace are zero and I honestly can not recall the last time I got chatted up – in person, in a bar, coffee shop or…well, anywhere really. That being said, I feel too young for proper online dating sites – I’m not quite there yet. So where do 20-somethings seeking companionship turn to these days? Tinder, of course.
The popular dating app, for me, is something I use when I’m bored. It’s something to pass the time when I’m lying in bed or to share a laugh over with my girlfriends, but is it really a viable way to find love? Well I took to Instagram and asked had anyone ever had a successful Tinder date. While the results were pretty much straight down the middle (48% no, 52% yes) I went on to receive 12 messages from people saying they were now engaged or married to people they’d met on Tinder. That’s pretty darn good if you ask me!
As I said though, my main problem is finding someone I actually want to date, and wading through Tinder can be a pretty exhausting task. My mum thinks I’m overly fussy, but the truth is, I’m actually really happy being single. Don’t get me wrong – it would be lovely to have a partner and someone to text and cuddle, but I enjoy my own company. I have great girlfriends to spend my weekends with and being self-employed and a fitness fanatic, I spend a lot of time focusing on myself, so someone has to be really special for me to want to let them into my life. At the risk of sounding like Psycho Sally, I’m not really interested in casually meeting people for the fun of it, like I was in my early 20s. If I’m going to invest time in getting to know someone and dating them, I want to know that it has the potential to progress into something semi-serious and therefore, they need to be worth my time.
As ‘research’ for this article I chatted to friends, created Instagram polls and swiped endlessly through Tinder, and based on that I’ve compiled some Top Tindering Tips, primarily dos and don’ts…
On Tinder you are primarily judged on your looks. Sad but true. So guys, make sure your first picture (the one that reels us gals in) is a good one!
According to my research the top turn-offs in a guy’s Tinder pics are: excessive selfies (especially moody/pouty ones), body selfies (an ‘accidental’ body pic where you’re in your beach shorts on holiday is fine, but let’s have less of the torso selfies), group shots (which one are you?!), photos with ex-girlfriends or where a girl has clearly been cropped out, and finally photos in nightclubs holding bottles of Grey Goose and giving a backwards V-sign. The overwhelming consensus on the latter is that you look like a knob.
On the flip-side, a good set of Tinder photos would include: a mix of solo portraits and pics with your friends (this let’s us clearly see which one you are in your pics where you’re alone, but that you also have mates), photos where you’re smiling (so much more attractive than a man-pout), photos where we can kind of see your physique if that’s something you want to show off (e.g. a good t-shirt photo to let us see those biceps, rather than a gym mirror pic), photos of you with your family, doing a hobby you enjoy, traveling somewhere interesting or holding a puppy (ten out of ten every time).
Upload recent pics ONLY. If you’ve started losing your hair or you’ve put on 14 stone or you’ve grown a big long beard, don’t upload photos that represent the old you. It’s misleading and basically like catfishing
OK so you’ve made it past the photo round, now how about that bio? I only ever swipe right for guys with bios. Why? Well, 1) if you don’t have one and you’re inordinately attractive I will assume you are a Catfish. 2) a physical attraction isn’t enough for me to know if I’d like to date you. Even just one or two lines of info can help a girl make her mind up.
For the love of God, avoid cliché cringey quotes. For example “work hard, play hard”, “live the life you love, love the life you live”, “live, laugh, love”, etc. This isn’t me being picky, of all the girls I’ve talked to and polled on this subject 98% said this was a major turn-off. You can sum up the gist of these phrases, just try to be a bit more original
Let us know what your hobbies and interests are. It’s lovely if you find you have something in common, but even if your hobbies aren’t entirely in-sync it’s really attractive to know a guy is into more than just beer and playing the X-box.
Avoid “lol”, “lmao”, “llf” or similar acronyms. We are not 14 and this is not MSN messenger. If you simply must laugh at something in your own bio a simple “haha” will suffice. If your bio is just your Snapchat name please reconsider. It makes girls assume you just want to exchange dirty photos with any willing woman out there.
Height: if you are going to mention your height (which is not essential, but for me, as a tall girl, a nice bonus) please, don’t lie about it. I once went on a date with a guy from Tinder who was “6ft 2ins” and when I arrive I was literally looking down on him (I was wearing flats!). Honesty: whether you’re just looking for someone to date casually or wanting to find a life partner, be upfront and honest about it, it saves anyone wasting their (or your) time.
Check your spelling and grammar. This is so vitally important to me that I can not stress it enough. We are adults. Learn to spell and construct a sentence.
You’ve matched with someone you fancy – result! So what now? Starting a conversation on Tinder is SO awkward. Personally, unless I fancy the pants off you, I prefer not to talk first. Call me old-fashioned and all the rest but I still like the thought of a guy being the first one to chat me up. Try to think of something more original than “hey what’s up?”. It’s such an awkward question to reply to. Don’t come on too strong: leave out the cheesy chat up lines, crude comments and asking for nudes please.
I once matched with a guy who said something along the lines of: “OK, let’s get some really important things out of the way here: what’s your favourite pizza topping, which Back to the Future movie is your favourite and do you prefer cats or dogs?” which was great as it broke the ice, got us chatting/debating, and made him stand out from the sea of “hey how’s u?”.
If the chat is flowing for a couple of days and you feel like a date is on the cards just ask for our number. We’re probably waiting for you to do so! Then once you’ve secured a date the ball is in your court. It’s easy to come across as charming and charismatic via text because you have time to prepare and come up with witty responses (and Google things the other person is talking about when you’re clueless!), but in person you just have to be yourself. For me, it’s pretty obvious right away if I fancy someone physically and after about an hour I’ll have decided if I appreciate your chat and want to see you again.
If the date is a success, happy days. Seal the deal with a kiss if you both feel comfortable enough to do so. Life is too short to put constraints and rules on such things but if you’ve decided that this person isn’t for you and you get the feeling that that opinion is not mutual (i.e. they were actually kind of in to you) don’t be a douche about it. Let them know that while you had a nice evening you didn’t feel a connection, there’s no spark, it’s not them it’s you or whatever way you want to word it. Don’t be spineless and simply ‘ghost’ them (i.e. fall off the face of the earth never to be heard from again). That’s pretty lousy.
Now, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner and my mother getting fed up with me never having dates, I’m giving her an evening of full control over my Tinder account. Yes, that’s right, my mum is going to swipe left and right on potential dates for me, because that’s how truly sad and desperate things have become. Wish me luck!