Although we’ve come a long way in getting over the stigma of online dating, the Tinder app still tends to get a bad rep. So many people champion it as the “hookup app” that users are concerned they can’t use it for meaningful connections – they think Tinder is solely about finding someone to have sex with. But the beauty of online dating is its versatility – with a swipe of your thumb, you can find people with both similar and diverse interests, who could be looking for exactly what you’re hoping for, whatever type of connection that may be.
In the murky waters of dating, “rules” and “games” are easy to find and hard to define. As a relatively recent phenomenon, previous generations can’t give us advice on the way relationships function across the Internet, so we rely on our peers and the media to make the case for swiping left and right. I listened, then I joined Tinder and made my own discoveries. Based on personal experience, here are the 10 things no one ever tells you about using Tinder.
1. Not everyone on Tinder is a creep…
With the prevalence of “hookup culture” that surrounds modern dating in general and photo-based dating apps like Tinder in particular, many people make the assumption that the app is only filled with creeps looking to make a quick score. Don’t let this generalization scare you away, because many users are nice and normal – after all, you’re on Tinder and you’re not a creep!
2. …but some people on Tinder are.
To be fair, if you put hundreds or thousands of people into a group and take a survey, you’re bound to find some creeps, whether you’re online, at school, or out in public. The trick is ignoring the riff raff and finding the diamond in the rough. If someone sends you a message that makes you uncomfortable, don’t reply. If it’s exceptionally horrible or they persistently pester you, do everyone on the app a favor and report them.
3. It’s a numbers game.
The pickier you are, the fewer matches you’ll receive. The more people you swipe right to, the more matches you’ll get. I’ve heard of guys who just say “yes” to every girl and then only get selective with the ones who match. This method has its merits, but the notifications will blow up your phone. If their profile is intriguing but questionable, go for it – the more matches you make, the more potential partners you meet. But if they’re a definite no, don’t waste your (or their) time.
4. You’ll feel super shallow.
Tinder does provide the option to include a biography with your profile – and I highly recommend doing so – but it’s usually pretty short, and some people don’t write one at all. The initial point of the app is to put faces in front of other faces, so the photos are the main focus. Swiping through seemingly endless pictures of other people and making your decision based on aesthetics can make you feel like a judgmental person, but after you match, you can make the connection mean something through conversation. You can also pay attention to the what of the photos – if the person is playing sports, traveling, hanging out with family, etc. – rather than the who. And hey, when you think about it, we generally initially become attracted to people IRL based on how they look. So it’s not that different!
5. It’s okay to use it for hooking up.
Tinder’s reputation as a tool for initiating hookups isn’t entirely undeserved, as some users do facilitate meet ups through the app specifically for this purpose. This isn’t necessary if you’re not into it, by any means – but if you are, why not use all the tools at your disposal for making it the most efficient and safe process you can? If both parties are aware of the situation and consent to it, might as well have your cake and eat it, too.
6. No one looks the same IRL as they do in their photos.
Don’t let MTV’s Catfish convince you that no one is who they say they are, but be prepared to be a little thrown off. Everyone picks the most flattering photos of themselves for their online profiles. They might be shorter than they appear; their hair might be darker than the camera flash shows; they may have switched from glasses to contacts since that photo was taken.
7. You’ll awkwardly match with people you already know.
Unless all of your friends are in relationships, or you’ve moved to a brand new city and don’t yet have any friends, eventually you’ll run into a familiar face. If it’s someone you’re interested in, this can be a great way to get the conversation started. If it’s someone you’re not into, you can either swipe right and make a joke out of it, or swipe left and hope they don’t bring it up next time you run into them. Remember, all’s fair in love and online dating.
8. You’ll run into people you matched with but didn’t hit it off with.
On the flip side, you’ll probably match with people on Tinder, find out you don’t really have a connection, and cut the connection…only to run into them around town a week later. If you’re into “signs” this might be one, but likely it just means that you’re the same relative age with the same relative interests living in the same geographic area, so you’re bound to coincidentally be at the same place at the same time. Laugh it off.
9. Swiping is more fun than chatting.
It feels like a game – and when you make a match, it even asks if you want to Send Message or Keep Playing. Seeing all of the options out there and imaging all the potential dates and love stories you could have can be even more entertaining than actually talking to any of them.
10. You could actually find love.
Sure, everyone has a friend who has a classmate who has a cousin who met their significant other on Tinder…right. But it’s true! Each match you make won’t be your soul mate, but meeting someone online is just as legitimate a foundation for love as meeting them in person. Be yourself, and if someone loves you for it, let them, Tinder and all.
Which of these things about Tinder surprised you? Have you ever tried using Tinder? Would you? Tell us in the comments!