How To Maximize Your Online Dating Experience

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So I read this post and watched the video today about how to maximize your Tinder experience by Matthew Dunn and I really enjoyed it! You should check it out, especially if you’re a guy who uses Tinder. The thing is, there obviously are some things that I think are missing. Actually, a better way to put it would be to say that because the focus was specifically on men who use Tinder, some of the tips really don’t apply to everyone who might be using any dating app. Rather than complaining about the specificity of the piece, I figured I’d just write-up my tips that everyone can use on pretty much any dating app.

Really quickly, let’s address the tips in the piece. As I mentioned, the piece in question is really geared toward Tinder, so the first tip is a very specific to how to use Tinder, the rest are written with guys in mind, but can work for everyone once you make the tips gender neutral:

1. MAXIMISE YOUR DAILY LIKESThe tips here are based on the free version of Tinder, which limits how often you can swipe right within a 12 hour period. To my knowledge, Tinder is one of the few apps to do so, and it’s closest competitors DO NOT limit your swipes, though some limit how many total potential matches you can see in a day. While I will get into how to maximize the daily likes/matches you can get in a day, the tips for maximizing your total number of swipes per day on Tinder don’t really apply for every app.

2. STOP PUTTING GROUP SHOTS IN EVERY PHOTO – A-Okay advice here. Seriously, stop using ONLY group photos. It does you no favors.

3. LADS, STOP POWER LIKING THE LADIES – I cannot agree with this more. Straight Guys, I know that you’ve heard, or even experienced the fact that it is very hard to get matches. The thing is, swiping until you get a match might make you feel good in the short-term, getting that notification is rewarding, but doing so and then immediately unmatching the person because you’d never want to go on a date with them still puts you back at square one. Swipe people you’d actually consider going on a date with and stop swiping indiscriminately. 

4. PUT SOME SERIOUS EFFORT INTO YOUR BIO – This is just solid advice for men and women using any dating app. Seriously, put in some damn effort.

5. EMBRACE ONLINE DATING – If you’re going to do something, don’t half ass it. 

Okay that’s out of the way, let’s get into how to maximize your online dating experience:


I. Maximize your opportunities to match and connect

As of today I’m using and/or trying out the following apps on a regular basis: Hinge, Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, and Once. On average, I’d say I swipe about 50 times a day on both Tinder and Bumble, and Quickmatch about 25-50 people a day on OkCupid. Once is a dating app that gives you something like 1-3 new potential matches in a day (I think maybe you get one match a day, plus anyone else who may have already indicated they like you, which would explain the varying number), so I’ve probably only swiped 20-ish people or so in total. On Hinge, I think you get something like 10 or so matches a day, so that’s roughly how many I swipe on a daily basis. I started tracking how many times I’ve matched with someone and messaged them starting on 8/15/16 and as of today, I’ve matched and messaged with a grand total of 17 people, across all of those apps. If I had only been using Tinder, my total for women matched and messaged would have been 4 people. OkCupid? Zero. The reason I’m telling you this isn’t to encourage you to overload yourself with dating apps, but to show you that if you aren’t flooded with attention on one app, don’t be afraid to use a few others as a supplement to maximize your opportunities. Some people get into this weird brand-loyalty thing with dating apps and good for you if you’re super into brand loyalty I guess, but that brand loyalty really only serves the brand, and not you. If you think Tinder sucks and you refuse to use it, that’s fine, but if you’re using only one dating app and you’re not matching with people, consider adding another one to the rotation. Or not using the app you’re currently using entirely. There are some dating apps I’ve used that I didn’t receive a single match on over a 3 month period, so I just get rid of them. I want to be clear, this is about maximizing (as in “make the best use of“) your opportunities to match and connect, not about maximizing total apps or total swipes in a day.  If you’re a highly swiped/matched/liked person, you don’t need to be on multiple dating apps swiping constantly if you don’t want to. If you’re the type of person who gets thousands of likes/matches/swipes in a day, and you’re feeling overwhelmed because you’re using multiple apps, cut down on how many apps you use, or just use the one you prefer the most. If I got 30 matches that lead to messages in one month, all from one app, I’d only be using that app. If I get 9 matches from Bumble, 4 from Tinder, 2 from Once,  and 2 from Hinge, I’m going to use all of those apps to maximize my opportunities to match and connect. If you’re getting 1000 matches swipes a day on both Tinder and Bumble, and it’s overwhelming you to the point where you can’t even message people you want to message, you’re actually minimizing your opportunities to match and connect with anyone.

II. Your photos matter

It’s not just about whether or not you have one-too-many group shots (one more than one is one too many, in case you were wondering), I think people forget that your photos matter. It’s not only about the photos you should or should not include on your profile, it’s also about using photos that actually work in your favor. Rather than rehashing a bunch of tips you’ve probably read a dozen times, I’ll instead invite you to listen to the 96th episode of my podcast, How Important are your Dating Photos? featuring Saskia Nelson which very clearly  lays out why your dating profile photos matter. Sure, the type of photos you pick are important, but the quality matters too. Yes, not everyone can afford to invest in professional photos, but odds are good that you or someone you know has a halfway decent camera in their possession (probably on the back of their smart phone). If your photos look like they were taken using a flip-phone, or are older than a decent single-blend scotch, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Get better quality photos, and get photos that paint an accurate picture of how you look today. Not how you looked, or how you want to look, how you actually look. You might want to choose photos that make you look much better than you actually do, but I would encourage you to never do that. Let’s be candid here, some people are just not going to like the way you look, and some people will reject you because of your body. The thing is…would you rather be rejected after a date, a date you put time and energy and resources to going to, or before the date so that you can focus the energy you would spend on date prep on meeting someone who will like you for you? Everyone, and I mean everyone, deserves to be with someone who likes and appreciates them, body and mind. There are plenty of people who wont want to go on a date with you because of your body, which can feel shitty, but there are plenty of people who think you’re hot as fuck right now, just the way you are. Don’t you want to be on a date with someone who actually wants to be on a date with the real you? I never, ever, want to be on a date and be told “Oh you look much better in pictures” and I’m guessing you don’t either.

III. Never swipe indiscriminately

Here’s what I’ve noticed about most people use dating apps. Depending on their gender and/or sexual orientation, most people swipe indiscriminately, just in opposite directions. Odds are good that if you’re a guy, you swipe right on literally every profile you come across. More power to you, but here’s what I’m suggesting: Slow down. I used to swipe indiscriminately in the past and I regret doing it, mostly because I would end up matching with someone who seems perfectly nice but not for me, so then I’d have to unmatch this perfectly decent person, which I know first hand can be demoralizing. Instead of continuing to do that and constantly feeling guilty, here’s what I do instead, and what I suggest you do too. First, swipe left on anyone you are absolutely certain is not your type. People who you are 100% sure are your type, based on their looks alone, swipe right AFTER you check their profile. You would be surprised by how many beautiful people are only beautiful on the outside. Awhile back I came across the Tinder profile of a  drop dead gorgeous woman who I would normally swipe right on in a heartbeat. I checked her profile and her profile said, and I kid you not,  “I hate homeless people”. Hold up, you hate homeless people? Not homelessness, or poverty, or the fact that almost one-third of all homeless people are suffering with mental illness with little access to mental health services, or that these people are largely invisible in our society until they commit an act of violence or die in a way that inconveniences people during their commute, people who know that sometimes the only guaranteed way to get a bed and a meal is to either commit an imprisonable offense, or trade their body for shelter, you don’t hate any of that, you just hate the people and not the problem? I don’t even want to know a person like that, let alone swipe right on them, no matter how hot they are.

Here’s something to remember: Just because they’re hot, doesn’t mean you’d actually want to date them. Someone can be hot, and be the sort of person you’d never want to have a conversation with. Trust me on this, I live in New York City. One of the most attractive cities in the United States with some of the most insufferable garbage humans in the United States. They’re not mutually exclusive. Oh and the folks who you’re sort of maybe on the fence about, who are a teeny-tiny bit outside of what you’re looking for (or what you think you’re looking for), check their profile too. The human brain is funny, and there’s a recent study that shows that pictures were more likely to be rated as attractive if the previous profile had also been rated as attractive. If that’s the case, it’s entirely possible that the inverse holds true, that seeing several unattractive pictures can change our perception. If you quickly swiped left on 10 people you weren’t into, maybe you would be into the 11th person, but your perception of their attractiveness was a bit skewed.

IV. Put in the effort you want returned

I think everyone should put some effort into online dating, but I understand that not everyone is as serious or as intense as me. That’s fine, we all take some things more seriously than others, but I would encourage you to put the effort into online dating that you want returned. Here’s a really simple way to do that: What do you wish that people would message you about on dating apps? Food, family, travel, your passion projects, your day job, Takuan Soho’s three-part treatise on Buddhist philosophy? Cool! Are any of those things on your profile? If your answer is “No”, I would suggest putting the thing you want people to message you about on your profile. You can even take it a step further and spell it out for people saying “It’d be awesome if you asked me about X”.  Sure, there will be plenty of people who give you a simple “Hey, how’s it going message” despite that, there’s no controlling for people not putting in effort, but there might be a 10% chance that the first message you get actually addresses your profile content. It’s not only a way to start having the conversations you want, but also another way to filter out people who wont match your effort in dating. If they can’t be bothered to read your profile, one that you put effort into, they wont be bothered to put effort into anything else.

V. Embrace online dating, but don’t rely on it

I think that people tend to think of online dating in a way where you either date online, super hardcore, or you only meet people offline. You know you can do both, right? You know you can also take a break from either, right? Listen, I take online dating breaks maybe 3-6 times a year, I also take offline dating breaks a couple of times a year. Sometimes, *GASP*, I take breaks from dating, both online and offline. It’s fun and cool to date, online or offline, but it can also stress you out. I think everyone should embrace online dating, or at the very least use it to supplement their offline dating efforts if they aren’t meeting people they want to meet, but it’s also okay to say, you know what, screw online dating it’s stressing me out, I’m going to take a break. Take breaks when you don’t enjoy who you’re meeting, or even your own behavior while you’re dating. Whenever I notice a lack of enthusiasm on my own part with online dating, or a persistent frustration with how little effort people put into online dating, I take a break from dating online. I would encourage you to do the same, but I would also encourage you to embrace it while you’re dating online. It bears repeating: If you’re going to date online, don’t half-ass it. When it gets too stressful, take a break. Don’t half-ass your breaks either.

There are countless other ways to make online dating a much better experience for you, but in my own experience, across more dating apps then you can imagine, for more than a decade, those 5 things have helped me maximize my experience dating online.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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