How to Hack Dating Apps: 5 Tricks From the Cofounder of Tinder

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checking-phoneIt’s human nature to yes or no a lot of things based on appearance. We do it all day long: Yes to the salad; no to the pizza. Yes to the handsome, well-dressed man in the elevator with you; no to the guy carrying the latest issue of Hustler and a backpack that smells like a college dorm. We all have our preferences, and they’re often established in a split second.

Online dating—and all the apps that go along with it—really just takes this essential truth and translates it into an action as simple as swiping left or right. Whether you think that’s good or bad, the truth is that the new world of online dating fosters instant judgment, and it can be easy to end up overlooked in a sea of eye-catching options.

Want to know how to make your profile stand out? I may have a few ideas. (I cofounded Tinder in 2012, and I’m now the founder and CEO of a new dating app, Bumble, so I’ve got a few secrets up my sleeve.) Here are five insider tricks to help you get that guy of your dreams.

Dating Hack #1: Focus on Your Personality
A pretty face is great, but leading with the surface won’t get you a deep connection. When you have only a few seconds to catch someone’s attention, you need to show off a bit of who you are, not just what you look like. Make sure that you add at least one photo conveying things you really love. Examples:

• If you love to ski, surf, ride horses, or hike, then show a photo of yourself being active and adventurous.
• If you’re passionate about music or concerts, include a photo of you at Coachella rocking out with your friends (but make sure it’s cropped in or focused on you).

Dating Hack #2: Message Him First
Think men still want to be the first to reach out? Nope. Not only is it flattering to a man to hear from you first, it’s also empowering, confidence-building (for both of you), sexy, and cool. Beyond that, it could have an even bigger impact on your dating life because you’re making the call as to what type of person you want to connect with.

If you’re looking for something fun, casual, and short-term, you have the ability to lead with that. If you’re looking for someone chivalrous and romantic, you can choose to contact only guys who seem sweet and well-mannered in their profiles. If you always go for bad boys and want to start dating a kindergarten teacher, seek one out. Need help crafting the perfect opener? Here’s how to derive a line from a typical guy’s profile:

bumble-phil

This guy has so much going on in his six photos that it gives you a lot to work with. You could simply send him the bee emoji he seems so fond of, or you could ask about his two years abroad. Oh, and there’s always another option: Take the bait and comment on the adorable puppy picture.

Dating Hack #3: Your Main Picture Should Be a Solo Shot
It’s great that you have friends and look like a bombshell in that photo with your BFF, but group photos create confusion. Your default profile photo should be an outstanding one of you alone. Don’t wear sunglasses or an unusual hairstyle or outfit—show off your typical look without distractions in the background, and pick a photo with a high resolution so it doesn’t appear grainy.

Dating Hack #4: No Photos With Guys
Even if it’s your brother! Fair or unfair, having a shot of yourself with a man can create confusion and make you seem taken when you’re not. Yes, unfortunately some people do join dating apps when they’re not technically single, and you don’t want to give the impression you’re one of them.

Dating Hack #5: Current Photos Only
We all have that one amazing photo of ourselves from four years ago. Maybe it’s winter now and you haven’t seen the sun in a decade, but that photo from your long-ago vacation is a don’t. Not only do current photos show you as you are right now, but they also show that you’ve got fun stuff going on in your life. A potential partner needs to see you dolled up on a Saturday night, going casual when you’re staying in on a Tuesday evening, and other things that you’re really doing now, not when you were 22. Be real and stay true to yourself and you’ll always win.

Whitney-Wolfe-Headshot
Whitney Wolfe is the founder and CEO of Bumble, an app that allows women to make the first move.

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