Online Dating Tips To Improve Success With Dating Apps. How To Improve Your Dating Profile, Photos, Writing, App Choice, Messaging, Conversation Skills & More
As an online dating consultant, I have helped out many clients with online dating struggles. There are many variables that contribute to success or failure, and it’s important to dissect each aspect of online dating from app choice to date ideas and conversations to see where you can ultimately improve the most.
How To Be Successful On Dating Apps
Too many individuals focus on just one item whether it’s photos, app choices, messages, swipe strategy, prompts but in reality, one needs to dissect every component to have the most success which includes items before you even donwload an app.
Online dating is a numbers game, but it’s more so about conveying who you are, what you are about and what you seek. Most people just randomly choose an app, put little thought into their photos and start swiping away. Like all things in life, it’s important to know what you are doing and how each decision can impact your chance at success.
Below is an exhaustive list of all the ways one should evaluate decisions made about themselves and online dating in order to get the most out of dating apps (more likes, more matches, better matches, better dates, more quality people).
Psychological Effects Of Online Dating: Dating Apps & Mental Health
Dating apps can be brutal. It’s not uncommon for people to never get matches while others get bombarded with unwanted messages and creepy matches. Online dating requires thick skin, patience, self-awareness and realistic expectations. Dating apps are highly competitive and can take a toll on confidence, self-esteem and mental health.
Be sure you are in a good place before even considering downloading dating apps as there are many people on dating apps looking to scam others, get validation / seek attention or looking for a casual hookup. Knowing how to ID red flags in dating profiles, photos, bios and communication is a tremendous skill to have not just with dating apps.
Despite the name, online dating is a misnomer. They should be viewed more like introduction apps. You meet online, communicate interest, exchange messages, confirm attraction and then go on dates offline.
Just as one should not apply to jobs without the proper experience or credentials nor should someone attend a black tie event without understanding dress attire and etiquette, one should not hastily jump into online dating without being aware of the ups and downs associated with dating apps.
Social & Physical Health; Hobbies, Interests & Life Experience
In real life, people take in various queues when analyzing you: your posture, voice, smiles, communication skills, wardrobe, scent, smile, context, etc. In dating profiles, some of these factors are not as visible and as such, physical appearance is the first thing people have to evaluate in dating profiles. It’s important to realize that if your personality seems to carry you in life, dating apps might be doing you a disservice.
Eating well, exercising and taking care of your skin will go a long way to improving your approachability, attractiveness and first impressions. Like a resume, would you submit a half-way decent application to your dream job?
Many people are too quick to join dating apps and self-sabotage their efforts as new users get a boost upon profile creation. Dating apps are a bit more shallow than offline introductions so be sure you are confident in your appearance and health before downloading those apps.
Most of the work required to be successful with dating apps happens offline. Having friends, partaking in activities, exploring hobbies, expanding your comfort zone with travel and exploration, building financial stability and having enough life experience to draw upon in bios, prompts, opening lines and conversations. If you are a boring person who doesn’t have much to offer or talk about, dating apps won’t help you. Dating apps won’t work miracles for you.
Dipping Your Toes In The Water
It’s natural to be curious what dating apps are about and what kind of people are on these platforms, but it should be noted that your new profile is generally boosted to others on the app within seconds of creation. As such, putting a poor, lazy profile generally creates a bad first impression on a sizeable portion of profiles that you may never encounter again.
As with most things in life, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Don’t create a dating profile until you are mentally, socially and physically ready and have the photos and writing skills to highlight your strengths to people immediately. Unlike offline or traditional dating, you cannot reset first impressions but going into a new bar. Chances are you profile has been shown to people you are very much interested in but failed to put in the effort to show your intent and individuality.
Dating App Choice (Tinder vs Hinge vs Bumble vs The League etc.)
Not all dating apps are the same. Some apps have better male to female ratios than others. A few dating apps verify profiles with some 3rd party data sources. Some apps make it easier for bots and scammers to create profiles on their platforms.
Some dating apps like Tinder have more people looking for something casual than something serious while dating apps like Hinge, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel tend to have more dating and relationship based intents. Most dating apps cater to more mainstream personality types while OkCupid favors more alternative lifestyles and personalities.
Don’t expect dating apps to screen people perfectly. Similarly, its possible apps like Tinder are the only game in town and might be your best bet for finding a relationship. Don’t be surprised if there are creeps or guys looking for hookups on apps like Bumble, Hinge, The League or Coffee Meets Bagel.
When it comes to free vs paid dating apps, paid doesn’t mean better. People have different intents, deal-breakers, intentions and experiences based on their demographics and personalities. Sometimes you have to try and see what works for you vs taking the advice of others. Most women use 1-2 apps while it’s not uncommon for guys to use 2-4 apps with hookup profile on Tinder and a profile for serious relationships on Bumble, Hinge or CMB.
Dating Profile Photo Choice: Best Photos For Dating Apps
Regardless of what you are like in real life, photos will make or break you. The old adage is particularly true with dating apps “You attract who you are, not what you seek.” If you are unable to marketing yourself accurately and in a flattering manner, it will be difficult to attract the right person.
Decisions are made within a matter of seconds of most dating apps and thus you will likely be judged by your worst photo “You are only as attractive as your worst photo.” Be sure to have photos that are consistent in age and appearance – too much deviation can suggest catfishing or instability in your life. Selfies can signal a boring lifestyle or lack of friends.
Four to six photos are recommended, and they should be relaxed, candid, natural and show a variety of poses, angles, lighting, outfits, facial expressions, activities and impressions. Professional photos are not needed and often come off as trying to hard and possible fake as a result of photoshopping, filters or other artificial means. Self-deprecating photos are great and photos showing passions, some vulnerability or how you spend your time can separate you from others.
Posture, Smiles, Wardrobes
Taking a good technical photo in terms of lighting, clarity and activities is a good start but details matter. Poses, smiles and outfits help to reveal who you are and what you might be like in real life. Not everyone is photogenic so practice those smiles (smiles are hard to come by in profiles and are a big reason why people swipe left).
Articles of clothing can signal lifestyle, education, style and how you spend your time. Showing a range of environments and style can signal versatility and interesting lifestyle while hoodies and t-shirts can lead to stereotypes about maturity. A team logo, travel shirt, local brewery, or sophisticated look can be enough to inspire conversation starters that are hard to come by.
Bios, Captions, About Me, Prompts
Photos are the single most important component of a dating profile but the little things in the profile are what separates you from others. Showing thought, effort and enthusiasm help to showcase how serious you are about dating and meeting the right person. It takes seconds to upload photos but much more time to write out a thoughtful profile, captions for photos and answers to questions and prompts.
The written part of your profile also helps out matches and people you are interested in with opening lines. At best, blank bios typically result in boring introductory messages or crude, generic opening lines. At worst, blank profiles signal scammers, bots, people seeking followers on social media, those not interested in anything serious or those that are a waste of time.
Use Your Real Name, Verify Your Profile
There are too many scammers on dating sites. Stick with mainstream apps and avoid sketchy ones. If the app offers it, verify your account with them.
Swipe Strategy: Swipes, Likes & Comments
Each dating app has a different way to communicate interest to others. Some allow a swipe left or right while others allow comments to be sent as well. Likes mean nothing. Some people swipe right on all profiles and then focus on the matches they are most interested in or most likely to hookup with (they view people as commodities).
While some conventional wisdom suggests swiping at the busiest times of the day, I recommend swiping at reasonable off-peak hours. Not too late that signals you have no social life, not too early that suggests you don’t value work but at times when you are likely to avoid the stiffest competition. Clients will get exact times to swipe for optimal visibility and activity.
Dating App First Messages
First messages will make or break you. Sounding too cute or lazy with simple openers like Hi, Hey or Heyy will get you nowhere (exception to all rules of online dating is if you are hot enough). This is particularly true if you are trying to get through to someone who gets a lot of attention.
Being more thoughtful helps but not if you are commenting on the same profile or prompt everyone else is. Think strategically, don’t go for the obvious opening. Find a way to build a connection with your match. Opening lines get repetitive and boring so finding a way to be different, charming, enthusiastic and interested helps quite a bit. Make sure your lines show that you have read the profile.
Online Dating Etiquette: Responsiveness, Timing
If you manage to pull off a successful first line that yields a response, congratulations. Not all matches signal interest and even a response doesn’t guarantee attraction let alone a date. It’s important to maintain chemistry and momentum to allow for a smooth conversation and banter.
Etiquette suggests responding to matches that evening or next morning at the latest. Remember you are not in a silo, you are competing with other matches. It’s also important to keep a good balance of initiating messages, asking questions and advancing depth of conversations. Too often people drift into the pen-pal zone forever.
Responding quickly every so often is not a bad thing as usually the person initiating conversation has signaled they are free to chat. Waiting too long and the moment might fade or someone else has caught their attention.
Online Dating First Dates
First dates are crucial as most people don’t make it to a send date with others. Picking a good date spot is key. Understanding interests, availability, noise levels, movement and activities are key to planning a first date. You definitely want to avoid meals if you hardly know each other as they can be stiff and awkward looking into each other’s eyes for 90-120 minutes.
Drinks, coffee or a light walk with snacks or dessert are a good, safe bet as they allow you to extend the date if things are going well. Seats at the bar can provide great opportunity to people watch, talk about others, engage in conversation with your bartender or server and break up the stiffness in a booth or table setting.
Even if a first date goes great, you need to signal a second date is of interest and something you are thinking about. Signaling a second date idea is a good way to gauge interest but you need to follow that up with somewhat concrete plans when you part ways. “I had a great time with you (insert name), I would to see you again next week if you are available. I was thinking (insert date idea) – how does that sound?”
Keeping things short and sweet but sincere is key. Make eye contact, don’t hide enthusiasm and don’t be afraid to mess up. You have to learn not to give a f*ck and just go for it sometimes. That is not to say you should treat your date poorly or not give them attention but rather, stop thinking what if and decide what you want and make it know to that other person. No one wants to be an afterthought or second fiddle. Everyone wants to feel wanted.
Learning How To Identify Red Flags, Avoid Creeps & Time-Wasters
This is arguably the most difficult aspect of online dating to master and conquer. There are master manipulators on dating apps that target the most vulnerable people on dates sites (those that are divorced, widowed, single parents, have self-esteem issues or are likely to have little experience with dating in general).
Identifying red flags in profiles, photos, captions, first lines and conversations is straight-forward but many people overlook obvious signs because of loneliness, attractiveness of said individual or making excuses for said match.
It helps to get independent advice from individuals who have experience with online dating as many friends and family members are eitherr biased and unwilling to be brutally honest with you or they themselves don’t have much experience with dating apps. Those that do have experience, likely have different circumstances that resulted in differed outcomes (physique, location, age, looks, financial stability, good mental health or don’t have as high as standards as you).
If you are the one always starting messages, initiating dates or carry conversations, it’s likely that person is not that into you. Learning to take things slow and not assuming too much by the words people say, way they make you feel or having sex early on is key to protecting yourself from getting hurt.
Online dating is not like ordering food from food delivery apps, it’s more so another means to meet people outside of your normal routine, schedule and everyday life. Don’t assume you know someone because you have their profile or you have gone on a few great dates. Love can’t be rushed. Enjoy the process.
Dating App Premium Subscriptions (Hinge Preferred Membership, Bumble Boost, Tinder Gold etc.)
Despite what you might think, you do not need to pay for dating apps to stand out nor be successful. Dating app premium features are like paid ads. They might help a little if you have a great product to promote. Most people don’t. There is a much better ROI with dating apps if you focus on your smiles, photos, bios, prompts, app choice, education, wardrobe, poses and general approachabilty.
There are a number of ways you can self-sabotage your profile. Every mistake you make reduces the dateable pool and turns away people whom you otherwise might have had a chance with. First impressions are everything so be patient and methodical with your urge to create profiles, swipe voraciously and play it safe with boring, cliche lines.
There are no hacks, no shortcuts if you want to do well. Hiring a professional photographer to take modeling-esque photos is a bad idea. Less than 5% of photographers are able to capture effective, natural dating photos. Similarly, hiring a ghostwriter to write your profile is also not effective as most copy and paste making your profile and messages sound like everyone else’s.
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/
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