Online Dating Questions (FAQ’s), Intro Guide To Dating Apps

Online Dating Guide: Online Dating 101, Online Dating For Beginners, Dating App Questions, Dating App FAQ’s, Tips For Men, Women

It’s very tempting to jump into the deep end and immerse yourself in dating apps. Dating apps are addictive and seemingly simple and straightforward to use. With that said, there is plenty of self-sabotage and mistakes people make when creating a profile. Consider this as your introductory course dating apps – Online Dating 101.

Doing some research ahead of time and being prepared will go a long way to improving chances for success. Below is an exhaustive online dating guide to help navigate the dating app waters and help prepare yourself for online dating with online dating tips for beginners, online dating explained, dating profile templates for various apps, what the online dating experience is like, and general information for those new to dating apps.

Why Do People Use Online Dating? What Is The Purpose Of Online Dating? Why Use Dating Apps? Dating Apps 101

Dating apps are meant to supplement the way you meet people offline, in person. Due to busy schedules, lack of social outlets, and difficulty in going out as a parent, dating apps provide another way to meet people outside your routines, schedules, and social circles.

10-15 years ago, there used to be a stigma around dating apps. People thought only introverts, socially awkward folks, and weirdos use dating apps. These days, everyone is on dating apps – even people who have no problem meeting people offline. Dating apps are socially acceptable now.

It’s not meant to replace meeting people offline, nor should people keep relationships online. The purpose of dating apps are to discover singles around you and go on dates offline.


How Much Does Online Dating Cost? How Much Do Dating Apps Cost? Brand New To Dating Apps

Some apps are completely free, while most operate what is called a freemium business model (basic aspects of the apps are free, but additional costs apply for more profiles, filters, privacy etc). Few apps are completely paid apps.

Costs can vary from $15-$40 per month, but can easily exceed that for apps like The League, which commands a premium for privacy.

Hinge Profile


New To Online Dating: Dating Apps 101: Online Dating Advice & Intro To Online Dating, Dating App Tips For Beginners

You only get one change at a first impression and with online dating that couldn’t be more true, so I created this FAQ page to help you navigate the online dating waters. As an online dating photographer and consultant, I have gathered years of research to put together this guide to help folks who are brand new or have struggled with dating apps over the years.

Having worked with people in LA, NYC, Chicago and all over the world, it’s important to know your audience, market yourself effectively and put in sincere effort to have success.

You attract who you are, not what you seek, so what you put out there will affect who you are shown, who contacts you and who is interested in you.

Dating App FAQ’s:  Tinder  |  | OkCupid  |  Hinge  |  Bumble  |  Coffee Meets Bagel  |  The League

Dating App Advice For Beginners: Online Dating Tips, Guides & How To Use Dating Apps, New To Online Dating

Anonymity encourages bad etiquette, check-boxes create unhealthy expectations, upfront information creates a false sense of security, easy profile setup creates lazy behavior, people read too much into matches (not a good KPI), access to numerous profiles provides an opportunity for temptation or unwillingness to settle down.

It’s important to have thick skin and awareness of what apps are, and what they can/cannot do. They are not like food ordering apps, they are merely introduction apps. It’s up to you to learn about people and see if they are truthful, worth getting to know, and line up with what you seek.

Related read: New To Dating Apps, Online Dating For Beginners

Are Dating Apps Taboo? Is Online Dating Socially Acceptable? Is There A Stigma Around Online Dating? Is It Embarrassing?

10-15 years ago, people might have viewed those who used dating apps as desperate. 2 years ago, with the success of Hinge and Bumble, dating apps became popular and have distanced association with apps like Tinder, which give dating apps a bad name.

In 2021, dating apps became necessary and if you are not using them, you are severely limiting your opportunity to meet someone.

Related read: Online Dating Stigma, Dating App Shame

Dating App Profile Tips For Hinge, Tinder, OkCupid, Tinder (Online Dating Guide For Men, Women), Online Dating Tips

I have helped numerous people optimize their profiles while maintaining authenticity, approachability and a touch of candidness. Below are some tips to navigate the online dating waters (I provide more detailed, customized advice for clients). Click through a few frequently asked questions about dating apps, photos, bios, swiping strategy, and more below.

To view samples of questions, prompts on various dating sites, check out these posts on profile prompts for apps like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel. For tips on how to write a dating profile, read this introductory guide.

Online Dating Profile Photos: Best Dating App Photos For Men, Women (Hinge, Bumble)

How many photos should I use in a dating profile?

You want to use at least 4 pictures but no more than 6 for a dating profile. The more photos you post the more harshly you will be judged i.e. you are only as good looking as your worst photo. With that said, some dating apps like Hinge require you to have exactly 6 photos.

Do looks matter on dating sites?

Unfortunately looks do matter. A photo is the first thing a person sees on your profile. First impressions carry the most weight with dating apps. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter how you look in person if you don’t photograph decently.

Plenty of people look better in person than in their photos which doesn’t help their case on dating apps. Read: How to look more attractive in your dating photos.

Is it ok to use memes in your dating photos?

Some people who are attractive can get away with it but largely you should not do this. It’s immature, tacky and generally used to distract others from your sub-par photos.

What should you wear in your online dating photos?

You want versatility in your photos to highlight environments, situations, fashion sense and lifestyle. Avoid shirtless bathroom selfies and other automatic left swipe photo. Dressing for the person you want to attract is what you should aim for (instead of dressing for comfort). Read more about attire here:

What are the best photos to use for a dating app profile?

That depends on your demographics, lifestyle, and how you want to market yourself. Most people think modeling, portrait and professional headshots are best but these are often staged, airbrushed and lifeless. Most people today can detect such bland and forced photos.

If you want to get the most out of your photos, get some photo that reveal a side of you that is flattering, insightful, candid and even self-deprecating. For additional advice on photos, check out this photo intro.​ For the most cliche photos on dating app these days, check out this dating app photo bingo card.

What size should my photos be for my dating profile? What dimensions should online dating photos be?

Requirements will vary by apps but if you maintain square profiles or close to it but you can view exact dimensions here:

Should I use photos with my dog, cat or pet?

Dog pics on Tinder can work fine but be sure to limit photos to just one photo in your profile, don’t stage the photo, don’t mouth-hug your dog and don’t use it as your main dating profile photo.

Cats will reduce your chances for matching but you might connect with someone who feels strongly about cats. Lastly make sure the dog is yours. Dogfishing is not encouraged.

How do I look more attractive in my dating photos?

Should I use plandid photos on my dating profile?

No, these photos are generally too staged, stiff and are obviously fake. They resemble stock photos, are cliche and suggest there is a high level of photoshop involved to make you look better than you actually look. Stick with natural, candid photos.

Is it ok to use photos of my children in my dating app photos? Should I use photos of my kids on dating profiles?

No, I highly recommend you don’t for privacy reasons mostly. People understand kids are the center of your universe (or at least should be) but avoid photos with them.

Instead, list how many kids you have and their ages in your bio. Read more about this here:

GUYS: For additional tips on which photos are the best to ones to use on your dating profile click here.

How To Make A Good Dating Profile: Bios, Prompts, Headlines & About Me, Profile Tips For Women, Men

Is it ok to lie about my age or height in my dating site profile?

No! Being truthful is important in online dating. If you lie about age or height right off the bat, what else might you be lying about?

Starting off with a lie is a recipe for failure and frustration. It signals insecurity or strong likelihood for lying about other items in your profile. Read more about this here:

Is it ok to use a screen name or initials instead of my real name on a dating app profile?

No, it is highly recommended you don’t. Using a screen name is very dated. Even Match is moving people to using their real names. Using a screen name or initial signals insecurity, lacking transparency.

If you use a screen name or initial prepare to receives fewer matches, interest. Read this post on usernames: 

How do you write a good dating profile for a man? woman? What are some examples on how to write about yourself?

Passions, stories, curiosities, interests, travels are all good places to start. Avoid cliche, boring dating bios. Being negative or displaying deal-breakers on dating profiles is generally not advised.

How To Make A Hinge Profile  |  How To Create A Bumble Profile

What are some good Hinge and Bumble profile prompts?

What should I avoid in a dating profile headline?

Being too cliche, vague, boring or obscure. Finding a balance between socially aware yet being authentic and interesting is ideal.

Online Dating Questions, Dating Profile Questions – Online Dating Profile Template (Online Dating Tips)

Hinge Profile Template  |  Bumble Profile Template  |  Coffee Meets Bagel Template  |  Tinder Template


Dating Apps vs. Matchmakers: Which is better?

Read this post for an exhaustive explanation on the pros and cons of each.

What are the demographics for Hinge, Match, Bumble, CMB (monthly average users)?

There is no definitive answer on this but a couple surveys are about right highlighting age and gender splits: SurveyMonkey Intelligence 2016 and International Trends. 

Every article and survey out there is based on some sample size and don’t necessarily provide the right drivers for success nor accurate expectations. After our photo session, I will provide specific guidance on what I recommend for you based on age, location, personality etc. 

If you are purely interested in apps with the most users, take a look at this survey:

What are the best profile prompts, conversation starters and bios for Bumble?

Bumble is a great app but it requires effort and knowledge on how to navigate. Read up on my Bumble blog posts for help:

Do dating apps notify matches or profiles of screenshots?

No, they do not. 

Is online dating safe? What are the dangers of online dating?

Please read this detailed post before diving into dating apps. Nothing is ever completely safe but there are ways to reduce exposure to scams, catfishers etc. Read this:

What are the best photos, prompts and answers for Hinge app?

Hinge is one of the most popular dating apps for relationship minded folks. For help with photos, prompts, captions, bios, conversation starters are more read my Hinge blog posts:

What are some red flags to be aware of when online dating?

There are no guaranteed red flags nor is this an exhaustive list of red flags but if you notice several of these things surfacing on profiles, messages and behavior then take note.

How do you spot fake accounts and profiles on dating apps?

There are no guaranteed ways to be 100% certain but there are ways through profile analysis, reverse images searches, patience and questions to reduce chances of being scammed. Read this for more info: 

How do I reset my dating profile, account?

How long should you stay on a dating app? Taking a break from online dating?

Most people stay on dating apps until they become exclusive with someone or decide they want to focus on one person and see how things turn out. Some people get off apps after a few years of having little to no success.

Online dating is not worth it for all people especially if they lack self-awareness, realistic expectations, have bad app choices, poor profiles, bad communication skills.

Related read: Taking A Break From Dating Apps

How do you avoid people you know on dating apps? How to avoid exes, colleagues and friends. Hiding Your profile on dating Apps?

Some apps over premium services that allow you to control who sees your profile. Essentially, users will not be able to see your profile unless you like theirs first.

On Bumble, this is called Incognito Mode. Apps like The League use your company info to possible block colleagues from seeing your profile if you choose to do so.

How likes, matches is average for a guy, girl on Hinge, Bumble, Tinder and other dating apps?

That largely depends on your age, location, preferences, photos, height, deal-breakers, swipe strategy, messaging strategy, ethnicity, app choice and more.

For many it’s 1-3 likes, matches a day but quality is more important that quantity as matches can come from bots, spammers and people outside your location, age range, or attractiveness thresholds. R

ead this guide on how to have more success on dating apps.

What questions do dating apps ask? What questions does Bumble ask? What questions does Hinge ask?

Dating apps have many questions and they vary by app but most ask basic info like age, location, height, profession, gender, orientation while other ask more lifestyle questions i.e. drinking, smoking, religion and politics.

Some questions are optional while others are required. Bumble questions  |  Hinge questions


Dating Etiquette Articles, Dating Rules For Men, Women, Unspoken Rules Of Dating

Read this for tips on expectations, communication, lying on profiles, date planning, response time, & more.


Should I use a dating app ghostwriter to write my bio and send messages for me?

No! I provide clients guidelines on what to focus on in their bios but I do not write bios myself. Character and personality will be lost in translation if you hire someone to do this.

Secondly, you deprive yourself of the chance to experience the exploration of getting to know someone through those messages.

Some services are known to use a fake dog, outfit, photoshopped images, to mislead women. Don’t do it. Be yourself but be yourself on a good day.

Read more on my take about the subject here:

Should I look away my dating photos? Should I smile in my dating photos?

No! While those photos might solicit likes, they don’t necessarily result in quality dates. Be yourself, be candid. Smile naturally, don’t force it. Look at the camera, look interested and present not self-absorbed nor shy. Looking away might signal insecurity, hiding something or general shyness. Read this for additional insight.  For advice on photos, check out this photo intro.

Why do guys want to meet so soon?

Likely are thirsty and want to hook up. Low effort guys are everywhere on dating apps. Learn how to spot them.

Should you use filters, photoshop dating profile photos?

The photos I take during the session are lightly edited for composition, shadows, lighting, cropping and detail. I don’t photoshop images to artificially / cosmetically enhance them. I believe you should be yourself when it comes to photos.

Similarly, during the review process I will review existing photos and see if there are any worth using and if necessary I will edit them as such at no cost (with any dating photo session).

Don’t fall for the trap of thinking everyone photoshops their images, while some do, it is common for folks to not advance past 1st dates because of misrepresentation in photos.

Related read: Misleading Dating Profile Photos

How old should your online dating photos be?

The rule of thumb is that you should use photos as long as they depict how you would appear on a first date (in terms of weight, style, hair cut, hair color, wrinkles, facial hair etc.).

If you make material changes to your appearance you should update your photos. For most people, photos should be taken within the last 2-3 years. Some people can get away with photos beyond that timeframe but most can’t or at least should not.

Related read: Online Dating Photos Guide

Should I hire a professional photographer for dating portraits and headshots?

When it comes to professional dating portrait photography, I am a firm no against this. Most photographers are portrait photographers that take corny, staged, stiff, and photoshopped images that do poorly on dating apps.

What are the biggest and most common lies people tell on dating apps?


Best Dating Apps For Men, Best Online Dating Sites For Guys

What are the best online dating apps for Jewish singles? Best Jewish dating site?

There are a few options to choose from and I go over the pros and cons of each in this article below:

Best Dating Apps For Women, Best Online Dating Sites For Girls

Best Dating Apps For Educated Singles, Best Online Dating Sites For Professionals

Best Gay Dating Apps, Best Online Dating Sites LGBTQ+

Best Dating Apps For Relationships, Best Online Dating Sites For Serious Relationships

How do I set up an account for Facebook dating? Should I use Facebook dating?

It is only available in select markets and even then not everyone will have access right away. You will see a notification banner at the top (main Facebook app) to test out the new feature or you can lookout for the heart icon (top right if/when it becomes available).

It will be rather slow in terms of traction early on so I don’t put a lot of weight into using it early on as a serious option. In fact, the Facebook secret crush feature is kind of creepy. For more of my thoughts about the new product from Facebook, click here.

Are paid dating apps better than free dating sites?

Not necessarily. Only requires you to pay a subscription to send and receive messages.

Most other dating sites are free to use but charge you for expediting your application, providing more profiles, undoing accidental swipes, sending a super-like or super-swipe or allowing you to access additional filters and preferences in your search.

I typically advise clients to not pay for such bells and whistles when it comes to add-ons but in a few instances it can be beneficial.

Dating Coach Services

Photos, Profile Reviews, Image Consulting, Date Ideas, Meeting Singles Offline, Social Skills, Screening Profiles, Reading People & More. Clients: Women, Men, Gay & Straight Individuals Seeking Relationships


What is considered overly eager + aggressive messaging on dating apps?

You should express excitement but avoid appearing stalker-ish. Be direct, timely and transparent. Do not reply immediately but also do not make the person wait. Respond 1-3 days after matching and reply within 24 hours for subsequent messages.

It is bad etiquette to swipe right on someone you are not interested in. In fact if you don’t respond or message people you match with it can hurt your ELO score. Read: Dating app messaging etiquette.

Should you ever super-like or super swipe on Tinder and Bumble?

Super liking and super swiping can be seen as a bit aggressive, eager. How can you tell if you really like someone before meeting or messaging them? Also, people who typically welcome and respond to such behavior are typically shallow, insecure or looking for validation.

Be enthusiastic, be prompt but no need to be overly agressive. Would you tell someone you really like them at a bar or cafe within the first 2 minutes of meeting them. How creepy would that be?

What is the etiquette after matching on a dating app?

I personally think you should not swipe right on someone unless you are generally interested in them or are curious to learn more about the person.

Casually swiping right without an intention to write them, get to know them or possibly go on a date with them is rude. In terms of conversation starters, check out this guide I put together.

For more detailed info on online dating etiquette, read this exhaustive post.

What are some good conversation starters for dating apps?

The best conversation starters are ones that are natural, specific and take into consideration photos, bio information, captions or prompts used in profile.

Copying and pasting lines is never a good idea neither is Hi or Hey on Bumble those are some of the worst first messages possible. Cliche openers are a sure way of illustrating laziness and lack of creativity.

For additional tips, check out this post I wrote on conversation starters.

Should you like or message first on dating apps like Hinge and Match?

Always message. Likes are lazy, show no effort and lack sincerity. If you are looking for a hookup and trying to play it cool, perhaps go for the like but most of the advice is geared toward relationship focused, mature adults. Read more about it here: 

Do you have any tips or recommendations on first date etiquette?

How to answer what are you looking for online dating (Bumble, Tinder, Hinge)? What brings you to this dating app?

The truth. Say what you end goal is but don’t sound like a job interview.

Online Dating Tutorials, Guides, & Resources: How To Start Online Dating, How To Navigate Dating Apps

What is the main purpose of online dating? Why do people use dating apps?

Online dating is an introduction tool, nothing more, nothing less. Like going to a bar, it’s up to you to take the time to get to know someone to find out their intentions. Dating apps are meant to supplement offline, in-person efforts of meeting people outside your social circles, routine.

Is there a weight filter on dating apps? Body type filter? Weight preference?

Yes, it’s called your eyes. Do a quick background check on matches. When in doubt, do a video date chat first. When all else fails, leave the date immediately if the person misrepresented themselves (don’t stick around as a courtesy).

Related read: Online Dating Background Checks

Should you date during the coronavirus? Tips for dating apps during Covid-19

What are some podcasts, books and resources I should check out for online dating?

Read Modern Romance  by Aziz Ansari; Maureen O’Connor (New York Magazine’s Sex Lives Podcast)Great Economist article on dating trends. For you introvert’s check out Susan Cain’s Quiet.  

Be sure to check out this resource guide of all blogs, podcasts, studies, articles, ted talks and more about dating culture, online dating and more.

What is an ELO rating system score? What is the Gale-Shapely algorithm?

ELO score is a ‘desirability’ score Tinder’s algorithm uses to rank users. Higher score, more visible your profile is to others. Improve your ELO score with good photos. Similarly Hinge uses the Gale-Shapely algorithm to score profiles to show users.

Do you ever travel to see clients outside the San Francisco Bay Area?

Yes, on occasion. I travel to cities all the time. Follow me on Instagram for updates or get a group of friends to see if they are interested in a photoshoot and I might come to your city. My favorite cities to visit: Los Angeles, New York (Brooklyn), Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Portland. 

Do you offer dating profile critiques remotely?

Yes, I do! I offer this with photo packages all the time but I now offer them remotely for clients unable to come to me or meet me during my travels. You can read more about the offerings here!

What are some psychological effects of dating apps, negative effects of online dating?

Online dating can be an effective tool for meeting people outside your routine and daily life. It can also lead to self-doubt, anxiety, depression and lead people to become isolated from friends and society. In some cases, I suggest clients stick to alternatives to online dating for meeting people. Read more about the dangers of online dating here.

What is dating in San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley like for men, women?

I wrote a pretty exhaustive piece here, take a look:

As for gender ratios, check out this data set I pulled from across various regions in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Pacific Northwest and Northeast United States. 

Any tips on how to meet people offline, in real life?

Do you offer any matchmaking services? Matchmaking Questions

I am currently only working with photos I meet in person for photos or virtually through profile critiques. With that said, I ask all clients if they would possibly like be introduced with other of my clients who I have screened (usually 2-4 hours or more personally). If that is of interest to you, please contact me for more details. If you are thinking of using a professional matchmaking service, read this: 

Why is online dating so hard? Are dating apps worth it? Do dating apps work for men?

Like all things in life, it requires patience, skills, focused effort as well as good photos, prompts, app choice, answers, communication skills, appearances etc. More details here: 

Do guys care about height? Do women care about height on dating apps? Does height matter on dating apps?

Men do in the sense that they feel that height will limit their available options given that most women prefer to date guys a few inches taller than them, but many guys wouldn’t mind dating a woman their height or a few inches taller.

Similarly, most women want to date men that are at least their height, some a few inches taller and a few significantly taller or at least 6 feet tall. Statistically speaking, dating apps can be brutal for short guys.

There are some apps I recommend for shorter clients that tends to fare better than other apps.

What dating apps have travel mode?

Tinder, Bumble specifically, but you can manually change/update your location on and Hinge.

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a dating coach for men & women in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, & beyond ), as seen in the NYT & Bumble). He helps w/ profiles, photos, wardrobe, messaging, date ideas, red flags, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, social skills & offline efforts.