If you are one of a small handful of single Washingtonians who have not yet tried the dating app Tinder—you certainly must have heard others talk about their experiences with it. For the most part it is known as a quick and easy way to hook-up, but more and more stories are coming out about Tinder couples who fell in love and are living happily ever after.
If you are dating with the goal of finding a relationship; using the most popular websites and apps can help you make more connections since dating is partially a numbers game. But how can you increase your odds of finding compatible others who share your relationship goals and help you avoid wasting time on Mr. or Ms. Wrong? Consider using the following tips to help you weed out the players from the keepers.
Know your dating goals upfront
If you are looking for more than fun and casual sex, at least admit this to yourself. Once you do this, you will communicate it to others through your online presence and who you decide to swipe right for. This doesn’t mean you will meet that person on your first try—it just means you should have more satisfying and enjoyable dates that offer potential for something more.
Learn to read between the lines of potential dates
When potential matches pop up, you have to decide which way you will swipe—right or left. But with so little information to go on, how can you decide? Since Tinder links with the user’s Facebook page, you get to see their name, photos, details, and interests. Some folks don’t use many or any privacy settings which is not a good idea. Others use them carefully, so that their friends won’t see their Tinder or any other activity they don’t want them to see. Therefore, you may only get the highlights and will need to make your decision based on these. What do their eye and facial expressions say to you? What about their photos with others? Can you relate to their interests? Do you share some (perhaps important) things in common? Does anything look off or do you spot any potential red flags in what you can see? If anything at all gives you pause, swipe left.
Draw your boundaries upfront and don’t cross them
Decide in advance about where you will agree to meet someone and then stick to the plan. Always pick a spot that is very public, like a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant. Tell a friend where you will be and with whom. If at all possible, take a cab or Uber instead of driving. If you drive and have to park on a street some distance away or in a parking garage; you leave yourself open to being followed or if a date has bad intentions, they could offer to walk you to your vehicle and then make an unwanted move on you. If something feels off at any time, cut the meeting short and make a quick exit. Avoid going to their place or anyplace they recommend that isn’t public following a first meeting because you really don’t know this other person and you could be putting yourself at risk. If at any point a date makes sexually suggestive comments or tries to pressure you into anything you do not want, walk away. Avoid any mixed messages that could lead to someone making and possibly acting on a wrong assumption.
Be open to the experience and avoid negative assumptions
Tinder has become the most popular way for singles to meet others—so many people are using it. This means users come in every size, shape, and personality type. A certain percentage would probably be a good fit for you, but you can’t know this without remaining open to the idea that others want more than a hook-up. If you find yourself thinking negatively about people who use Tinder, what does this say about you? If you start a date by proclaiming that you are not really into Tinder and just decided to try it, with some reservation—this could be a turn-off to your date. Secure people do not feel the need to convince others that they are OK.