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When I first got on “girl tinder”(which can apply to any dating app where settings are set to queer women), I did not know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to talk to women in that setting and I certainly was not what you would consider “smooth”. After a few years of dating women, with the majority met on dating apps, I feel like I have learned a thing or two. At this point, I have mastered talking to women as romantic interests and not just potential friends. This is something that is hard for a lot of queer women to navigate. My whole life, I had girl friends that I had no romantic feelings for but who I always complimented and spent time with; this is what friends do. But it has to be different with a girl you are dating and it isn’t always easy to know just how to go about this. I will be honest and say that I can always tell when a girl has just recently started dating women, and I have no issue with this; we all start somewhere, but it is often awkward. I know I was no exception to this but now I can share my wisdom; here are 10 tips for girl tinder.

1.) The First Message Matters 

“You’re so pretty” or “wow you’re cute” is a nice and easy first message to send a girl, but here’s the thing – half the messages she’s getting are identical to this – and there is a reason for it. Women like to compliment each other. You don’t have to be in the bathroom at a bar for very long before you and some other girl start gushing over how amazing the other one is. This women-support-women attitude is phenomenal, but on a dating app, it won’t get you very far.  In my experience, whether it was sent by me or I received it, these conversations don’t go much further than “thank you, so are you!” My advice for a first message is to make it personal and for it to be something that can prompt an actual conversation. If their bio says something about liking to read you can say “What kind of books do you like to read?” or if they have Taylor Swift as their top Spotify artist, you can say “I can’t wait for Taylor’s version of Red to come out!” These are the messages that stand out from the sea of faces being swiped through.

2.) Include Pictures of You Doing Things You Love

Selfies are great and there’s no issue including a few in your profile, but girl tinder is very much centered not in just looks, but in who a person is day to day. If you like to hike, knit, run, etc., include a picture that portrays this. This will help you attract like-minded people. Now, it can be tempting to pretend you are interested in things that you really aren’t to appear “cooler”, and nobody can stop you from doing that, but that is something that I can definitely say will backfire eventually. I would try to be as honest as possible with this. Another benefit is that it can make a first date idea that much easier!

3.) Talk on the App for a Bit

It can be tempting to ask someone for their phone number or a snapchat once a few messages have gone back and forth. However, I would avoid doing this. This person may feel they don’t know enough about you to feel totally comfortable sharing that information. If you’ve been on dating apps awhile, you have had a variety of experiences and someone not taking a hint is a common one. I once had a girl think that we were in a relationship after messaging on snapchat for one night. She was very upset and angry when I had no idea what she was talking about. You may know that you don’t have a screw loose but the other person does not. You should feel out when the conversation has gotten to a good point where you can ask for this information.

4.) Be Upfront About What You Are Looking For

Now obviously this is a generalization, but a major difference I noticed from transitioning from guy to girl tinder is that asking what someone is looking for on the app is not a daunting question. You are less likely to be lied to about intentions. This is not a scientific fact, but rather an observation from personal experience. If a girl’s endgame is a relationship, she’ll say that. If she’s looking for something more casual, she’ll say that. I think this is just due to dynamics between men and women being different than those between two women. So when someone asks you what you are looking for, just tell them. Odds are they just want to make sure you’re on the same page. If you aren’t, it just saves both of you time.

5.) If You Have a Partner, Make That Known

I am not going to hate on a couple going on tinder looking for a third partner, and I would never have anything bad to say about polyamory. I know many people do not welcome these individuals on dating apps, and I find that problematic. People come on dating apps for a variety of reasons and everyone is welcome. However; you need to be transparent about your relationship status. If you and your partner are looking for a third person, say that and have pictures of BOTH of you. If you are poly, then make that clear. It saves everyone time. 

6.) Don’t Introduce Them to Friends Super Quick

When you are really vibing with a girl, it is easy to want them to meet your gal pals. You know that they will get along and that they could potentially be friends. This is a response you would have hanging out with a new friend but when you are dating someone, this is a step. Meeting friends is a whole thing, and of course someone that you get along with will likely fit in well with your friends. But do you want another friend or a romantic partner? This is something to navigate carefully. 

7.) Octave Changes

I can’t take credit for this one, I saw it on the internet at some point. When you are saying something nice to a girl in person, make your voice a bit deeper. A higher voice is what you use with friends and a lower octave sounds more like what a romantic partner would use. Try it right now – say “You look really nice tonight,” in a high voice (like you’d say to a pal) and then say it again a few octaves lower. You’ll hear the difference. 

8.) Disclose if You Aren’t Out

For many people, this is not a deal breaker but if it is, that’s valid. Personally, I don’t want to ever have to pretend someone I am dating is just a friend. That is a boundary I have. I believe that every person should choose the time and manner in which to come out. With that being said, whether or not someone is out can have a big effect on a relationship. A main reason being is whether or not they have processed their internalized homophobia. This is something many queer people deal with, especially in a state like Ohio, and it’s a personal journey that I believe coming out is often an important step in. I am not far enough along in my journey to be immune to somebody else’s internalized homophobia. I would never shame another person for where they are, but for my own well being, I want to date people who are out. You don’t need to include this in your bio, but be prepared to be open about this because a common first date question is “How/when did you come out?”

9.) Lets Talk About Sex

I have heard it from so many people – ‘What if I am bad at it? What if I don’t like it?’ Let me let you in on a personal part of my life; I worried and worried about these things. I was convinced that even though everything pointed towards me being a lesbian, once it came to actual intimacy I would realize I was straight and have to tell everyone I made a mistake. I now do not have a single doubt about my sexuality, and thinking back to that anxiety is almost comical.  If you are thinking about dating women, if you are attracted to women: you are queer. Straight women do not think about other women this way. I was in a support group online for a while and this was a common fear. These women were leaving their husbands to be able to date women and still worried about it all being a mistake. I’ll repeat; straight women do not think about being with other women. There are bisexual and pansexual people who have more of preference to men but still, straight women do not think about being with other women. As far as being bad at it, sex between two women is a lot of communicating. You won’t have to guess what to do. If it makes you feel better, do some research online. I am telling you though, if you and the girl you are dating are vibing; you are going to be fine in that area. 

10.) Relax!

Okay, maybe this is going against everything else I have said, but at the end of the day, practice makes perfect. You are going to have awkward situations, you are going to get ghosted, you are going to feel frustrated. The worst thing you can do on dating apps is put too much pressure on the outcome of any interaction. You’ll meet people who are super cool and people you would have been fine never meeting. Prioritize friendships, hobbies, and goals. These are what truly will fulfill you. Dating can be exciting and fun if you don’t make it the center of attention in your life.

As queer women, we aren’t taught how to date other women. All our lives we have seen the movies, tv shows, and real life situations that portray straight couples and gender roles. Because of this, it can be hard to navigate situations that diverge from the “norm”. However, we all start somewhere and eventually it is second nature. If you have a romantic and/or sexual attraction to women, you will do just fine in the world of girl tinder!

Sophie is a Senior education major at the University of Akron. She is passionate about animal, women's, and lgbtq+ rights. She has lived in Akron her whole life and one day wants to teach middle school somewhere warm. In her free time she likes to listen to rock music, workout and drink coffee
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