Whether we like it or not, Tinder is the new normal for dating and hooking up. Despite how popular dating apps have become, the act of talking to and meeting strangers will always be a little nerve-wracking. When navigating Tinder, there are many elements of the unknown. “Is this person I’m meeting who they say they are?” “Is this a date or a hookup?” Online dating can be scary, but there are a few tips and tricks to help make it as painless as possible.
1. Know what you want before you make your profile
Knowing what you want is necessary to approach any possible relationship, and is especially important for Tinder. On Tinder, there are two objectives; those looking for simple hookups and those looking for relationships. Both of these outlooks are perfectly fine, but it is important to know which aim you have. If you know you can’t do casual sex, don’t try to make yourself believe you can. If you know deep down you don’t have the time for something serious, don’t go after partners suggesting romantic dates. It’s also important to recognize that your mind can change and you can shift priorities. It’s all about being honest with yourself so you can be honest with a potential partner.
2. Don’t be afraid to initiate
As women, we’ve been told it’s not our place to make the first romantic or sexual advance our whole life. It’s time to get rid of that old idea and take the initiative. When you match with somebody, there is no shame in texting first. Often, it’s a good way of avoiding getting a cringey pick-up line (unless that’s your style). There isn’t anything to be afraid of, your match already finds you attractive and interesting to swipe right, so why not start up a conversation? The worst that could happen is getting nothing back, and then it’s on to the next match. It’s important to realize your match may be as scared as you are, so break the ice.
3. Your photos should reflect who you are, not who you want to be
The photo section is arguably the most important part of a Tinder profile and one that causes a lot of stress. You want to put your best face forward, but it can be hard to pick from a camera roll full of photos. A big tip for selecting photos, especially when searching for something long-term, is to pick photos that reflect who you are. If you’re not a partier, don’t pick mostly photos from going out just because they look good. A helpful way to sort through your photos is to have a friend curate them with you. Having an outside perspective is useful to help you understand what photos show who you are, it’s also nice when you get tired of staring at your face.
4. Safety first
Safety is a huge concern for women on dating apps, and for a good reason. Meeting strangers can be very intimidating, but there are ways to help ease the anxiety. First, make sure you have a couple of friends who know where your date is going to be and with who. Then, during a bathroom visit, it’s a good idea to let one of your friends know your plans for the rest of the night and how you’re doing. This practice helps ease your nerves as well as being a fun check-in to either gush or rant to your friends about your date.