Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Sex + Relationships

12 Tinder Red Flags All the Girlies Should Know

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Duke chapter.

Greetings, lovers and hopeless romantics! As you all know, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and ready to put how much couples love one another to the test–a big R.I.P. to the significant others who will have not understood the assignment :*(. If you’re like me, however, the issue that this holiday poses for you is that you don’t have anyone to prove your affection to to begin with. I’m (kind of) okay with that because I can barely manage myself at this point, much less an obligation to another person, but if you’re personally not and would still like to find someone to spend February 14th with, no need to fear! HerCampus at Duke’s self-appointed relationship expert (moi) is here to assist you. 

While I can’t guarantee that you’ll run into the love of your life within the next few hours at the campus coffee shop, I can help you find someone within minutes on a dating app. But, rather than give tips on how you should craft your profile (because, babes, I already know that you’re perfect), I intend to tell you what to scope out in other people’s. Thus, without further adieu, here are twelve red flags to avoid and twelve green flags to look for before swiping right. (Note: I will be specifically referring to patterns I’ve noticed with cis, heterosexual men’s profiles because they’re the demographic that I’ve had the most experience with and, frankly, exhibit the most concerning behaviors).

12 Red Flags

  1. Deer/fishing pictures
    • I don’t know about you, but any man that puts a picture of himself posing with a dead deer or flailing fish on his Tinder account SCREAMS Republican.
  2. The infamous cliborus joke
    • I’m unsure as to where it originated, but the joke goes something like this: “I got a B+ in human anatomy, so I know where the *furiously looks through notes* cliborous is.” There are several reasons why this joke is an automatic red flag: 1) It’s not funny 2) it’s incredibly overused and demonstrates that the guy lacks originality and 3) a person who sees female genitalia as a joke probably isn’t someone that you as a woman should seek to date.
  3. Guys who have pictures with other girls
    • You shouldn’t swipe right on them because 1) they’re obviously lacking brain cells if they think that the way to signal their availability is by showing themselves with their arm draped around another girl and 2) it’s clear that they regard women as status symbols to boost their own image and desirability.
  4. “Here for a good time not a long time”
    • Disregard this red flag if you are actually looking for a hookup instead of a relationship or real date.
  5. Men who look for a specific ethnicity 
    • I wish that I was joking, but I’m not; I’ve come across several accounts that have explicitly stated in their bios that they’re only into Asian women or white women (“snow bunnies”), for example. These dudes are creepy, downright WEIRD, and have internalized racism to contend with, which means that you should avoid them like the plague…
  6. Guys who express that they’re deliberately looking for toxicity/ say something about “not wanting drama”
    • Regardless of which line they put, both options amount to THEM being the ones who bring unnecessary toxicity and drama to their relationships.
  7. “Looking to find someone so I can delete this app”
    • I understand the sentiment, but it just gives the impression that the guy is someone who gets into relationships via making girls pity him.
  8. Guys who say they don’t message first
    • Like, yes, I’m a feminist, but I also feel that guys who refuse to text first are either lazy, think that they’re hot stuff (because they’re convinced that women will go chasing after them), or looking for something that they can hold over you later on (i.e. “Well, you’re the one that was interested in me first, so you should be thankful that I obliged”).
  9. Making alcohol and smoking their entire personality
    • Simply stated, it translates into them being bland, making impulsive and reckless decisions, and probably being destined for severe health problems down the road.
  10. Men who don’t upload pictures of themselves
    • In addition to giving off low self-esteem, this behavior could potentially be a safety hazard; you’d have no idea who you were talking to if you swiped right. 
  11. Making the gym their entire personality
    • It’s giving raging misogynist, personality of a wet dishrag, and low self-esteem (i.e., they’re trying to overcompensate for something they feel is lacking by obtaining a ridiculously buff figure).
  12. Lying about their age and/or height
    • The prospect of starting a relationship with someone who lies to you is the equivalent of building a house on quicksand: it’s going to fail if you have a shaky foundation. Also, from a purely logical standpoint, it makes no sense to be dishonest about these attributes because you’re going to meet up with them in person and find out the truth anyways.

12 Green Flags

  1. He mentions something about liking coffee or tea
    • Translation: he’ll take you out for wholesome coffee dates.
  2. Sharing his zodiac sign and interests
    • I think that these two are important because they immediately indicate whether you two will be compatible, AND they’ll give you something to converse about when you text or meet up in person.
  3. He loves animals
    • A guy that likes pets is a good sign because it insinuates that he’s caring (to some capacity) and that he’ll send you adorable fur baby pictures. And who doesn’t want that?!
  4. He enjoys cooking
    • Most importantly, this signals that he won’t be relying on you to prepare meals (even though every single adult should know to cook to some extent for BASIC SURVIVAL), but it also means that you could have adorable dates in which you make food together.
  5. Going on walks or drives
    • This could just be a me thing, but I just feel like there’s something so intimate about going on a walk or a drive with someone: it’s just you, them, and the music. Tingly.
  6. Listening to music (but dear God, not Kanye West)*
    • Him having an interest in listening to music means that you can bond over artists that you both like and/or you can introduce each other to new ones.
    • *I don’t have to explain the part about Kanye West; it’s a well known fact that Kanye fans generally operate on a whole other level of douchebaggery.*
  7. Humor
    • Hun, if you don’t have someone that can make you laugh, should you even be with them?
  8. “I want someone to give my hoodies to”
    • This could also just be my personal preference (especially since I hate winter and being cold), but the thought of being draped in someone else’s oversized sweatshirt sounds so cozy.
  9. Solo and group pictures
    • He needs to have enough solo pictures to where you can tell what he looks like (and differentiate him from a crowd) but also have enough group pictures to indicate that he has a decent social life.
  10. Good fashion sense + mentions that he wants to go shopping
    • A man that knows how to dress and what clothes flatter his body>>>>>.
  11. Being genuine about his intentions
    • This might apply more to when you actually start talking, but him being honest and upfront about what his intentions are is vital, as to avoid a situation in which one of you catches feelings and the other wants something casual. . . It’s extremely awkward. 
  12. Saying what he’s looking for in a person rather than what he’s not
    • This is crucial because, on one side, it lets you know whether you match his criteria. On the other, when men list off the qualities that they don’t favor in women, they tend to devolve into woman-bashing, and why date a guy that so openly proclaims his hatred for women?

I hope that these lists were helpful, and I wish you the best of luck in finding your Valentine’s Day hunk. If you’re unsuccessful, don’t sweat it and do something to treat yourself. While having an S/O is nice, it’s not everything, and you can get just as much out of experiencing a fun night alone or with a group of close friends as you can with a boo.


Mackenzie <3

Mackenzie, a music lover and reality TV enthusiast, hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is a junior at Duke University who, after changing her major 17 times, settled on pursuing degrees in sociology, Spanish, and Portuguese. As a nerd with a huge passion for analyzing social phenomena, Mackenzie primarily aims in her writing to explore the intricate ways in which race, gender, and sexuality shape current events and pop culture.