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How to Use Tinder with Tact

Six rules for navigating the dating space where looks matter most.

If you’ve been in a coma for the last year, I have some updates for you. The Super Bowl was played outside...in the cold. A big commercial airplane took off…and disappeared. And Tinder has taken over a big chunk of the dating world.

(In case you have indeed been living under a rock, Tinder is an app that lets you swipe yes/no to women’s pictures while they are swiping yes/no to yours, too. If there’s a match, you can text each other; if not, you’re not put in contact.)

The existence of Tinder was something I had to get used to. As a dating coach at Love Systems, I teach guys about meeting and attracting beautiful women regardless of their looks. It’s not about being a slob and ignoring your looks, but rather making the most of what you have. The secret sauce mostly comes from understanding female psychology and social dynamics.

But what happens when you move from a bar or coffee shop - where a conversation could actually take place - to a world where (at first) looks are the only thing that matters? 

Don’t worry. The dating secrets you’ve been banking away still apply.  Use these six rules for success.

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1. The lame bathroom-mirror selfie is lame.

If your appearance is what women would deem "hot," take pictures that show that off. Include at least one photo of yourself on the beach, playing sports, or otherwise doing something natural that doesn't scream “posing for my Tinder photo."

If you’re less stereotypically attractive, take pictures that show that you’re interesting. Stale headshots tell her nothing about you, and are a missed opportunity. Use your pictures to tell a story about who you are.  Have pictures where you’re doing something you love, whether you’re hanging out with friends, or where you’re in an interesting situation. Doing this tells her a bit more about you.

I’ve had clients get better results after some light photoshopping as well. But keep it realistic. 

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2. It’s OK to be a desperate horny loser (at first).

I’d never actually tell someone to be a desperate horny loser. But you can act like one when you're swiping yes/no on women’s pictures. In fact, it’s most efficient to not even bother to look at the pictures and just mass-swipe everyone “yes." Be that guy that hits on anything that moves. 

This might sound odd – and goes completely against the core Love Systems approach. But it makes sense when you think of how Tinder works. Tinder only lets you message women you’re matched with. Until you’ve matched, there’s no point in wasting time deciding whether you like her pictures or profile. 

(This is different from traditional online dating sites, where you can message anyone, and the quality of your message impacts whether you get a response.)

Swipe yes for everyone. See who matches with you. Then decide who you want to pursue. At some point, Tinder will put something in its algorithm to discourage men from doing this, but for now, it’s still the most effective strategy.

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