Dating on Tinder and what makes a profile successful

Kevin Ortiz Gonzalez includes a photo with his dog as one of his Tinder profile pictures. 

Sydney Novak

In the age of Tinder, Hinge and Bumble, what makes a person more or less likely to swipe right on you?

There might not seem to be any method to this madness, but there are ways to improve your profile that could mean more matches for you. The changes made might seem small, but there are reasons for their effectiveness. 

Photos are extremely important when it comes to casual dating apps and a lot of users will tell you you need to upload at least three to four photos of yourself. Tinder allows you to have up to nine, but three or less sometimes raises suspicion to the legitimacy of your account. Some students expressed that the type of photos a user posts are also important.

“I feel like up-to-date pictures is a big one, because if you’re like 22 and they have their high school football senior night photo that’s a little weird,” said Eliza Sherman, a freshman in open option.

However, you do not need to be extremely attractive to have a good photo. The quality of the photograph is something people will take notice of and can often recognize as an indication of a quality profile. Things to avoid when taking profile pictures are things like selfies (have someone else take your picture), anything that will obscure your face like a hat, sunglasses or shadows and avoid large group pictures. It’s best to include at least a few pictures where you are alone. 

“There’s multiple studies that have shown in the afternoon, people look better,” said Kristi Costabile, an associate professor in the department of psychology. 

Despite the quality of the photo, sometimes it can be difficult to decide what type of photos to include. Whether you take pictures at the gym or when you and your friends are just having fun, there are a few things that might deter others from matching with you. A lot of this will be based on personal preferences. 

“I mean if they have a dog, I’d appreciate to see it because I love dogs, but I don’t like the hunting pictures, because they’re holding a dead deer like that freaks me out, I don’t know,” Sherman said. 

Advice on how to select pictures for your profile can be received from asking the type of person you would want to match with what they think. For example, if you view women on Tinder, try getting a woman’s opinion on what photos to include. 

“The first three photos are all a guy looks at,” said Michael Andriano, a senior in marketing. Andriano views women’s profiles on Tinder exclusively. 

When it comes to men’s Tinder profiles, having a photograph with a dog in it will get you more matches, according to Costabile. Unfortunately, men who include photos with cats in their pictures will get less matches than profiles who didn’t include a cat photo. 

Some dating apps advise users to not include photos of themselves using drugs, smoking or even drinking, however some allow you to include whether you use these substances. Some college-age students may feel less strongly about this advice.  

“I mean, I guess like nice we can do it [drink] together,” said Reece Dresser, a senior in supply chain management. 

Although recreational drug use and social drinking might be OK to include sometimes, cigarettes might be a little less acceptable. 

According to Faith Diamond, a freshman in open option, she might not mind pictures of someone drinking but pictures holding cigarettes would be a deal-breaker. 

When you are on dating apps, some students recommend leaving political or religious affiliation out of your online profile. 

“That would kind of deter me from pursuing them,” Dresser said. “I don’t know I feel like there are some things you can bring up in your Tinder bio and I think that maybe isn’t one of them.” 

Some students say it would not be a deal-breaker for them, if they were on the same page about everything.

“I don’t think I would date a Conservative to be honest, I think we would like, fight a lot,” said Madeline Shumaker, sophomore in pregraphic design. 

Shared interests are important to a lot of people and less important to others. It never hurts to choose from the predetermined list of topics of interest that Tinder lets users select from. When you match with someone who has a shared interest, it might be a little easier to start a conversation. 

According to Andriano, a girl who has a Cash App username in her bio is an automatic “left swipe.”

“Because online dating makes it like a commodity it feels like there’s all these options out there and you just get to choose one, people start to impose filters,” Costabile said. “They think my ideal match would have these physical characteristics, these value characteristics. When we choose all these filters, we might make these decisions that aren’t even that important to us.”

When using online dating platforms it might benefit users to be a little less selective with the filters and settings. Although shared interests are important, they aren’t always conditional to being compatible. 

Some criticisms of dating apps are that your matches might not ever lead to you two actually meeting. 

“People ask for Snapchats really quickly,” Diamond said. “It’s like can I get your snap and then you add them and then you Snapchat for maybe like a day, and then after that I just have you see my story forever.”

When it comes to meeting up in person a lot of users recommend asking to hang out in public first. Even with verified accounts and having their personal social media information or phone number, not very many say they would feel comfortable going to a stranger’s house or having a stranger over. 

“Probably get like food or something, I would say that, like being in like a public area I guess, then maybe they could come over,” Diamond said. 

With the rise of popularity in online dating, especially due to COVID-19 and social distancing policies, a lot of young people might download dating apps just to meet new people. It’s important to remember that whatever you use online dating apps for, not getting a ton of matches is not an indication of inadequacy.