How To Use Tinder – Part 1: Profile + Expectations

how to use tinder image

I’ve been active on Tinder for almost three and a half years. That’s as long, if not longer, than most of my current friendships, the ownership of my favourite sex toys, and hopefully longer than the run of Trumps presidency. Safe to stay, the popular online dating app and I have been going steady for quite some time.

Tinder has been my go-to for many reasons, all of which have changed and adapted over the years. When I first downloaded the app in my freshman year, I was straight up looking for sex.  I was a horny and dick deprived, looking to fill a hole in my life literally. Over my first year in school, my want for one night stands transitioned into looking for more concrete sexual partners. Fuck buddies and friends with benefits type relationships helped me find my sexual sea legs, introducing me to new sexual acts and kinks. Eventually, I started casual dating – which even lead to serious dating on a couple occasions! Of course, I can’t not mention the countless times I’ve used Tinder to talk to people when I was bored, or unintentionally used it to create friendships. I’ve utilized Tinder for every reason the app promotes; its slogan states “Find friends, dates, relationships and everything in between.” Yupp, it me.

I clearly love Tinder for its versatility, as the app has gotten me everything from laid to help with moving website hosting. However, as much as I rave about the app there’s something about it that most people generally don’t enjoy. Tinder isn’t perfect, I do admit. I hate the misogynistic asshole’s who pop up as much as the next person, and the glitches are annoying as hell. But if I’m managing to make multiple cool people, why is it a general consensus that Tinder sucks? Every time I mention Tinder to friends, I get the same criticisms I’ve seen online. “The people I talk to aren’t interesting,” “People are bad at conversing,” or “I’m having trouble meeting people IRL.” The majority of these gripes are based on other people’s behavior, something that I (unfortunately) can’t fix. However, I believe that you get out what you put into any activity. Since it’s impossible to change other people’s approach to Tinder, the next best thing is to change YOUR approach.

This guide is based off my personal experiences (both successes and failures) as a woman on Tinder. Everyone has the right to do what they would like with their Tinder experience, so my advice is made up of suggestions, not requirements. These tips are most effective when used with an intersectional feminist forethought. My advice will not make homophobia, racism, transphobia, ableism, ageism, misogyny, whorephobia, slut shaming, or fat-phobia seem desirable. Try to be a good person and try to be aware of your privilege.

This guide will be broken down into several parts, including but not limited to expectations, creating a profile, and messaging. My main advice is to treat logging onto Tinder like walking into a bar, and this is the analogy I’ll be using throughout the rest of my advice.


When you first walk into a bar, you’re surrounded by all sorts of characters, each with their own reason for being there. Some people are just there to have fun and go with the flow, while others are looking for a partner to end the night with. Everyone has different intentions, and that’s OK. Although, it’s probably not the best idea to walk into a bar expecting that you will walk out ready to marry a person you met in there. While that could happen, few people go to bars (or Tinder) hoping to meet the love of their life.

Having little to no expectations means that you’re less likely to feel disappointed and helps you make the most of your experience. While having a goal in mind can be good, it also makes you put more pressure on yourself to achieve. This isn’t the way you want to approach meeting new people, as trying harder doesn’t necessarily yield results in dating or casual sex scenarios.

Making a profile

First impressions do matter, especially on Tinder. I have looked at people’s profiles for under 2 seconds and then swiped accordingly. The app is designed for fast connections as it’s setup in a way that only includes 6 pictures and a 500-word bio. This is no thorough OkCupid; Tinder is quick and dirty. With this in mind, it’s good to plan your Tinder profile accordingly. Since you only have so many seconds to capture a suitor’s attention, it’s good to make you and your profile approachable!

Good pics

This category might be obvious to some, but it’s ridiculous how many bad pictures are on Tinder. Sure, looks aren’t everything, but Tinder profiles are mainly judged from their photo selection. Choosing your pics is kind of like choosing what you’re going to wear to the bar. You want to show the best of you, and present to the world your lifestyle and personality.

First Picture

Your first photo is the most important one. It’s going to be the very first (and sometimes only) piece of information that is seen and judged by your potential matches. Headshots/waist up pics are great first picture poses, as you can show your face clearly. It’s been proven that if you are facing forward have a 20% higher chance of being swiped right on ( Speaking of clarity, it’s a BIG pet peeve of mine if someone is wearing sunglasses! Eyes really are windows to the soul; I’m not able to fully tell what someone looks like when their eyes are covered. It’s not only me who thinks this, as wearing glasses makes you 12% less likely to get a right swipe ( Specifics aside, a first picture should be a picture you really like of yourself.

Other Pictures

The other pictures should follow most of the first picture guidelines as well but are there to help give a broader perspective on who you are. I generally include at least one full body picture, one doing an activity with friends, and at least a couple that are non-selfies. It’s always best to select photos that represent you and your personality the best. If you don’t happen to have any good pictures of yourself, you can always get a friend to help out or even hire a local photographer!

Photo no’s:

  • Sunglasses
  • Pictures with children (if you are specifically looking for a sexual connection)
  • Heavy filters
    • They distort the image and what you look like!
  • Close up shirtless pics
  • Memes
  • Only selfies
  • Only group pictures
  • Sedated animal pictures
  • Slideshows
  • Photos with homemade photoshopped “Match of the Day” text overlayed

Smart Photos

Tinder recently introduced a feature called Smart Photos to help people manage their Tinder bios and increase matches.

“Smart Photos alternates the photo first seen by others when you’re shown on Tinder, notes each response as others swipe on you, and reorders your photos to show your best ones first. ” – Tinder, 2016

While the feature is meant to help users get more matches, I found that it was more annoying than anything. The feature was turned on automatically and would rearrange my images in a way I didn’t like. It would consistently put a group photo as my first picture, which I assumed was swiped more on because my thin friends were in the photo. As a fat women, this algorithm for this feature did not work for me. Sure, more people swiped right on that photo, but were those people actually attracted to me? I decided to turn this feature off, as I like controlling the order of my pics. If you don’t want Smart Photos on, it occasionally glitches and turns itself on, so check your profile ever so often to make sure it’s off.

The Tinder Bio

The Tinder bio is a crucial aspect of the Tinder experience. Your description box is a valuable space that can help you market yourself to potential matches, and can give your matches a stepping stone to start a conversation with you. This section is your elevator pitch, the quick summary of yourself you would tell someone at the bar when they ask what you do. Your bio should read as dynamic and concise, so your potential matches can clearly understand what you are about.


I love Tinder bios that are somewhat point form, as they are much easier to digest than a full paragraph. This format gives your reader the most information in the shortest amount of time. Trust me, no one logged onto Tinder to read your auto-biography. For example, here is mine:

tinder description example

Emojis are also fun to include in your bio. I have the unicorn as a subtle hit to couples I come across that occasionally like to have threesomes. I also have the rainbow to represent my queerness. Emojis can easily get excessive, so don’t to overdo it; try to have more text than anything. However, there are times that can be considered exceptions. If you’re using them in a clever way, like spell out a secret message or something, then feel free to go wild.

You can import your work and school information from Facebook (which Tinder is connected to), so you don’t have to add this to your written bio.

As you always should be, be aware of spelling and grammar in your profile. Tinder profile’s are easy enough to proof read, even if you’re not the best at writing.


Write a description that will reflect you: a list that you can hand to your friends and have them agree that it describes you to a T. Your bio can include what you’re studying, what you enjoy doing in your spare time, your values and fun facts. Give your match just enough information to get a good idea of who you are, but not your whole life story, so they are left curious. In my Tinder profile, I wrote “CSMM at McMaster University”, the acronym isn’t an easily distinguishable one, which gives matches an opportunity to ask what it means. Curiosity leads to asking questions, and asking questions leads to conversations.

Including personality traits or mental attitudes in your bio is a double edged sword. Using descriptive words can help your match get an idea of who you are, which we can all agree is a great resource. But if you don’t deliver on those qualities in text or in person, then you’re almost immediately identified as a liar or an embellisher. You can’t just go up to someone in a bar and tell them you’re funny, you have to show it. I would keep your choice of traits or attitudes minimal, including one or two that you strongly identify with. For example, I have optimist with a spitfire personality in my description. Both are signifiers that I strongly associate with, and have had confirmed as parts of my personality by friends and old Tinder matches.

Profile No’s:

  • Copy & Paste Bio’s
    • I call these bio memes. They’re jokes that are commonly copy and pasted from other people’s bios or comedy routines. Just be creative and make your own.
    • “Netflix & Chill”
  • “[this height] because apparently it matters.”
  • “Not actually [age], I’m [this age].”
  • “No hookups” & “DTF”
    • I don’t like these purely because I’d rather learn intentions organically. When I see them in a profile I immediately think the person isn’t open minded.
  • “Ask for more.”
    • Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • Quotes
  • Any iteration of “Make America Great Again”
  • No bio at all

Instagram & Spotify

Tinder has the option to connect your Instagram and Spotify accounts to further show your matches who you are. Personally, I only choose to connect Instagram to my Tinder. As much as I love listening to music, my most played songs on Spotify are NOT good indicators of my personality. You can also add an Anthem without connecting your Spotify account. If you someone who is really into music, especially a particular genre, then this could be a good thing to add to your profile.

The Instagram option is something I would recommend adding if you have an Instagram account. This can give your matches a look into your lifestyle and aesthetics. Instagram posts can also open up the opportunity for conversations. I once had a match inquire about a comedy show I had ‘grammed. Turns out they had been at the same show! The one downside to adding your account is that you may get Instagram DM’s from people you didn’t swipe right on (which is not cool on their part.)

tinder spotify instagram example

If you’re struggling to come up with something to write in your bio, you can always ask a friend to help you. Getting an outside opinion on your personality can give you ideas on how to write about yourself.

Going back to my overarching sentiment: Treat Tinder like walking into a bar. If you have neutral expectations going in, the app may surprise you. Put your best foot forward in creating a Tinder profile that represents you and you’ll be on the path to chatting up some cute people really soon.

Still quite not sure if your profile is eye-catching? I offer now online dating consultations! I can help you create your profile, write your bio or aid you in crafting your first message. Email me at redhotsuz [at] gmail dot com (or through my contact page) for more information.

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