In today’s digital era, if you’re single and ready to mingle, you’re probably (definitely) on a dating app. In fact, you’re probably on several. If we’re wrong, kudos to you for doing things your own way and keeping the dating game offline. And to all you newcomers, welcome to the world of swiping. Excuse us—the battlefield of swiping.
Single-friendly meeting venues may change over the years, but some things never do, like heartache and our unwavering love for Pat Benatar. Those of us who use these dating apps are always open to tips on how to make our profiles more accurate and appealing. As a result, we’re super intrigued by studies and trend reports that help us figure out how to do so.
For anyone looking to refresh their profiles (and those of you who are thinking of opening that dating app for the first time), we’ve compiled six science-backed online dating profile tips to help you maximize those right-swipes. While our personal experiences may shed some light, we also looked toward some professionals to curate the ultimate list of dos and don’ts of online dating profiles. We used insight from Lisa Hoehn, the creator of Profile Polish, as well as studies from Tinder’s in-house sociology findings.
So what are the techniques for making an eye-catching, swipe-rightable profile that will set you up to find a compatible match? Here’s what she recommends to singles on dating apps.
Don't Write a Novel
When you only have a little amount of space to write your bio (we’re talking the length of a tweet or two), don’t attempt to include your life story. Instead, go right for the punchline. Share a quick or funny story or quote a favorite line from a television show if you can’t think of anything yourself. Since swipe culture thrives on the “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read) head scape, a lengthy bio can throw people off, leading you to miss out on some potential matches. And in case this wasn’t clear, you don’t need to introduce yourself and sign off at the end (apparently some people write letters).
It’s also worth noting that sarcasm and playful mockery can be effective if executed well.
Do Get Candid for the Camera
Of course, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to hobbies, so don’t feel the pressure to fake it or hire an industry-level professional photographer to take your headshots for a dating app profile. That being said, you should include images of yourself being active and having fun. If you can dig up any that show you running, painting, wine tasting, surfing, or skydiving, add them to your profile—whatever it is that you enjoy and shows you in your happy place. These photos will help spark meaningful conversations and connections.
According to Tinder’s in-house sociologist, Jess Carbino, you’re 14% more likely to get right-swiped if you’re smiling in a photo.
Don't Go Overboard With Punctuation
What happens when you overuse long-winded adjectives, excessive exclamation points, and cheesy emoticons to describe yourself in the bio of your online dating profile? You give the impression that your baseline emotional state is that of SpongeBob SquarePants after he consumes a gallon of Red Bull. Swap out elaborate jokes and overly hyper exclamations with subtle humor.
Don’t get us wrong—being pleasant and kind (and being yourself, of course) should definitely be at the heart of your bio. But make sure you’re representing yourself accurately since tone can very easily be misread on dating apps.
Do Give a Shout-Out to Work and Hobbies
This one is controversial. Some experts say not to mention your career in your dating profile, but there are also many who recommend the opposite. Since most apps feature an easy way to mention your career (especially those that directly link to your Facebook), you can slide it in gracefully. This is a good practice for a few reasons. One, it’s always attractive to be relatable and approachable. Two, mentioning your career or creative pursuits and passions offers your matches an access point. It may also help you find common interests and goals.
Stating your job right off the bat also prevents your partner from having to ask later on. This, in turn, may prevent any awkward conversations, misunderstandings, or hurt feelings down the line. At the end of the day, it’s best to stay open-minded and have fun with it!
Don't Fall in Love at First Swipe
Like anything and everything on social media, a dating profile is a curated and crafted portion of someone, not the whole package. Compatibility can be difficult to gauge online. While digital dating is a great place to start, you still have to get to know the person behind the screen before you know if it’s a match in the real world.
It may be the case that what you see is what you get, but you never know until you have a conversation in person. Your impressions (and even your own initial intentions), may change drastically once you meet up. For example, in another Tinder research study, Carbino found that around 80% of users on Tinder are hoping to find long-term relationships. This contradicts its reputation as promiscuous or even casual.
Do Hit the Send Button
It’s a match! Now what? Think of your dating app as a digital bar counter or social gathering lined up with interested mates, suitors, and flings (whichever is right for you). If you don’t say hello and get to know each other through some casual chitchat, you’ll miss out on a potentially great opportunity.
If someone swiped right on you, they’re probably interested (at least enough to have a conversation). And just like an in-person exchange, you’ll find out if there’s something between you that’s worth pursuing. However, keep your messages short and sweet so you save some of the more important conversations for the first date. And always make sure you use proper spelling and grammar. Put these online dating profile tips into action and get swiping—you never know who you might meet.
This post was originally published on December 9, 2016, and has since been updated.