The number one thing I tell all my friends about dating apps, whether it’s Tinder, Bumble or the junior class’s Match18 project, is: Always. Read. The. Bio (or else risk being solicited for threesomes or nudes). Beyond these uncomfortable conversations, a person’s bio can disclose so much of who they are. A good bio could make the difference between a left swipe (dislike) or a right swipe (like), and a bad mirror selfie could destroy your chances.
So: Here I am with some gender/sexuality-neutral tips for creating a profile that accurately depicts how amazing and worthy of love (or whatever you’re looking for) you are.
When it comes to your pictures think about three things: high quality, diversity and a reflection of who you are. I am not going to match with you if (a) I can’t see your face, (b) you seem to only have variations of the same photo or (c) you seem to only do one thing.
I’m not tryna date a Sith lord here, so please show your face clearly and visibly. We live in the digital age of superior cell phone cameras and Snapchat, so there’s no excuse for those shady grainy photos, and put those fire selfies to good use as your initial photo. Think of your first photo as the first leg of a triathlon to hooking up (or getting a date): How you initially perform is going to affect your standing the rest of the race. Your first photo is usually where users will mark someone as a “no” or as a potential “yes,” so this photo is crucial and should be your best one.
But having a bomb first photo does not mean you get to slack on the rest. You should maintain the standard of quality throughout your pictures, but stay chill — you don’t need to hire a professional photographer for head shots. Do, however, mix it up.
Don’t use four photos of you in the exact same pose with the exact same lighting with the exact same people. Have a few selfies, have one or two full-bodies, have some with some friends (be careful with this one: Limit the number of people in a photo to four and only have one group photo), post a photo with you and your dog. Show who you are in multiple aspects of your life, not just in the bathroom mirror.
This brings me to the final lesson for your dating app pictures: Your pictures should try to sum up who you are and what you like. We are visually dependent creatures, and we are more likely to give more importance to your photos than to your bio. This means that you should try to be creative with how you present yourself. I know that you like to do more than one thing, and you know that, but how are they going to know that? Share some photos of you doing things you love, whether it’s hiking, dirt-biking, photography, cooking, volunteering, singing, whatever.
Doing so will accomplish two things: First, it will prove to swipers that you are more than just a one-dimensional person in an endless sea of romantic opportunities. Second, it will make you instantly more attractive. It is a well-known fact that people are more attractive when they’re talking about or doing something they genuinely love or are passionate about. We may be a generation of skeptics, but we still admire genuine emotion, so use some photos of you doing things that make you feel genuinely happy or reflect who you are as an individual.
Finally: the bio. Arguably the most challenging part of life in 2017 is trying to come up with your Tinder bio. All jokes aside (that was an obvious over-exaggeration), it is pretty difficult to sum up who we are in a quick but enticing manner. A few quick tips: Keep it short, lay off the emojis, stay away from cliché quotes, limit your lists of interests to five items and do not, under any circumstance, write any variation of “only swipe right if x” or “don’t swipe right if y.”
People are not going to spend their time reading an essay of a bio, trying to decipher what you’re attempting to say from all the emojis or lack of punctuation. Nor are they going to conform to your demands and expectations. People who are reading your bio are trying to get a better sense of who you are, and those aforementioned things tend to leave a bad impression.
Instead, try saying something about your personality, or start off with a clever one-liner. Mention some things you like or would want to talk about, whether that’s your favorite movies or your travel experiences (this helps prevent the “hey, what’s up” conversation that never leads anywhere). You could even include a potential idea for a first date, like “Let’s grab In-N-Out!” These ideas show a person who’s swiping that you have a personality and you have an understanding of what you’re doing on this app and what you have to offer.
If you’re stuck on this, you could ask a friend or a family member to sum you up in a few sentences. This will give you an idea about what the people who love you love about you.
The most important thing of all is to stick with who you are, and remember that the population of people using dating apps is not representative of all the people in the world — if you don’t find a match online, there are plenty of other avenues for finding someone to do whatever with. So, go forth and start swiping!
Contact Arianna Lombard at ariannal ‘at’ stanford.edu.