I remember when I was part of a long-term relationship and I used to sneer at Tinder. Modern dating apps, to me, were for the habitually lonely, depressed, and socially inept. Swipe left, swipe right, super like…add to cart? It seemed like shopping to me, and a very superficial way to enter a relationship with someone. Can you shop for a partner online? Apparently, you can. And yes, Tinder is not the first online dating platform. But it has an unprecedented popularity, and you can likely apply a lot of its pros and cons to Ok Cupid, Bumble, RSVP, etc.
And then, I became single. I ended the most serious relationship of my life…and found myself on Tinder, whiling away my free time swiping and texting and going on dates.
As it turns out, Tinder was not all that bad. In fact, it was kind of great for a 27-year-old single girl.
And while I’m not using Tinder anymore, the one-night-stand app taught me so much. Not just about modern dating, contraception etiquette and my own drinking threshold, but about how to be a better communicator.
In a time where we talk via a screen much of the time, making your message clear, consistent and creative is paramount to being heard and feeling understood.
And you’re about to get schooled.
5 ways Tinder taught me to master communication
Do you know how many people just upload their photos to Tinder and don’t even bother to enter a bio? By my counts, like 45098723587230. If someone had a cute photo, but didn’t even bother to mention interests or hint at their personality via a well-constructed sentence, instant swipe left.
For my own profile (see below), you can see I Put Some Bloody Effort into that thing.
Firstly, I mention the weirdest thing about me: I like aliens (and yes, that’s true. The Arcturians, to be precise). If people are interested in aliens too, that’s great! Swipe right! If they’re not but they have a sense of humour and want to talk to the weird alien girl, that’s great! Swipe right! It’s a technique that filters out a lot of people who don’t match with my interests or sense of humour.
I can tell you without a doubt, 60% of the guys who I matched with brought up the alien thing almost immediately.
The take away message: Be memorable with anything you’rewriting. Apathy is your enemy. Novelty is your secret weapon.
Be a considerate texter
One of the first guys I encountered on Tinder was Tom. That’s his real name, because there are too many Toms in the world so you likely won’t know which Tom it is. Tom was not a great texter. He asked me on a date, then didn’t text me for a week, even though he had my number. I lost interest, and he probably did too.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Hey Camilla, you could’ve texted him first!” But listen here: I did try to engage him in conversation. And it was dull. And I don’t want to be the first one to text all the time, ok? Ok.
The take away message: If you’re interested in someone but can’t see them for a week, make sure you text them every other day. It doesn’t have to be an essay. It could be a meme, a gif or a goddamn Pinterest board of soup recipes. Just keep the communication lines open.
Don’t open with something generic
If you’re texting someone for the first time, do not open with something so boring as ‘hey’. The other person will literally die and turn into a skeleton.
Mention something from a photo of their’s. Are they posing with a puppy? Tell them you love puppies! Do you also like rock climbing? Ask them where they climb! Or ask them about something in their bio, like what grown up still watches South Park? Find a common interest. And if you really want to bring up the weather, make sure you at least try to be funny. For example, “This weather is amazing! I’m about to quit my job and wear Bintang singlets all day!”
You get my drift.
The take away message: Treat your opening line like you would a headline. It’s often what will keep the person reading your subsequent texts, and persuade them to go on a date with you!
Keep it short and sweet
Text messaging should not replace actual conversation, whether that’s on the phone or in person.
I know you’re super excited to finally have a reason to check your phone again beyond Instagram, but do not give your lady/special dude everything you’ve got via a pixilated screen. Make sure you leave your best stories to dazzle them in person.
The take away message: You are not the Shakespeare of text messaging. Save your soliloquy for your diary.
The first guy I went on a date with was a super sweet dude…who was still completely hung up on his ex. I really enjoyed spending time with him, but I couldn’t deal with his baggage. So I told him so. Because I’m not an asshole, and only assholes ‘ghost’. Ghosting is when you just stop communicating with someone. It’s a real dick move, so don’t do it. Because you’re a nice person!
If it’s not working out, tell someone. They’re not a mind reader, and they deserve to know what’s on your mind.
Take it from me: don’t discount Tinder or Bumble or any other toilet of the internet. You might just learn an unexpected lesson or two.