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How to Use Tinder With Tact — Six rules for navigating the dating space where looks matter most

Read the original Men’s Fitness article here

If you’ve been in a coma for the last year, I have some updates for you. The Super Bowl was played outside…in the cold. A big commercial airplane took off…and disappeared. And Tinder has taken over a big chunk of the dating world.

(In case you have indeed been living under a rock, Tinder is an app that lets you swipe yes/no to women’s pictures while they are swiping yes/no to yours, too. If there’s a match, you can text each other; if not, you’re not put in contact.)

The existence of Tinder was something I had to get used to. As a dating coach at Love Systems, I teach guys about meeting and attracting beautiful women regardless of their looks. It’s not about being a slob and ignoring your looks, but rather making the most of what you have. The secret sauce mostly comes from understanding female psychology and social dynamics.

But what happens when you move from a bar or coffee shop – where a conversation could actually take place – to a world where (at first) looks are the only thing that matters?

Don’t worry. The dating secrets you’ve been banking away still apply. Use these six rules for success.

1. The lame bathroom-mirror selfie is lame.

If your appearance is what women would deem “hot,” take pictures that show that off. Include at least one photo of yourself on the beach, playing sports, or otherwise doing something natural that doesn’t scream “posing for my Tinder photo.”

If you’re less stereotypically attractive, take pictures that show that you’re interesting. Stale headshots tell her nothing about you, and are a missed opportunity. Use your pictures to tell a story about who you are. Have pictures where you’re doing something you love, whether you’re hanging out with friends, or where you’re in an interesting situation. Doing this tells her a bit more about you.

I’ve had clients get better results after some light photoshopping as well. But keep it realistic.

2. It’s OK to be a desperate horny loser (at first).

I’d never actually tell someone to be a desperate horny loser. But you can act like one when you’re swiping yes/no on women’s pictures. In fact, it’s most efficient to not even bother to look at the pictures and just mass-swipe everyone “yes.” Be that guy that hits on anything that moves.

This might sound odd – and goes completely against the core Love Systems approach. But it makes sense when you think of how Tinder works. Tinder only lets you message women you’re matched with. Until you’ve matched, there’s no point in wasting time deciding whether you like her pictures or profile.

(This is different from traditional online dating sites, where you can message anyone, and the quality of your message impacts whether you get a response.)

Swipe yes for everyone. See who matches with you. Then decide who you want to pursue. At some point, Tinder will put something in its algorithm to discourage men from doing this, but for now, it’s still the most effective strategy.

3. Pulp Fiction was wrong – don’t be a fonzie.

Don’t try to be cool and wait a couple days before messaging her. Send a message as soon as you seen that you’ve matched.

If she’s even a little bit attractive, she has millions of men matching with her. Don’t believe me? Make a new profile with an attractive woman’s photos. Play on Tinder for 10 minutes. Then count your 8 trillion matches.

Women don’t usually spend all day on Tinder. They’ll pop in for a few minutes at a time. When she’s not in the app, she’s not seeing your messages. And when she comes back, she’s going to see the millions of matches that happened when she was gone. Buried 79 spots down in a list of matches, you’ll be yesterday’s news.

4. Dude, enough about Peyton Manning already.

You matched. You’re about to send that all-important first message. Now (and only now) is a good time to check out her profile. Many Tinder profiles are blank and the ones that aren’t don’t usually tell you much. But check anyway – if you can find something natural to say that relates to her description or pictures, use that first.

But don’t go overboard. If she’s wearing a Broncos shirt in one of her pictures, and you just got back from Denver, say that. But don’t treat the topic as some kind of life raft you keep coming back to when the waters get choppy. One or two references are enough. And please, please skip the in-depth analysis of the Broncos’ off-season or Peyton Manning’s place in history.

Use her name in your first message. Everyone’s first name shows up in Tinder, and since Tinder is based on Facebook, it’s usually a real name.

5. You win at Tinder by not using Tinder.

Look for the first convenient excuse to move from Tinder messaging to real texting. If not, the conversation will end as soon as either of you closes the app, at least until you’re both on again.

It also builds momentum (you’re escalating the intimacy of the conversation) and will encourage her subconsciously to think of you as “someone who is part of my life” as opposed to “one of the 163,485 profiles I matched with on Tinder.”

The first convenient excuse is likely to be an emotional high point (just like the first time you should go for a kiss on a date is at the first emotional high point, not at the end of the night). Usually an emotional high point is where you make her laugh, or she gives you a big compliment.

6.Walk the walk. Don’t talk the talk.

Momentum is crucial. Tinder isn’t like a party where you can meet and attract a woman and then give her a couple days to think about you and wonder if you’ll call before you actually get in touch. You’ve never met her. No matter how awesome your pictures or Tinder-chat, she’s really not that into you. You can be forgotten in a day.

Get the meet out of the way quickly.

After a few texts, I advise clients to say something like “Let’s see if we have chemistry in person; that’s the most important thing for me. What’s your schedule like the next couple days?” If you can avoid it, don’t plan more than a couple days out, or you’re just asking for a flake.

Getting from texting to the date is a whole book in itself. (Actually, it’s part of two books: The Ultimate Guide to Phone and Text Game by Nick Braddock and Date! by Daniel Vercetti and Nick Hoss). But as a starting point on having great text game, check out this article on what NOT to do when you text women.

Most of all, have fun with it. Women date men who are fun and make them feel good.

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