Desperately trying to get a match? Meet Mike, who has the swiping game down to a science
Mike, 29, joined Tinder for the same reasons many people do: he’d just ended a long-term relationship and moved to a big city. As a newly single man in New York, he decided to give online dating a whirl in the summer of 2016. Like most guys, he started off pretty clueless, with just one or two photos and no bio. But a year and a half later, he’s among the most right-swiped men in New York City, according to the app’s internal data.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing well, right?” Mike, the founder and CEO of an advertising startup, told Men’s Health. “I wanted to find better relationships and find more interesting people to speak with and at least have one great drink with and hopefully many more dinners after that. To do that I figured I need to put my best foot forward and get started.”
Mike agreed to share some of his secrets to success via swipe, but asked us to just use his first name for privacy’s sake. Men’s Health chatted with Mike to get some of his best tips for improving your online dating profile and getting matches, regardless of what you’re looking for in your love life.
1. PICK GREAT PHOTOS (AND MAKE SURE THEY’RE OF YOU).
Choosing your photos is incredibly important, but keep in mind that an Instagram photo that got a ton of likes might not necessarily be best for a dating app. According to internal statistics Tinder shared with Men’s Health, users are 14 percent more likely to be swiped right if they’re smiling, and 20 percent more likely to be swiped right if they’re facing forward (even if you’ve got a great butt, everyone wants to see your face). But Mike said in his experience, a great photo goes beyond that.
2. DON’T TAKE GROUP PICS.
“For me, it’s all about solo pictures,” Mike said. “I don’t want the girls swiping to be guessing who I am. This isn’t Where’s Waldo, this is a dating app.”
3. DON’T BE BASIC.
“I try to showcase my personality,” Mike said. He said he loves to travel, but refrains from just putting up the same touristy photos that other people do. Also, workout pics are out for sure. “I absolutely will not ever put a gym photo up,” he said. To find the best photos for his profile, Mike uses Tinder’s new “smart photos” feature, which automatically selects the best order to show your photos to matches.
4. YOUR BIO IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR PHOTOS.
When Mike first joined Tinder, he didn’t fill out the bio section. “That was a huge mistake,” he said. “Once I put in a bio that was funny and playful and in my own voice, I started getting much better matches and dates.” The key, Mike said, is staying true to your own voice, and putting something out there that seems approachable, but unique.
5. PICK A RELIABLE ICEBREAKER.
After you’ve got a match, of course, you’ve got to hit them up. Mike said he uses the same icebreaker every time: he sends a funny GIF of a whale, and says “Whale hello there!” Yes, he knows it’s corny, but “it just makes me laugh so hard seeing it I just gotta send it,” he said.
6. CUSTOMIZE YOUR OPENING.
After the initial whale GIF, Mike says he’ll always move the conversation forward with a unique message, asking his match something about their profile, their bio, and their pictures. He’ll then use the information he has about them to start a conversation. “Whale hello there” starts things off on a lighthearted note, but without an actual opening it’s just another line.
7. NOBODY WANTS A PEN PAL.
On Tinder, Mike said everyone can get a little prone to chatting too much. “I like to keep things moving,” Mike said. After a few messages, he’ll ask for her number and then start comparing schedules to see when they can get together for drinks.
8. STICK TO DRINKS ON THE FIRST DATE.
On a first Tinder date, Mike says he always, always does drinks. It doesn’t have to be a crazy night of boozing, but it also shouldn’t be a formal dinner date. A casual drink at a bar is the perfect way to get to know another person in a setting where nobody feels too much pressure.
“Remember, that person is in the exact same shoes you are,” Mike said. “If you feel nervous or shy, she’s thinking the same thing, too. You make it easier for everyone to have open, clear, concise communication.”
9. DON’T WORRY IF A DATE DOESN’T WORK OUT.
Mike says he goes on two or no more than three Tinder dates a week. He’s still single, but he’s had a wide range of positive experiences while playing the field, from four-month relationships to dates that resulted in real-life friendships.
“It’s about making connections, it’s about building relationships with other people,” Mike said. “I don’t see [dates that don’t work out] as lost time or wasted opportunities.” And when you’re as popular as Mike, there are a lot of opportunities.