1001 Tinder Likes: Now what?

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My Tinder feed (Photo by the author).

Dating is hard. It’s a complicated, error-prone experiment.

Online dating is harder, because the margins for error are amplified and accentuated: one misstep, and you can be eliminated with a quick swipe to the left. How can we overcome this? Is there a better way?

For the next month, I’ll be sharing how I use my Tinder Gold membership [which I purchased because it was discounted - 50% off]. I’ll walk you through my selection criteria, how I reach out to potential matches, what sort of responses I receive, and how my in-person dates turn out.

I’m doing this both as a public service and for selfish reasons: I want a vastly improved, more trustworthy, and equitable playing field for all of us. It’s exhausting and disheartening to put yourself out there, only to be met with -profiles, or worse: discourtesy, dishonesty, judgement, and impatience.

I want to raise the online dating bar.

This is my second round of Tinder. I tried it several years ago, after I experimented with, in no particular order, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, Zoosk, Match, and Farmers Only.

Each time I set up an account with an online dating service, I tried it for one month, narrowed hundreds of possibilities down to 6–8 people, went out with half of them, and eventually settled on one person, whom I dated for several months or years.

This month represents my final effort at online dating.

If I don’t get it right this time, I’ll gladly relinquish the playing field to people who have more stamina and verve, and I will return to the old-fashioned method of meeting people in real life (IRL), i.e., in the course of my daily existence.

I am not on Tinder for hookups. I’m looking for, and have made it clear in my profile, that I’m seeking a long-term relationship (LTR).

So. What are my baseline selection criteria? What causes me to take a second (or third) look?

My Top 10 personal turn-ons/turn-offs:

  1. They’ve included a substantial profile.
  2. Their profile contains the essence of who they are and what they are looking for: a mini-story, description of a personality quirk, or humor is a plus.
  3. Their profile has correct grammar and spelling.
  4. They are clearly single, and not recently separated or divorced.
  5. They’ve uploaded a bunch of photos, and the photos are diverse.
  6. Their photos are clear and I can see the person’s eyes.
  7. They’re smiling in most of their photos.
  8. The majority of their photos are of themselves and are not lewd.
  9. When I reach out to them by text, they respond within a short period of time
  10. Their responses are polite and engaging, and they keep me engaged until we’ve set up a time to talk over the phone or meet up in a public place.

All, or most, of these points may seem rather obvious, but over 90% of the Tinder profiles I encounter fail to turn me on or engage me.

As another fine Medium writer noted, if you want to succeed at dating, you need to date with purpose.

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Photo by Ricardo Moura on Unsplash

It might be helpful to reframe how we consider the act dating, and to put the end-goal of dating — a long-term relationship — in its proper perspective.

Our romantic partnerships, if they end up lasting for the long-term, are the most important relationships we have in our lives. They will influence our daily routines and schedules, our emotional, physical, and economic welfare, our social circles, our livelihoods, and our households.

How many of us treat these relationships with the attention, care, and energy they deserve? How many of us regard interviewing another person for a dating relationship as even more important than a job interview?

At heart, I’m a scientist. I acknowledge my current approach is yet another experiment, and that there isn’t much I can control. But I also know this: we can choose our variables, our methods, and the number of repetitions, and if we are very, very lucky (right place/right time), we might just get the results we hope for.

Written by

Ethnoecologist and #VanLife Coach exploring humanity, the natural world, and multispecies relationships. More at http://jeaninepfeiffer.com

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