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10 Worst Mistakes People Make on Dating Apps (And How to Avoid Them)

Ioana Andrei
Online dating mistakes and how to avoid them
You’ve heard that dating apps can be fun, so you join one, but it doesn’t seem to be going to plan.

If you’re on one of the top dating sites and apps, such as Match, the problem is probably not the size or diversity of the membership. Instead, you may have committed one of the most common online dating mistakes that prevent you from making compatible, meaningful connections.

Below, we cover the top 10 common mistakes we’ve seen people make on dating apps and provide expert-vetted advice on how to craft your dating profile to start getting more memorable dates.

1. You Haven’t Written a Bio

It’s common for people to download a dating app without thinking too deeply about what they want from it and the impression they want to make. Thus, the bio section of the dating profile is often left empty, inviting other swipers to judge you by your photos alone. 

You’ve got a higher chance of finding a compatible partner if you give other members a flavor of who you are and what you’re looking for. If you’re stuck on what to write in your bio, try reflecting on what you want in a partner and the things that make you unique. 

You may identify a key set of values you’re looking for in a partner, like honesty and lightheartedness. Or you may realize that your top three favorite activities are swimming, bird watching, and making pasta. Whatever it is, make sure your bio highlights your expectations and showcases the things you like to do.

2. All Your Photos Include Other People

You may know who you are in a group photo, but potential matches don’t. Avoid making it hard for them to pinpoint you. Aim for most of your photos to be all about you. Looks aren’t everything on dating apps, but your matches want to put a face to a name, and hey, attraction is part of the game. Also, it saves you from having to write disclaimers like, “not my girlfriend,'' or “he’s my cousin.”

It’s helpful to have a diversity of photos, from close-ups to full-body photos, where other members can see your face clearly. At the same time, don’t hesitate to add a photo or two where you’re immersed in an activity you care about, such as playing an instrument or a sport. 

3. You Right-Swipe Too Many Profiles

It’s tempting to rationalize that the more matches you have, the higher your chances of finding love—or a hookup—but there are disadvantages to right-swiping too liberally.

For one, the quality of your conversations and dates may not be as high if you aren’t picky. Also, unless you pay for a premium plan, most dating apps limit the number of swipes you can make in a 24-hour period.

While there’s no absolute number of matches you should aim for, try to commit to only swiping right if the person’s profile is compatible with your interests, values, and career aspirations and you’re physically attracted to them.

4. You Don’t Have an Original Opening Line

First impressions matter. If you don’t give your match a good reason to chat, your opening line might get lost in a sea of messages. We hate to break it to you, but the dating world is competitive.

One of the best ways to show you’re creative and pay attention is to relate your salutation to the person’s bio, or—on apps like Hinge or Bumble—a question they’ve answered about themselves. For instance, if they’ve added a Harry Potter reference, offer one back. Or, if you’re on an app for a specific demographic, such as a Christian dating app, you can leverage your shared faith or background in your opening line.

Also, don’t be afraid to be flirty. Although the appropriateness of a winky face emoji is sometimes disputed, most people enjoy a sense of playfulness.  

5. You Respond Poorly to Being Ignored

There are many reasons why matches on dating apps may not be getting back to you right away. Some people have their notifications turned off, or they may prioritize a chat with a close friend during a busy week.

You may really be into someone, but if they don’t feel the same, it’s best not to push it. Asking them why they’re not responding or continuing to message them when they haven’t responded to your last 10 texts isn’t only intrusive to them—it’s wasting your time as well. 

On the other hand, if you’ve been chatting with the person for a while and they’ve suddenly disappeared, try asking politely if something has happened or if they’re still interested. Alternatively, delete the chat yourself and move on.

6. You Haven’t Disclosed Your Dating Preferences

Being on the same page with your matches is an absolute must. One of the biggest online dating mistakes is not disclosing basic preferences, such as the fact that you’re only looking for something casual, you’re in a relationship with someone and looking for a unicorn, or you have a polyamorous lifestyle

Skipping this step can make some matches feel like you’ve wasted their time. You’re wasting yours, too, by not attracting more suitable matches.

If you’ve got particular must-haves in mind for a potential partner, such as being career-driven or vegetarian, you can also drop these in your bio. Some people also specify their sexual orientation or identity if they feel safe doing so. Be careful, though, not to be overly prescriptive with what you expect from a potential partner.

7. You Arrange a Date Too Soon

While one of the most touted online dating tips is not chatting too much before arranging a date, the opposite may also do some damage. Going on a date with a match too soon could mean that you end up having nothing in common with them, you have different expectations from the date, or worse, you’ll spend time with someone who’s rude and unfriendly.

However, spending a few days getting to know someone via chat can give you an overview of shared values and interests, their sense of humor, and other factors that matter to you, such as an interest in politics.

8. You’re Not Asking Meaningful Questions

“How is your day going?” is a thoughtful question when texting your BFF, but it doesn’t say much to a new love interest, particularly if you haven’t met yet. Instead, make a bold choice that’s both memorable and meaningful, like “Is there life after death?”—in the context of your ongoing conversation, of course.  

Curiosity is a promising trait in prospective partners, and people love to talk about themselves. You’ve got loads of ground to cover with an attractive stranger, from career goals and outdoor activities to music and film preferences.

9. You’re Trying Not to Get Recognized

It’s not uncommon to feel a bit embarrassed when you create an online dating profile, especially if it’s your first time. However, trying too hard not to get recognized on a dating app can backfire on your efforts to find a compatible match. Using just the initial of your first name or adding photos that are only from the neck down can make members feel like you’re hiding something, so you won’t get as many matches. 

Instead, try to come to terms with the fact that a dating app is a legitimate way to meet a new partner. You can ask a friend to sit with you while you’re creating your profile and help choose flattering photos that show your face and the activities you love doing.

If, however, you’re being discreet because you’re already in a relationship, then you’re probably better off joining Ashley Madison or other alternative hookup dating sites such as BeNaughty.

10. You’re Pretending to Be Someone You’re Not

You don’t have to be the Tinder Swindler to impersonate a fictional person. We all want to put our best foot forward when we’re dating and, sometimes, that means we exaggerate or manufacture certain traits to sound more interesting.

However, psychologist Leah Aguirre, LCSW, suggests that changing who you are to appear more attractive might foster a subconscious belief that you’re not good enough, which not only affects your own happiness but could also sabotage a fledgling relationship.

It’s best not to add a couple of extra inches to your stated height or to lie about seeing the latest Netflix release. Instead, be your full, unapologetic self and be prepared to meet someone who appreciates it.

Conclusion

At their best, dating apps can bring fun and exciting new people into your life. However, if you want to avoid a lack of matches, slow conversations, and awkward dates, it’s worth being well versed in the common mistakes people make on dating apps.

From creating an insightful bio and sharing your real identity via name and photos, to being open about your dating preferences and creative with your opening lines, there are straightforward changes you can make to create more meaningful connections with prospective partners. 

Finally, always bring your authentic self to the table. That’s what will attract the person you’ll eventually delete the dating app for—except if you’re the Tinder Swindler, that is.

Ioana Andrei
Ioana is a tech and media management consultant and business writer by day, as well as a passionate dating & relationship writer. She holds a BSc in Business Management from King's College, with 5+ years' experience consulting in the industries of tech and media. Her insightful, female-forward articles on dating and relationships have been published on Thrive, Medium's P.S. I Love You, and Newsbreak.