Tinder is pretty basic, and at this point, everyone knows the drill. Swipe right if you like what you see, swipe left if you don’t. Message people at your leisure, while spending a lot of time dodging dicey messages from dudes you probably don’t want to talk to. Easy enough, but maybe your Tinder strategy isn’t really netting the kind of dudes you want. Maybe you’re too picky, swiping left on mostly everybody you see. Maybe you amass matches, collecting them like so many back issues of The New Yorker, recoiling in horror every time one of them messages you. Maybe Tinder paralyzes you with fear, only because you’re just not comfortable with meeting someone through what is basically an app for hand jobs and one night stands. Whatever. We all have our things. But, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Change your game, and maybe Tinder won’t be such a slog. Here are some Tinder strategies you might not be using.
Strategy 1: Swipe Right On Everyone
I was out with friends the other night, when I noticed a Tinder message pop up on my friend’s phone. He glanced at it, briefly, then turned his phone over and kept up with the conversation.
Because I am nosy, and because this dating column needs fodder, I asked him what his strategy was. “Oh, I swipe right on everybody,” he told me, as casually as one might order a coffee and a bagel. “It gives me more options. If I’m interested in someone, I can just talk to them from there, and go for it.”
At first, I was aghast. Why would you swipe right on every single person that crosses your path, even if you weren’t interested in them? Isn’t that leading people on? How seriously do people take this stuff, anyway? But, this strategy is actually pretty genius. Simply saying “yes” to every person that crosses your Tinder dash is the electronic equivalent of being open in the real world to anyone that crosses your path. That’s what real life is like, anyway. Around every corner lurks the potential of your next boo, reading The Fortress of Solitude on a park bench, or gently squeezing the avocados to find the ripe ones, just like you like to do. Every day is a meet-cute waiting to happen, so treat your Tinder interactions as such.
That said, the internet is not real life, though at times, it masquerades as such. Swiping right on every single person you see on Tinder is not the same as throwing yourself at every single available person you meet in every day life. All you’re doing is making the pool for yourself a little bigger. Remember, no one’s forcing you to message anybody you don’t want to. You’re still in control. If anything, dating is a numbers game. Keep your plate full, and you won’t go hungry.
Strategy 2: Conscious Tinder-ing Is Good Tinder-ing
Emboldened by this thread, I spoke to my roommate, a gay man who uses Tinder frequently. “I mean, I generally swipe right on people I would conceivably have sex with,” he told me. “I also take my time. Some people are terrible at curating their own profiles, so you have to keep that in mind when you’re doing this.” He noticed that, amongst his straight friends, the women in his group were very picky and obsessed with height, swiping instantaneously to the left if someone didn’t meet whatever preconceived notion of the perfect person in their head.
I have seen this kind of Tindering in the wild. Someone standing in front of you at the grocery store is scrolling thru Tinder like a zombie, swiping aimlessly while pushing their cart idly with their foot. A guy at the bar is waiting for a drink while zipping his thumb across the screen, one eye on the bartender, while talking to his friend. “How are they even finding people?” I wonder to myself. “Why aren’t they paying attention?”
Tinder is designed to cater to first impressions. We see something we like, we say yes. Easy, and done. It’s the app equivalent of being kind of drunk and gathering the courage to saunter up to that guy in your crosshairs with confidence. It doesn’t want you to really think about what you’re doing, but to just make snap decisions. Swipe left for weird khaki pants and lacrosse action shots. Swipe right for the correct Instagram filter and a nice beard.
Consider the conscious Tinder. Look at all the pictures, not just the first one. Read whatever this person has decided to put in their “About Me” section. Think, for more than five seconds, about whether or not you would want to even talk to this person. Say yes to people that you might not normally say yes to. Use it as a way to silence the judgy little crow that sits inside your head, cawing “Next!” at every person you see.
Strategy 3: Replace The Drunk Dial With The Drunk Tinder
This is not a strategy that anyone I know uses, but maybe it’s one to consider. Drunk dialing is a danger, but we all fall prey to it. Usually, the intention behind it isn’t because you actually want to date the person you’re calling, but because you are human, and you want to talk to someone who at one point was interested in sleeping with you. We are not here to judge. This is a perfectly valid feeling, but the repercussions of the drunk dial are often more than you really want to deal with.
Enter the Drunk Tinder. Swipe left! Swipe right! Send a message to that dude that you think is cute, and see what it nets. This is the best kind of Tinder-ing, because you can do it at home, while eating a piece of pizza and drinking a large glass of water before bed. It’s great because you lose the inhibition you’d normally have, and, when you wake up in the morning and see a string of messages, you might feel a little twinge of regret, or that weird feeling in the pit of your stomach when you did something you know you shouldn’t have done, but really, what’s the harm? Embrace it, because, really, life is short, and it’s all going to come out in the wash, anyway. Drink some pinot, and swipe away.