There's no way around it: a smoking hot Tinder profile is a must-have. Most of us have grown accustomed to the weird world of dating Apps, which let us hook dates in the same way that we might a Squirtle on Pokemon Go. Since it seems like the game is on when it comes to modern romance, it's important that that game is strong. Tricks like switching to the "popularity" blend are little tekke (and some might say tacky) hacks that help us out a whole lot when it comes to finding that coveted perfect match. We like the fact that Tinder has just made it easier to send your friend the profile of a match you'd recommend for them. The collaborative approach to dating makes it more fun as well as safer, and we're also probably more likely to find the right one when our friends are looking out for hotties for us too. What's weird is that some of us are still falling down at the first hurdle in the Hunger Games of contemporary couple-making. These Tinder profiles aren't doing anyone any favors, and woefully undersell the merits of the people behind their poorly executed profiles. Fair enough, it IS a little strange that, all of a sudden, designing picture albums for our future partners is what we're into right now. But we're working with that. So what are the cardinal sins and top tips for profiling your way to relationship paradise? Let's check out the major dating app don'ts that just keep cropping up in our decks...
15 The multi-friend lead
Which one are you?! Give us a clue! We get it, no one wants to come across like Billy No-mates in their Tinder profile, but in the intensely lazy swipe culture, having to click through your entire profile to figure out which one you are is going to put people off, just because it's time-consuming. By definition, if you use Tinder, an app that treats the world of romance like a tedious online shop, you are just a little lazy or at the least, time-orientated. So stop hiding amongst the crowd and lead strong, shuffling that picture of you with your entire college crew back in the deck. Because it's equally annoying when guys lead with a shot of them and all their mates, and inevitably we prefer their hot friend to the person whose Tinder profile this actually is. Sadly, the App hasn't (yet) developed the functionality to let us chat with the hot friend in the lead photo. So step into the (Tinder) spotlight, this is your moment to shine!
14 The aggressive makeup shot
Aggressive makeup is questionable at any time, but especially in your Tinder profile. We all know that people find healthy, natural looking people more appealing than discernibly fake ones. Even if you're going through that post break-up low self-esteem phase, and you can barely stop crying long enough to take a selfie before your mascara is ALL over your face like a Kiss band member, keep your makeup as natural-looking as possible. Because overdoing it is such a turn off and comes across like we're uncomfortable in our own skin. Not the look you want to project to a potential partner. In fact, if you're on Tinder for self-validation reasons (OK, who isn't, but still), WAY too soon after a breakup, or whilst trapped in a low self-esteem whirlpool of doom, and covering it up with makeup, how about feeding yourself with some self-love before seeking to find a partner to yourself feel loved. It sounds like a no-brainer, but watch out for super strong brows (we took it WAY past Cara Delevingne level), eyeliner, and orange foundation, if you want to come across like the genuine, grounded, super-cool goddess you are.
13 The bitter byline
It's unbelievable how many people confuse the byline space on their Tinder profile with an opportunity to have a (not so subtle) snark at their ex. This is not hot because before anyone's got a chance to meet us, we've already wheeled out all our crazy and flung out baggage in their faces, like crazy cat women. If you must reference lessons learned from past heartbreaks, try turning these negatives into positive attributes that you're looking for. Or one step better, heal from those past hurts, let them go, and move on, safe in the knowledge that you learned a lot from a bad relationship that (happily) is over now, letting you be your greatest and best self. Or how about taking a WAY more lighthearted approach to this space and say something playful, that you would find funny or entertaining if you read it in someone else's profile? So consign the bitter byline to the past!
12 The ex-boyfriend cropped out
Again, the super blatant reference to your recent breakup with your ex does nothing but signal that you are likely to present potential matches with a whole cornucopia of crazy, and emotional instability. You might want to cut your ex's head off, but don't then frame that picture and use it as the advertisement for your new boo. It's probably best to post pictures of you without your ex, to show that you are definitely over your previous relationship. This seems insane to have to say, but also, selfies of you on your wedding day are not a great idea either. Remember that most dudes are a teeny bit territorial when it comes to women, and avoid giving them this super obvious sign that there's another guy who's special in your life. Like any kind of advert, you want to make it easy for them to relate and imagine what it would be like to date you. So leave the ex out of it!
11 Too many selfies
Selfies are a phenomenon of life in the digital age, and we'd be lying if we said we hadn't taken a few in our time. But too many selfies show that you spend significant amounts of time alone, looking at yourself. Neither of which seem particularly attractive qualities in a potential partner. You want your profile to be genuinely reflective of your personality, so duck face isn't going to do it. A couple of flirty pictures in your lineup are fine, but don't forget to smile! If you met this person in real life and wanted to make a good impression, you'd probably flash them a grin. This also seems way more accessible and engaging than a duck face and is less likely to attract the wrong kind of attention from the less mature matches you make. If you can, get a couple of pictures of you interacting with others, as this shows a little bit more of your personality in a more attractive unguarded moment than a carefully constructed selfie, perfect as your pout may also be!
10 The serial killer shot
On the subject of smiling, the prevalence of what can only be described as the "serial killer" face is absolutely staggering. We think these scarily intense shots might have been inspired by a raunchy fashion campaign, but they're about as attractive as a stank face. We know that models have a tendency to pull some pretty bizarre faces in an attempt to play up their features, but this can easily go SO wrong. If you'd be embarrassed to show your profile to your best friend, it probably means you've got a super serious one or two pics in there that basically show you're trying REALLY hard to look appealing. The camera-shy and the camera-hog can equally suffer from the distressing affliction that is a serial killer, super-serious stank face. Calm down, relax, and be yourself. We all get shy if we focus overly on how others perceive us, but what's really attractive is someone who doesn't care what others think because they genuinely love what they've got going on.
9 Blurry mystery pics
Gone are the days when we got our holiday pictures back from Kodak, only to discover that most of them are indecipherable light flares and things which may or may not be ectoplasm. So why are these pictures not also gone from our profiles? It's as much a mystery as who you are when your dream partner is viewing your profile and comes across some super-grainy image of something which might be you. Pictures that obscure your face and are taken in really low light also fall into this category. All your new boo has to go on when they come across your profile are the quality of your pictures and the choices that govern your selection. So they are going to identify you with some sketchy, back alley dodginess rather than the bright, clear being you are if you supply them with rubbish quality snaps. Try using the sharpen filter on your phone (we KNOW you know where to find those filters!)
8 Unexplained costumes
Alternatively, this can be a masterful move. It really depends on who you're trying to attract. Peacocking can be a genius move that gets a conversation going. But it can also come across as gimmicky if you're not really the kind of person who regularly wears a unicorn onesie or loves a fancy dress party. The issue with the unexplained costume is that your potential match isn't in on the hilarious joke that makes you and your squad view this as the best picture of you of all time. If your strange garb is totally self-explanatory and genuinely hilarious AND attractive, rock that virtual headgear. But be aware that strange outfits can alienate as many people as will find them funny. If you're looking for someone who shares your zany sense of the comedic, or penchant for playful dressing, this could be a masterful move, but it could also be one shock-tactic too far.
While it's always important to stay safe and never do anything you wouldn't in real life, being honest is definitely a dating profile 'do'. It may be tempting to hide behind the mask that is social media for your own amusement, remember that everyone in this virtual seeming reality is a real person, with real feelings. So treat them as you would if you were to meet them in real life. At the same time, be savvy about other people catfishing. Use your intuition at all times, don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable and when you do meet up, make sure you go somewhere super safe, where you know that you'll be in control of the situation. It's a good idea to build in a first date break clause, that will let you exit swiftly if you get a pungent whiff of catfish. Go for coffee, or do something you both enjoy together, like check out a museum. Full blown meals and movies on the first date are a nightmare because they leave you no room to stage a polite exit, stage left.
6 Too forward
You want to get this just right. Remember that dating apps still have a reputation for being a noncommittal pickup place, so anything suggestive will be interpreted within that context. Too much skin is also going to be a magnet for the guys who aren't looking far beyond that. Some information about your body type and style is useful when you're connecting with people via your phone screen, but if you want to meet someone who likes you for more than your killer abs, make sure your profile also shows a little bit of the rest of your personality. If you happen to be a professional ballet dancer, or you happen to have a great body, your Tinder profile is definitely the time to show it off. But there are a lot of people on Tinder who use the App precisely because it makes a noncommittal approach to dating super easy. So unless you're one of them, have more head and action shots than body pics.
5 Unclear about your intentions
Embrace everything that's great about internet dating and use it to your advantage. Since you're hacking the system that is serendipity by swiping through the world's singles, why not crack the code quicker by being really upfront about what you're looking for. Honesty is the best policy, and if you want to know whether a guy is ready for a relationship or just having fun, ask him. Most of the time, he'll tell you the answer. Saving you months of drama down the line when the guy you've fallen for tells you he needs to go off and "find himself" in Papua New Guinea. While respecting the beautiful diversity of people in the world, it's fine, to be honest about the kind of person you're looking for, and what your individual style is. That comes across as confident, direct, and honest. All attractive traits in themselves. Being upfront on your profile or in initial conversations sets a tone for the level of trust you'll be able to achieve in the entire relationship.
4 Totally "standard" lead photo
Most of the time, it's the guys, not the girls who are guilty of a totally standard lead photo. This is probably because guys have less opportunity to express themselves through the way that they dress, style their hair, etc. But beware of featuring a really blah picture of yourself (you know, the one in which you've got your blah face on), especially as your first shot. If all else fails, at least be smiling in this picture. Ideally, you want it to show you at your very best: it's the first glimpse your future boo is going to get of you. Show off your best features (you know what they are), and be proud to be you! It's your confidence as much as your killer cheekbones that he'll find attractive. And if you can communicate some of your personality in the picture (in a way that feels natural, props and paraphernalia are unnecessary here), that's ideal.
3 Weird backgrounds
This one is usually specific to the selfie: if you're snapping yourself in your bathroom, make sure it's tidy! The all-pervasive elevator mirror shot also seems a little strange and isolated, but if you do spend a lot of time in the lift, and your elevator game is strong, then fair enough. So often, we're so focused on getting the right angle when we take a selfie that we accidentally catch strange angles, including more than we thought in our super cute selfie. The best place for selfies is in natural light, and the people of Tinder, like people in general, are more likely to enjoy looking at a picture of you in a beautiful meadow or on the beach than they are a picture of you in the bathroom. This said, if you have a hilarious new angle on the selfie, go forth and conquer, but when it comes to achieving selfie mastery, beware of looking too / too little try hard. Like Goldilocks, you want that Tinder background juuust right.
Being overly specific about your interests will leave little room for connection, and you might even miss out on someone really cool by vehemently erecting your "no meat eaters sign". On the flip side, if this really is your standard, there's no harm in being upfront. In fact, one of the best things about them is that they give you the opportunity to be precise about what it is that you want. Just remember when you're putting that profile together that dating apps remove the context in which you would usually encounter people, and which would normally help them understand your point of view. This means that it's easier for your digital matches to become confused about where you're coming from than it would be in person. Also, because of the "virtual" nature of dating apps, forming a real connection is harder, so be relatable. This is a real person you are speaking to, even though dating apps can seem deceptively like games ("play again"?) or Pokemon Go, just with people.
1 Irrelevant photos of beautiful landscapes
That's lovely, but it's also irrelevant information. Unless you took that glowing image of the grand canyon, or those wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain, we have the internet too, is our reaction when they're included in a dating profile. Even if you did take a beautiful shot on your holiday in Iceland or Peru, it's about as interesting to us as holiday pictures ever are. We're much more interested in seeing, and getting to know YOU. The ideal situation is one in which you're in that beautiful shot, amongst some stunning scenery. But mainly, we want to see how stunning you are, not Lake Como. And don't even think about posting a picture of you with a baby tiger (what IS that about?) like the rest of Tinder. It's an immediate left swipe initiator. Irrelevant information also includes inspirational quotes. No matter how much you identify with them, a picture (of you) speaks a thousand words. Unless the irrelevant information you include is really funny. Then it's fine.