From Tinder to timber: how to avoid falling for the wrong person on dating apps


As you get older dating becomes that bit more difficult – a minefield of questions: where do I meet people? When do I find the time to meet people around work and social commitments? What if all the good ones are taken? How do i put myself out there?

I, in my mid 20s, (yes, not THAT old) found myself single for the first time since I was 18 this year; a scary prospect for someone who is always used to having a boyfriend. But at around the same time I became a single lady (cue the Beyoncé music) a little dating app was suddenly becoming very popular: Tinder.

At first it’s something of a novelty, browsing through all these potential mates; and there’s something that makes you feel quite in control about being able to swipe left for ‘no’ with such ease and not be pestered by anyone you’re not interested in.

For those of you who haven’t ventured onto the app, you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a person on seeing their first name, age, photo, any mutual Facebook friends or interests and anything they choose to disclose in their bio.

It’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. You feel like Tinderella, or the Prince, looking for that idea of the perfect person, but judging only for a few seconds, almost entirely on looks and making snap decisions (if you’re fussy, you can really get some speed up rejecting people) based on a glimpse of a stranger.

Even when you find someone you like, there’s still the awkward initial chats to get past, waiting for the shoe, or glass slipper, to drop. I have found the general conversation goes like this:

Him: “Hey. How are you?”
Me: “Not too bad thanks, how are you?”
Him: “Good. Long day at work.”
Me: “Oh what do you do.”
Him: “[insert job I usually know nothing about/am not interested in]
Me: “Ok. So you like [insert hobby based on Tinder pictures]
Him: “Yes, do you?”
Me: “Yes/no.”

If my answer is yes, maybe the conversation will continue. If it’s no, that’s when it generally grinds to a halt. I find the latter scenario is usually the case.

Of course, there are exceptions. I didn’t ever meet up with this person, but one of the most memorable openers I ever had was:

“I just wanted to say I find you very attractive. If I got to know you better, I would invite you over for a romantic dinner involving an expensive £5 bottle of wine and two of those microwaveable curry meals. Our dinner discussion would be most imminent, involving the difference between butter and margarine. Afterwards we would make our way to my polar bear carpet and begin adaptive role playing to those twilight movies.”

It’s pretty weird (that’s an understatement), but it caught my eye. I’d had a few G&Ts so was happy to reciprocate with some witty banter. Personally I thought it was far more interesting than ‘Hey, how are you?’ which is polite, but unoriginal and makes for a stilted opening conversation.

Then of course there’s the really weird ones. And the ones who are just looking for sex. You can usually spot these a mile off. Sometimes you’ll even be lucky enough to see a dick pick while you’re scrolling through the friendly, and not so friendly faces; scary stuff. What I want to know is:

A) Do these boys (no real man would do this) think this actually works?
B) If so, who are the girls who say ‘yes’ to a penis.
C) Are these pictures on their Facebook profile? Tinder is linked to Facebook so you can choose your photos from your Facebook albums. Facebook has a pretty strict policy on nudity – they recently banned a woman form posting a pic of her breast feeding because it showed a nipple. If they don’t allow that I doubt they will allow a picture of a prick holding his prick.

Occasionally you come across mutual friends or even people you know. I was lucky enough to find someone I went to university with, so while we didn’t know each other well, it was easy to get talking and that’s the hardest part: making small talk with strangers. Mutual friends is also a bonus, because not only is it a talking point (‘How do you know X?’) if you do get so far as going on a date in real life, you can check with your friends they’re not a total weirdo. It’s good to be a little weird though, better than being boring and ‘normal’.

I myself have now been on a few tinder dates, some successful, some not so successful, but I would recommend it. If anything, it’s a great way to put yourself out there and build up some self esteem and practice the art of small talk. It’s not as scary as signing up to online dating because it’s all very brief and casual; the app just connects to your Facebook. It’s also free!

My friend who is in a long term relationship thought Tinder was a revelation when I showed her. She thought it was such a fun ‘game’ which it kind of is;  it’s definitely a win when someone hot matches with you. But that’s the one problem I have found with Tinder – it is quite shallow. You judge based on looks and that’s about it. I did swipe yes to a guy who wasn’t necessarily my type because he had and amazing joke as his bio, and I think a sense of humour is important. But basically, if you’re hot you’re going to get a lot of hits. So choose your picture wisely.

It’s also worth putting up pictures that show you doing some sort of hobby. It has been proven that you’re more likely to get a match. According to The Tab, girls who have a picture in an outdoor setting, do running, yoga or go to the gym are more likely to get a match. Guys who gave a dog in their photo, are outside and claim to be ‘spontaneous’ and ‘ambitious’ are more likely to get a match. Prove you’re more than just a pretty face.

So, I would say: avoid the ones who seem horny, go instead for ones with pictures of them involved in sports/social activities, don’t judge too much based on looks, try to make a joke to break the ice and if in doubt, always swipe right: you never know, they might be the Prince Charming to your Tinderella. If not, you can always block them.


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