Five things you should never do on dating apps

'Appy hour again, eh?

No group photos. No screenshotting innocuous conversations. No dead chat.

When Tinder launched in 2012, sparking the dating app revolution, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that a decade on, we’d be living in some kind of romance utopia; that the process of finding love would be so streamlined that we’d be paired up with people who were actually right for us.

And yet, here we are, 10 years later, in the midst of an alleged sex recession. Granted, it could be argued that modern dating is worse simply because we keep saying it is, but there are other factors at play, namely the pandemic and, er, how much it costs to be alive, let alone date. All that aside, though, the consensus seems to be that dating apps seem to make everything worse.

Not only that: they also seem to increasingly be making us malfunction. People are weird about dating apps now. They screenshot innocuous conversations or profiles and tweet them with inflammatory captions. They get annoyed when a match suggests getting drinks or ice cream on a date – the absolute bare minimum”. They make Facebook groups to ask for tea” on potential dates.

In-app etiquette doesn’t seem to be much better. According to recent stats, six in ten women under the age of 35 have been sexually harassed on dating sites or apps, while 57 per cent of them have received an unsolicited nude. Ghosting is, ironically, still alive and kicking, and people are trying to screen their matches with pre-date questionnaires. Can everyone calm down for a sec?

For better or worse, though, dating apps aren’t going anywhere. So we may as well learn how to navigate them properly. Want to avoid having screenshots of your profile or DMs plastered all over Twitter? Certain rules go without saying, like not sending naked pics when no one’s asked, not harassing someone when they reject you, not pretending to be someone else.

For all the other stuff, here’s a handy list of don’ts when it comes to selling yourself as a sexy little commodity…

The less group shots, the better

This isn’t Where’s Wally?. Don’t make someone get their binoculars out to find you, only to be disappointed when they realise the hot one they were pining after is actually your mate. How do you expect anyone to figure out who you are if you only upload group photos? One group shot, max, to show that you’re social. And don’t try to get around it by chucking I’m the one on the left haha”, in your bio. I’m on the clock, honey. I don’t have time to pick you out of a line-up.

Please, please don’t be boring

Some people have boring personalities. I’m not here to judge. But I will judge you for responding to Hinge prompts with the same thing, for example. I’ll judge you for starting a conversation with hey”. If you match with loads of people and never talk to them – that’s wasting valuable Hinge space. And don’t leave your bio empty. There’s nothing more cringe than only having, say, someone’s height to reference before chattnig them up.

Don’t lie. End of

If you say you’re 6ft2 when really you’re 5ft10, your match will find out. They probably won’t care that you’re 5ft10, but they will care that you lied about it. Similarly, don’t say you’re 25 if you’re 29. It’s weird. And don’t pretend to be polyamorous if what you really want is casual sex. The best way to get casual sex is to… ask for casual sex. Basically, just don’t lie.

Leave Instagram out of it

This might be controversial, but I prefer my potential matches with an air of mystery. Extremely offline people are way hotter than their internet-obsessed counterparts – I don’t make the rules. So not linking out to your Instagram, with all its location tags, photos of your dog, your mum, your career milestones, will immediately paint you as brooding as enigmatic. I want you to make me work for it!

We’re begging you, no screenshots

I’m on the verge of petitioning the government to outlaw dating app screenshots. My proposed punishment for rule-breakers? Perpetual dates with the blue ticks who agreed with your batshit take on Twitter. Like Groundhog Day. Think long and hard about which side of history you want to be on.

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