8 dating app mistakes that are easy to make, but could cost you a right swipe

Dating app or site in mobile phone screen. Man swiping and liking profiles on relationship site or a...
ByNatalia Lusinski
Originally Published: 

After not using dating apps for several months, I recently decided to reinstall a few. Yet I find myself only choosing to swipe right on about one in 10 guys. If their profile only has photos and no written bio — swipe left. If there’s photo after photo of him with other people and I can’t figure out which one he is — swipe left. If he only has one photo and it’s of him with no shirt on or lying in bed — swipe left. While every person’s taste is different, of course, there are some common mistakes dating app users make that statistically have been shown to reduce their chances of getting right-swiped on.

Recently, Tinder pulled data from users’ profiles in major U.S. cities and used the findings to determine what commonalities in users’ profiles resulted in the most likes, and what things turned people away. “Your profile is key when it comes to getting a right swipe,” says Kristin Collins Jackson, a writer for Tinder’s Swipe Life, the app’s online content platform for dating stories and advice.

And with so many people using dating apps these days — 26 million matches are made per day worldwide on Tinder alone — there’s a lot of competition and pressure to have your profile just right. The more help you can get, the better, so take a lesson from some of the most common profile mistakes people make on dating apps, according to Tinder's research.

Wearing sunglasses in your photos


While you might feel that sunglasses gives you an edgier look, they hide one of your most important assets: your eyes.

“Wearing sunglasses in a profile picture —even prescription — tends to decrease users’ chances of Swipe Rights by 15 percent,” says Collins Jackson. “Eyes are very engaging and help determine whether or not someone is trustworthy; by covering them up with glasses, a match may not be able to evaluate their trustworthiness.”

Not writing a bio

While it may seem easier to just have photos in your dating profile and skip writing anything, adding a bio is important, even if it’s just a few sentences. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s liked a person’s photos but was hesitant to swipe right since the rest of their profile was empty. It made me wonder: Were they just looking for hook-ups? Did they forget to fill the bio out? Were they just swiping for fun or an ego boost and not taking it seriously, so spending a few minutes filling out their profile felt like too much work?

Collins Jackson says it's good not to just write statements about yourself, but to include a question, too, such as: Best concert you’ve ever seen? What are you currently watching on Netflix? Giants or Jets fan? “We encourage users to include a question about something they are passionate about,” she explains. “It’s a built-in conversation-starter and a great way to find something you may have in common with your new match."

Only including one or two photos

While it’s smart to include a photo in your online dating profile, it’s even better to share a variety of them. Tinder’s research found that 81 percent of users have at least four images in their profiles, which is a good number to aim for when selecting your photos, says Collins Jackson.

“But, make sure you show photos of yourself, by yourself — and doing things you enjoy,” she says. “If you love skateboarding, create a Loop (Tinder’s Boomerang-type feature) showing off your best move.”

Not facing forward


You've probably taken many photos where you're not facing the camera and instead are posing off to the side, causing your face to only be partially visible. But according to Tinder’s research, people who face forward in photos are 20 percent more likely to get right swipes.

“So it doesn’t matter if your right side is your ‘good side’ — show off who you are,” says Collins Jackson, adding that your match will want to see all of you. “As the saying goes, ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’ — but they also tend to establish a sense of trust, which is why you want to make sure you’re facing forward and showing your whole self to your matches."

Not smiling in pictures

Similarly, while you’re facing forward in your pictures, make sure to smile. That way, you’re 14 percent more likely to lock in those right swipes compared to those who are not smiling, as Tinder found.

Not using GIFs

If you want to liven up the messages you write to matches and have a higher chance of getting responses, Collins Jackson advises sending them a GIF. “People who send GIFs are 30 percent more likely to get a reply to their message,” she notes.

Whether you choose a GIF of a TV-show flirtation like Joey’s “How you doin’?” from Friends or a GIF expressing how you’re feeling today, it’s likely to get a conversation going.

Wearing dull colors in your photos


Tinder’s research found that 72 percent of users wear a neutral color — black, navy, beige or white — in their primary photo. But Collins Jackson says this won’t garner the attention you could get with a wilder hue. “Stand out and shine with a bright color,” she advises.

Not using an app’s additional features

Many dating apps have extra features to help you get to know someone more. For instance, on Bumble, you can share your favorite songs and Instagram feed; on Hinge, you can answer prompts such as “Do you like getting caught in the rain?”; and on Tinder, you can use Smart Photos, an algorithm that will choose which photo will be seen first by other users.

“This feature continuously tests your profile photos for their success, so that you’re always leading with your most successful photos,” says Collins Jackson. “With it, users see up to a 12 percent increase in matches, so think of Smart Photos as your own personal data research team.”

The more you take advantage of features like that, the more you'll reveal about yourself to other app users and set yourself apart from the competition.