How To Use Tinder Without Being an Asshole

From Tinder bios to Tinder pick up lines, it's important to be your best, non-asshole self.

Tinder logo on iPhone.
Image via Getty/Leon Neal


Tinder logo on iPhone.

We are at the height of cuffing season, which means it is officially time to redownload dating apps like Tinder and shoot your shot. The saying goes, apps imitate life, and as a woman interested in men, this can mean experiencing the digital equivalent to walking down the street in broad daylight. That is to say, witnessing a maelstrom of misogyny, especially if you’re not white or cisgender. Tinder comes with its own set of woes for straight men as well (though likely with much less hate and abuse), like causing low self-esteem.

There is no technical qualification for what it means to use Tinder successfully, or what even constitutes success on a dating app that feels more like a social experiment, but apparently being named Hannah or Lucas makes it a lot easier. Dating is hard enough as it is; figuring out internet social cues is just another hurdle to the process.

Whether your intentions are romantic or platonic, trying your hardest to not be an asshole is probably a good start to finding your next cyborg connection. There’s something about hiding behind a screen that empowers humans to be hateful and just plain awful, especially when they’re rejected by a romantic prospect. Of course, the app is designed in such a way that maybe, no matter what you do, you are being an asshole. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you, and Tinder accept you. Here are some tips on how to use Tinder without being an asshole.

1. Figure Out What You Want


Before you even create (or re-create) an account, figure out why you’re logging on. Do you want a casual hookup or someone to bring to a function? Or are you trying to get cuffed for the winter, with plans to drop your potential boo when the temperature gets back above 60 degrees?  Determine what you want Tinder to do for you to make the most out of your experience.

2. Always Ask For Consent


Sometimes I wonder who raised those of y’all who feel that it’s okay to send sexually explicit messages the minute you match. Be respectful of others’ boundaries and always ask for consent before taking things further.

3. Take The Ls Gracefully


If someone doesn’t respond to you after you’ve messaged them multiple times, don’t slide in their Instagram DMs. This isn’t a job interview; there’s no need to circle back unless the context calls for it. No one owes you anything, so use your discretion—unless your discretion tells you to be persistent and annoying. In which case, pump the brakes.

4. Fill Out Your Bio


Filling out your bio is awkward, but it’s also a great place to be clear about your values, interests, and even the level of commitment you’re looking for (see #1). It’s never a bad idea to be clear about who you are and your desires. Honesty is the best policy!

5. Don’t Abuse The “Report” Button


Some of my female friends have been banned from Tinder because someone reported them, for seemingly no reason. Reporting someone automatically bans the person from the app, so make sure you actually have a valid reason to report. Good reasons to report someone: they’re harassing you, they’re being inappropriate, or they’re a bot. Bad reasons to report someone: they didn’t reply to you, they rejected you, you don’t like their pictures.

6. Promote Your Album Elsewhere


While I respect the hustle, Tinder is not a particularly useful mode of promotion. If you must promote something, ask yourself if you’d respond well to an all-caps message full of fire emojis.

7. Don’t Ghost (Or Orbit)


Ghosting and its newest, more exasperating counterpart, orbiting, are just irresponsible. Orbiting, if you’re unfamiliar, is an iteration of ghosting in which the person you’re “talking” to doesn’t cut you off entirely, but continues to watch your Instagram stories or interact with your content on a semi-regular basis, therefore stringing you along. Instead of orbiting, do as Demi Lovato says and get a job.

8. If You Make Plans, Follow Through


“Let’s hang out Saturday!” is great, until you don’t hear from your match until 11 PM on Saturday—if at all. Some people can’t plan a time and a place that far in advance, and that’s okay; the future is hard. But if you suggest plans be clear about them and follow through. Otherwise, remember that it costs $0 to say nothing at all!

9. Practice Good IRL Etiquette


There will come a time when you may run into a match at the grocery store or at a show. Be friendly and cordial! Maybe you don’t want to strike up a conversation; a simple smile or nod to acknowledge their existence is enough. We’re talking bare minimum humanity here, folks!

10. Don’t Be Discouraged!


The app is just that: an app. It’s hard out here for us single people—that’s why they invented dating technology in the first place. If you’re striking out, you can always try another app like Hinge, or take a hiatus and stream “thank u, next” on repeat. Whatever works.

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