Tinder Etiquette: 25 Dos And Don’ts When Dating On Tinder

Online Dating | | , Content Writer
Updated On: March 18, 2024
tinder etiquette

The trajectory of relationships has changed over the years. Not so long ago, the only way you’d meet your potential soulmate was if you studied with them, through public events like dances and social gatherings, or if your friend set you up. Even communication was difficult. Everything happened on a community level but then the internet was introduced and it completely changed the dating scene. 

Online dating was the most revolutionary thing to happen since the introduction of telecommunication in relationships. Dating websites turned into dating apps and that’s where Tinder came into existence. With it, you can connect with people on a global level. Your chances of finding your soulmate are now higher than ever. There are just a few basic rules for Tinder that the users should keep in mind in order to have a healthy dating experience, for themselves, as well as for their matches.

So, what is Tinder etiquette? Are there any specific dos and don’ts of Tinder? Well, to be honest, there is no Bible for dating app messaging etiquette. At the end of the day, it is up to you how you want to conduct your social affairs. But following some unwritten rules for Tinder might actually help you revamp your profile and have a higher success rate in matching more people. Without any further ado, let us walk you through them. 

Tinder Etiquette: 25 Dos And Don’ts When Dating Online

Out of all the online dating apps available in the world, Tinder has proven to be one of the most popular. So, we’re going to introduce you to basic Tinder etiquette and give you a rundown of all the Tinder dos and don’ts for guys and girls. Just to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of creepy texts and unsolicited images or find yourself at the receiving end of it.

Let’s go over the basics once. You need to download the app and create your profile. This profile will be accessible to anyone using the app and will serve as your introduction to potential matches. You will have access to profiles of people depending on your preference. If you like someone’s profile, you swipe RIGHT, and if you don’t then swipe LEFT. Simple as that.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the 25 dos and don’ts of Tinder etiquette. We will focus on both how to attract people with a kickass profile bio and best Tinder openers and more importantly what not to do on Tinder. Shall we begin?

Related Reading: 5 Hacks To Find Out If Someone Has A Tinder Profile

1. Do: Put in the effort and make it good

A funny profile like this can make you attractive

Stuck at zero matches on Tinder ever since you signed up? I think it’s time to carefully inspect your profile details. The first step on Tinder is to create your profile. This profile is going to represent YOU. It is what will tell people about your personality and will be the deciding factor on whether you’ll get right-swiped or left. That’s why it’s proper Tinder etiquette to put effort into making a good dating profile.

Just like you try to avoid some common mistakes on the first date to make the right impression, it’s the same here. Trust us when we tell you that you want to put an effort into the profile that you create. You’ll want to put some thought into each step, be it the photos, your bio, or answering the questions. So, take your time and do it right. 

2. Don’t: Copy off the internet. Keep it original

One of the very first rules for Tinder is NO PLAGIARISM. You are one of a kind, so your online dating profile should be no different, right? The profile is a reflection of you and that’s why the best online dating advice is that originality is the key. It may not be a written rule of Tinder etiquette, but it will always be in your own interest. Channelize your creative streak by whipping up a profile that shines amidst a sea of options.

Things like ‘Die-hard traveler’ or ‘Nature lover’ are very common; instead, say something like, “Dreams of mountains and oceans while stuck in a concrete jungle”. We understand that some of you may be new to Tinder and you don’t have the first clue on how to create a good profile. You’ll end up going online and looking it up and that’s all right. Use the results that you get as a guideline rather than just copying them as your own. 

3. Do: Define your personality but leave some room for curiosity

I have seen that Tinder worked out fantastically for some of my friends. As a matter of fact, a few relationships which started as a casual coffee date are now on the verge of a proposal. So, a dear friend gave me some very good advice from his practical experience – he said that you should always choose to put the things that you’ll be comfortable talking about in your profile. This way the conversation won’t fizzle out as soon as it begins, at least on your account. 

The only reason someone will swipe right on you is if they want to get to know you better. So, always create your profile in a way that keeps your matches guessing. Frame the sentences in your profile in a way that makes them want to know more. Something like, “Love french fries, but hate potatoes in any other form. Make of that what you will” is pretty intriguing and funny at the same time.

4. Don’t: Make jokes that Tinder doesn’t like. Stay on its good side

If you want to know what should be avoided on Tinder, this tops the list. Putting jokes in your profile is fine, it’s actually encouraged but there are some jokes that Tinder doesn’t like. Jokes about race or religion are a big NO-NO. The same applies to jokes that are offensive to certain communities. For example, you can’t say something like “People think I’m hot, even the blind”. You just can’t say things like that.

If you’re wondering, “What is Tinder etiquette?”, know that it’s not very different from basic human etiquette. Another area to avoid making jokes about is anything money-related. So, saying something like, “One night with me will make you want to empty your wallet” is not okay. These kinds of jokes could lead to Tinder banning you. Be careful. Consider them as rules for Tinder hookups if you wish because no sensible and sensitive human being would show any interest after knowing about this version of you.

5. Do: Pick an awesome anthem

tinder etiquette for guys
Your anthem speaks about your personality

While trying to attract his/her attention, your anthem is your secret weapon. If you feel that your profile is amazing but the number of matches that you’re getting doesn’t correspond to its awesomeness, then this specific Tinder etiquette will help. A lousy anthem can be a bit of a left swipe attractor so be careful what song you choose. Whereas a good anthem has the power to steal people’s attraction and get them thinking about you.

Now, by no means, am I saying that you should just go with the ‘top charters’ even if you don’t like them. Your taste in music will tell potential matches just as much about you as your profile will. So, go through your playlist and choose a song that has a nice beat to it. Also, make sure that it’s at least semi-popular. Like if you’re into Latin music, then choosing a song like Despacito might be better than something like Con Calma. This way your anthem reflects what you enjoy while still being familiar. 

6. Don’t: Hide your beautiful facial features

An important part of creating an online dating profile is adding photos. Always choose photos that show your entire face. The whole point is for potential matches to be able to see what you look like, so a photo of you standing at the beach staring at the sunset may not be ideal. If people can’t see what you look like, they might left-swipe you even before going through the rest of your profile.

What should be avoided on Tinder are dull photos. Even if your photo shows your face perfectly, it won’t attract that many people if it has a dull color scheme. The more contrast your photos have, the more of a show stopper they will be. Having a pop of color like yellow or even blue will make the people linger on your profile.

Another thing to remember is to not use photoshopped photos. While these will make you look amazing, they will put you at a disadvantage when you actually go out on a date. Always try to choose a picture cropped to the upper part of your body focusing on your facial features. And, that my friend, is one of the most basic rules for Tinder.

Related Reading: Fishing Dating – The New Dating Trend

7. Do: Add more photos but 9 is not a compulsory number

This is more of a tip than actual Tinder etiquette. So, Tinder allows you to upload a maximum of 9 photos on your online dating profile and we’ve already pointed out that you should choose photos that show your face. This does not, however, mean that you can’t still upload your fun photos. Your photos will tell your story, so always upload more than one photo.

While Tinder allows for 9 photos, we recommend that you upload 5-6 photos instead. Uploading all 9 has a way of seeming desperate, but fewer photos can create an air of mystery. It will leave room for that super important curiosity factor to bloom as well.

8. Don’t: Upload group photos

You are probably worried sick for two days wondering, “What could be the possible reason behind absolutely zero matches on Tinder profile? Do I look that grumpy?” No, my dear, perhaps your virtual suitors could not identify you from your groufie in a club. Going back to our original point that the person looking at your profile wants to know what you look like, it’s very inconvenient if you upload a photo of yourself with your friends.

How will your potential match know who you are in that group photo? So, not only is this proper Tinder etiquette but it’s also common courtesy. To be clear there is nothing wrong with group photos provided that you’re careful about using them. If the photo shows your face properly, then uploading it is fine, just not as your first photo. It can be uploaded as maybe your 3rd or 4th photo. This way they will know what you look like before they reach the group photo. 

tinder dos and don'ts for guys
Which one is ‘He’?!

9. Do: Think about who you want to attract

The next step of your profile is your Tinder bio. Your bio is your preview, it’s like the teaser that comes before the movie’s official trailer. Which makes it pretty important. While writing your bio you need to keep in mind your ‘type’. We all have one, it’s basically referring to the kind of person that you get attracted to. For some people, it could be a brainiac while for others it might be a career-driven ambitious person.

Either way, your bio needs to have things that will attract your ‘type’. For example, something like a sci-fi movie reference will surely attract a fan. In the same way, writing something associated with football will attract a fellow fan. Always remember that lying in your bio can be catastrophic. So, only write about the things that you’re interested in. You want to use your interests to attract like-minded people, not catfish someone you may not have much in common.

Related Reading: 12 Simple Tips To Build Healthy Relationships

10. Don’t: Turn your bio into a laundry list

Remember that your bio is what will spark interest in the heart of a potential match, which will lead them to read the rest of your profile. Your main purpose for getting into this online platform is to get dates on Tinder, right? Then gear up! A boring bio won’t help you get matches.

Make your bio interesting, which means that simply listing the things that you like is a NO. In fact, for your bio, you don’t really need to stick to your interests, you can go with something more interesting. For example, “Master Top Ramen chef but stuck in a normal job. Dreaming of the day when I can follow my culinary skills into disaster.”

11. Do: Link your Instagram

Most people choose to skip this step. The way I see it is that if you’re on Tinder looking for a relationship, not just a hookup, then linking your Instagram is the best idea. Your Instagram is your virtual self. Don’t we often stalk a guy’s Instagram account to find out more about him? It’s the same idea here too.

You might find the idea of strangers stalking you online scary, but it isn’t as bad as it seems. Think of it like this: if they’re visiting your Insta page, they want to know more about you. Besides, just because they see your page and send you a request doesn’t mean you need to accept it. 

12. Don’t: Swipe before giving them a chance

Now, we come to the matching and unmatching part of Tinder. As mentioned before, a right swipe means that you’ve liked the profile and a left swipe means that you don’t. Based on your right swipes, you get matched to people who right-swipe you back. One thing that is proper Tinder etiquette is that you read the person’s bio before you swipe.

Of course, because you’ll see the profile photo of the person you may want to automatically right or left swipe them, but this can be dangerous. We all know that looks don’t tell us much about a person’s personality. Always read the bio, it will tell you more about the person and you’ll be able to make a much better decision. Besides, this will also help with your ELO score, which determines your “standards” based on your Tinder etiquette and the ELO of the people who right swipe you. So, don’t be lazy.

Related Reading: Tinder – 6 Types Of Men To Avoid Dating

13. Do: Save your swipe rights for those who deserve it

Let me give you another tip on what not to do on Tinder when you are truly looking for an exciting match. There’s this idea that the more people you right swipe, the more chances you have of getting a match. If you right-swipe 10 people, your odds of getting accepted are way more than if you’ve only right-swiped 5 people. This is a TRAP, don’t fall for it!

I’ve mentioned the ELO score before; this score is a determining factor in what kind of people you get matched with. Bottom line is, when you right-swipe too many people, you’re making Tinder think that your standards are very low. Don’t let this happen. Swipe right only when you find a person interesting and think something good might come out of connecting to them.

14. Don’t: Ghost your matches

Stories about online dating

Part of good and proper Tinder etiquette is to remember the people who you’ve been matched with. Imagine if you go to meet someone at a café and they just forget about the entire thing and don’t show up. How would you feel sitting in that café alone? Every person who you get matched with but don’t talk to will feel this way.

If you’re hesitating because you don’t know the Tinder etiquette regarding who messages first, don’t worry about it. Just go ahead and take the first step. Don’t ignore your matches, you don’t have to necessarily flirt with them but you can at least start talking to them. The sensible dating app messaging etiquette dictates you connect with the person you matched with and have a nice chat. If you feel they are able to hold a worthwhile conversation, you shift it from virtual to the real world.

15. Do: Be patient, you’ll get matched eventually

Have you been on Tinder for a while, but haven’t been matched yet? It’s tough and can chip away at your self-confidence. But this is a part of online dating. The WAIT, it’s by far the worst part. This may not be Tinder etiquette per se but I’d still like to say – hang in there.

Chances are the reason you haven’t been matched yet is that your standards are high and you have a very unique type. There are plenty of fishes swimming around the Tinder sea, and half of them are looking for something casual. If your expectations are way too intimidating, people may avoid you in general. There is nothing wrong with that. Just be patient, the wait will be worth it!

16. Don’t: Open with “Hey!” 

Finally, you’ve gotten matched, what do you do now? Start a conversation, duh! So, there is no Tinder etiquette on who messages first. If you like them, then you can initiate the conversation, just keep a few things in mind.

Never begin the conversation with just “Hey!”. While this works for friends and other people who know you, don’t use it when you start your Tinder conversation. It simply kills the texting game before you start playing. Use an interesting opening line instead. Be friendly and not creepy. 

Proper Tinder etiquette says that you should use a good opening line; although cheesy pick-up lines sometimes work too. This is a lot more important than it seems. You’ve heard about how the first impression is the last, right? Well, while in a meeting, the way you carry yourself and your clothes create your first impression, on Tinder the way you initiate your conversation is that valuable first impression. Trust me, you want it to be good. To help you, beginners, here are a few Tinder greetings:

  • Photo compliment
  • “Biggest fear: snakes, bees, or saying “you too” to the waiter when he asks you if you’re enjoying your meal?”
  • “Do you want to build a snowman?” with a GIF of Olaf
  • “Do I know you because you look a lot like my new boyfriend?”

Related Reading: How To Flirt On Tinder – 10 Tips & Examples

17. Do: Flirt but be classy

The ‘texting’ phase of your Tinder relationship is very important. Not only does it give you a better idea of the person you’re talking to but you also get a chance to set expectations about each other before your first meeting. That’s why proper Tinder etiquette for guys and girls alike would be to flirt with a match for some time before asking them out. 

Let’s quickly go through a few dos and don’ts of Tinder regarding your texting dates. You should keep in mind that your match can’t see your face or hear your voice, which means that they have no way to understand your tone. You may have an amazing joke, but it can backfire if you don’t write it properly. Stick to paying cute compliments on the things that stand out to you in their profile. Funny pick-up lines are a good idea too. 

Another important element in Tinder conversations is GIFs. Use them! They will bring a realistic element to your otherwise virtual conversation. A few things you need to be careful about are that you shouldn’t be creepy, come on too strong, and avoid being extremely sexual in your texts. Mark my words, those are guaranteed turn-offs. 

18. Don’t: Lie. Keep it real

Think of your Tinder conversation as a real conversation. If you were out on your first date with someone, what would you talk about? How would you behave? Everything that you’ve just thought about will apply to Tinder as well. Because you haven’t met each other before, your first Tinder conversation is pretty much like your first date with her. You need to remember this.

Putting things like being polite, being respectful, and being funny aside, the most important Tinder etiquette for conversations is ‘Don’t LIE’. The temptation to lie will be quite strong because you’ll be hiding behind a screen, but remember this – while lying will impress them, it won’t help you create a relationship with them. A one-night stand, maybe, but not a relationship. So, keep it real. 

Related Reading: 15 Questions To Ask A Romance Scammer To Identify Them

19. Do: Text them if you like them

tinder etiquette who messages first
All it takes is a nice pick-up line to get things started

When you’re texting, it’s very easy to overthink things because you have no idea what the other person is thinking. All the non-verbal hints that you can pick up on in a face-to-face conversation are gone when you’re texting. It’s one of the biggest disadvantages of online dating. So, the way you frame your sentences, the words you use, how much you write – can all seem like huge decisions.

To put your mind at ease, here is one of the simplest rules for Tinder – don’t let the pressure of framing the perfect text get to you. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what they are thinking, you’ll just turn your texts into boring sentences with no emotions. Secondly, the time your match takes to reply is not a scientific measure of how desperate they are.

This applies to you as well. Most of us set our own rules to wait before replying to a text that we’ve received. You know, to play a little hard-to-get. As if waiting for 3-5 minutes will change what they feel about you. This really isn’t carved-in-stone Tinder etiquette. So, don’t waste your time waiting nervously for the clock to cross 3 minutes before texting them back. Be spontaneous about it!

20. Don’t: Go overboard with emojis

Emojis are very important in conversations these days. You may have noticed that guys send emojis when they like a girl, a little too many hearts may be. The reverse is also true. You can’t see the person you’re texting and you have no idea what their tone of voice is. That’s where emojis come to your rescue. They help you understand the text better. 

It’s tempting to use a lot of emojis to avoid any misunderstandings but DON’T. Avoid using more than three in a single text. Count it as one of the rules for Tinder hookups – premature kiss emojis can make the person at the other end uncomfortable. Besides if you want something extra to help you express yourself, then GIFs are a much better option than emojis. They are super fun to use and you can have an entire conversation with them without having a single misunderstanding. 

21. Do: Take an interest in your match

Have you ever had a conversation in which the only responses you’ve given or received are “Wow”, “Really?!” or “I had no idea!”? It makes the conversation seem completely one-sided. With people you know, these are pretty normal, but when you’re talking to someone for the first time, it’s not good etiquette to seem uninterested in a conversation. 

While talking to someone for the first time, proper Tinder etiquette for guys and girls requires you to balance out the conversation. Talk about yourself, but remember to ask questions too. This way you’ll both get to know each other equally and you’ll come across as polite, which is always good.  

22. Don’t: Make spelling and grammatical errors

Texting revolves around shorthand, but acronyms aside, the words you use need to be correct. If you get the spelling and grammar wrong, your text will make no sense, or worse, it will mean something completely different. And, God forbid, if the person on the other side of the screen is a grammar Nazi, you will blow your one chance with them in five minutes.

If you’re texting something cute like “You should know that if you date me, I’m going to end up stealing one of your shirts. So, I can wear it when I miss you ?”. Now imagine if the word “shirt” has a typo and is replaced with the word “shit” instead. The text will become very disturbing instead of cute. Always check your texts before sending them. You’ll save yourself a lot of embarrassment.

Related Reading: 50 Cute Things To Say To Your Girlfriend Every Day

23. Do: Wait before asking them out. Take your time

tinder first date etiquette
Your conversations should end with a date but not too soon

Now we move on to the next level, The Tinder date. Most of you are under the impression that Tinder is for ‘meeting people’ literally. As soon as you get matched, you may be tempted to try to set up a date. Don’t do that. As we’ve already discussed, the texting phase is important. So, when do you ask them out?

Honestly, there’s no exact number of days you should wait before asking them out. Proper Tinder etiquette for guys as well as girls would be to suggest going on a date once you’re comfortable talking to each other. It will help if you keep testing the waters by casually bringing up the idea of a date in your conversations. Something like, “For our first date we could test our beer-drinking theory with a competition, maybe? Who’ll finish their beer first, me or you?”

A casual mention like this will show that you’ve thought about your first date so you’re serious. Additionally, it will make them consider the idea as well. When you do ask them out, they’ll say, “Yes”. Remember to plan the date in accordance with that conversation, it’ll show them that you haven’t forgotten that ‘casual conversation’ you’ve had with them days, maybe weeks, ago. Work out all the details and choose the time and place before the conversation ends. 

24. Don’t: Run away from discussing relationship expectations

When you go on your first date with someone, your goal is to keep things comfortable; ‘no awkwardness’ should be your policy. I get it, but a Tinder first date is different. You’re essentially two strangers. This is why discussing your expectations and intentions are very important. 

You don’t have to do this immediately. Proper Tinder first date etiquette is to begin with a simple conversation. Let the initial awkwardness disappear. Flirting will also help; try saying something like, “I imagined you a little differently but…the reality is definitely better.” 

Once you’re comfortable, then bring up your expectations about the relationship. There is no easy way to do it so just rip the band-aid off. Things might become a bit awkward but you’ll both be better for it. Trust me, you don’t want to be together if one of you wants a casual fling, but the other a serious relationship. If things work out, good. If they don’t, we advise you to finish the date, say “Goodbye” and then walk away. It will be for the best.

Related Reading: Relationship Advice For Couples- 25 Ways To Strengthen Your Bond

25. Do: Choose a public place

This one is a bit important of all the rules for Tinder, so pay attention. Your first date must be in a public place. Online dating can be dangerous, so, it’s the proper Tinder first date etiquette to pick a place where both of you feel secure and at ease. If you suggest something like your house, it may feel creepy. 

Go with a nice restaurant, someplace that you’ve had a conversation about before. Maybe even a place that your match mentioned wanting to check out. You can always have a nice picnic at a park as well. Have a few options in mind, make your suggestions and see which one they like.

With these basic dos and don’ts of dating on Tinder, you are all set to jumpstart your online dating journey. Keep the basics in mind but don’t be afraid to listen to your gut and wing it every now and then.

Are We Dating? 12 Signs You Need To Have The Talk NOW

15 Best Couple Apps To Try In 2021

21 Uncommon Romantic Gestures For Her

Ask Our Expert