Tips For Using Online Dating Apps
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Tips On Using Online Dating Apps

After my divorce, I wanted to start dating and thought that dating apps might be a quick and easy way of getting some dates. It turns out that dating apps are not the silver bullet I hoped for. In fact, from my experience, it is much easier to find dates in old-fashioned ways, at bars, at work, through friends etc.

When I was using dating apps, I learnt quite a bit about how to get the best out of them. Below, I share all the things I learned that will help you.

It’s A Numbers Game

Don’t just sign up for a single dating app. You want to sign up for at least five of the biggest online dating apps.

The most popular dating apps in the UK (Plenty Of Fish)

I’m not suggesting that you get a paid subscription to all the dating apps, you’ll soon be bankrupt, sign up for a free account. You want as many women as possible to see your profile. The more women who see your profile, the greater the chance of getting a ‘Match’ and hopefully a date.

Don’t Let A Dating Apps Reputation Put You Off From Using It

Many of the dating apps have a certain reputation. For example, Tinder has a reputation for casual hookups, Match has a reputation for being used by older people. I didn’t see much difference between the type of women on any of the apps. The ages, types of relationships, profiles etc were all pretty much the same across all the apps.

Watch Out For Promotions

Dating apps are pretty damn expensive unless you take out a long-term subscription (6 months or more). Sign up with a free account; after a while, you will get a message with some promotion, like 1 month half price.

Don’t Pay For A Long Term Subscription 

It can be tempting to get a long-term subscription as the price tends to drop considerably the longer the subscription you take out. There are a few reasons I wouldn’t recommend going with a long-term subscription; they are:

  1. You can’t get out of the subscription early if you want…….. for example, you find the woman of your dreams straight away

  2. I found that after about two months, I had exhausted the database of women in my local area, only occasionally seeing new profiles.

  3. It’s better to take multiple short-term subscriptions for a number of different dating apps rather than having one long-term subscription on a single dating app. There are a number of reasons for this, which will become clear in later tips.

Don’t Just Click ‘Like’

I found I got a much better response rate from women who I ‘liked’ and left a message. If you’ve got a free subscription, you probably can’t leave a message, so you might have to pay for an add-on or take out a short-term paid subscription.

Always use their name in the message, e.g. ‘Hi Sarah,….’ it makes it more personal. I always tried to write something positive and funny in the message, usually something from the profile or a comment on one of the profile photos.

Don’t Trust Profile Photos

I understand that everyone wants to look their best in their profile pictures. But many women go too far in wearing tons of makeup, using filters, and posting pictures from 10 years ago.

I went on one and a half dates where I didn’t recognise my dates because they looked so different from their profile pics. The half-date was a woman who must have been at least 10 years older than the age she said she was and looked nothing like her pictures. I politely told her that I thought what she had done was dishonest and that I wasn’t interested in going on a date with her.

Things to watch out for in profile photos:

SWIPE LEFT IF (Don’t like)

  1. Lots of make-up – There’s a reason that women wear lots of make-up

  2. Filters – This is worse than wearing lots of make-up. It’s obvious when a filter has been applied because it makes faces look weird, with super smooth skin, large eyes, and un-natural skin colour etc

  3. No full-body photos – This is probably because they’re overweight.

  4. Only one photo – This indicates to me that they’re trying to hide something, are not serious about dating, or it’s a fake profile.

  5. Black & white photos only – For some reason, people always look better in black and white photos.

  6. Photos in the distance – Probably trying to hide the way they look

  7. Professional Pictures – A professional photographer can work wonders with lighting, focus, angles etc

  8. Wearing sunglasses – Why do this? Got something to hide?

  9. Not current pictures – We all looked better when we were younger and posting pics over two years old, in my opinion, is dishonest. Unfortunately, It’s virtually impossible to tell if a picture is current or not.

  10. Group photos – These photos don’t show anything useful.

  11. Super hot – I always swiped left on very attractive women because why would they be on a dating app in the first place? I know some of these women were ‘escorts’, which became obvious when you read their profile.


  1. Selection of photo types – close-ups, distant etc

  2. No make-up pics – Women who have photos with very little or no make-up show that they are comfortable with the way they look

  3. Different scenarios pics – It is good to see photos of different situations. It helps build a picture of the person.

I know it’s shallow to judge a person on the way they look. However, with dating apps, this is the primary way of choosing who to match with. Often, a profile’s bio section is either incomplete or has very little information.

Age Shown On Profile

Take the age in a profile with a pinch of salt. Every woman I matched with and messaged, apart from a very small number, admitted to tweaking their age by a few years. I don’t think a couple of years matters too much. But knocking off 5 years or more is dishonest and will ultimately waste everyone’s time.

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Profile Tweaking

If you like a particular woman, then tweak your profile to match the things in her profile. For example, if there’s a picture of her skiing and you like skiing but haven’t mentioned it, then update your profile to show you like skiing.

Who To ‘Like’

I know some guys who literally ‘like’ every woman that pops up on the app and other men who are super fussy and rarely dish out a ‘like’ unless they meet very strict criteria. I was initially fairly fussy but found I hardly ever got a ‘match’.

I think the best thing to do is to be fairly generous with your likes. As long as the woman meets your search criteria, like age, location, etc and if you find her physically a 4 \ 5 or higher, then give a ‘like’.

You can’t tell what someone is really like from a dating app. It might be someone you thought was a 4 in their photo is actually a 6 in real life; they don’t photograph well. Or, just because you don’t have much in common in your profiles doesn’t mean you won’t connect in real life and get on well.

Messaging In Dating Apps

Some people love messaging, others don’t, like me. Unfortunately, messaging is a necessary evil in online dating and can take up a lot of your time and, more often than not, get you nowhere.

As mentioned previously, I think it’s important to message whenever you ‘like’ someone; it gives you the edge over other men who don’t message.

When you get a ‘match’, the serious messaging starts and can drag on for a long time.

Tips for messaging in a dating app

  1. The initial conversation will be really basic stuff, like ‘How’s your day been?’ It can start slow, taking a few days, maybe even a week, for a response. I don’t know why some people take so long to respond. Maybe they’re playing it cool or maybe it’s just bad timing and they are genuinely super busy.

    If I’ve matched with someone, I’ll message them back as quickly as I practically can. Otherwise, progress will be super slow and interest can be lost and the conversation dies.

  2. Try and get the conversation moved away from the dating app built-in chat to Whatsapp. I’ve always found that chat on WhatsApp flows much better and quicker.

    Note: Some women are very cautious about moving to WhatsApp as they don’t want to give out their mobile number.

  3. Try and get to the meaty questions as soon as possible without coming across as rude and pushy. Idle chit-chat can go on for ages and doesn’t get you anywhere.

  4. Make a list of important questions for you to get answers for. Some of your questions might be quite personal, e.g. ‘Why did your previous relationship end?’. Try to ask these types of questions subtly.

    For example, maybe start a conversation on why they’re on dating apps and then this will start a natural conversation that will lead to why their previous relationship ended.

    Another trick is to give an answer to your own question first, for example, ‘My relationship ended because my wife cheated on me. How did your relationship end?’

  5. Include Emojis in your messages. They make messages more interesting and relaxed.

  6. Ask about meeting up as soon as you think it feels acceptable to do so. Endless messaging becomes exhausting, and you’ll probably run out of stuff to say when you eventually meet up.

  7. Avoid messaging anything that might potentially cause offence and try to avoid heavy conversations like religion, politics etc

  8. You can not get to know someone by messaging alone.

    The first woman that I matched with I messaged for about two months (I know), and I felt I knew her reasonably well. However, when we had a voice conversation, she was very different to the person I thought she was. 

Voice \Video Call Dating

For some reason, none of the women I met online were very keen on a voice \ video call. They would rather message and then meet up in real life. Because  I only had a couple of voice calls and didn’t have a single video call, I don’t really have any tips outside of the obvious stuff.

I would have preferred having a voice call or met in real life rather than endless messaging. I feel you can get to know someone much quicker with a call or meet in IRL

Meeting Up In Real Life

You’ve put in the groundwork and you’ve got to the point where it makes sense to meet for the first time.

  1. For the first meetup, I suggest meeting at a public place. Do something very casual, like meeting for a coffee or going for a walk. Do not arrange to do anything too serious, like an evening meal.

    You want to do something where you’ve got an easy ‘out’. You may have got on like a house on fire in the virtual world, but in real life, things could be very different.

    I once made the mistake of arranging an evening meal as a first meet and within minutes, I knew that my date was not the woman for me. I had to sit through a meal with someone I didn’t want to be with and I ended up paying for the meal!

  2. Be prepared for things to go well, so keep your diary clear.
    Some of my first meet-ups went well, and we spent the rest of the day together going out for a meal and drinks.

    On one occasion, I met up with a woman who I got on with really well, but unfortunately, I had to be somewhere straight after our first meetup, so couldn’t spend more time with her……..I never saw her again 🙁

  3. Catfishing is a real thing that happens quite a bit. I’ve been caught out a couple of times and I’ve heard stories from friends and colleagues who have also been catfished.

    Tip ‘1’ above is a good defence against catfishing. I also think it’s fair enough to say to the person that you feel you’ve been tricked and that you’re not going to hang around….byeeee

Getting A ‘Match’

It’s great to get a ‘match’, but don’t get too excited; there’s still a very long way to go before you get a date.

I would estimate that for me, probably only 1 in 10 matches led to a proper messaging conversation. Often, I would message my ‘match ‘ and get no response at all. Sometimes, I would get a few responses and then never hear from them again.

Cut Your Losses And Move On

You will be ghosted, you will get blocked and you will get some shitty messages. Don’t dwell on why things happened, cut your losses and move on as quickly as possible. Online dating wastes enough of your time as it is.

Fake Dating Profiles

I’m assuming the purpose of a fake profile is to try and scam someone out of money. If that is the case, then I don’t think I ever experienced a fake profile, I never had anyone ask me for money.  This is surprising because the number of times I heard about fake profiles, I was expecting to be scammed on a regular basis.

There are certainly a lot of inactive dating profiles where women have presumably not suspended their account after leaving the platform. The dating app companies don’t rush to clean up these inactive accounts as it looks better for them to have lots of profiles.

What To Put In Your Dating Profile

I messed around with my profile quite a bit. Sometimes, I’d fully complete my profile and write quite a bit in the bio, and other times I only filled out the minimal amount. I never found it made much of a difference on the number of likes I would get

As mentioned previously, I used to tweak my profile to better fit with women that I had ‘liked’. 

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Carrot On A Stick

The people who make dating apps do a very good job at always making you think you are about to get somewhere. They have all sorts of tricks and clever algorithms that are designed to keep you engaged.

Try not to fall for their dirty tricks and be realistic.

Online Dating Is Hard Work

I found online dating required some serious time and effort to get any success. Don’t think that you simply swipe right on the women you fancy and that you then sit back and wait for the dates to come flooding in. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that.


I spent a year off and on using some of the most popular dating apps, and I won’t be rushing back to online dating. It’s expensive, hard work and time-consuming.


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