Have you been wondering why you're not getting any matches on Tinder? We think of these apps as being just about the photos, but if you're not having any luck, consider your bio. It might need an update.
A lot of people write the "about them" section like it's a throwaway, or they'll change it later. Change it now. There are a lot of things people find surprisingly off-putting.
For example, Reddit user u/Troelski has a bone to pick with everyone out there claiming to be "fluent in sarcasm". It gets back to the old adage — show, don't tell. In r/LifeProTips, they wrote that literally saying you're sarcastic or witty is a sign that you're probably not funny at all:
Most people who are funny, don't need to advertise it with a disclaimer. Nothing is a bigger tell that someone's not gonna be witty, or sarcastic or funny than simply stating it outright.
Look, pics are important, but sometimes when someone is on the fence about meeting you in real life, certain stuff in your bio will push them off the fence and send them running into the woods away from you. Here's what you may want to edit out.
Your favourite TV shows
If your Tinder profile is linked to your Facebook, it will show the pages you've liked over the years: favourite shows, music, your roommate's short-lived web series. That's probably all people need to know about your taste.
Why waste precious words in your bio to say you like The Office? The logic might be that you want to find someone with a similar sense of humour, but lots of people you will never click with also like The Office. It's a popular show.
Share something more personal to you, that gives people a better idea of who you are. Unless you're someone who just watches TV all day long, and who wants another person to do that with them. But I bet saying that straight out is a better strategy to attract your perfect match than quoting Dwight Schrute.
Are you looking for a partner in crime? Love to travel? Are you in love with this great city and all it has to offer? Do you like fun? Who freaking cares?! Maybe all these basic-arse people find each other and fall in love, but if you want to stand out from the beige wall of blandness, make sure you don't sound like a bot.
If you're heterosexual, try switching your settings and searching though your own gender. Check what the competition is writing. It'll give you an idea of what the people you're trying to meet are probably sick of reading.
I had a friend who made a fake profile as a woman to see what sort of first messages he'd get, so he wouldn't send similar ones. That's extreme. But on the other hand, he's married now.
Cover up that chip on your shoulder
If you've been dating a while and are still on apps, you might be feeling kinda pissed off at your lack of success. Maybe someone, or several someones, did you wrong. Do not use your bio to rant about "people" who suck, flake out, don't message back, or who don't look like their photos. That's something to talk about with your therapist — not every person swiping in a ten-kilometre radius.
No one wants to meet somebody who already seems angry and suspicious. It's a huge red flag. If you're not enjoying yourself, or you're not ready to date, take a break. Rejuvenate. Come back with a more hopeful viewpoint. Also, know that anytime you write "no drama", it's interpreted as "I will cause drama".
You're on a dating app. There's nothing embarrassing about that. Most single people (and a lot of not-single people) are, too. Writing "I'll lie about where we met", just makes you seem like ... a liar? Similarly, "Lol I can't believe I'm on here" or other self-deprecating comments come off as insecure. The person you're talking to is also on a dating app and they don't want to feel crappy about it.
Why are you wasting one of your photos on a meme?
OK, there are also a lot of things that are cliche on dating apps that still might be good for you — but think carefully about why you're sharing them. For example: it can't be overstated how many people post pictures of themselves holding a dead fish.
For me, personally, this is unattractive. But for a diehard fishing fan, it might be just the right signal that says, "We will fish together into our old age or at least make out on a dock."
Similarly, when someone focuses intensely on their astrological sign, like, "I'm a Capricorn and that's all you need to know!" I wonder how delusional they must be to think I know a damn thing about being a Capricorn. Again, there's someone out there who will, and they love Capricorns, too. Perfect.
But do you really care about fishing? Do you care what someone's rising sign is? If not, you might be relegating yourself to only certain types of matches. The best profile reflects your true interests, and shares something compelling about you in a brief sentence. Yeah, it's hard, but so is getting invited out on a bunch of fish dates and not being sure why.
Have a friend read your bio and tell you how you're coming off. Does it sound like you? The best parts of you? You could even ask a stranger to take a gander, and ask what their impression is. Perhaps a cute stranger at a bar. Who knows: you could end up deleting the whole app by the end of the night.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
Aimée Lutkin is a freelance writer who blogs a lot about dating. She travelled the U.S. and went on a date in every city she visited for this story.