Download an app, create a profile, swipe right when you like what you’re seeing, left when you don’t. Using Tinder isn’t rocket science. However, if online dating was that simple, we would all have switched to apps like Tinder by now.
What’s Wrong With Tinder?
When Tinder just started, we all thought that was it — the find-your-love-in-pajamas digital utopia that meant never having to go through awkward bar conversations with strangers or hear the horrible sexual harassment stories from your friend’s night out again. And it does seem like Tinder made dating easier for some people.
At the same time, for every match made in swiping heaven, there are countless horror stories. That on top of Tinder having earned a reputation for being a hookup app can be a deal breaker for some. But if you’re one of those still willing to give the Tinder dating app a try, you’ll be happy to know that there is a right way to use the app. Or at the very least make it safer for yourself and people you contact on Tinder.
In this piece, we’ve gathered some of our Tinder wisdom to give you some privacy tips that will help you avoid disappointments when using the app.
1. Revealing Too Much About Your Personal Life
Whether you like it or not, Tinder is quite superficial. People judge whether they find you attractive or not by your looks only. At least at first. If you’ve already decided to be a part of the system, might as well make sure you present yourself in the best way.
When it comes to your Tinder pictures, you may want to present yourself from a variety of angles. However, try and avoid giving away too many personal details when doing so. You’ll be surprised how many pictures of people’s credit cards can be found online. Next time you take a selfie, pay attention to what’s in the background of your photo.
Don’t: Use pictures of you with your ex-partners, family or group photos either. Your friends didn’t agree to be on your profile, and some of them might not want to have their face on Tinder in any form.
2. Your “About Me” Section Is Too Revealing
Tinder gives you one chance to expand your profile and paint a good picture of your personality with something other than photos, and that’s your “About Me”.
Take the chance to teach someone about who you really are and share some meaningful lines about yourself. At the same time, just like with your pictures, avoid sharing any information that you wouldn’t be comfortable telling to a stranger on the street.
Instead, you can fill the section with humor, your interests, or preferences in matches to make it reflective of who you are and what you’re after.
Don’t: Overdo it and write a novel-length profile, listing your every single like, dislike, or anything too personal. Remember that everything you put on your profile is data that can be collected and used later on. Whether it’s used for selling you stuff, cyberstalking, or impersonating you online, you never know.
3. Bad First Impressions
First impressions are everything, and your first message is your last chance to sell yourself (after your photos and bio).
Maybe it’s because of how many people are using Tinder, or maybe we as humans are too easily bored these days, but there’s this concept of “spicing up” your first message. They say that as a rule, first messages that only contain the words “hi” or “what’s up” stay unanswered. Therefore, you must try and be funny/creative/clever even when you simply approach someone.
While there might be some wisdom in that, this kind of thinking puts unwanted pressure on users, sometimes pushing them to make bad first impressions. Some people take this advice the wrong way and as a result may become that guy (or girl). We all remember that one time when someone sent you a message and you instantly wished it was just a “hey, what’s up” instead.
Don’t: Overthink it and look for connections where they might not be any (yet). Instead of wasting time staring at their pictures and obsessing over what you have in common, start with something simple and maybe even abstract.
Keep in mind that you’re still talking to a complete stranger and you can’t even be 100 percent sure it is his/her face and cat you’re seeing on the pictures.
4. You Share Too Much Info (or Lie) in Private Chats
Talking about fake photos and information on Tinder profiles, being too honest about yourself and your life can also put you in a compromising position.
Sure, honesty is still the best policy, and it applies to those who heavily photoshop their pictures or lie about their career accomplishments. However, it doesn’t mean that you should start sharing sensitive information with other users after your first chat.
Don’t: Start sharing your personal or family details too soon. Especially avoid revealing your salary, the size of your savings or your address. These things might seem obvious or overly cautious, but sometimes it’s better to stay on the safe side.
Say you don’t make any of the above-mentioned mistakes. Your profile is honest and “clean” and you never give away too much or too soon? Bad news is, there are still some things that can go wrong.
5. Facebook Question
One day you swipe right, and the first thing you hear from your match is a question about your mutual Facebook friend. Now, even though it’s better than a lame pickup line, it might still make you feel uncomfortable and exposed.
If you consider that to be an invasion of your privacy, we recommend limiting what your Facebook friends know about your Tinder activity.
6. Adding Your Instagram Account
Tinder offers the option to link your Instagram account to your profile.
If you care about your privacy, it’s better to avoid doing it as you would be exposing not just your pictures, but other personal information that you have on Instagram to the entire Tinder network. And even if your Instagram is anonymous, it is likely that there will be at least some hints in your photos regarding your identity.
7. Spotify Integration
Instagram isn’t the only platform that is now integrated with Tinder. In a (yet another) attempt to get away from its reputation of a hookup app, Tinder now lets you sync your Spotify account with your profile.
By adding music powered by Spotify, the platform is trying to make Tinder experience more personalized and interests-focused. You can now add an “anthem” to your profile so that people can swipe right or left based on your taste in music. However, similar to Instagram, by linking to your Spotify profile you’ll be exposing yet another piece of personal information to Tinder and its millions of users.
On top of that, you can share your Top Spotify Artists on Tinder. Those will probably be different from your favorite artists, and some of you might even find sharing that information a little embarrassing. And don’t forget that if you like chocolate and your neighbor likes it as well, it’s hardly an evidence of your mutual sympathy.
8. Naivety When Meeting Someone in Person
Probably one of the most important things to keep in mind is how to stay safe when/if you decide to meet your match in person. Even when you believe that you and your match are honest with one another and your intentions lie in the same field, make sure to stay on top of what you share with that person before (and after) your meeting.
Look out for the obvious warning signs like them asking you sensitive questions too early. Sure, them asking for your phone number when arranging a meeting might not seem as weird. But you might wanna hit the breaks if someone seems too pushy. Like, if they’re trying too hard to learn your physical address and whether you live on your own. It’s better to stay cautious at all times.
The Right Way to Use Tinder
It is entirely up to you whether you want to try and impress your Tinder match with a fascinating bio, pretty pictures, or funny first lines. However, there are some things that you as a Tinder (and Facebook) user must pay attention to. Your privacy is one of those core things that you need to take care of in order to stay safe online.
Hopefully, these tips will help you be a better Tinder user and will bring you only the right kind of matches. Before you go back to swiping, we’d like you to share your thoughts.
Have you recognized yourself (or your friends) in any of the mistakes mentioned here? Do you think about your privacy when joining new networks and apps like Tinder? How do you protect your privacy online? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!