How Does Tinder Work + How To Use Tinder Successfully

Your perfect match could be one swipe away.

How Does Tinder Work + How To Use Tinder Successfully getty

How does Tinder work? Tinder is an online dating app that works by matching people that mutually “swipe” each other.

In fact, it was Tinder that popularized the swiping concept that is now seen on various apps. You can swipe right to say yes to someone, or swipe left to say no. When both of you match, you can reach out and message that person — which is only an option if you match — or you can wait for the other person to message you.


Seems pretty easy, right? Well, in concept, it is. But there are some keys to making Tinder work for you that may not be as clear cut and straightforward.

RELATED: What To Say To A Girl On Tinder (+28 Examples Of Great Pickup Lines & Good Conversation-Starters)

Online dating apps become more popular as we've all been stuck at home due to coronavirus. In fact, Tinder has 57 million users around the globe. What does that mean for you? Well, it means there are more people you can meet, as well as more competition.

How does the Tinder algorithm work?

There's a certain science to success, as well. Research has discovered there's a Tinder algorithm that works sort of like a rating system. 


The app will automatically look at a user's behavior, likes, and dislikes when creating a stack of potential matches, based on what users with similar likes and dislikes have chosen before. They also try to stack with active users, rather than waste everyone's time with those who have already ghosted the system.

So, the best way to make this science work for you? Visit regularly, and only swipe on those you are interested in. That way, the system will send you more matches that fit your interests.

How do you set up a Tinder profile?

Your Tinder bio is essentially your dating resumé. 

Think about where you are emotionally before you set up your profile. Do you feel rejected, or are you on fire in your dating life? What are you looking for from the experience? Once you have clarity, you can get started.



A post shared by Tinder (@tinder) on May 3, 2020 at 1:13pm PDT

Here are a few Tinder profile tips to keep in mind when setting it up:

1. Be creative.

You want to have a profile that sets you apart from everyone else, right? “By that I mean, write something that you feel totally represents you,” advises Denna Babul, a relationship expert and the author of Love Strong


2. Ask your friends for their input.

If you have friends who have had success with online dating, give it to one or two trusted friends and ask them to edit your profile.

However, pick them wisely. Adds Babul, “Choose one who has a successful relationship worth bragging about, and another preferably from the opposite sex who gets you.”

3. Write from the heart.

Once you settle on your editing crew, get real about what you want.

“Stay away from being a philosopher,” Babul warns. “Write from the heart and don't be afraid to be both humble and witty.” Seriously, quotes are boring and cliché, and you are not.

4. Add your core values.

Use core values in your statements and look for core values in a match's profile, too. Core values are the fundamental beliefs a person has about life, and how he or she goes about it.


“Think of core values as the extended version of tall, dark, and handsome,” Babul says. ”Leading with core values, either in your profile or in the first few interactions with a possible mate, will deflect the weirdos and bring on the real deals.”

RELATED: 50 Opening Lines On Tinder That'll Make Them Swipe Right

What photos of yourself should you add to your Tinder profile?

When we're looking for a mate, we should always be putting our best foot — or, in this case, headshot — forward.

Don’t pull out photos from circa 2010 when you had a different hairstyle or weighed a few pounds less. Use current photos that show you in all of your glory. What you put out there the universe will bring back to you, so be yourself!


“Put together a few pictures taken within the last 6 months that show you doing you,” she says. “Pick, say, three pictures. Maybe one picture doing a hobby you like to do, one picture with you and some friends, and one that looks like a photo of yourself you may find on LinkedIn.”

As far as what you're looking for while swiping, go with your gut. If you're looking for the real deal, go with a genuine photo. 



A post shared by Tinder (@tinder) on Jun 12, 2019 at 4:43pm PDT

“Get real clear with what you are looking for. By this I mean, are you looking for fun, something real, or a rebound?” Babul emphasizes. “Make sure the photo is up to date and shows the person front and center. First impressions are lasting, so if someone is looking for a real partner, they will make sure their picture is quality and the photo represents them in the best light.”


If real is what you want, you may want to steer clear of someone who leads with his pecks or her cleavage in every single picture. However, if you're looking for fun or a rebound, both attributes may work just fine. 

Is Tinder just for hookups?

If you're looking for a casual hookup or men who "just want to see where things go," Tinder is the place for you.

“I don't call it the [most brazen] of all dating apps for no reason,” comments Kay Zane, a breakup recovery coach and founder of breathehustleglow. “From my own experiences, and others, the people on Tinder are usually looking for casual relationships.”

There are, of course, some people looking for something more serious, too. Adds Zane, “My best advice is to know what you're looking for and be upfront about it early on.”


In other words, there's no need to spend two weeks talking to a “keep it casual” guy when you’re looking for a committed boyfriend.

If you've found a match while swiping, here's how to message someone on Tinder:

In the simplest instructions, to message someone on Tinder, you first both have to swipe right on each other and match. Once you've matched, either one of you can send the first message.

“You will get a lot of 'hey' and 'what’s up' messages that show very little effort or creativity,” advises Zane. No one would really blame you for ignoring boring messages like those.

But remember that it goes both ways. When you send a first message, mix things up with a random question about your match, a flirty compliment, or even a GIF. Have fun with it — because dating is supposed to be enjoyable!


RELATED: How Online Dating Completely Changed The Way Millennials Treat Relationships

Is Tinder Gold worth it?

What is Tinder Gold? With Tinder Gold, you get some extra features like seeing everyone who swiped on you, 5 "Super Likes," and a monthly boost.

A Tinder Boost will place your profile near the top of your potential matches' queue to swipe from for 30 minutes. A boost is just that — it sends you up to the top, so more users see and swipe on your profile. You automatically get one of these per month when you subscribe to Tinder Gold.

Adds Zane, “Women tend to have many matches without ever needing a boost, and everyone knows not to use Super Likes on really attractive profiles, right?” So, don’t boost up their egos even more.


Many dating apps say they get their most usage on Sundays. So, that would make Sunday at 9 PM the best time to use a Tinder Boost, if you happen to have one.



A post shared by Tinder (@tinder) on Jan 6, 2019 at 4:01pm PST

Tinder conversations tend to fizzle out fast, and if you’re looking for a relationship, Zane cautions that you’ll probably be disappointed by your prospects: “I wouldn’t recommend whipping out your wallet for Tinder Gold.”

How do you continue a conversation on Tinder, and what red flags should you be wary of?

“I know this seems general, but people often ignore the red flags when they are focused on getting a need met,” Babul warns. This is why you have to get clear about your expectations before you ever get started.


“Men or women who are shallow, insecure, or just looking for a hookup usually lead with sexual innuendos and/or material objects in their initial interactions. Look for real value in your initial conversation,” she adds.

So, be prepared to put your foot down if you're turned off or not interested. 

Does he or she ask you open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a direct yes or no? Are the questions about who you are as a person? Do your first few interactions seem easy and flow effortlessly? Do you want more?

“If the conversation leaves you feeling empowered and giddy, keep going — you may be on to something,” Babul adds. However, as Babul explains, if the conversation feels like a power imbalance, take note: “If the chat becomes one-sided, you can try to redirect it. If the other person does not take the bait and continues to blab away, thank them for their time and re-evaluate.”


Are you really into where this could go, or just looking for some attention? In the same vein, she advises, “If it's painstakingly obvious that the person you swiped right on only wants sex, feel free to cut bait.”

Don't waste your time going down a rabbit hole that will leave you feeling lonely, confused, or misunderstood. When you know who you are and what you want, you can easily divert from anyone who does not want the same things.

Getting clear about why you're on Tinder and what you want from the experience will make it more enjoyable.

RELATED: What Is Hinge And What Makes It So Different From Every Other Dating App

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.