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Love Apptually: The quest to find Mr (Swipe) Right

Love Apptually - FQ's guide to the world of dating apps
FQ’s guide to navigating the big bad world of dating apps.

In addition to all the usual toils of trying to couple up, in 2015 you’ve now got dating app politics to contend with. This ranges from what profile picture to use (this is a very real problem okay?!); to what to do when you come across someone in-app that you also know IRL (In Real Life); to figuring out how many dates with the same person is appropriate before ditching your dating apps completely (the answer: nobody knows). It’s a proper navigational minefield. We don’t profess to have all (or any) of the answers, but this is what we do know:

Love lingo
The language of love has changed and now includes swipes, crushes, matches, charms and super likes – you want to be on the receiving end of all of these. But it also now also includes terms like ‘slow fade’ (the process of slowly ceasing communication with somebody to phase them out), ‘ghosting’ and ‘DTF’ (which stands for down to… well, you can guess the rest). Trust us, you don’t want any of these coming anywhere near you.

Sell yourself without selling out
We all manage to sell ourselves on our CV, so why is it so hard to write a one-line dating profile that doesn’t suck? The ‘experts’ decree that you’re best to keep things simple: talk about your interests, list the qualities you’re after in a partner, be honest about what you’re looking for from dating apps. All good advice. But that doesn’t stop people from writing things like: “My ex and I both made a list of 5 people we could sleep with. Hers had no surprises – 1. George Clooney, 2. Brad Pitt etc. I thought ‘I’ve got the better deal here’ and listed: 1. Your sister… And now I’m on this dating app.” GAH.

Photo selection
The Single Most Important component of your dating life might very well be selecting the right combination of images – we cannot stress this enough. Mess this up and you’ll be matchless. Nail it, and you’ll be a Tinder goddess. Editing down can be tricky but don’t worry – both your male and female friends will be able to give you invaluable advice:

Female advice: You’ll need a nice mid-range shot of your face where you’re smiling – looking happy is important. But then you’ll need another one where you look sexy, maybe a bit mysterious. There should be a photo with friends to show you’re social, and the friends should be attractive but not TOO attractive that you’re lost in the crowd – you know? Then you’ll want to include a few travelling snaps, to show you’re well-travelled. Maybe something arty, because you’re super cultured. And perhaps something sporty, guys really love that.

Male advice: Full body shot. Extra points if you’re in a bikini.

Swipe it like it’s hot
In big cities like London, New York, Toronto and Sydney, it’s a given that most single people will be present on two or three apps, including Tinder. This makes the pool of potentials rather large, meaning you’ve got a fairly good shot of meeting someone beyond your circle. And if things don’t work out, chances are you’ll never bump into them again. Uh… winning.

New Zealand is a different story. In one ten minute swiping session, we bet you you’ll come across at least one of the following: your little brother’s friend (swipe left); the geeky guy from high school who, unfortunately, hasn’t changed one iota (sorry buddy, swipe left); your ex-boyfriend (refrain from deleting app completely, keep calm and swipe left); and the smirky babe from work (cringe, he’s clearly seen you on Tinder, swipe left). The general rule is to say ‘no’ to anyone you know IRL – the hope is you will have come across them first so your own face will be less likely to spring up as an option for them.

However, the more people you say ‘yes’ to, the more chances you’ll have of making a match and meeting some great people. Don’t be afraid to swipe right – you can always delete your matches at a later stage if it’s not working out very well.

Matching and messaging
When you do make a match, there is no hard or fast rule about who messages first. But whoever works up the courage to launch the initial contact has to understand: this first communication can be make or break. But equally on the other end, your backhand needs to be just as sharp. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll want to tread carefully – share enough information to sense whether you have things in common, flirt enough to see if there is chemistry. But leave some intrigue; you want to have something left to talk about when you meet.

Date etiquette
The chat has been decent, his photos seem to be taken within the last decade and you even have a mutual Facebook connection (well, it’s your best mate from kindy who you haven’t seen since you were five years old, but still – it’s a good sign!) You’ve managed to get this far so to heck with it – you might as well see how things go. Book in the date!

The Tinder ‘types’
While great guys do exist on dating apps, there are certain ‘types’ that abound. From The Nice-Try Guy to The Ghoster, undesirable chaps are unfortunately a dime a dozen – but they’re not always the easiest to spot.

To help you identify whether your new love interest is a dreamboat or a dud, read Part 2 here.