Photo by Monkey_gland. Used under Creative Commons license.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Okay, fine. If you really want to put yourself out there, check in with your phone and Twitter. No, really, Twitter. If you really want to make sure that the first person who sees your profile is a person who is up for a potential first date, consider updating your Twitter status.

We can’t stress the importance of using technology to your advantage enough. The younger generation is much less likely to use a pen and paper to handwrite their profile, but they’re also much more likely to text people, even if they’ve never met them. Really, any way in which you can use technology to make it easy for you and your potential date to communicate is a good thing.

If you’re into Twittering, you can even use that to your advantage. Texting someone is a lot easier, and if you’re a little shy, just Tweet a little about your interests. If you’re super into it, maybe write a few lines about what you’re looking for in a potential mate. Consider it more of a “you can look, but you can’t touch” thing than a “you can flirt, but you can’t follow me” thing.

If you’re going to use Twitter, be careful about what you say and who you say it to. You never know who is actually trolling the micro-blogging site, and you never know what you’re going to get back. Knowing that you may inadvertently get yourself in trouble is not a bad way to make sure that you do your best while you’re picking up steam.

…but Don’t Be Creepy

Okay, so you’re online, and you’re playing around with Twitter. You have a few followers who you’ve never heard from before, and they’ve been following you—for weeks, no less—just so they could see what you look like. Maybe they left you a funny comment on your profile, and you reply with some kind of hilarious (or sometimes not so hilarious) response. Maybe they asked you a question that you reply to and you ask them about their life. Maybe you just really like dinosaurs.

Your only problem is that they just put down their phone and look you straight in the eye. Maybe you can’t read their body language as well as you think you can, but even if you can’t tell, you’re still intrigued. What’s more, they’re
Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge promise to help you find all the beautiful people in the area who want to experience the same exact thing you do: flirting with perfect strangers, trying to find mutual interests, and hopefully end up in bed together. But before you use these apps, take a moment to understand how they work and how they can benefit you as a user.

How Apps Work

Tinder and its ilk are just one type of dating app out there—there are plenty more! Most of these sites try to identify common interests so you can find a match with a compatible person in your area. That could be as simple as “loves the flavor of Sprite” or “loves helping a worthy cause.” But the truth is that you’re going to have to search the profiles on these websites to find out who you really want to connect with.

In each app, you have a feed of profiles to peruse through. A lot of the time, this feed is broken up into the same three categories—People You Know, People Who Know You, and People in Your Area—but some apps have personalized profiles instead of a bunch of generic profiles. You still end up seeing the same three groups of profiles, but it’s a little more convenient, and if you love one of the people on your feed, they’ve made it easy for you to contact them! You can swipe left or right, you can “like” a user, and you can comment on or “follow” people. Most apps allow you to communicate with the person you’ve been talking to on their platform as well.

What the apps do with that communication is up to the service, but most offer real-time texting or video chats with their users. Don’t panic if you can’t see if your crush is active—you can simply send them a message if they happen to be online at the same time.

How Apps Benefit You

The right apps are great for all sorts of things: finding friends in a new city, meeting local professionals, hooking up with someone when you’re craving a one-night stand. But at the end of the day, you’re going to be using them to meet people you don’t know. So before you sign up for an app like this, answer a few questions to make sure you’re not wasting your time and money.

How Important is Compatibility?

If you’re looking to meet a potential life partner, then

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