Presented by Orbit
It can be tough to tell whether someone you encounter on a dating app is going to be cool or just a pile of red flags dressed in human clothing. While trying to find a good person online can often feel like one big game of Russian roulette (just with slightly lower stakes), there are actually some telltale signs that someone isn’t in it for the right reasons. As a certified expert in identifying red flags (okay, I identify the red flags because I end up unwittingly dating them, and I declared myself an expert), I’m here to break down some dating app red flags that you shouldn’t ignore.
He Only Has Shirtless Pictures
If you got it, flaunt it for sure, but if he’s only flaunting it, that should send up some flags. As a general rule, I don’t trust people with abs, because they think they’re better than me. But all joking aside, someone who’s leading with how “hot” their body is is probably only interested in your body. I know dating apps are by definition a face-first operation, but there’s a line between being upfront about what you look like and communicating that you don’t really care about what’s going on upstairs.
Their Bio Contains Only Emojis
It’s 2020, and anyone can message first on a dating app (well, most dating apps). So that means that we all need to make sure we are bringing our best in our profiles. And you know what’s not bringing your best? Having a blank profile, or a profile that’s just emojis. What information does that communicate about you? Yeah, we all like the “100” emoji; is there anything more to your personality? No? OK then. This is a red flag because if someone wants to genuinely get to know you, they will give you something to work with in their profile.
They Only Show Group Photos
This isn’t Where’s Waldo, and I’m not interested in playing a game of Guess Who? to figure out your identity. Nothing good can come from someone who is basically enlisting you to be your own personal P.I. before you’ve even spoken to them. Whatever they are clearly hiding—a sub-6-foot height, the fact that they do not own a dog—you definitely don’t want to be a part of it.
You Ask Three Questions And They Only Answer One
There are some allowances to be made when having a rapid-fire texting conversation. You can’t answer everything, and you don’t want to have to send an MLA-formatted three-point outline every time you correspond with them. But if you notice they tend to dodge certain questions, or certain types of questions (like how long have you been single? When was your last relationship?), you should take stock of the topics they seem to be side-stepping, and ask yourself why.
It’s unfortunate, but there are a lot of dirty characters on dating apps. 53% of people lie on their profile, and 52% have received nudes (ew!), according to a survey conducted by Orbit. That’s why Orbit is cleaning up your dating life and partnering with Chris Parnell (from SNL, ever heard of him?) to give dirty daters the come-to-Jesus talk they desperately need. To find out more about how to “Keep It Clean”, check out @OrbitGum on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Images: Tim Mossholder / Unsplash
Let’s face it, as much as we all wish we could be cast on Matt James’ season of The Bachelor, the majority of us will have to find our post-quarantine dates the less-glamorous way: on dating apps.
Trust me. I get how frustrating online dating can be. Matching with people who can’t carry a conversation, who ghost after one date, who are outright boring, and leave you thinking “WTF?!”—it sucks. I’ve been there, and I’ve lived to tell the stories at Sunday brunch with the girls.
If you’re nodding your head at what I’m saying, here’s the revelation: maybe it’s you that’s doing online dating wrong.
So while your Bachelor submission is being reviewed, take the time to think about how you can get that profile snatched and make sure you’re attracting quality matches. Let’s talk about some of the red flags you’ve got on your profile without even realizing, and how we can get them cleaned up.
1. Your Photos Don’t Reflect What You Want
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If 75% of your dating profile photos are of you on spring break in a bikini, don’t be surprised if you’re only attracting people who are sending you fire emojis and asking if you’re DTF.
If that’s what you’re looking for, more power to you. If it’s not, it may be time to swap out some of those photos for more everyday looks and outfits—for example, you in a cute look at a coffee shop, or you and some friends at a beer garden. Think about it this way: the guy who only has shirtless mirror pics on his profile doesn’t exactly scream “let’s share some time over a glass of wine and charcuterie, and end the night just watching Friends”… right? As much as it sucks, people definitely make snap judgments based on the photos they see.
2. Your Profile Is Basic, Not Basic+
Basic+ means you’ve elevated basic without straying too far from it. Meaning, you’re still incorporating culturally cliche dislikes/interests/references—for example, hiking and avocado toast—but without being too unoriginal about it. So if your bio simply says “Loves The Office, brunch, and spending time with my dogs”, just know that your profile is basic AF and looks exactly like 90% of the other profiles out there.
So how do you get from basic to basic+? Incorporate some wit and humor.
For example, “The only thing I can guarantee is that I have better fashion sense than Dwight” or “Love language? Mine’s brunch”. Both allude to universally basic interests and references, but take them one level deeper by making them a little more interesting. By showing this little bit of personality, you’re so much more likely to stand out amongst a sea of basic, hopefully attracting someone who appreciates humor and wit.
3. You’re Not Diversifying Your Portfolio
Remember that lesson you learned in freshman finance class about diversifying your portfolio? Finally, something from college you can use in the real world besides your beer pong skills.
To be clear, when I say “diversify your portfolio”, I mean that you should get on different apps so that you’re exposed to more prospective matches. Casting a wider net gives you a better chance at meeting the type of person for whom you’re willing to put on real pants and leave the house.
4. You Keep Responding To “Hey”
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If someone messages you saying “hi ”, don’t waste your time replying.
The “hey” person puts in minimal effort. It means they didn’t bother to look at your bio or photos long enough to write something witty, and they probably don’t care all that much about chatting with you. They’re likely playing dating like a numbers game, rapid-fire replying to all matches with a basic “what’s up”.
More times than not, the “hey” person will either (a) not have the ability to carry out a conversation, or (b) eventually ghost you based on their lack of interest. Nip it in the bud, and don’t even waste your time replying.
5. You Ignore Your Friends’ Warnings
Have you ever ordered from a restaurant after noticing they’ve averaged two stars on Yelp? No? Okay, then WTF are you doing chatting with people on dating apps that your friends have told you they’ve had bad experiences with?
Even in big cities, it’s not unlikely that you and your friends are going to come across the same people while using the apps. I’m not saying it’s impossible for you to fall in love with or seriously date the person who left your friend waiting alone for an Uber at 1:30am…but common sense says avoid those people.
If you don’t take your friend’s advice, don’t be surprised when the person treats you in an equally sh*tty way or if your friend says “I told you so”.
6. You Take It To Snapchat Right Away
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If Snapchat was created specifically for a person, that person would be pre-Amal George Clooney. Yeah, I’m talking about the most eligible bachelor you could possibly think of at that time.
If the person you’ve matched with asks you to transition to Snapchat (or Instagram DM, for my millennials) before you’ve even met once, they’re likely wanting to be super casual and love the fact that Snapchat means zero receipts and zero accountability. Ugh, right?
So as much as you should live your life with Amal confidence, sometimes steering clear of this type of guy or girl is just easier. The alternative, of course, is swerving their suggestion and using the “I don’t really use Snap much” excuse. Either stay on the app, or transition to a more 2020-esque George Clooney medium, like texting.
7. You’re Playing And Tolerating The Waiting Game
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News flash: the waiting game (you know, waiting X amount of days to reply to a message) is as out of style as layered tanks and low-rise jeans. If you’re playing it, stop. If the person who’s messaging you is playing it, drop them.
Even though the waiting game was instilled in us during the Blackberry days as the number one texting-your-crush tactic, it’s frankly just rude. If you notice someone playing it, use it as a signal that they’re either more interested in mind games than you or straight-up don’t know how to communicate. Either way, it’s a waste of your time and an easy red flag to spot.
Image: Sincerely Media / Unsplash; uuppod (3) / Instagram
I’m going to be honest, I was never a dating app user for myself. Although, I did pretend to be a few of my friends on their apps and talk to people for them. From that, I know it’s v stressful trying to find the perfect non-corny dating app opener. When the apps first came around, it was helpful to be female since chivalry is not dead (I think?), and the guy tended to message the girl first. But then Bumble came around and f*cked that all up, so here we are. I asked my friends who are avid dating app users about what they consider to be non-corny dating app openers. Take notes, since a bunch of them are in long-term relationships now.
1. Keep It Simple
One of my good friends considered herself a “serial swiper” before she met her current boyfriend on a dating app. What did he say that swept her off her feet? “Hey, how’s it going?” Sometimes simpler is better. A pro tip from her is to not include the person’s name you are messaging. For example, saying “Hey Amanda, how’s it going?” seems a little too forced.
2. Keep It Classy
I once got a message on Facebook from a rando saying he “wanted to eat my p*ssy like a sandwich.” I’m sorry, but who would ever think that pickup line would work?! But then one of my friends suggested starting a message with “wanna f*ck” … so she’s still single. Maybe I should set the two of them up. Anyway, people need to remember to only say things on an app that you would say to someone’s face. So keep it classy and not trashy. It’s 2018, we’re respecting women AND men. Try something like, “How was your weekend?” or even, “I want to learn more about you, let’s play two truths and a lie. You go first.”
3. Use Humor
Someone who is funny is a major turn-on for me. It shows they don’t take themselves too seriously and can have fun. Another friend suggested as an opener, “Do you like Shrek? Cause I’m head ogre heels for you.” This non-corny dating app opener gets the person laughing and the conversation started. But be careful with this one, it can go from 0 to 100 real quick if you don’t use your better judgment and come off as a creeper. Another good option is asking them a question they need to respond to. Try “What are you doing on your ideal Sunday? Working out, sleeping, or bottomless mimosas?” And then if they answer the first option, you can call the authorities. Another one would be to ask them to describe themselves in 3 emojis, that always gets a good response. Stay away from these bad pickup lines that we’ve written about before.
4. Use Their Profile To Your Advantage
Don’t pretend you haven’t stalked their profile extensively and searched their Facebook, Instagram, and Googled them. But don’t make it obvious. They have a dating app profile for a reason. Start the convo off by relating to the cute dog in their photo or their favorite movie they shared in their bio. Make it personal and relatable. By doing this, you get the conversation started right away without the pointless fluff that makes up the majority of the messages sent on these apps. Suggested message: “Hey, is that your dog in your photo or just one you borrowed to increase your matches?” or “I’ve never seen (insert their favorite movie here). Maybe we could watch it sometime.”
5. Plan A Date
So many dating app convos go nowhere since no one takes the initiative to meet up for a legit date rather than just a one-night stand. Stand out from the crowd and use your convo as an opportunity to ask him or her out. TBH this one works best if you both know “of” each other (aka have mutual friends) and aren’t just two strangers because stranger danger is real. But think of something specific and personal. If you know they love a certain band (from your extensive stalking, obvs), and they are playing in your town, ask them if they want to go with you. Another way to ask them out is by first asking them what their perfect date would be and after they respond, ask them if they are free later in the week.
And if you still need more help, check out this list for more non-corny dating app openers.
Images: Giphy (2)
Way too often, dating advice can stray into an icky area. And by icky, I mean letting men sound off at random on the things they don’t like about women, so women can go ahead and make sure they never do any of those things. While I understand the impulse—some of my own articles are along similar lines—I thought it would be nice to take a break from deep dives into the male psyche and talk shit analyze men’s behavior instead. Here are some of the weirdest first date offenses committed by straight men, as told by my hilarious friends. It’s basically a transcript of your next brunch if everyone’s recent dates were exclusively terrible. So…your next brunch. Enjoy!
The “Friend Zone” Guy
“Once on a first date, a guy demanded to know about 20 minutes in whether or not I was attracted to him because he had been friend zoned too many times and needed to make sure it wasn’t going to happen again. And then I turned very red and said I wasn’t sure what to say, and then he later implied he was good at oral sex.” – Phoebe, Journalist
Outstanding. IMO, he could have said any one of these three things and gotten the same point across. Let’s break it down.
“Are you attracted to me? = “Often, women are not attracted to me.”
“I’ve been friend zoned too many times” = “Often, women are not attracted to me.”
“I’m good at oral sex.” = “Often, women are not attracted to me enough to want to have sex with me, so I try to convince them that I have other skills to make up for it. Also, I’m not very good at oral sex.”
And yet he went with all three. I guess men were never really known for their subtlety. Moving on!
The Guy Who Is Probably A Murderer
“There was this crazy German dude who asked to put noise canceling headphones and a blindfold on me before we hooked up. But again, not clear why because he took them off before we actually hooked up. He just made me sit in silence and dark for like 2 minutes beforehand.” – Whitney, Editor
Let’s dissect this a tiny bit. I’m very, very concerned about what he was doing for two minutes after blocking out her senses. TBH, my first thought was that he needed to take a massive dump but like, shouldn’t he have equipped her with nose clips then too? Other theories are that he needed to complete a quick drug deal, hustle another girl out of his room before she saw, or take pictures of her to add to his collection of polaroids of fully clothed women wearing headphones and blindfolds. All of which, ew. I’m going to disable all of my friends’ dating apps. It’s too scary out there.
The Awkward Guy
“The last date I went on, we got coffee, except he didn’t get coffee. He got a slice of banana bread and ate half and then slowly broke the rest down into crumbs with his fingers while we were talking.” – Jane, Hostess
“One introduced me to his parents.” – Victoria, Video Game Producer
Say what you will, but I think both offenses are equal level dealbreakers.
The Condescending Guy
“There was a guy who told me he was seeing other girls but he liked me the most because I was “pretty easy to talk to” and “know a little about music.” – Emily, Consultant
Like friend zone guy, you definitely, definitely know this guy. You probably worshipped him in high school, dated him in college, and reject him once a week now. This is the guy who confuses “opinions I have” with “good taste,” and constantly vocalizes whether or not things meet his standard. And by things, I mean women, which works out because that’s how he thinks of them.
The Wild Card
“ told me he voted for Ted Cruz.” – Lucinda, Grad Student
TBH I’m stuck on what would be worse: having your date tell you that they voted for Ted Cruz, or going on multiple dates with a guy who voted for Ted Cruz without ever knowing.
There you have it! The weirdest first date stories I got with a mass text, and they are…honestly, pretty awful. Let’s all take this as a reminder to brush up on our fake emergency calls and “bad sushi” lies. Like you’ve ever regretted a night in.
Images: Giphy (3)
I don’t know about you, but this heat wave is seriously fucking me up. After spending all winter becoming one with my couch, I was really ready for another four months on my couch to get back out there this summer. Instead, I’m finding myself yearning for the days when lying under a blanket didn’t feel like entering a sweat lodge. SO: even though we all get a pass on going outside this week, summer should be your most social season—and dating is no exception. Sunlight makes people happy, happy hours make people drunk, and drunk, happy people have more fun on dates. It’s basic math. Of course, not all summer dates are created equal. So while you’re fielding texts from Hinge matches, keep in mind that many invitations are still worth ignoring. Here’s what these date locations say about your date’s intentions.
Their Local Coffee Shop
In non-summer months, this has potential to be a fine option if you’re on antibiotics. It’s easy to cut short, requires minimal dressing up, and is overall a low-cost alternative to meeting for drinks. And going to the guy’s usual local spot can give you a sense of his overall vibe, though the implication that he’s hoping you’ll go home with him obviously stands.
During the summer though, this invite is all kinds of sus. If they’re trying to meet you at 2pm on a Saturday down the block from their apartment, they likely haven’t left their apartment in six weeks and will be rolling out of bed, wiping Cheeto crumbs off their shirt, and contemplating cancelling five times before they finally walk down the block. Oh, and they’ll probably try to steer the “date” back to their place to continue whatever TV show they were binging within 30 minutes of meeting you. With all the outdoor options and day-drinking venues summer has to offer, if the best they can do is a non-alcoholic beverage in their zip code, they either don’t give a shit about this date at all, have no social life to speak of, or both.
Picnic In The Park
Whether or not this is a red flag is kind of subjective. If you’re a fan of watching ants climb all over your food while dodging Frisbees, enjoy! (Yeah I hate picnics. Sue me.) The plus side of a picnic invitation is that it’s (meant to be) romantic, so the person who suggests this is definitely making an effort. The downside is that they require a ton of work to pull off effectively. So in Scenario A, your date shows up with a small suitcase worth of supplies (coolers, something to sit on so you don’t get grass stains, etc). While sweet, it also makes it painfully evident how much effort they put in and could be a turn-off early on. It also makes it impossible to continue the date afterward because they’re carrying around 10 pounds of picnic supplies.
In Scenario B, your date brings two 99 cent cans of Arizona iced teas and nothing else, you’re both covered in sweat and grass stains within 10 minutes, he gets embarrassed and tries to act like you’re too high maintenance to cover up that he planned a shitty-ass date. Ultimately, inviting you to a picnic means they’ve thought about this date way too much (and have probably done this exact date with their ex) or way too little. You can appreciate the gesture, but I do not recommend going on this date.
^The last time someone actually enjoyed a picnic.
Rooftop Bar With Their Friends
This is also kind of a mixed bag, but for different reasons. If they invite you to this a few days in advance, it’s ideal. It likely resembles the weekend plans you would have made for yourself anyway, and it means they want you to meet their friends. Win-win. If they invite you to this while they’re already there, it’s a very different story. This means they got drunk and horny, and are too awkward to actually meet someone at the bar full of equally drunk singles. Instead, they started going through their phone and messaging their last week of matches. While the commitment to not meeting people is admirable, you’re better than this. Being available on-demand for whenever they’re done with the social part of their night and just want to get laid is never a good look.*
*If you’ve been on a few dates already, this could be a cute “had a few drinks and started thinking about you” type text. But keep an eye on whether they actually introduce you to their friends when you show up, or if they just try to hustle you home.
Weeknight Dinner Reservation
Like the coffee date, this is normal/fine other parts of the year. But IMO, scheduling an 8pm dinner on a Wednesday is a little formal for a summer date. Has he never heard of happy hour? And is he just expecting you to waste prime drinking hours just to exchange information about your siblings and hometowns over cloth napkins? This date option implies that they’re highly traditional, operate by a strict schedule, and are probably not that much fun. This holds especially true if the restaurant they choose also offers a happy hour menu and they purposely choose not to do it. Who hurt you????
Their House In The Hamptons
This date is the easiest to decode. If they invite you to their house in the Hamptons, MARRY THEM. Seriously. Lock that shit down before the next heat wave rolls through.
Ultimately, dating in the summer is easier than dating in the winter. But because we can’t have nice things, that doesn’t mean some red flags don’t apply. Summer is the time to be your most fun self, taking advantage of long summer nights and half-off drinks. If their best self doesn’t crave margaritas after 12pm from June-September, think carefully whether this is someone you’re interested in dating. And maybe give your number to the people you see out at your favorite summer bars instead. At least you know they have good taste.
Images: Giphy (5); Jelleke Vanooteghem / Unsplash
Send your advice questions, Hinge profile related or not, to [email protected] and we just might answer you.
I have an issue. I’m 27 and just got out of a five year relationship, which basically means I have no effing clue how to do dating apps like Hinge, etc. I mean, apps weren’t even a thing when my ex and I got together, so I’ve basically spent the last five years being a smug betch with a boyfriend making fun of my single friends. Well, now I’m that person. Karma is such a betch.
I guess what I’m asking is, which dating app do I join, and what the hell am I supposed to write on my Hinge profile to attract the best dudes? I don’t want to do the hookup thing. I actually want to get OFF these stupid things ASAP. HELP!
Dear Single Betch,
Sucks to be on the other side, eh?
JK. Don’t worry Singlerella, things will be just fine for you. Since you’re a relationship-minded betch, I would highly suggest Hinge (where I met my boyfriend), for a few reasons. First of all, the dudes on there seem to be more serious, aka they will actually take you to a nice dinner at a respectable place vs a dive bar that smells like a hangover. When I went out with my now-BF Mitch (or Metch, as I have decided to call him, he had no say) he actually made a reservation. For a first date. WTF? I almost passed out from disbelief, as some of my dates from other dating apps literally brought me to places the CDC would consider biohazards.
Second, what to put on your dating app. Let me fill you in on a secret: the key to dating apps is not “attracting the best dudes.” It’s about attracting the best dude *for you*. This means that when you’re filling out your Hinge profile, you should aim to be as honest as possible about yourself. For me, this meant filling out some serious embarrassing-but-lovable crap about myself. For example, one of the prompts is “How my mother would describe me”…I was completely honest and said that my mother would say I enjoy pre-mixed margaritas like most people enjoy a fine wine, but, lo and behold, it attracted the right man and kept away the wet blankets who would force me to care about tannins. EW.
Have fun Hinge-ing…I miss those days. TBH, I updated my prompts LEGIT DAILY because I had so much fun filling them out. The only constant was “Childhood crush”…Uncle Jesse aka Jesse Kapsopolis, because let’s be honest, he’s still my #1, and even Metch knows that I have a free pass there 🙂
Send your advice questions, Hinge profile related or not, to [email protected] and we just might answer you.
Have you heard The Weeknd’s new album? If not, take a break from Hinge-ing and Queer Eye and seclude yourself in a dimly lit padded room for a few days, because that’s the only appropriate place to listen to what might be the most depressing breakup album ever. It’s only six songs long, but damn, those six songs make you wonder if Selena had like, a magic vagina. I mean, she was a Wizard of Waverly Place, but holy shit.
To give you an idea of the level we’re talking here…if I were a guy, I would 100% be post-Selena The Weeknd. Case in point, this line from “Wasted Times”: “And I know right now that we’re not talkin’ / I hope you know this dick is still an option.” That’s basically me every time I don’t get a text back.
So, two things are pretty clear here…Abel (who even knew that was his real name?) is hurting. Two, the only way to get over a breakup is to get back on the horse. (Preferably not Bella Hadid’s horse.) Since he probably can’t even get out of bed, I’ve created a Hinge profile for him:
In partnership with Hinge
The other day I was chatting away with some guy named Chase on Hinge (is anyone ugly ever named Chase? The answer is no), when we get on the subject of our fav childhood toys. Mine were obviously American Girl Dolls, no questions asked. Yes, my mom made me buy the ratchet non-AG brand clothes sometimes, but simply owning an American Girl Doll was the ultimate 90s girl status symbol.
That got me thinking about the fact that my poor AG dolls never had one good love interest. (Felicity’s horse Penny does not count, although I’m sure horse girls would disagree.) So, I decided to assemble Hinge profiles for my favs, since even Revolutionary War-era plastic people deserve true love.
Any guy that goes out with Felicity must know two things: one, she’s one of those girls who thinks you don’t need alcohol to have fun (she even got Jiggy Nye to stop drinking, LAME), and two, she’s obsessed with horses. So, actually, no one should go out with Felicity. She’s boring AF. Hinge guys, save yourselves.
There’s definitely a guy out there for Molly, and his name is probably Eugene. I’m guessing they’d do something like go to a nature museum or study the vegetables in Molly’s Victory Garden, because that’s the type of activity she’s into. As a side note, who wears pigtails over the age of six?
Hinge guys are known to use the info on your profile to plan clutch dates… so it’s pretty obvious Josephina will be courted by numerous suitors attempting to take her for Tex-Mex. Let’s just hope the restaurant isn’t air conditioned, because that peasant blouse doesn’t look very warm. #NotPractical.
Kirsten was my favorite doll, mainly because she looks like me. Since she’s so down-to-earth (I mean duh, she lives on the prairie), it’s a safe bet that she’d be cool with drinks at a
dive bar dive log cabin.
Let’s be real, Samantha is high-maintenance AF. She would definitely require any Hinge guy take her to an expensive cocktail bar, where she’d order four $20 cocktails and not offer to pay. Seriously, such a betch, but at least she looks good. I mean, who wears a hat on a date?
Images: kawaii_cupcakes / Flickr; Hinge (6)