How can I lift my dating app chat game?
For queer guys – and pretty much everyone else – dating apps are one of the key ways in which to connect with each other.
Whether you’re new to the dating game or an old-hand, dating and hook-up apps can be a bit intimidating. They place us in an emotionally vulnerable position. The potential upside is validation and having some fun with someone who’s into you, while the potential downside is feelings of rejection and not being desirable.
Like most things in life, the more you use dating and hook-up apps, the more familiar you’ll become with how they work, what guys are looking for, and how best to navigate the emotional minefield that they present.
Here’s some hints and tips to help you on your way.
What are you looking for?
This is a question you’re probably going to get asked a lot, and it’s a good idea to ask yourself this ice-breaker before you even open the app.
Some days you might be looking for a quick hook-up, while others you might be more interested in meeting someone for a proper date, or the prospect of a longer-lasting relationship.
Knowing what you’re looking for will probably influence which app you open up, and the interactions that you have with other guys.
It’s always best to be upfront and honest when someone asks you what you’re looking for. If you just need a Mr-Right-Now, there’s no need to be coy about it. Giving a guy mixed signals or inaccurate intentions will only lead to confusion and misunderstandings later on.
First impressions count
If you’re going to have any joy with dating and hook-up apps, you’re going to need to think about photos.
The starting point is your profile photo. In London, on most of the apps, most guys will show their face in their profile photo. You don’t have to do that, but you’re less likely to meet guys that you’re into if you don’t.
Your profile photo is the first impression that guys on the apps are going to get of you. It should accurately represent you, but you also want to be putting your best foot forward. Make sure you’re bringing your A-game and some decent lighting to your profile photo.
Make sure you complete as many of the bio fields as you can. Be honest and authentic with the information that you include.
It’s okay to positively describe the kind of guys that you’re into, but don’t be offensive. Don’t be racist. Don’t fat-shame. Don’t femme-shame.
Try and let a bit of your personality show through, but there’s no need to overdo it. If you’re not sure what to write, check out a few of the profiles on the app that catch your eye and see if the style that they’ve used for their bio might work for you.
Whatever app you’re using, you’ll be able to set some search fields so that you’re able to focus on the kind of guys that you’re looking for and the ones that are close by.
Don’t sit back and wait for guys to contact you. No matter how good your profile photo and bio is, there’s lots of reasons why you may not be appearing in the search results of the guys that you’re into. Be proactive.
Scroll through the guys in your area and send a quick message to anyone that you’d be interested in seeing more of.
Lots of guys will send a first message of something like “Hey”. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s totally acceptable – it’s a low-risk way of seeing if someone is online and encouraging them to look at your profile. If they don’t respond, take the hint and move on.
If they do respond, look for ways to engage them in a bit of banter. Compliment them on something in their profile photo, or ask them a question about something in their bio, or something that you think they might be interested in.
Keep your tone light, upbeat, and fun. Be a bit cheeky. A bit sexy is good, but don’t be sleazy. You’re looking to build rapport, to see if there’s enough of a connection between you to start thinking about the logistics of meeting up.
Most apps will have a feature where you can upload additional photos to your profile, and you can keep these private or public. Additionally, when you start chatting with a guy on an app, they’re inevitably going to ask you to send some photos.
There’s two main reasons why guys will ask you to send photos. Firstly, it’s a way of checking that you are who you say you are. If you can’t send photos that confirm that you’re the guy in the profile pic, then that’s going to raise some red flags. Secondly, guys are going to ask you to send pics because they want to see you naked.
Should I send naked pics?
You’re under no obligation to send anyone naked photos of yourself. If someone is pressuring you to do that, and it’s making you feel uncomfortable or uncertain, then it’s probably best to end the conversation.
Whatever platform you’re using, once you send someone naked photos, it’s impossible to control what happens to them. It’s fairly common for private photos that you’ve sent as part of a hook-up conversation to somehow end up on the internet.
In some professions, having naked photos in the public domain – photos that could be seen as embarrassing or compromising – could negatively impact your career. It’s best to proceed with caution.
The reality is that some level of naked photos will often be required in order for you to seal the deal. One way to handle it is to send separate face and body shots – that way, if the photos go public your naked photos aren’t easily connected back to you.
Go on, get out there and have some fun!