Online Dating Dos and Don’ts


Photo credit: Genevieve Humphreys

Illustration by Genevieve Humphreys

Alright guys, gals and non-binary pals: online dating. It’s a big thing these days. Whether you use a “hook-up” app like Tinder or Bumble or one of those niche “Romance for Christian Farmers with Only Three Fingers on Their Right Hand” dating sites, the internet is the hot place to find love in the 21st century. However, navigating those murky waters can seem mighty intimidating at first glance. Amateur mistakes are plenty common; Twitter is chock-full of absolute horror stories. That’s where this nifty little list comes in! Whether it’s your first time down the block or you’re a seasoned veteran to the likes of swipe-based dating, these online dating dos and don’ts are right for you.

DON’T make all of your pictures group shots of you and your friends. Your potential matches are going to have a hard time figuring out which one you are in every crowd shot. Don’t make them zoom in, scratching their head as they wonder, “is this the person I want to date? Or this one?”

DO use a semi-current photo. It could be a really appealing idea, using that one glamour shot from your high school graduation photo shoot, but chances are you probably look a bit different than you did then. Be honest about yourself and your appearance on your profile and thank me later.

DON’T start the conversation with “hey :)”. Oh my god. Rule number one: if the only opener that comes to mind is this, think harder! Expect empty, boring back-and-forth messages for a few hours and then radio-silence if you dare to try this.

DO say something interesting to kick things off! The glory of dating profiles (usually) is that you can put some of your likes and dislikes in your bio. So do yourself a favor and read the bios of people you match with, then use your newfound knowledge to initiate an actual conversation.

DON’T beat around the bush once you get talking. There’s nothing worse than making weird, awkward small talk for three days, then slowly letting your match fade from your mind before completely forgetting them altogether. And while being coy and mysterious might sound like a good idea, it usually only sends mixed signals, and those are never good.

DO be up front about exactly what you’re looking for! If you’re only on Tinder looking for a hook-up, be honest! If the word “hook-up” isn’t in your vocabulary, speak up! Clear, open communication is the basis of any decent relationship, romantic or otherwise. Set off on the right foot, and you’ll be thankful for it later down the road.

And finally, I feel like these are the most important of all:

DON’T lie. This might seem like common sense to some, but believe me, it’s not. I know “struggling college student currently suffering under piles of homework” isn’t the sexiest job title, but it’s what you are. When you’re using online dating services, other people only know as much as you tell them. No good relationship is built off of lies.

DO be your true, honest self. Own who you are! We’re young, none of us have very much life experience — though at Trinity, we’ve probably done a whole lot! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, relationships are built on communication and honesty. I promise you, there’s someone out there who is going to think you’re the bee’s knees. You just have to have a little patience.