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What is Tinder and Is It Just for Hookups?

What is Tinder and Is It Just for Hookups?

“What is Tinder and is it just for hookups?” This is a question that many people ask and a question I receive often as a dating coach.

Despite the fact that Tinder is the dating app that, arguably, brought online dating into the mainstream (and brought a whole new meaning to the term “swiping”), the monstrously popular dating app has garnered a reputation as appealing more to those looking for hookups and casual relationships than serious daters.

Moreover, some of Tinder’s successors, including Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Hinge have cemented Tinder’s “casual” reputation by positioning themselves as anti-hookup apps.

I would respond to the question “What is Tinder and is it just for hookups?” by saying that I believe it is more inclined to hookups than any other comparable site, particularly if you live in a metro area. However, this does not hold as much weight in rural areas.

Moreover, even though it is more inclined toward casual dating than a lot of its competitors, that doesn’t mean you should abstain from using it while searching for a long-term partner.

In fact, I happen to know a couple here in San Francisco who actually ended up getting married, so you can definitely find people on Tinder who are also looking for a relationship.

But if you want to get the most out of Tinder, you have to understand exactly how the app works, what to avoid, and how to apply some expert dating strategies in order to turn your online connections into a real-life relationship. That’s why I put together this article, which will give you insights into exactly what Tinder is, how to use it, and how to stand out among the competition in order to crush your dating goals.

What Is Tinder?

Can I Find A Serious Partner on Tinder?


I just told you that I know of a couple who met on the app and later married.

Tinder still has the stigma of being a hookup app, but that doesn’t mean all users are only looking for something short-term. It mostly comes down to the age of the user. If you’re in your early 20s then yes, chances are most users want something short term. Such is life when you’re in in-flux early 20-something.

Tinder has many younger users and thus many people think it’s a hookup app.

That being said, generally speaking, the older the user, the more serious of a relationship they want.

If you’re in your late 20s or older you can find love on Tinder. 

You can signal that you’re looking for something serious with your photos. Don’t post anything too revealing or hunky. Show a little skin, but limit the beach bod photos to just one (tops). Showcase your personality with your photos, but just as important is writing a bio.

People that just want to hookup will signal their intent in their bio. Isntead of cheesy pickup lines or a bio that took you all of 10 seconds to write, invest a little bit in telling the strangers on Tinder who you are and even what you’re looking for.

Talk about your hobbies, make a joke, and if you’re looking for something serious, write that you’re looking for “a Sunday kind of love.”

This broadcasts the message that you want a serious partner rather than someone to help you out with bedroom exercise.

How Many Free Swipes Do Users Get Per Day?

what is tinder

If you use a basic free Tinder plan, you get 100 swipes every 24 hours. Honestly, that’s a lot of swipes. If you think about it, you don’t even need 100 swipes each day to get a good number of swipes per week.

Let’s say you did 50 swipes per day on Tinder, using that 12-hour window. That adds up to 350 swipes per week and 1,400 per month!

With a basic plan, you also get access to one Super Like per day, which you can send to someone by tapping a little blue star icon. Users will know when you have Super Liked them because a blue banner announcing this information will appear across your profile once they scroll their way over to it.

The thing is, I don’t think you should use a Super Like… almost ever. By letting a virtual stranger know right off the bat that you really, really, really like them, you’re coming on a little too strong. Now, they’re not going to feel like they need to put as much effort in, because you used your one and only Super Like on them.

Instead of Super Liking someone, you need to use some expert strategies with your profile and messaging, which I will get to in a bit.

You can get more access to likes and other perks if you upgrade to a Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold membership plan. But I don’t recommend paying for a Tinder membership plan, which brings me to my next point.

Don’t Spend Money on Tinder (In Most Cases)

Tinder offers two paid membership options: Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold. Below are the basic perks of each option.

Tinder Plus

  • Like as many people as you want each day
  • Accidentally swiped left on a cutie? No biggie. You can undo a left swipe with Tinder Plus
  • Up to five Super Likes per day
  • One Boost each month (Boost allows your profile to be seen by 10x more people in your area for 30 minutes)
  • Ability to swipe anywhere in the world
  • No ads

Tinder Plus is currently $9.99 per month for people ages 30 and under; it’s $20.99 per month for those 31 and older, or less if you sign up for a contract of six months or more. WTF is up with variable pricing based on age! I don’t like that one bit!

Tinder Gold

  • Like as many people as you want each day
  • Like Tinder Plus, you can use a “tapping” feature to rewind your last swipe
  • Up to five Super Likes per day
  • Swipe around the world
  • Ability to see who likes you before swiping
  • No ads

Tinder Gold is currently $34.99 per month.

Tinder Platinum 

  • Unlimited likes
  • See who likes you
  • Priority likes
  • 1 free boost per month
  • 5 free super likes per week
  • Message before matching

Tinder Platinum costs $41.99 per month.

Why Shouldn’t I Purchase Tinder Plus, Gold, or Platinum?

If you have a huge budget and won’t miss the money you spend on these features, go for it.

Both of these may also be more suitable for those who travel a lot if you want the ability to match with women in different states or countries you’re visiting. Of course, if you’re looking for a serious relationship, matching with a woman you’re going to meet for a couple of days on a business trip might not be an optimal choice.

The thing is, these types of features promise way more matches and more opportunities for love, but you have to remember this: Tinder is a business. Businesses need to make money. It makes sense that they would offer these premium services, but you don’t necessarily need to shell out cash in order to meet some awesome people on Tinder.

A great profile, compelling messages, and some strategy can get you far and it won’t cost you a dime.

If you’re not already getting matches on a regular basis, don’t purchase Tinder. First revamp your profile, A/B test photos, see if your matches increase, and then consider upgrading.

How to Use Tinder’s Interface

Now that you know a few caveats with Tinder, let’s continue to answer the question — “what’s Tinder?” — by going through the ways to navigate its interface.

Downloading Tinder

Downloading Tinder is pretty straightforward. Simply go to your App store and type “Tinder” into the search bar. The app will pop right up. All you need to do it tap the download button and, voila, Tinder is now on your phone.

Logging In

what is tinder

When you open Tinder and go to log in, there will be a prompt that requires you to sign in through Facebook, which means you have to have an account on that social media platform. Some people aren’t into Facebook, but understand that going through this platform helps Tinder weed out any spambots.

Women also tend to be more cautious on apps like Tinder, so being able to see a guy is a legit person and is on social media signals to them that this guy doesn’t have any creepy stuff to hide.

There are also options to connect your Instagram and Spotify accounts to your Tinder. I highly recommend you do so because this will give a woman more insight into your specific hobbies, tastes, and passions. If she likes the same types of things you do, the two of you can connect over mutual interests, which is a great first step in building trust and rapport.

Create Your Tinder Profile

what is tinder

Another great thing about Tinder connecting to your Facebook is it really makes it easy to complete your profile. All your interests get loaded into your profile, as well as your location, name, and age. You can also easily select from your Facebook photos instead of scrolling through the hundreds (thousands?) stored on your phone.

Make sure that you complete your profile areas and don’t leave any areas blank. Here’s some of my other articles to help you with this:

Also, don’t get too rigid when it comes to certain preferences like age and distance. Instead of putting an age preference of two or three years within your age, extend that to 10 years. This will give you more options and experience with women.

And when it comes to location, think about your preferred distance and increase that by 10-15 miles if you live in a city or 30-40 miles if you live in a rural area. You don’t want to miss out on a viable dating option just because she lives a little out of the way or isn’t the age you’re used to dating.

Swipe Away

what is tinder

Once your profile is complete, it’s time to get to swiping! All you need to do is swipe right (or tap the green heart button) if you want to match with someone, or swipe left (or tap the red “X”) if you don’t want to match with them.

If you and another user both swipe right, it’s a match! From here, you can commence online communication via Tinder’s messaging system.

Crafting the Perfect Tinder Bio

Tinder allows a 500-character bio. You want to keep this short and sweet but still, make an impression. Despite what some people think, yes, women do read the bios and it can be the difference between a right or left swipe.

When it comes to creating an awesome bio that stands out from the competition, you want to keep the following things in mind:

  • Be positive: Don’t try to make women feel sorry for you or bemoan the trials of the dating world.
  • Show off a good sense of humor: Women love a witty man. If humor isn’t necessarily your forte, try including a funny movie or television quote in your bio.
  • Don’t be generic or vague: Remember that you’re up against a plethora of profiles and a lot of them say generic things like, “I like sports,” “I love everyone,” “Living my life to the fullest” etc. etc. Be unique in your profile and mention things that are really cool about you or talk about a specific passion you have.
  • Don’t go crazy with emojis: Peppering in a few applicable emojis here and there is fine, but turning your bio into a nonsensical stream of tiny faces, animals and palm trees comes across as creepy.

Be Strategic with Your Tinder Photos

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure that none of the words the person you’re trying to attract ssociates with your photos include “creepy,” “homeless,” “criminal,” “sad divorced man,” or “if I go out with him I think he might legit murder me.”

When it comes to online dating photos, I always recommend the following formula to ensure you get the most success out of your online dating experience:

  • Make your first photo a close-cropped headshot that is in focus and gives everyone the best version of you. This means that you should be looking great, smiling and showing off some good eye contact.
  • The second photo should be a full body shot. Wear an awesome outfit you feel great in and make sure that you are posing in a confident stance with your shoulders back and arms uncrossed.
  • The third photo can be a social shot of you and your friends or family
  • Show off your skills and passion by making the fourth photo a hobby shot.
  • Because cute animals are basically guaranteed to make you look good, make the fifth photo one of you and an adorable pet.

Best Tinder Opening Lines

On dating apps like Tinder, women are generally going to want you to make the first move. You need to be ready to impress with a great opening line. If coming up with a great opener sounds like a challenge, don’t worry because I’ve got you covered.

For the sake of research (and to help my male clients), I created my own Tinder profile and vetted tons of different messages to determine what made for an attractive first message. I provided insights on why each of the best opening lines I received worked in my article, 45 Best Tinder Opening Lines for Guys That Work. And here’s another article with more opening lines in case you’re using other dating apps. Below are a few of the strategies that these guys used to really attract attention.

Use Shared Interests to Your Advantage 

Make sure that you read her profile and try to incorporate one of her interests into your opening line.

Ask Open-ended Questions

This will encourage the conversation to keep going.

Don’t Be Boring 

Women get tons of messages that are a simple “Hey,” “How are you?” or “How was your day?” Stand out from the crowd by avoiding these types of opening lines.

Use the Following Formula

Relate + Add Value + End With a Question = Connection. Find a shared interest of hers, add a way that you relate to it and then end with an open-ended question. For example, in my Tinder bio I wrote that I really like deep dish pizza from Capo’s.

The guy used the aforementioned formula by making this his opening line:

“Duuude. Deep dish with ranch and Capo’s. So good. I used to live in Chicago so I have a bit of a thing for deep dish. Ever try Little Star, Patxi’s, or Grinder’s?”

When in Doubt, Use a Funny Gif or Meme

Tinder gives you the option of using memes or Gifs in their messaging system. If you’re really stumped on what to say, you can make her laugh by going this route.

Don’t Take Too Long to Ask Her Out (Ladies You Can Ask Her Out As Well)

Once you’ve sent an awesome opening line and gotten a response, don’t take too long to set up a date. Based on your shared interests and her location, pick a compelling date that will speak to her and make sure you present her with a solid TDL.

A TDL is an acronym for time, date, and location, and it’s what we use here at EmLovz to refer to a date’s call-to-action. Women are used to guys asking them to “hang out” or “grab a drink” without any specific plan in mind. When you ask a woman out on a proper date that you have planned out, it’s almost impossible for her to say no, particularly when the date is something that involves her interests.

For example, I mentioned in my profile that I love deep-dish pizza. A guy could come up with a compelling date by asking me to go somewhere that has authentic Italian food and Chicago-style pizza that I’ve never been to before.

(Guys) Rejected? Try Two Times to Overcome Her Objection

It’s a frustrating and all-too-common thing in the online dating world. You match with a girl and send her a message, only to be greeted by radio silence. Or, maybe you have an awesome date idea and she either turns it down.

You don’t want to beat a dead horse or chase after a girl who isn’t interested in you but you don’t want to give up too easily either. Try to overcome her objection at least two times before moving on. For example, if she doesn’t respond to your date offer, you could say something like:

  • “Look, I get it. Your mom told you not to talk to strangers. But I promise I don’t own a windowless van and can pass any background check.”
  • “I’m sensing that your silence is a distress signal…do you need me to put on my cape and tights and come to the rescue?”
  • “Hey there, we’ve barely gotten to know each other and you’re already playing hard to get? ;)”

Remember to keep it light, witty and positive. There are plenty of fish in the sea, so there’s no need to sweat a rejection.

But when you do get a date, check out my article on the best first date tips for men to help you score a second date!

Dating Decoded

Learning how to get the most from Tinder is just one step in the process of MegaDating.

MegaDating is our dating philosophy and it shapes everything we teach here at emlovz. Simply put MegaDating is dating prolifically with the specific goal of going on 20 dates in 90 days.

This will give you ample potential partners to compare and contrast so you can refine not only your dating skills but also who your ideal partner is.

To teach you how to quickly find a highly compatible partner in just weeks and become the most eligible single in town you’ll team up with romantic experts, each skilled in their own unique area to support you.

Our Team

  • Emyli (me), co-founder, curriculum developer, head coach, and I host coaching sessions every week
  • Thomas, co-founder, and coach. He’ll lead the biweekly Man Cave event where men come together to talk dating, bond with one another, and support other single men
  • Brooke, and Audrey are mock date specialists for men. Go on a practice date with them (and receive feedback) before your next date
  • Darshil is our mock date coach for women. Go on a practice date with them (and receive feedback) before your next date
  • Renee is our anxiety dating coach. As a licensed therapist she knows the steps needed to turn you into a cool, calm, and collected dater
  • Hailey is your new stylist. She’s worked with celebs from every industry and is now about to raid your closet
  • Tilly is our holistic sex & intimacy coach. She’ll help you get the most out of your sex life so you and your partner are happier between the sheets
  • Mia is our social media expert. Revamp your Facebook and Instagram profiles with her help and start meeting singles online

Our Community

And look, we realize that the single life can be difficult. If accepted into our coaching program, Dating Decoded you’d be joining a community of supportive singles and coaches who are there to listen, support, and encourage you as you navigate the single life.

Our program offers every student a lifetime membership (as if you’ll need it) so the support won’t stop until you’ve found your ideal partner.

If you’re ready to find your forever partner, book a Zoom session with our team today. Together we’ll talk about your dating history, your goals and show you how our program, Dating Decoded, can help you find your ideal partner.
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