Tinder hacks: 5 tips from an online dating master

james hawver tinder
James Hawver says he gets about 50 matches a day on Tinder.
Credit: Tinder / James Hawver

James Hawver, 29, is an online dating master on both OkCupid (he was profiled in New York Magazine for having one of the most popular OkCupid profiles) and on Tinder.

What qualifies him as a Tinder ninja? Well, Hawver says he gets 50 matches a day on Tinder. “I literally delete 96 to 97 percent of the matches,” he admits.

The Manhattan-based real estate agent gave us his tips on putting your best Tinder profile forward. Here are his hacks:

1. Always swipe right: “I pretty much swipe right to everyone,” explains Hawver. “The only thing I sort of pay attention to while I swipe right pretty fast is if I have a Facebook friend in common with anyone – then I’ll stop and see who our friend is. I don’t want to swipe right to just anyone who I have a Facebook friend with in case I don’t really want to chat with that person.”

Hawver says it’s much easier for him to swipe right on everyone than it is to be selective. “I at least know that the people I’m matching with – the majority of them are willing to talk to me so I can say yes or no pretty quickly,” he says. “I don’t want to take the time to look back and forth and figure out if I want to talk to someone if there’s no chance of them responding to me.” Hawver says it’s “definitely” more efficient this way.

2. “Like” a lot of things on Facebook: Hawver says liking a lot of pages on Facebook increases the number of talking points and common interests you have with other Tinder users. “I like restaurants; I like authors; I like publications. I like a lot of stuff on Facebook, and the way that Tinder displays mutual interests with people you match with is pretty cool,” says Hawver. “You can see very easily visually what sorts of things you have in common with someone versus if you’re on OkCupid, they would have to list an interest that they have.”

3. Use emoticons and be playful in your messages: Hawver says emoticons lighten up communication. “I wasn’t a big fan of emoticons before I started online dating but I read somewhere that they’re a good thing to use because when you text or e-mail, a lot of the time tone is hard to convey,” he says. “After reading that piece of advice I started using more smiley and winky face emoticons to convey a more friendly, possibly flirtatious tone.”
In general, Hawver says to keep messages interesting and not overly flirtatious.

4. Mix it up with your photos: Make sure your photos reflect a full life. Some of Hawver’s suggestions include having photos of yourself in an outdoor setting, with friends, in casual clothes and also in formal wear. “Definitely try to get a full-body photo,” he says. “But no – absolutely no, no shirtless photos.” Hawver also says to steer clear of mirror selfies and duck lip photos.

5. Don’t just say “hey”: Hawver said standard greetings like “Hey” or “Hey. What’s up?” are boring. “Don’t be boring,” he says. “Be interesting. If you match with somebody that you want to talk to, take a look at the interests you have in common and start a conversation based on common interests … Comment on if they’re doing an activity on their photos. Nothing wild or crazy.” Another tip for guys? Hawver says never write anything sexual: “You’ll probably get blocked right away.”

Follow Andrea park on Twitter: @andreapark



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