You know that feeling when you’re doom-swiping on Tinder at the end of the night? Rolling your eyes at profile after profile? Personally, if I have to see another photo of a man holding a fish or a bio that reads ““I’m looking for someone adventurous. If you’re not down for [insert very non-adventurous date idea], swipe left,” I might actually turn my back on dating apps forever.

But what’s the alternative for a single person in the year of 2023? Meet people in real life? As if. So doom-swiping on Tinder I continue, hoping to land on a handful of profiles (at least) of attractive people with actual interests beyond the clichéd “adventure”—and hopefully not pertaining to marine life.

The truth is: Creating a successful Tinder profile is an art form. But a rather easy one to master as long as you’re willing to put in some effort. The best profiles aren’t spectacular nor glamorized, they’re just authentic, says Carla Marie Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist, relationship therapist, and author of Date Smart. A good profile offers people a glimpse of your personality and invites them to want to reach out, a.k.a. swipe right.

Meet the Experts:
Carla Marie Manly
, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, relationship expert, and author of Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly.

Caitlin Cantor, LCSW, CST, is an individual, couples, and AASECT-certified sex therapist with private practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Taylor Orlandoni, MHC-LP, is a licensed mental health counselor based in New York.

Ahead, dating and relationship experts share the only tips you need to follow to make your Tinder profile stand out from the virtual crowd:

1. Make a good first impression.

With so many fish in the swiping sea, the attention span of the average dater is limited (to say the least). Why spend three minutes of your time reading someone’s dissertation about how the U.S. government’s discovery of aliens is a hoax, when you could spend three hours scrolling through viral dances and astrology readings on TikTok? So if you want to score some potential dates, you have to make a good first impression and you have to make it fast.

What this means for your photos: On such a visually heavy dating app like Tinder, it’s really important to have good photos, says Caitlin Cantor, LCSW, an individual and couples therapist and AASECT-certified sex therapist with practices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Read: No blurry snaps, photos where it’s hard to see your face, and for the love of all things good, nix the group photos!

There are two main reasons group pictures should get the ax: “First, group pictures can indicate a lack of confidence, and confidence is crucial in dating,” says Taylor Orlandoni, MHC-LP, a therapist based in New York. “Second, it’s confusing! People don’t like to feel confused and will move on to a Tinder profile that’s more user-friendly.” Fair enough! Moreover, your online dating profile is all about drawing attention to you, so embrace it.

With your photos, you want your personality to shine through, adds Manly. “If you love spending time in the kitchen, go ahead and upload a picture of you baking cookies,” she says. Yum!

What this means for your bio: In the written part of your profile, “it’s important to state a little bit about you—who you are, something about your character, [and] something about your interests,” says Manly. This way, you’re making sure you’re attracting people with the same commonalities.

Oh, and keep it short and sweet. In general, your bio should only be a few sentences. If you’re already working with a live profile, try to trim the excess text to just a few essential facts about yourself and what you’re looking for. “Viewers are less likely to be overwhelmed when you keep your profile simple and real,” says Manly.

What this means for your first message: Once you get a match, don’t reach out to them and say, “Hey,” then expect them to carry the conversation, says Cantor. Instead of sending a flimsy one-word greeting, ask them a specific question or make a (positive!) comment related to their profile.

A real-life example that worked: After Cantor and her now-husband matched on a dating app, she noticed that his profile stated he was working on getting his PhD at Lehigh University. As a Lehigh alum, her first message said something along the lines of, “Hey, I went to Lehigh. What are you studying there?” Essentially, you want to open with something that creates a jumping off point for you to connect, Cantor explains.

Once your new-and-improved Tinder profile has secured you a first date, here are eight awesome ideas to kickstart a sizzling romance:

preview for 8 Summer Date Ideas for Sizzling Romance

2. Clearly state your intentions.

Picture this: You match with a cutie on Tinder, go on a few great dates, and then get hit with the dreaded “Sorry, I thought you knew—I’m not looking for a relationship right now.” Huh? In order to avoid landing in that situation (or the reverse version, which is equally awkward and frustrating), it’s important to state your intentions clearly on your profile.

Tinder may have the rep of being a hookup app, but by now, many people have been invited to a wedding where the starry-eyed couple got their start as two floating avatars on an “It’s a match!” screen. So, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, don’t be shy about setting those expectations from jump.

What this means for your pictures: If you’re hoping to find a purely sexual flame, you want to send the right signals: “Maybe wear red in your profile picture,” says Orlandoni. Or share a snap of you suggestively eating a common aphrodisiac. “People associate the color red and aphrodisiacs with sex, so that will point potential suitors in the right direction,” she explains. But if you’re looking for a more heartfelt connection, you might want to keep your photos more on the PG side.

What this means for your bio: “If you’re a person who wants hookups, state it. If you’re a person who’s looking for marriage or long-term commitment, state it,” says Manly. “Don’t be shy about stating what your needs are [and] what your goals are.” You’re only going to scare away people who don’t want the same things as you, adds Cantor. Which, by the way, is a good thing!

For those looking to settle down, it’s also wise to include more deets on your career, life, and future dreams, Orlandoni says. “Talking about the future will clue people looking at your profile into the type of relationship you are seeking,” she adds.

But it’s also okay if you don’t know what your dating intentions are yet, especially if you’ve recently gone through a breakup, says Manly. The important thing is that you clearly state that so everyone’s on the same page.

What this means for your first message: It may be tempting to message a new match: “Hey, I’m interested in a long-term relationship. Just confirming that’s where you are.” Yes, that’s a straightforward way to ensure you’re both on the same page, but it’s best to reel it in a bit. Part of the journey of getting to know someone is finding out if your goals align as the relationship progresses, says Cantor. “If they’ve written in their profile, ‘not looking for a long-term relationship’ and you are, then that’s probably not someone you wanna put a lot of time into,” Cantor says. “But if they have on their profile ‘looking for a long-term relationship,’ that has to be enough and through the way they engage with you, you’ll very quickly see what they’re about.” (Allow the slow burn to create a lasting spark…)

If you’re looking for a booty call or hookup, however, then you can definitely be more direct in that first message, she notes. After all, time is fleeting when all you want is a casual fling!

3. Be conversational.

Ever landed on a profile that just lists a bunch of keywords, like “Aquarius,” “entrepreneur,” and “travel,” with little to no explanation? One: It’s confusing AF. (What are they an entrepreneur of? Do they like to travel or are they currently traveling?) Two: Uh, yawn.

Your Tinder profile should give people an excuse to reach out, not reach into their bag to grab their wallet, head to the nearest coffee shop with a book in hand, and hope they look interesting enough to catch the eye of the hot barista.

What this means for your pictures: Make sure your photos highlight your interests. If you’re a voracious bibliophile wanting to connect with other avid readers, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a (slightly staged) image of yourself at a bookstore, holding your favorite book with the title showing, and giving the camera a flirty look, suggests Cantor. If you like hiking, post a picture of yourself on a trail. If you’re really into skiing, think about sharing a photo of yourself on top of a slope. “All of these are ways for people to connect with you, and that’s what it’s really about,” Cantor says.

What this means for your bio: “Give people tidbits about yourself that invite them in” and subtly encourage them to send a message, says Manly. If you’re really into adventure sports, you can say: “I really like windsurfing. What’s your favorite adventure sport?” If you’re into wine, you might write: “Tell me about your favorite wine bar in the city. I’m always looking for recommendations.” Going back to the “big reader” scenario, try: “I’m really into mysteries. ISO someone who will accept my Agatha Christie fangirling moments.”

“Dating is hard. And striking up fun, witty conversations with strangers is even harder,” says Orlandoni. “To have more engagement on your profile, make it easier for people to strike up conversations with you.” She suggests adding a popular debate to your bio, like: “Is The Office better than Friends?” After all, “people are more likely to reach out when you give them an easy way to communicate,” Orlandoni says.

What this means for your first message: Again, don’t open with “Hey” or “How was your day?” You’ll most likely be met with no response. “If you don’t know the person, you need to say something that honors that you don’t know them,” says Cantor. “Maybe you start by introducing yourself or sharing something you connected with on their profile.” When in doubt, ask a specific question related to one of their photos or a line in their bio—that’ll almost guarantee you an answer that can lead to an awesome getting-to-know-you convo.

4. Avoid clichés.

If your profile only includes two grainy selfies and a cheesy pickup line taken from Goodreads, I will be swiping left. You’re either a bot or, worse, going to ghost me after five brief text exchanges. So, don’t be that person.

What this means for your pictures: Group photos? Next. Picture of you outside of a bar with a drink in hand? No, thank you. More than one good selfie? I get it, you’re pretty, but I’m swiping left.

Photos with your friends aren’t necessarily the best for optimizing your dating profile, says Cantor. “People aren’t going to go, ‘Well, that person has friends. Let me date them.’” It also takes attention away from you. Instead highlight photos that show your personality. As for the good ol’ selfie, “it’s fine if it’s one of a bunch of other photos,” but selfies shouldn’t make up your entire profile. They “don’t show enough of you, and the more you’re willing to share about yourself, the more people can connect with, and the more matches you’ll get.”

What this means for your bio: A good way to avoid clichés is being genuine, says Manly. Instead of trying to look “cool,” focus on what’s meaningful to you. “If you’re coming from your own heart, you will avoid clichés.” The more vulnerable you are, the more personal and engaging your profile will be, adds Cantor.

Instead of just writing the word “travel” to highlight your love for traveling, share a fun travel story. “I would rather someone say, ‘When I went to Thailand it was the most exciting place I’ve been to because I got to ride wild elephants,’” Cantor notes. Or, “My craziest travel story was when I was riding a camel in a desert in Egypt, fell off, and sprained my ankle.”

Saying something like, “I’m fine going out or staying in,” gives me nothing, Cantor exclaims. “I would not contact that person because it shows that they’re not putting in a lot of effort.”

What this means for your first message: Here’s a tip: Don’t try to be funny. Yes, that includes dad jokes. I know, it’s tempting, especially when the opportunity is right there on their profile. But, per Cantor, it’s just risky in the first message. At best: You don’t have the same sense of humor, they don’t get it, and so they ignore your message. At worst: You offend them somehow, and they still ignore your message. Instead, “invite conversation by pointing out something relevant to them or yourself.”

5. Don’t use negative or alienating language.

POV: You’re swiping through Tinder during your lunch break when you come across one profile that reads, “6’1” cuz apparently it matters.” Then, another that says, “Not looking for a pen pal. If you’re just looking to text, swipe left.” These people don’t sound fun to date, do they?

No one is immune to dating app fatigue, but keep that “I don’t even wanna be here” energy off your profile. You are here, so you might as well make yourself comfortable!

Leading with negative or alienating language only pushes potential matches away, says Cantor, because it seems like you’re jaded and maybe a bit insecure. To make a good first impression (back to tip #1!), you need to be approachable.

What this means for your pictures: Don’t post any photos of yourself that may be offensive to entire groups of people. Do I even need to outline examples?

What this means for your bio: The more you put out positive energy, the more you’ll get in return, says Manly. In other words, lead with what you do want, instead of what you don’t, adds Cantor. There’s no need for reactive language, like “if you’re vegetarian, swipe left,” in your profile because “your best self is not reactive,” she says.

Even if you’re making a totally valid request like “no dick pics please,” it can still come off as reactive, she says. Trust that “when you talk to someone and get to know them, if there are deal breakers for you, you’ll handle it then,” advises Cantor.

What this means for your first message: Again, try to keep the first few messages light and don’t open up with a reactive note. If the person you’re messaging shares that they’re a big Harry Potter fan on their profile, you might be tempted to send, “Hufflepuff? 🚩” or “Slytherin > Gryffindor” in a joking manner, but word to the wise: Don’t do it. Instead, open with a compliment about their taste in pop culture, or ask a follow up question like: “What’s your favorite Harry Potter movie? Tell me about it.” I guarantee you it’ll get them excited and lead to a much more interesting conversation.

Headshot of Naydeline Mejia

Naydeline Mejia is an assistant editor at Women’s Health, where she covers sex, relationships, and lifestyle for WomensHealthMag.com and the print magazine. She is a proud graduate of Baruch College and has more than two years of experience writing and editing lifestyle content. When she’s not writing, you can find her thrift-shopping, binge-watching whatever reality dating show is trending at the moment, and spending countless hours scrolling through Pinterest.