Online dating can be difficult. It’s hard to quantize into a profile pic and a blurb while both being genuine and considering that the profile essentially acts as an advertisement.
We also have to contend with communication cadence differences, ghosting, banter that might not be read as intended, people who misrepresent themselves, dodging hookup culture–and that’s all before accounting for the industry’s financial incentive to keep you engaged with the app over finding love.
This can be exhausting, and we should proceed with caution, as there have been a number of studies on dating apps’ impact on mental health.
Nevertheless, if one is willing to play the “numbers game” (the more people with whom you engage, the more likely you are to eventually find a fit), these apps can indeed be powerful access portals to meeting someone special. With this in mind, we thought to arm you with a discerning eye as you’re scrolling and scrolling in hopes to find your person.
Let’s dig in.
Red Flags: Proceed with Caution
A dating profile that lacks essential information can be a red flag. If someone hasn’t bothered to share basic details about themselves, such as interests, occupation, or even a clear photo, it may indicate a lack of real engagement with the app, or worse, an attempt to hide something.
Overly Manicured Photos
While it’s natural to want to present your best self online, an excess of heavily edited or filtered photos can be misleading. If a profile appears too polished, or if every picture seems to have been extensively edited, it’s worth considering whether the person is presenting an authentic version of themselves. Authenticity is key in building genuine connections. Pro tip: you might consider a little caution with those profiles filled with modellic or half naked photos as well. We might be biased here, and we know that these profiles are in essence meant to be attention-grabbers, but those bathroom ab “thirst traps” might also be telling you something about your match’s intentions or self image.
Negative Tone or Demands in Bio
A profile bio that is excessively negative or filled with demanding statements might suggest a challenging personality. We see this all the time, especially from people dealing with dating fatigue, but it’s not the way to start a new relationship. Be wary of individuals who list an extensive set of criteria for potential matches, as it could be a sign of inflexibility or unrealistic expectations (also something we see all the time). A healthy, positive approach to dating is more likely to foster meaningful connections.
Limited or Generic Conversation Starters
The way someone initiates conversations can offer insights into their communication style, and whether they really took the time to read your profile or not. If the opening lines are consistently generic or seem copied and pasted, it may indicate a lack of genuine interest. Meaningful connections are more likely to begin with thoughtful and personalized communication, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
A great way to connect with someone is to have thoughtful questions, or to try to find points of overlap in your interests and expand on them. Look out for the short and disengaged “what’s up,” “I’m good, you?” style conversations, as they’re likely fueled by boredom rather than genuine interest.
Pro tip: if you ask what brings them to the app and they respond with “just seeing who’s on here,” or “going with the flow,” the flow isn’t going anywhere. Mindful dating means being truly present in your discourse.
Hesitancy to Move Off the App
While some individuals prefer to take their time before transitioning to other forms of communication, prolonged hesitation or reluctance to move off the dating app might indicate that they’re trying to maintain a level of anonymity, or even an unwillingness to invest in a deeper connection.
Too Much Too Soon
On the flip side, an excessive eagerness to share personal contact details, meet in person right away, or dive into deep, intimate conversations (or out-of-the-blue sexual conversations) too quickly can be a red flag. It’s important to establish a comfortable pace for getting to know someone and ensure that both parties are on the same page; you’ll likely need a little time on the app together before jumping to an alternative platform.
Green Flags: Signs to Move Ahead
Thoughtful Profile Content
A well-crafted profile that includes thoughtful details about a person’s interests, hobbies, and values is an expressly green flag. Look for individuals who take the time to showcase their personality and convey a genuine sense of self. You can use those included items to create dynamic conversations, and they’re likely taking the app seriously.
Clear and Recent Photos
Transparency is everything. Clear, recent photos contribute to an honest self representation. If their profile has a variety of pictures—especially those showcasing different aspects of the person’s life—there’s a higher likelihood that they’re willing to be open and genuine, and actually show you who they are.
It’s a good sign if the narrative being woven on their profile is consistent and aligns with what’s shared in conversations. A person who is transparent and honest about their background, interests, and lifestyle is more likely to be genuine in their pursuit of a meaningful connection.
Positivity in the Bio
A positive and upbeat bio reflects a healthy mindset and approach to dating. Individuals who express enthusiasm for life and a sense of humor are often more enjoyable to engage with, and apparent positivity in a profile suggests a person who is open to new experiences and ready for a potentially uplifting connection.
Engaging Conversation Starters
We see the biggest green flags waving when conversation starters are thoughtful and unique. Look for individuals who make an effort to initiate conversations based on shared interests or specific details from your profile; this likely shows that the person is genuinely invested in getting to know you better.
Respectful of Boundaries
It’s respectful to demonstrate an understanding of pacing and not pressure or rush the conversation. A willingness to navigate the process of getting to know someone at a comfortable pace without trying to switch to texting/instagram/in-person immediately indicates an understanding of dating norms. Pro tip: a great dating safety practice is to wait at least awhile and until you feel as though you have a decent, general understanding of your match before you give out personal information. Once you’ve established trust, we also recommend only meeting in a public setting for the first in-person date.
Openness to Offline Interaction
We do eventually want to meet them! A positive sign is when a person is open to transitioning from the app to other forms of communication, or even an in-person meeting. After all, we’re using these apps as tools to meet people in real life. If the conversation’s been going for a long time and they’re not willing to move on it, they might not be very serious about meeting.
You don’t have to be texting all day, but real responses show interest. We get that everyone has varying schedules, but someone who makes at least an effort to maintain regular contact is likely to be genuinely interested in fostering a connection.
These are just a few of our general top selections. Remember that you’re also reading those profiles for content! We know that your dating app profile red flags might be someone else’s dating app profile green flags, and that everyone gets their own take. Our position on dating safety, though, is that it’s not just about being mindful of where you’re walking alone at night. Keeping aware of indicators that someone isn’t who they say they are, or isn’t actually engaged in the process, will also keep your head and heart safe by simply not wasting your time.
At Tawkify, we believe in matchmaking, which includes identity verification, criminal background checks, and long discussions with your matches about their values, interests and lifestyle before sending you out together. We know there’s a palette of options out there, and we respect that, but when you’re ready to stop swiping, we hope you’ll give us a call.