Summer is in full bloom, your body is beach season-ready (or close enough), and you’re set to start swiping at a furious clip.
But despite dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Grindr now being the norm, many people are still clueless when it comes to presenting themselves online.
That’s where we can help. In an interview with TheWrap, online dating guru Julie Spira broke down the keys to a top notch dating profile.
Spira has been helping singles mingle for more than 20 years. The Los Angeles-based online dating coach has between 50 and 100 clients at any given time, and she’s not afraid to share her two cents on common Tinder mistakes.
Some of this would seem like common sense. But apparently there are guys — and make no mistake: guys are usually the ones making these errors, according to Spira — who insist on posting shirtless bathroom selfies on Tinder. So let’s run through Spira’s essential dating app dos and don’ts.
1. Use all six pictures
This helps give your profile a measure of authenticity right off the bat. Keep in mind your default picture is the hook. “People are very visual,” said Spira. “In the first shot, you need to look happy, you need to look confident.” No emo pictures.
2. Show off your travel spots
When it comes to travel, don’t just talk about it in your profile, but be about it. Your second pic should highlight a trip you’ve been on. “Say you were lucky enough to go on a trip to Paris — you want to show a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower,” said Spira. “Show you love travel by showing where you’ve been.”
As someone that has a cliche picture under the Eiffel Tower on his Bumble profile, this was music to my ears.
3. Mention what you’re passionate about
It might seem trivial, but putting down your hobbies and interests is a great conversation starter. Sports, politics, 18th century French literature, whatever it is, just throw it in. You don’t want to make it a guessing game for your match — be upfront with your info. And if you’re feeling extra honest, don’t feel like you need to play it cool. “If you have strong family values, by all means, put it in,” said Spira.
4. Highlight your musical tastes
I’d always thought this was superfluous, but looks like I’ve been wrong. If you’re on an app like Tinder that lets you sync your music to your profile, you should do it.
5. Say where you’re from
Another obvious one, it would seem, but it’s especially important in major cities with many transplants. Same goes for your school — make sure you fill it in. If you haven’t noticed, these all circle back to being ice-breakers. Give the people looking at your profile several avenues to find commonalities.
Perhaps more importantly are the things you shouldn’t be doing in your profile. Spira outlined the more common and avoidable blunders her clients make online.
1. Post selfies, ever
Unless you’re James Franco, selfies are never a good call. And bathroom selfies, with the toilet in the background and everything? Stop it, you’re embarrassing yourself.
“I laugh about the people that put in the selfies, with the mirror-shot in the bathroom with no shirt,” said Spira. “There’s nothing sexy about that. Girls will swipe left so fast when they see a selfie, and men keep doing it.”
2. Start a conversation with “hey”
This shows you’re only willing to put in the absolute minimal effort required to start a conversation. Don’t be lazy. Instead, compliment your match on what they’re wearing, or talk about something they mentioned in their profile.
3. Wear sunglasses in your pictures
This doesn’t make you look cool, fellas. Instead, “it looks like you’re hiding something,” said Spira. The facade from wearing shades makes it harder for your prospective matches to connect with you. As Spira puts it: “Let us look into your eyes so we can imagine what it’d be like having a conversation with you on the first date.”
4. Leave your profile blank
You probably gleaned this from the pointers above, but having an empty profile description isn’t a good look. It doesn’t create a “mysterious” aesthetic, it just means people are less likely to swipe right on you. And even worse, don’t even try to be cheeky and say you’re not sure what to put in your profile description.
“Don’t say in your profile ‘gee, I don’t know what to write in my bio’ because then you look sort of stupid,” said Spira.
Instead, tell people what you’re on the app for. “Just be confident. I’m on Tinder to meet someone special: swipe right if you’re a political junkie, or swipe right if you love music,” said Spira.
5. Put a list of “dont’s”
Laying down the law before you’ve even had a drink is a creepy, control-freak move. Listing a grip of demands you’re prospective match shouldn’t do — don’t contact me if you’re best friends with your ex, or if you’re dating multiple people, or if you like “The Sopranos” more than “The Wire” — always backfires. For someone looking at your profile, “all I see is ‘don’t contact me,’ and we won’t,” said Spira.
Above all else, though, the cardinal sin of dating apps is “when people talk about their ex,” said Spira. This is biggest “don’t” of them all. “It’s sort of an off-limits subject. And if you’re not over your ex, don’t be on a dating site.”
Now that you’re up-to-speed, go make your Bumble profile great again. And again, please remember to ditch the shirtless selfies.