Tinder: A Definitive Guide

What is Tinder, why is it so popular, and what do scholars have to say about this popular dating app? Here’s The Debrief’s comprehensive guide to Tinder.

Tinder: A Definitive Guide

by Kat de Naoum |
Published on

Why is Tinder still a very much talked about dating app three years after its launch? It Tinder just for hook-ups, is ‘Tinder Plus’ worth it and what the hell is the ‘Tinder Super Like’ already? The Debrief is here to answer all your Tinder questions.

What is Tinder?


(a) a dry, flammable material, such as paper or wood, mainly used for lighting fires;

(b) a location based social discovery application that facilitates communication between mutually interested users, allowing matched users to chat; also known as the “Hook-Up App”.

We’re not here to talk about (a).

How to use Tinder

In case you really don’t know what Tinder is and how it works, the very brief summary is this: Tinder is a free dating app which you can only download on your iPhone or Android mobile device. Here's how you do it.

  1. Download the app to your phone and make an account, logging in using your Facebook account (Tinder without Facebook is not entirely possible, but we’ve sort of found a way around it).

  2. Once you’ve made an account, it's time to make your profile presentable: add photos of yourself, give a brief description, add any details about yourself you so wish.

  3. Next it's time to narrow down the choices of who you would like to meet by selecting (a) their sex ("men", "women" or "men and women"), (b) their age group, and (c) their location in relation to where you are (how near you’d like them to be).

  4. You are then allowed to swipe through the profiles of potential suitors (kind of like flipping through a catalogue). If they’re not to your liking, you can swipe left (“Nope”) but if you like them, then you swipe right (“Like”).

  5. If the other person has also come across your profile and swiped right, then you will have a “Match”.

  6. Once you are a match with someone, you are able to talk to them via Tinder’s messaging service. The ball is in your court from then on. Whether you want to have a chance of meeting the person and getting to know each other (or whether you want to be on Tinder Nightmares) is completely up to you and how you want to play it.

Why people love Tinder App

People love to publicly slate Tinder (it’s shallow, it’s fickle, etc.), but the numbers don’t lie. People (perhaps secretly) love Tinder because it makes them feel better about themselves. What are the chances of having someone tell you that they like you everyday, IRL? Slim at best. But on Tinder, it’s more than likely that someone will “like” you (unless you’re a minger, in which case sort that shit out - there are more than enough photo filtering apps to make you look half decent). Getting a match feels good. Someone you like likes you back and actually wants to talk to you. Sooo much easier than going to a bar, amirite?

It also kinda feels like a game; swipe, swipe, match… SHE SWIPES, SHE MATCHES, SHE SCORES stadium cheers. The game factor of Tinder, i.e. “will this hottie like me back,” “how many matches can I make today,” or “how many matches can I make in total,” make it addictive. Move over Smurfs Village and Farm Heroes. This is a much more interesting game.

Which Celebrities are on Tinder?

Yup, even celebrities love Tinder. Hilary Dufffamously admitted using it, even Leonardo DiCaprio was among the celebrities stated to be on it (as was Lily Allen but for a whole other reason- she’s married with kids after all). Celebrities are humans too, you know, and want to meet people just like the rest of us. The only thing that differentiates them from us is a special blue tick in their Tinder profile confirming their authenticity (think Twitter verification) because after all, they are celebrity humans, not mere Muggles like the likes of us.

Is Tinder only for hook-ups?

Word on the street is that, yes, Tinder is only for hook-ups and it has quite a reputation of being just that. As with every dating app, site or method, there will be people who are only in it for the hook-up. Tinder doesn’t advertise itself as a method for only getting that boo-tay as for instance, does Grindr, the notoriously renowned gay dating (sex) app. Tinder also gives you a chance to find love, but it appears you’ll have to sort through the weeds first in order to find it. Also, an expert tip from people not just looking for a hook-up is to explicitly state it in your profile: “NOT HERE FOR A HOOK-UP” so that people who are just there for a quick fling can go right ahead and swipe left on you.

Is Tinder the death of romance?


(https://thedebrief.co.uk/news/real-life/these-people-prove-that-tinder-isnt-just-for-sex-and-hookups-20150849875) that have come from it so we're inclined to call bullshit.

The Vanity Fair article (a great literary read by the way) gives an in-depth look at how Tinder-obsessed millennials use Tinder. In one of the stories, 3 guys at a bar are swiping away on Tinder instead of looking around to see actual real life women. They would chat with matches and compare them to restaurants, i.e. if a table at a better restaurant became available, you’d go there instead of the one you’d already booked at. So, if a hotter match came along, they would ignore the match they had already started talking to, or made arrangements with. However, instead of proving that Tinder is the death of romance, did the article just prove that the writer interviewed three douchebag fuckboys that no woman in her right mind would knowingly want to get involved with, and then blame Tinder for it? Perhaps.

Some women, after meeting their fair share of dirt bags on Tinder, have stated their desire to delete men and dating from their lives altogether (yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts), but The New York Post (in reaction to this and the Vanity Fair piece) urges us to delete Tinder immediately instead because there are a bunch of good guys out there who are not on Tinder. They seem to wholeheartedly agree that Tinder is killing romance.

Sure, Tinder makes finding sex easier than ever before. Sure, it’s based on looks. Sure, it’s fickle, shallow and non-essential, but all parties go into this willingly. No one is lured into Tinder under the false pretence that this is where they will have the romantic time of their lives, a la Dirty Dancing. After all, Tinder is pretty see-through.

What do we mean by see-through? Well, you can see when someone was last online, so if they’ve ignored your message, it’s probably because they are busy with their other countless matches. It’s honest, even if your matches aren’t (no one can guarantee honesty on any dating platform). You can then make the choice of still being matched to someone you know is ignoring you, or you can unmatch them. You’re a master of your own fate and if you choose to still be matched to someone even though they’re acting douchey, at the end of the day, you know what you’re getting yourself into. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya.

The Tinder age issue: 13 going on… Tinder

Did you know that the minimum age required to have a Tinder account is 13? Before you panic, the underage Tinder age group is 13-17 and they can only match with people who are 13-17 themselves (so an 18-year-old can’t match with a 17-year-old). Is it just us, or is having 13-years-olds on Tinder kind of weird? Why are 13-year-olds going on the internet to “match” with strangers instead of riding their Barbie bikes and throwing mud at the neighbour’s cat? More importantly, why aren’t we doing this ourselves?

Tinder -vs- Dating IRL

Have you ever been in a situation where you liked someone but not when you first met them? Loads of times, right? Tinder doesn’t really give you that opportunity, because it’s solely based on the first impression. If they like you based on what they see in a few pictures, they swipe right. Whereas meeting someone new in let’s say a group of friends is a whole other ballgame. You get introduced and it doesn’t cross your mind that you might like to get it on with this person because they didn’t initially tickle your fancy for whatever reason. But then a few minutes into the conversation, you find yourself in thigh-slapping laughter and not for the first time since this person started talking either. This person is starting to appeal to you. Ah, the magic of conversation in real life. With Tinder, you immediately write people off who aren’t your cup of tea in the looks department, without giving them a chance to redeem themselves by virtue of a conversation. Engaging in a conversation with someone can make you reconsider writing them off in the first place. Imagine how many missed connections have happened like this! However, if you are a sapiosexual and intellect does it for you over looks every time, then you are smart enough to know that Tinder might not be for you.

Tinder and Feminism - Does Tinder contradict Feminism?

Some feminists have argued that getting on Tinder is akin to advertising yourself like a piece of meat or an item of clothing, comparing it to shopping on ASOS. Tinder’s reputation for the most degrading opening lines men have used on women, i.e. “sit on my face and I’ll eat my way to your heart,” or the less poetic “can you take dick, or nah?” haven’t done wonders for converting feminists to Tinder. Have we lost faith that women can stand their own ground when faced with immature dick-obsessed opening lines? Witty tinder comebacks are all the rage and are nipping this BS right in the bud. Also, it only really takes an “unmatch” to get rid of the unnecessary aggravation. How else are you supposed to cut through the weeds to get to the good stuff? The blog, Male Feminists on Tinder run by Lane Moore, is dedicated to prove that there are men on Tinder who are chauvinistic pigs (but beware of the guys who pose as feministsto get in yer knickers).

The history of Tinder

Tinder is owned by the Match group who also own Match.com, OK Cupid and Plenty of Fish. Tinder launched in 2012 and was invented by six 20-somethings from the University of Southern California. It only took a week for Tinder to go from 300 to 1000 users for them to realise that they were on to something. One of Tinder’s co-founders, Sean Rad said, “no matter who you are, you feel more comfortable approaching somebody if you know they want you to approach them”. He’s got a point. Now, Tinder has been valued at $1.35 billion and has over 50 million active users… PER DAY. These users check their accounts 11 times a day for total average of 90 minutes. Tinder is offered in 30 languages and there are 1.6 billion swipes and 26 million matches made per day. Since its launch, more than 8 billion matches have been made. Imagine that in actual matches (small fire producing piece of wood) if you will. That is A LOT of MATCHES.


Tinder reviews from scholars

So what are scholars saying about Tinder? They seem preoccupied with the security of Tinder. Last year there was an issue whereby users (who would have to be at least amateur hackers) could pinpoint another user’s exact location, which is creepy AF, but Tinder HQ said that this issue was resolved within 48 hours. Apart from that, they seem to think that the likes of Tinder and “the hook-up culture” along with the emergence of social media is to blame for the fact that the average age of first marriage has shifted to the late twenties and people are less inclined to look for long-term relationships, instead gravitating towards more casual sex partnerships. They understand that Tinder is a game where users can only win, and is basically based on objectifying the presentation of others (and subjecting yourself to objectification). They’re also concerned about the rise of STD’s and crime rates since Tinder came out, but this could just be a coincidence, right? RIGHT?

Tinder Plus: what is it and is it worth it?

Tinder Plus is the paid for version of Tinder. If you are over 28, it’s £14.99/$19.99 per month, and for under 28s, it’s £3.99/$9.99 per month. (You are not alone if you are outragedover this apparent ageism.) The perks of Tinder Plus is that it allows you to rewind a wrong left swipe and also check for people in another city. This is helpful if you have an upcoming trip and would like to lay the groundwork, match-wise, for when you arrive. It also boasts unlimited likes, although people have reported still having “like” limitations (OK, seriously guys, how many matches do you need?). Is it worth it? That depends how important swipe-rewinds and changing search locations are to you.

New Tinder feature: Tinder Super Like

The equivalent of a Facebook poke, the Super Like lets you notify someone that you like them even before they’ve matched you. When they come across your profile while swiping, they’ll see your Super Like blue star and be inclined to at least hesitate a little before they swipe “nope”. If you’re lucky, they may even swipe right to match you (something they may not have done if not for you gifting them with a star); they now have an incentive to hear you out. You did after all give them a Super Like, which is rare, because you only get to give one per day. You can Super Like someone by upward swiping (be careful when swiping in case of Super Liking someone accidentally). If you have Tinder Plus, you can "Super Like" up to five people a day. This is a fairly new feature on Tinder, and may not last long (remember Tinder Moments, where you could upload a pic for all your matches to see, and they could “Like” or “Nope” it? Yeah, RIP Tinder Moments - that was axed in late 2015).

Tinder glossary, i.e. what is a Tinderella?

Here are some common Tinder terminology and references you may want to become acquainted with when entering the Tinder world.

Tinder Date: When two users successfully match and meet in the real world outside of the app.

Tinder Match: When you like someone’s profile, and they like yours, you’ll get a message saying “It’s a Match!” - That person is now your Tinder Match. They will appear in your matches list along with the other hopefuls.

Tinder Nightmares: A dedicated Instagram account and blog (and now book) showcasing all of the disastrous lines that Tinder matches have come up with. May it never happen to you.

Tinder Swipe: Although you can also click on the green heart or the red X reject button, the most common way to “like” or “nope” someone on Tinder is by swiping left or right on your phone.

Tinderella: Like Cinderella… but for Tinder… get it? If a guy really likes you and gets to date you, you could be his Tinderella.

Tindering: Using Tinder.

Tinderitis: The sore thumb that comes from all that Tinder Swiping.

Tinder: In conclusion

After sending out one of our own to test the Tinder dating waters (28 Tinder dates is 28 days), we still couldn’t really come to any proper conclusion. Sure, there are pros and cons to Tinder, just like dating in general, but if you are careful and use discretion, don’t take it too seriously, and have a laugh with it (c’mon, it’s funny; have you seen these horrendous Tinder openers?), you could be in for a treat.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

10 Million Of Us Are Now Using Happn

Tinder In London Vs Tinder At Home

How Tinder's Stopping Us Having Sex

Follow Kat on Twitter @SuperKaterina

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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