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  • Dr. David Alfaro

You asked! How to succeed on Tinder....

Not one day after I posted on the internets that I am starting a section to my blog titled "Ask Dr. Dave", did I get my first questions!

Of course, my lovely friends had to make it totally not related to dentistry, but you know what??? I am not afraid to venture out of my comfort zone, and I have the day off today.

The question does one succeed at Tinder?

So....let us talk about online dating.

Disclaimer! Unlike dentistry, I am not a certified specialist in relationships. Although Sheldon Cooper may disagree with me, the social sciences are research based, and there is a lot of information out there regarding online dating. Every species on this planet has predictable, yet evolving, courting patterns that have been studied academically. Why shouldn't the study of human online courtship also be scientifically valid?

A recent systematic review took a look at research studies that analyzed online dating patterns, and they came out with some pretty great suggestions on how to land that first date. Here is a summary of what they found:

Screen Name:

It all starts with your online tag. Make your name desireable! Do not use negative connotations such as "little", as they seem inferior. Be playful. Guys tend to like screen names that imply attractiveness, such as "cutie", while gals go for the intelligent type, like "cultured", for example.

Interestingly, researchers have found that names earlier in the alphabet tend to be more successful, and not just in online dating, but in other areas as well, such as education level and income. Search engines tend to pop things out alphabetically too, so pick a letter that shows up early.

A creeper thing that was presented in the article was that people tend to pick people with names that sound/mimick their own name and interests, so get out there first, screen a buch of peeps and then pick a name based on what they may find attractive. Kathy Bates 2015 styles? #stalker.


Post one where you are truly smiling. Sorry gals, duck face aint hot. Ladies, tilt your head a bit and wear some red....aparrently guys dig that. Also, do the creeper thing again! Check out some peeps and look at their profile picture, post something similar and they will be more likely to check you out.

Headline Message:

Do not be verbose and sesquipedalian (Thanks Miranda for teaching me that word in grade 9....I finally get to use it); people want to understand and remember what you say! If you can snag someone with your headline, and they stop and check out your pic are well on your way.


Group picks. Don't just show selfies of you at the gym all by yourself. People want to see that a whole bunch of people like you, not that you like yourself a whole bunch. Men: post a pick with you and a bunch of smiling gals.....apparently women dig that. Make sure that you are in the middle of the picture and not off to the side, and try to find one where you are touching someone else....they both show confidence and that other people are comfortable with you.


This is where people make their judgements to move on, or to move forward.

Make it realistic.

Talk about yourself, but also talk about what you are looking for. The researchers found that a 70:30 ratio of who you are to what you are looking for tended to get the best results. Don't show off!

Likeability is more important than academic acheivement..... hmmmm.....taking down my academic credentials from Grindr.

Guys like seeing that you do yoga, that you do aerobic exercise and that you go to the gym, but they don't seem to like it if you play rugby or bodybuild. Girls like to see you being brave, courageous and outgoing, vs kind and altruistic. Wow ladies. Really? (Crosses off: volunteers at the food bank)

How do you make yourself stand out when there are so many choices?

Aside from attracting people with your photo and headline, use humour and proper spelling. Do not tell people that you are funny; say something funny. Do not shorten words or misspell things; it shows you either do not have the time, or are poorly educated. People can sniff out dishonesty a mile away! Avoid that.

The first message:

Do not go on and on about how amazing the person is and how much you have in common; people see right through that. Pick up on a couple things in their profile or photo and mention one or two in a breif message. Try to include something that rhymes with their name or headline....for some reason the researchers found that to work. Don't ask me's SCIENCE!!!!

When you reach out, again, use light humour and ask open ended questions. If someone writes you, do not delay! Respond!

If things go well and you strike up a conversation, do not lie! People can figure that out quite quickly, and remember, all they have to do is refer back to the history to catch you in a fib. Ask questions, be funny and confident, but do not be perfect. Nobody is perfect.

Always end a conversation on a positive note, and if you hit it off, plan a to meet for that all important first date sooner than later. People who waited longer than 6 weeks to set up a date, were less likely to have that date actually happen. Stick on the ice!!!!!

Just to recap.....these are not my opinions, but a summary of a research article. Overall, it was quite a quirky and well written paper, which was based upon a broad array of background research; check it out here: Turning that online contact into a first date

Well....I hope you enjoyed my first "Ask Dr. Dave"....I am interested to see what other topics people are going to ask me to look up. I learned quite a bit.....I never have really put much thought into the science behind online dating. I thought dudes just swiped right until someone replied....

Who knew????

Thanks for reading

Dr. Dave



"will you share electrons with me? I am looking for someone to bond with"

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