It’s the app that puts women in control, which means there’s an art to using Bumble if you want a reply. Forget your zillion-swipe scattergun, dreary one-line openers or unsolicited topless shots – women have to send the first message on Bumble, so if you want to stand out you have to change your thinking.
Your profile should be aspirational but attainable. Luxe holidays and big cars – never pose with your car unless you’re looking to be cast in a documentary about rich virgins – are all very well, but they tell her nothing about you. The places you travel are interesting and relevant and the reason you travel is also worth mentioning. I’m sure one of your favourite dating gurus told you women are only interested in money and status, but while security and confidence are important, if you give off wanker vibes you will not attract the right women. Also, don’t say things like “I love the finer things in life” if you are not an oligarch and thus only talking about buying the most expensive calzone in Pizza Express. Bragging is bad enough; lying is unforgivable.
Nobody cares about your music taste – you’re 30. Look, headphones exist and you can go to gigs with your friends. There’s something rather “cooler than thou” about listing your favourite genre of music in your profile. She’ll either think you’re a saddo or lying.
Oh, and absolutely avoid negativity: a large shopping list of what you don’t want is unattractive. You don’t want to be unattractive, do you? No.
A good mix of photos is crucial. A full body pic is essential or she’ll think you have something to hide, but keep your clothes on – at least leave her something to unwrap should she wish to. A slew of selfies is pretty suspect – like, can you really not ask someone to take a photo of you? Nobody? A pic with your friends so she can see the kind of people you hang out with – please do not be drunk on this photo and make sure you are the best looking man in it – and candid shots other people have taken of you because you looked nice/it was a great moment etc will do. Even more powerful are pictures with pets (dogs or cats not weird ones like lizards or wasps), or doing something interesting – whether it’s paragliding, rock-climbing, at a festival, on a beach (no muscle poses) or brandishing a cocktail shaker. Please be in all your photos – landscape photos of the majestic Serengeti are not relevant unless you’re standing in shot, gurning in wonder. Overly posed cheesy pics – if you are a writer, please do not pose pensively with a quill to your chin – will not get you the contact you require.
Ask a question on your profile; it definitely helps. It can be funny, stupid or serious, as long as it elicits a response. You can either answer the question yourself in your profile or be… I don’t know what you’d call it, cheeky I guess, and say they have to get in touch to know your answer. They key is to get them curious, not send them running them for the hills, so something like, “How many people have you killed by your own hand” won’t go down that well.
You can ask a series of questions based on your own likes if you like (never dislikes, remember, stay positive), or you can use closed questions or give them options if you don’t want them to think too hard. Honestly, people love telling you about themselves – have you been on Instagram recently? Once you’ve made contact, however, keep the questions open so you can cultivate the conversation.
Extras to help you
If your match is about to expire and you don’t want to miss out, you can extend it to give her a bump. She’ll receive a notification you’ve done so and this may persuade her you’re very interested. You can only do this once a day unless you upgrade to Bumble Boost to extend matches, but even then you can only extend each match once. It’s only fair, really – if you spend months extending a match and she doesn’t reply, then perhaps you have a slight problem with taking a hint. Bumble Boost unlocks a load of other features to help you entice that match, including a SuperSwipe, which jumps the queue by notifying the other person you really like them without them having to match with you. This can help if you’re struggling for matches, but should be used prudently. And remember, it’s a feature, not a wand – if your profile isn’t up to scratch, no SuperSwipe is going to help you.
Get your friend to check your spelling and grammar
No offence but we’ve all fallen victim to an unfortunate typo and as you’re in competition with lots of other men, your profile will be scrutinised for signs you’re unworthy of a reply. If you know someone who did an English degree, or is a teacher, or still goes on about how they always got ten out of ten in spelling tests, get them to look over your profile to weed out any passion-killers. Also, check your tone – do you sound kind and funny or snarky and critical? Humour is a very personal thing, but if yours tends to be on the dry side and works better in person, try to be a little more “up” on your profile; you can introduce them to the full gallows humour once they’ve got to know you.
Enjoy the freedom
Look at the rule that women must contact men first as a positive thing – at least you know she’s truly interested, plus you’re liberated from having to come up with an opening line for the millionth time. Your patter can be reactive; you can instantly get an idea of what she’s like and might respond to. And if she doesn’t respond at all, don’t take it personally. It’s just a dating app, not judgement day.
Remember, not everyone understands how it works
There’s evidence some women users of Bumble are unaware they have to message the guy first – let’s face it, there are so many dating apps out there you can forgive people for not reading the small print. How to deal with this can be tricky. When a guy extends a match, some women get in touch to ask why they haven’t already sent a message. Some guys write in their profile, “Remember, you have to send the first message; those are the rules” but I’d exercise caution here, as the women who do know the rule will think you’re being a dreary mansplainer. That’s pretty much guaranteed to get you zero responses. Just bear in mind this could be a reason you’re not getting a message.
Time it right
Ideally you want as many options as possible, so swipe between 8 and 10pm – peak matchmaking time on Bumble. Apparently, traffic is highest on Sundays – nothing on TV, everyone’s hungover – and lowest on Fridays, when everyone is out cultivating that future hangover.
Not on Bumble? Don’t worry, pretty much all of this advice applies no matter where you’re swiping. Apply it at your leisure.
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