Online dating is complicated. And while we hear success stories of couples who found love in a hopeless place (i.e. Tinder, Bumble, whatever), achieving relationship gold seems pretty impossible when you're in the thick of swiping left and right.
And once you do match with a few lucky dudes, you've got to weed out the winners from the ones who think a great opening line is, "Yo."
Since no one has time to deal with all that nonsense, we talked to women about how their strategies make the online dating world slightly less maddening and monotonous—and asked them to send screenshots of how these tactics really go down IRL.
1/8 Photograph courtesy of Sandra B.
“Guys always ask me to switch to a different messaging app like WhatsApp or to connect on social media. I have a rule that I always reply ‘no.’ I’m testing how the guy reacts to the refusal (seriously, some of them freak out) and am preserving my own safety while trying to get to know him as much as possible.” —Sandra B.
2/8 Photograph courtesy of Madison H.
“After staring at my computer for 10 hours a day, the last thing I want to do is look at another glowing screen. It's exhausting. So I go with this opener, ‘What are you feeling most passionate about these days?’ It challenges the person to be thoughtful and articulate and produces an authentic and revealing answer that quickly tells me whether or not we'd be compatible. When a guy replies, ‘cars and women,’ I just saved myself a handful of back and forth messages. It’s a win-win for me. I stand out amongst the crowd and get an informative answer. Many guys have responded positively to this question and commended me for such a strong opening line." —Madison H.
Related: If You Want A Deeper Relationship, Ask Your Partner These 10 Questions
3/8 Photograph courtesy of Kate W.
“While I always appreciate an opening line that's more specific and personal, it does get tiring trying to come up with something different to say to dozens of people—especially because I prefer using Bumble which only allows women to send the first message. I think it strikes a nice middle ground between something super specific and the generic ‘hey.' It shows that I noted his name, I took the half-second required to type it out, but I'm not going crazy over it. If I were meeting someone in a bar, I'd probably just say hi to get the conversation rolling—and I usually find that the same approach works online, too.” —Kate W.
Related: 'I Masturbated Every Day for a Week—Here's What Happened'
4/8 Photograph courtesy of Allie H.
“For a while, the Kelly gif was my go-to. It’s fun and simple (which is what I’m looking for in someone), requires minimal effort, and places each guy on an even playing field, depending on their response. Honestly, it worked almost every time, and I thought it was hilarious." —Allie H.
We asked guys to reveal their biggest texting pet peeves:
5/8 Photograph courtesy of Alyssa J.
“Potential suitors have to guess where three out of the seven tattoos on my body are located for a prize (which is usually my phone number or that I’ll buy the first round of drinks). This strategy helps me decipher who actually wants to get to know me from who’s just looking for a hookup. It’s also a way to get the conversation started because there’s a ton of meaning behind each tattoo. I like to share the stories behind my two favorites, and the other person’s response is usually quite indicative of what kind of person they are. I also immediately unmatch anyone who asks to see a picture of my butt tattoo because NOPE.” —Alyssa J.
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6/8 Photograph courtesy of Aly W.
"Whether it's at home or while I'm traveling, I always choose the lowest possible mile range in the distance filter. If my nearest matches are lame, I'll make the range a bit wider, but closer is always more realistic and bodes better for first-date planning.” —Aly W.
7/8 Kris R.
“My number-one tip to weed out the not-so-great guys on online dating apps is to use social media to my advantage. After I’ve matched with a guy I think may be a good fit, I friend request him or check out his Instagram or Twitter. The way I see it is it’s better to see what I’m dealing with up front rather than after I’ve invested a lot of time and energy. And if a guy is hesitant to accept me as a friend, it’s a red flag that he's hiding something. Also, most people only post their best photos on Tinder or other dating apps, so I look through as many previous profile pics as possible on their other social media sites to get a better idea of what they actually look like to avoid being catfished.” —Kris R.
Related: 7 Things Guys Do When They're Not Over Their Exes
8/8 Photograph courtesy of Rachel T.
"I automatically rule out any man without a shirt on that's flexing his pecs whether he is in a bathing suit, a towel, or posing in a mirror. I don't need a man who needs to impress me with his ‘six-pack.’ If I did, I would have just found one at the bar." —Rachel T.