Shiver Me Tinders

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

While I've enjoyed some lovely long-term relationships in my time at Reed, I've never had a fling and feel like my college time to explore is quickly running out! I'm absolutely no good at flirting and don't like parties with alcohol very much, so meeting people for brief encounters that way doesn't seem like an option. Friends have had mixed experiences with Tinder, from downright unpleasant to amazing encounters that confirmed their being lesbian.

Should I sign up for a Tinder of my own? And if I do, how can I find a fun fling before getting spat out into the Real World?

Shiver Me Tinders

Dear Shiver Me Tinders,

If you want to explore the dating scene and, along the way, figure out what you need and want from a partner, a sample survey of Tinder dates is a great option for you. I know the idea of Tinder can be intimidating, but the beauty of the app is you can engage with it as little or as much as you want. You can swipe right on one person or fifty people a day, and you can message every person you match with or nobody at all. Plus, if someone asks you out, Tinder’s messaging system is a low-pressure environment in which to turn someone down nicely. But above all, the real beauty of Tinder is, if you do happen to meet someone from the app, you don’t need to question the other person’s motivations as much as you would if you met someone another way. You both know that you’re there to see if there is something between you (be it romantic or sexual), and you’re not left questioning if you’re on a date or not.

And, Shiver Me Tinders? You will have mixed encounters on Tinder, but you’ll also have mixed encounters if you’re trying to meet someone at a party or Reed ball. Any date has the possibility to be an awkward mess (no pressure), no matter where you meet the person. The good news is that any date also has the possibility to be a great experience. Meeting people through Tinder and going on dates with them will, ultimately, help you get more comfortable with dating casually, and soon you’ll be well versed in the hidden depths of flirty gifs and proper first date etiquette.

If you do decide to throw your hat in the ring, you’ll find my list of advice for how to navigate the world of Tinder below. Have fun and stay safe.

Miss Lonely Hearts

Miss Lonely Hearts’ Tinder Tips:

  • When messaging someone first, don’t go for either of the two extremes: a simple “hey” or a cheesy pick-up line. The pick-up line is a no-no for obvious reasons, and just sending one of your matches a quick “hey” won’t do you any favors, as they probably received six of those in their inbox that day. Instead, send a message that’s specific to their profile: if one of their photos is of them hiking, ask where it was taken, or tell them you also like to hike. If their bio mentions they like your favorite show, send them an appropriate quote from the series to get the conversation going. You get the picture.

  • Always arrange to meet in a public place the first time you go on a Tinder date with someone. Getting coffee is a tried-and-true dating staple for a reason, but consider your other options. My personal favorite? Go walk around with your date, whether it be an art museum or a neighborhood of Portland. If you’re worried you won’t have enough to talk about, you can make conversation about the wealth of things around you, and if you’re not comfortable with eye contact, walking around is a great excuse to lock eyes only occasionally. So grab a coffee and walk down Hawthorne with your new boo. It will be low-pressure and more interesting than most Tinder dates they’ve been on, I’ll tell you that.

  • Before you go on your date, think up an imaginary event you have to get to after the date in case the two of you have no chemistry and just end up staring at each other over a coffee table. This gives you the option to duck out gracefully (and kindly). Plus, if you know beforehand that you want the first date to just be a quick meet-and-greet, you can slip into the conversation that you’ll have to leave in an hour or so.If you end up vibing with your date, forget the 3:00 p.m. dentist appointment and carry on your merry way.

  • Use the buddy system. If you decide to go on a Tinder date, give a friend the details of where you’re meeting and what you’ll be doing, along with a screenshot of the person’s profile. Set a time for you to let them know that everything is going okay, and if you don’t message by that time, they’ll know where to look for you.

  • Be straightforward about what you’re looking for on Tinder. This could mean letting a match-turned-date know that you just want to date casually, or putting a line in your bio about not looking for anything serious.