What Does Swipe Right Mean

Online Dating

What Does “Swipe Right” Mean?

Jules Chen

Written by: Jules Chen

Jules Chen

Jules is a Texas-based writer who graduated from Emory University. She has served as the managing editor of Lithium Magazine where she worked with a talented team of writers covering lifestyle and pop culture. Her lifestyle writing has been published at Betches, Adolescent Content, and Niche, Inc. When not writing, she likes to head to her local bookstore to pick up a new read.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Reviewed by: Emma Patterson

Emma Patterson

Emma has a degree in English and Creative Writing from Fredonia State University. Her background in satirical journalism and human interest content helps her approach the dating world with humor and heart. She feels most at home in the lifestyle and human interest worlds, but she's also passionate about history, pop culture, and literature. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading, watching a movie, or losing at bar trivia.

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Founded in 2012, Tinder laid the groundwork for what we now know as “swipe life.” Today, most dating apps have a tutorial to show first-time users how to sift through their options by swiping right if they’re interested or swiping left to discard the profile.

The right-swipe makes online dating apps intuitive and easy to use, allowing users to quickly find potential partners without the effort and anxiety that in-person dating often requires. However, swiping can also conjure difficulties for those who use the apps incorrectly. 

Nearly 3 in 10 U.S. adults say they have used a dating site or app, and more than 40% state that online dating has made dating easier for them. And with over 1,500 dating apps and websites currently operating worldwide, “swipe life” continues to define the way people date–making swiping with intention more important than ever.  

How It Works | Tips | Future Trends

How Swiping Works

Dating apps may seem simple, but you can always learn new things about what your swipes actually mean. Whether you’re new to the world of online dating or a member of every app out there, swipe frustration is fairly common. 

With this guide, learn how to avoid analysis paralysis and stand out from the pack.

Since “swipe life” moves quickly, we’ve broken down everything from the algorithms to analysis paralysis to help you stand out from the pack and cut through the noise. 

Swiping Is Fast-Paced & Photo-Driven

Dating app profiles are inherently photo-driven. Users will likely be presented with a dating profile that includes up to 10 photos, an accompanying name, and a brief description. 

Based on this information, the user can then make their decision. However, seeing the photos fill the screen may lead users to make swipe decisions too quickly. On average, Tinder users take only 3-7 seconds to glance at profile photos and swipe right or left on a profile. 

Algorithms Reinforce Behavioral Patterns

If you’ve used Hinge, you’ll recall that the app prompts you to begin liking others so that the match algorithm can make appropriate recommendations. 

Dating apps take note of the kind of people you swipe on and the patterns of your swiping. The match algorithm will identify when you swipe right and how long you spend viewing a profile, and it will use that information to show you profiles you’re most likely to continue swiping right on. 

Analysis Paralysis & Decision Fatigue Are Possible

Depending on location, it’s possible for dating apps to present users with thousands of options, all available to look through in the span of a few short minutes. You can swipe on more partners than the average person is likely to meet in one day in real life. 

To swipe left or to swipe right?

The sheer volume of dating profiles can present users with decision fatigue. You might find yourself moving too quickly, barely even looking at the dating profile but swiping right because you’re used to doing so. 

Or you might find yourself paralyzed by choice and reading bios over and over or staring at photos with your friends to determine if that guy is actually cute.

7 Tips for Better Swiping

You can always optimize your account with high-quality photos or a new bio, but above all, maintaining a positive mindset and an openness to others is crucial to combat any feelings of swipe fatigue or disappointment while using dating apps. 

Online dating requires persistence and paying attention to the real people behind the profiles. If you’re starting to feel like you match with the same types of people over and over again, you might need a reset. Learn more below about how to avoid getting “swipe sick” and stay safe while doing it.

1. Pay Attention to Profile Details

Instead of forming a fast judgment based solely on profile photos, take time to read the user’s bio and check out their interests.

Pay Attention To Profile Details

Although apps like Bumble have begun to automate this process by highlighting shared interests on others’ accounts, you might be surprised by what you find when you dig deeper on your own! 

Physical factors like height or fitness, as well as compatibility factors such as drug usage or desire to have children, are all important to consider. Swiping right on a match should be about more than a user’s appearance across a few photos.

2. Remember, It’s a Numbers Game

It’s simple: the more options you have, the better your chances are of going on a date. Though many apps place limits on how many free swipes you can perform in one day, don’t be afraid to use them while you have them! 

You can always refine your options after getting to know each match individually. Try to be active on the apps daily so you don’t miss a chance. 

3. Don’t Be Locked Into One Type

Hours of looking at the same types of people can build habits without you realizing it.

Don't Be Locked Into One Type

Although it’s good to pay attention to your preferences – and dating app bios make it easy to filter for them – always keep an open mind. 

Your perfect match may not be a six-foot-tall college graduate with a career in consulting and a passion for the gym.

Set realistic expectations for yourself. No person can be completely perfect or check every box of your preferences. 

4. Keep Going. Be Persistent.

If you’ve just created a dating profile and received zero matches on the first day, it can be all too easy to delete the app out of frustration. But don’t lose hope.

Dating apps require persistence and dedication, and, as mentioned above, the more you use the app and allow the algorithm to identify your preferences, the more likely you are to end up with a few matches that suit you.  

5. Set Up Dates on Video & In Person 

If a user is active on a dating app, it’s safe to assume that they’re not looking for a pen pal!

Set Up Dates on Video & In Person

Online daters tend to be goal-oriented. They’re looking for a real date with a real person. So don’t dawdle in the online messaging phase.

After chatting to a level where you feel comfortable, you can decide whether you want to take things a step further and arrange a date. 

Above all, it’s important to make the move to meet face-to-face. Ideally, you want to get off the apps and date in real life.

6. Imagine Your Offline Interactions

Swiping successfully involves users putting their very best foot forward, but not everyone has profile-worthy photos on hand. People are multifaceted, and you should always expect the unexpected. 

When looking through profiles, consider that the person may look slightly different from their photos when you meet them in person or that they might talk differently than how they text in the app. 

Straying away from your type isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Haven’t there been times when you were approached by someone who wasn’t exactly your type, but you hit it off anyway?

7. Stay Safe

Be cognizant of the prevalence of fake profiles in the online dating scene. You don’t want to swipe on fraudsters running a scam or pretending to be someone they’re not.

Stay Safe

Avoid users who claim to be celebrities or ask for money. You’re looking for love, not a catfish

In July 2022, half of surveyed U.S. adults thought they had encountered scammers on an online dating site, while over 1 in 10 U.S. adults said they had definitely interacted with a catfish online.

The odds are good you’ll encounter a catfish or two during your swiping experience. Swipe left or hit the block button and move on.

Is Swiping the Future?

Swiping has been around for over a decade, and the online dating industry shows no signs of moving past it anytime soon. Recent technological advancements promise improvements and upgrades to the dating app experience. 

For example, Iris is a new dating app that uses artificial intelligence technology to match users who are most likely to find each other attractive. Through machine learning, Iris improves its matching algorithms to recommend users according to their constantly evolving preferences. 

Additionally, many dating apps allow users to place audio or video calls within the app. That way, online daters can stay safe without exchanging personal information. 

If you’re eager to make a move but don’t want to reveal your name or phone number yet, setting up an in-app call is the perfect way to e-meet. 

Swipe Right Into a New Love Match

Swiping has its perks, but it’s not without its pitfalls. For now, though, it remains a dominant way to meet new people. The online dating market is projected to reach $9.2 billion by 2025.

A plethora of apps continue to pop up every year, each promising sleek new features to help users find companionship. Some, like Bumble, employ familiar swiping mechanisms. Hinge, which is known as “the anti-swiping app,” requires users to send intentional likes in response to specific photos or prompts on a user’s profile. 

Whether eligible singles are swiping right on Bumble or sending voice recordings on Hinge, swipe life continues to evolve–and its next iteration is yet to be determined. 

High-tech AI-powered apps, polyamorous kink apps, and tried-and-true Tinder offer new and old avenues alike for online daters to continue finding matches.