Meredith Golden has a few Tinder profile tips up her sleeve—because she helps people perfect their profiles for a living. That’s right: Her clients put their apps in her hands, and after learning about each person and what they’re looking for, she does the profile making, swiping, and messaging up until the first date. According to her, she has a 100 percent success rate—nobody she’s asked out has ever said no.
That’s pretty impressive, so we had to find out how she pulls it off. We asked her to pinpoint the top things people should avoid doing in their online dating lives, and she delivered, offering recommendations for sprucing up your profile, your intro messages, and your overall game.
1. Don’t make your profile about what you want from other people.
Describing your ideal match on your profile might inadvertently make the people who don’t perfectly fit your description rule themselves out. Instead, try to make your profile about your interests. You may be surprised by whom you end up taking a shine to, so try to keep an open mind.
2. Avoid negativity.
Along those same lines, don’t be one of those people with a list of pet peeves or the kinds of people who need not apply on your profile. “Avoid using strong words like hate and despise,” says Golden. Instead, talk about what you like. What a concept.
3. Stop swiping on the weekend.
This one is kind of surprising, considering Sunday nights are often the most active times on apps, and besides that, the urge to drunk-swipe on a Friday night is strong. But hear her out: “An attractive single is one who presents themselves as having a happy and full life. Sitting around on a Saturday afternoon online-dating sends the message that you don’t have much happening.”
4. Ask questions in your introductory messages instead of just making them about you.
A study by Plenty of Fish found that the opening messages most likely to lead to marriage commented on the user’s interests. This is true to Golden’s experience, so she recommends a question related to something mentioned in their profile.
5. Save the moody pics for Instagram.
Don’t get us wrong, that dimly lit, brooding profile shot would be amazing on your first album cover. But for your online dating profile, go with something sunny, happy, and that gives off positive vibes. Golden believes that another person’s decision to swipe right is a lot less about your actual physical features than it is about the feeling you (and your pics) exude.
6. Don’t jump into the heavy stuff until you’ve met IRL.
We all have things we want to share with the person we’re considering dating. While you should absolutely be true to yourself when you’re talking with a potential partner, whenyou share some of that stuff is almost as important as sharing it at all. That’s why Golden suggests not bringing up your ex or your family drama until you’ve actually gone out with the other person. Start off with your interests, and delve deeper once you’re on the actual date.
7. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for your friends’ advice.
Even if you don’t plan to hire a profile ghostwriter of your very own, any outsider’s opinion can help. A recent study from Glamour Magazine even found that other people are a lot better at picking photos of us that appeal to others than we are. According to Golden, our friends might also spot potential matches we would’ve otherwise overlooked. She especially recommends seeking advice from a married friend, who may better understand the nuances of compatibility.