How To

Your complete guide to dating with Bumble


You might know Bumble as that dating app where women make the first move. The women-centric app aims to give users a less sleazy platform for finding dates online — as compared to Tinder, Plenty of Fish, or OK Cupid, that is.

Bumble is a good option for people looking for serious relationships or something more casual. It’s got a relatively equal gender balance, and according to the app’s data, roughly 60% of matches result in a conversation.

While an increasing number of us meet our dates — and potential mates — on the apps, it can be daunting if you’re new to the “beehive.” Below, we’ve put together a guide to getting started on Bumble, plus a look at some of the key features.

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How does Bumble work?

Like Tinder, Bumble is all about the swipes. Swipe right on a potential match, left if you’d rather pass. If two users indicate interest, a “connection” is made. From there, you can start sending messages.

For straight daters, only the woman can send the initial message. From there, the man can respond and hopefully, the conversation takes off. With same-sex couples, either person can send the first message after that initial connection is made.

Once that initial message is sent, the recipient has 24 hours to respond, or else the message disappears.

The women-first approach was intended to provide women with a dating app that put them in control of the experience. Other apps, unfortunately, are known for guys sending bulk messages and unsolicited nudes, which really knocks the experience down a few pegs.

Create a Bumble profile

profile example

Where you used to need a Facebook account to access Bumble, CEO Whitney Wolfe removed this requirement last year in the wake of the whole Cambridge Analytica debacle.

What should I write in my Bumble profile, anyway?

Look, people already assume that you like going on vacation or eating food.  And on Bumble, you’ve only got 300 characters to package your charm and personality in a way someone else might be into.

A few options:

A rundown of your likes: Unique likes. Not walks on the beach, rather a few things that make you stand out. These ladies have the right idea:

profile examples bumble

Quotes — a reference to a movie, song, or book can help you cut through the noise and help you find someone who “gets” you. Too obscure and you might isolate potential matches.

Personal statement: here, this line up of dudes have a self-deprecating approach — citing pretentious hobbies, Harry Potter, and adding a little suggestion of vulnerability.

bio bumble

Pros and cons list: look, it’s not the same as that dreaded interview question — what are your greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses? See below — kind of a cute approach, no?

bumble bio pro con example

Dating profile photos

things to avoid bumble profile

Picking the right profile pics is tricky. You want to look appealing, but not like you’re trying too hard. Off the bat, you’ll want to make sure that pictures represent who you are in real life. That means things like age, weight, and style should be close to what they can expect when you eventually meet up.

As per Bumble, your first post is your “calling card.” It should be your standout, most attractive pic in the lineup. Here are a few things to include:

  • Smile — Putting your best face forward means projecting warmth and approachability — so, smile! Most people are hoping they find someone happy, with a good sense of humor.
  • Action — a pic or two where you’re running a race, skateboarding, skiing, whatever activity you do can reveal more about your personality than a pouty selfie.
  • Recent — Again, needs to look like you. If your images are 10 years old or 20 pounds in one direction or another, your date is in for an IRL surprise.
  • Be the focus — choose pictures where you are front and center. Definitely no bridesmaid/groomsmen shots, group dinners, you get the idea. Sure, maybe you want to prove that you have friends, but it’s better to stick to images where you’re the only one in the foreground.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering — the magic number when it comes to how many pictures to include is apparently six. That’s enough to present a few looks — and contexts — but it’s more highlight reel than your entire feed.

OKCupid did a pretty in-depth study of what makes online dating profile pictures successful back in 2010, but it’s possible some of that has changed since then.

Chatting on Bumble

bumble chat screen

Opening remarks

Oh man… nothing is worse than an inbox full of “heys”. That’s the equivalent of someone “poking you” on Facebook. It’s dumb, pointless, and puts the communications onus on the recipient.

Some people like to open with a cute one-liner or a joke, but not everyone loves this approach. That’s fine.

On the one hand, that creativity can make you stand out, but others might feel pressured to compete by coming up with a wittier response. Which, let’s face it, may slow down the flow of the conversation.

Ask questions

Sounds basic, but when we get nervous, the tendency is to talk about ourselves. As such, remember to ask questions.

Asking a question about something in their profile is probably the safest bet. Sure, it’s a little tired, but that’s because it works.

Plus, asking a question means, they’ll likely hit the ball back — answer, then ask you a question… which — boom, that’s a conversation.

One at a time, though. And keep it simple. Start by asking questions that reveal what kind of food they like, where they’re from, and work up into common interests.

Keep it light

Save the tough conversations for when you’re in a real relationship. Hate to be harsh, but try to stay on the fun, playful side of the conversational spectrum. Flirtatious banter, benign sarcasm, and witty comebacks work best here.

Cut to the chase

Look, it’s good to text a bit before meeting someone outright. But one of the most frustrating things about the online dating scene is the people who use the app to text with no plans for a meeting.

For one, sometimes you have a great rapport with someone via text but not in person, or vice-versa. We all have friends and family that totally suck at texting, but they’re funny, smart, whatever, in person.

Second, texting can get in the way of the actual meeting. Be direct and ask the person if they are interested in going on a date — at a specific time and place. Don’t just say, “Hey, let’s go out sometime” — we all know that’s just code for, “We are never going to meet.”

From there the person can just say “Sure, that sounds great.” Or they’ll give you another time/place that works better or well, say no. In any case — the goal is to establish an initial meeting or find out if there’s a mutual interest.

Is Bumble free?

dating apps

Mostly, yes. You don’t need to enter your CC info to sign up, but there are some in-app purchases that unlock access to better features. Bumble boost is $10 a month and gives you a list of users who “liked” you.

There’s Rematch, which keeps expired matches in your queue for an extra 24 hours, and Busy Bee, which gives you unlimited 24-hour extensions. Basically, if you pay, you can get around some of the rules.

How do I filter Bumble matches?

This past December, Bumble rolled out a new time-saving feature, that limits their pool of potential mates to those with the most “relevant interests.”

That said, the new filters (at least on the dating side) are kind of what you’d expect. Filters include age, height, location, political preferences, relationship type, and astrological sign (you know, the important stuff).

Be prepared for ups and downs

Unfortunately, we live in a world where ghosting — be it at work or in our dating lives — is all too easy.

As such, it helps to prepare for the highs and lows of online dating. Some people will text you for a long time, and you’ll never meet. Others might disappear after a few great dates. But, then, that next person could be this fantastic match. You won’t know unless you swipe, right?

Now that you know how to get started with Bumble, what do you say — maybe it’s time to jump right in and see who you match with.

Still, it’s not so hard. To recap — make sure your pictures look like you, and your bio is short, witty, and representative of you. Keep conversations light and for god’s sake, make plans after a few texts, not a few weeks.

Happy swiping.

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