Hooks-Ups: Tinder 101 for Canadian Students


Hook-up culture is rife at university. It seems like everyone is participating in casual sex these days. Some people treat it like a numbers game, and others like a sport. Some just like sex. If casual is your jam, college is the time for you!

In university, there are always lots of ways to meet people. Parties are probably the easiest way to get some action, but class can work too. The most popular, and maybe the most difficult to navigate, however, is Tinder. Read on for some introductory tips for students on Tinder…


Safer swiping on Tinder

In today’s day and age, Tinder has taken over the dating scene. It’s a convenient place to swipe through all of the hot (and not) individuals in your area, and it’s honestly one of the best places to meet people in a new city. Tinder gives you access to thousands of different people with different life stories and interests, and if you’re lucky, you’ll meet someone interesting, cute, and not creepy. Most of the time, though, Tinder demands a certain level of discernment. When it comes to online dating, you have to consider your safety first.



One of the most well-known issues is catfishing: when people pretend to be someone else online, or pretend to be significantly better looking. Usually, these are relatively easy to spot. If someone only has one to two pictures, or they’re almost eerily good-looking, they’re probably a catfish and you should definitely swipe left. Now, not ALL hot people on Tinder are catfishing but make sure you keep your eyes peeled.


Public first, always

Please meet your match in public. Some people will just go to a stranger’s place in the middle of the night for a hook-up, and that can be incredibly dangerous. For women and queer folks especially, be careful. Meet with someone in a public place first, and always share your location with your friends. You never know who you’re dealing with when you meet a stranger online, so stay safe out there. It’s not worth the risk. Most people are not dangerous, but there are predators and bad actors out there (who know that online tools are great ways to find victims) so meeting in a public place first is one of the best ways to decide whether you feel comfortable around your match and would like to take things further. Trust your instincts. A worthy match will respect your process and need to feel comfortable, always.


couple on a date at a diner

Improving your Tinder profile

To attract a good match, you need to create a good profile. Remember that great profiles are authentic, they give people a sense of what you’re really like to be around.



It’s important to have several clear and well-shot photos. Personally, I would avoid snapchat and Instagram filters, because they make you look insecure or like you’re trying to hide something about yourself. Of course, everyone has insecurities, but it’s no one else’s business and you’ll get more matches if you project confidence with unedited photos.

Make sure you have photos of yourself that highlight your best features! Let’s be honest: the best way to get matches on Tinder is to be hot. While there are many different ways to be attractive, there’s really no way around it: if you aren’t good-looking in some way or don’t have good photos, I’m really sorry (sending thoughts and prayers 🙏) but… you’re probably going to have to roll up your sleeves and write a great bio.



Now, there are a few directions you can go in depending on the kind of message you want to send to the people swiping through.

If you’re a serious person looking for a serious relationship, you may want to delete your Tinder because you might just get your heart broken. Don’t listen to your friend who met the love of their life on Tinder, they’re living a fairy-tale and it probably won’t happen to you. Tinder is an app that is primarily for hookups. The platform doesn’t encourage people to put a lot of thought into their profiles, and the swiping mechanism means people are usually going way too quickly to stop and read your 300 word bio. This is why your pictures are so important! They’re the biggest thing on the phone screen and the first thing someone will see when swiping, so it’s important to stand out and to be authentic.

When people do get to your bio, however, short and sweet is going to be your best bet. If you want to get matches that will *actually* interact with you, a good bio will be the key to a good conversation. Your bio should show off your sense of humour, give a little insight into your personality, and give people a reason to slide in your DMs. Remember, Tinder has thousands of active users every day, so it’s easy to get lost. Make yourself memorable!



Messaging 💌

When it comes to messaging, avoid one-line openers like “Hey,” “what’s good,” or “sup?” – you just won’t stand out and it doesn’t create a good first impression. In addition, even if you’re looking to hook up, avoid anything overtly sexual or could be considered sexual harassment. Telling someone all of your rated-R thoughts in the first message is a terrible move and a great way to not get a response. It’s also creepy to get those messages from someone you don’t know yet, so just keep it classy.

A good opener usually plays off the person’s profile. Ask them a question about one of their photos, make a comment about their bio, anthem or Instagram. First messages should be open-ended and create the opportunity to have a good conversation. If their profile is dry and gives you nothing to work with, you could try a question or a tasteful joke!


Swipe thoughtfully

As you’re swiping, you may notice that it’s really easy to fall into the trap of swiping right on every profile you see. Collecting matches is a bit of a thrill, I know, but it just ends up wasting your time and your matches’ time. Swipe with discernment and keep your standards in mind. This is important for dating and hooking up in general.

The most important thing, however, is to be yourself. Make sure your profile is a good representation of who you are and what you’re looking for. That way chances are a bit higher for a genuine connection when you meet your match IRL.



Sexual Health

Be sure to take advantage of student health centres for medical advice and check-ups, free STD/STI screenings and to always use condoms and safer sex practices. You’d be surprised by just how common STIs can be, so understanding how to navigate hookup culture while minimizing your risk is important. There are great campus groups for support and information about sex, regardless of your gender identity, orientation or preferences there are resources you can take advantage of to hook up responsibly.



Another really important thing is to make sure casual sex really is what you’re looking for. Hookups range from one-night stands to casual relationships and everything in between. It takes experience (and introspection) to know what’s right for you. Just keep in mind that you can’t convince someone to date you by sleeping with them, and you also shouldn’t convince someone to sleep with you by telling them you’re interested in dating them. This is manipulation and it sucks, so don’t do it. Being transparent with yourself and others not only leads to better encounters, good communication makes the sex better, too!

The non-academic aspects of university can be just as stressful as school itself. I hope that these tips find you well as your university career begins and you start exploring! If you enjoyed these tips, check out my partying piece that covers 10 golden rules for going out…


Play safe!


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