Your Foolproof Guide to Mastering Dating App Bumble
In 2014, CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd founded what’s now become one of the most popular dating apps on the market: Bumble. Herd, also a co-founder and former Vice President of Marketing for Tinder, left the company due to growing tensions with other executives. Since launch, Bumble has accrued over 66 million users with over 90,000 new users every day, who make over 23 million matches per week. To date, over 1.1 billion first matches have been made.
While Bumble is technically a “people-meeting service,” allowing users to specify that they are interested in making friends or networking for business purposes, the bulk of its users are looking for romantic prospects.
Going off that, let’s figure out how we can make the app work best for you.
How Does Bumble Work for Guys?
That’s all well and good for its shareholders’ pockets, but does Bumble actually work for guys?
How much value you get out of Bumble, assuming you’re using it for dating reasons, will depend on two key factors: how much effort you are willing to put into creating a clever and inviting profile and how well you can engage with the women you’ve matched with.
To help you in both of those areas, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to getting the most out of your Bumble experience, including step-by-step instructions on how to create a Bumble account and use the app, tips on crafting the perfect profile, and advice on navigating Bumble’s unique rules around messaging women to maximize your chances of landing yourself a date.
Crafting Your Bumble Profile
In the beginning, one could only sign into Bumble using Facebook, but this mandate has changed. Now, you can simply sign up with a phone number as well, where you simply input the code that is texted to you. If you sign in via Facebook, the app will ask you to provide access to your public profile, friend list, relationships, birthday, work and educational history, current city, photos, likes and email address — a long list aimed at helping you to build a detailed profile later on — but you can edit the information that you provide.
Once your account is created, you are greeted with the Bumble Pledge. Agreeing to the Pledge is your way of vowing that you will uphold the app’s values both online and off. This immediately distinguishes Bumble from other dating apps and sets the tone that its creators have carefully honed: this is a non-sleazy, woman-friendly dating app unlike anything else on the market. You will then be asked to confirm whether you’re looking for dates, new friends or networking opportunities, and Bumble will only show your profile to people on the app for the same purposes you are. This is a strong feature that avoids some of the pitfalls of other dating apps such as Tinder, where it can be frustrating to match with cute singles only to find out that they strictly looking for friends only.
Once you’ve selected the dating option and confirm that you’re looking for women or men, you’re almost ready to start swiping through the profiles of other users. There’s not much point starting the swiping process until you’ve created an engaging profile, though: your chances of racking up matches with a single photo and no bio are very slim, and women are going to want to know some basic information about you before they swipe right.
Picking your Bumble profile photos
Bumble allows you to upload up to six photos, and we’d recommend you select a range of shots to showcase yourself as a full package: a close-up shot of your face or two (feel free to use a selfie), a couple of full-body shots, and some pictures that reveal your personality, such as shots of you hanging out with friends, playing sport, or holding your beloved French bulldog. Your profile pictures should be well-lit and chosen with care, showing you at your best — that means no mirror selfies!
Writing your Bumble bio
Now it’s time to write a bio. You’re limited to 300 characters here, so stick to a high-level overview of who you are as a person that’s witty, succinct and inviting. Add your job and education details, which can be automatically pulled through from Facebook, and you’re ready to start swiping.
Understanding How to Swipe on Bumble
Bumble recommends new users go into the settings section upon activating their profile to customize their age and distance limits. If you have used Tinder before, the swiping mechanism is largely based on the same principles; if not, the way it works is that you drag a user’s photo to the left of the screen (or “swipe” left) on a user you’re not interested in pursuing further, and right if you like the look of the person you’re seeing and want to try to match with them.
If the object of your affection also swipes right on you, it’s a match; if they choose to swipe left, you’ll never speak to them. Matching is subject to one large caveat, which is that women must make the first move (and more on that below), after which you are now able to message each other.
One useful feature of Bumble is that it gives you three free chances to return to a user you’ve accidentally swiped left on, known as the “Backtrack” feature. This is in contrast to Tinder, for example, where there’s generally no going back on an accidental left swipe unless you’re willing to pay for a “Rewind” (Tinder’s equivalent of the Backtrack).
That’s not to say that Bumble doesn’t also try to milk you for some add-ons, though: there’s a subscription feature called BumbleBoost, which unlocks a suite of additional features, including one similar to Tinder’s Gold option, where you can see people who have already liked you (that is, before you’ve matched organically); Super Swipe (like Tinder’s Super Like), to stand out to people you really want to match with; and “unlimited extends” to increase the 24 hour chat window a little longer. Wait, what’s this talk about “chat windows”? Let us explain…
How to Navigate Bumble Messages
So you’ve been swiping right on the Bumble users who have caught your eye, and now you’ve secured yourself a match. Congratulations! This is the point where you need to understand Bumble’s cardinal rule: once you match with a woman, she must message you first.
There is no ability for men to send an opening line first, not even for BumbleBoost users. (However, if the match is a same-sex match, either person can start a chat.) Women make the first move because Bumble was founded to challenge the antiquated rules of dating and has dedicated itself to ending misogyny by shaking up outdated gender norms. What’s more, if a female match doesn’t message you within 24 hours of the match occurring, it will disappear forever and neither of you will be able to contact each other.
This is an app where women hold all the cards in terms of the initial approach, and that’s the defining feature of Bumble. So, if that’s off-putting, this isn’t going to be the right dating app for you. It shouldn’t deter you, though, and there are many upsides to the “woman go first” rule.
For one, always having to come up with a strong opening line can be a tiring role conventionally always left to guys, so you might enjoy being the recipient of someone else’s creativity for a change. You’ll also realize how boring it can be when matches approach with stale opening lines, like an unadorned “hey”; and, conversely, women have more exposure to how difficult and nerve-wracking it can be to craft a slam-dunk opener, so both parties are able to better understand the position the other traditionally occupies.
Finally, the fact that women must deliver the opening line also means that the users who swipe right on you are more likely to be interested in actually talking to you (and maybe even meeting!), rather than simply chalking up dozens and dozens of matches for fun with no intention of actually making a connection, as can be the case on other dating apps.
Overall, women approaching first is a solid rule, and one which has made Bumble a popular choice for female users and created a civil, respectful tone on the app – one that deters sexual harassment, discourages pick-up lines and forces her to start the conversation.
Other than that, the basic rules of conversational etiquette apply to Bumble messaging, as they do everywhere else. Ask open-ended questions to avoid letting the conversation die out, be kind and funny rather than defensive and snarky, and make sure there’s an even balance in terms of who is doing all the talking and, conversely, the listening. Once you’ve been chatting for a reasonable amount of time and it’s clear that the conversation is flowing smoothly, it’s time to put the idea of a date on the table.
Tips for Landing a Bumble Date
While the women in your match group must send the first message, there’s no rule as to who must propose the first date, so this is an area where you can regain some initiative. Timing is everything here: a proposal to meet IRL that comes after only a few messages back and forth is likely to come on too strong and may even make your match feel a little creeped out, so make sure that you’ve been talking for long enough that the idea of meeting in person is a natural next step. Having said that, though, there’s no need to let the conversation drag on and on for weeks before proposing a date.
Let’s face it: no one’s on a dating app to find a pen pal, so once you’ve had a lively conversation over a decent length of time (let’s say a few hours to a day or two, depending on the frequency of your exchanges), why not put the idea of a date on the table?
You’re going to want to propose something relatively concrete in terms of date ideas, but with some room for flexibility. Going for drinks is a timeworn, safe approach and there’s nothing wrong with suggesting you go for a coffee or beer, but if you’re really impressed by your match and want to stand out to her as generous and thoughtful, offer to take her out to dinner. Make sure your debit card is handy, too: there’s no hard and fast rule that says that men must pay for the first date anymore, but it’s common courtesy to at least offer to pay for a date that you have proposed, irrespective of your gender.
There’s no need to scramble to make a booking at your town’s finest, Michelin-star restaurant, and doing so is almost certainly going to be read as overkill; but a buzzing restaurant in a trendy area with solid reviews will be a great bet for a first date.
Users can also voice and/or video call each other within the Bumble app without exchanging personal contact info, such as a phone number or email, and develop a more personal connection without exhausting all the time and expenses associated with dating and meeting in person.
Depending on the type of guy you are, you might want to propose a first date that’s a little further outside the box.
Premium Features on Bumble
Bumble is one of Tinder’s greatest competitors, so when perusing the app’s premium features (which come at a cost) they may seem familiar.
This feature is Bumble’s answer to Twitter Gold. With Bumble Boost, users can see who’s already liked their profile and instantly match with them (BeeLine), rematch with expired connections (Rematch), extend their matches by 24 hours (BusyBee) and access unlimited filters.
Similar to Tinder’s “Boost” feature, Spotlight is designed to advance users’ profiles to the top of the stack to be viewable by more people for 30 minutes.
SuperSwipe is a premium feature that lets users tell a potential match they’re confidently interested in them by informing the match that you are interested before they reciprocate. This means they don’t need to swipe right in order to match.
Tips to Get More Matches on Bumble
Now that you’ve got the lay of the land, let’s help your dating game by providing tools that’ll not only rack up matches, but make those matches count. To advise, we spoke to Bumble’s Chief Creative Marketing Officer, Samantha Fulgham.
It sounds lame and obvious, but being real and honest in the digital age is rare and therefore appreciated. “We’re living in a world where people are obsessed with showcasing perfection, but it’s important to be authentic – especially in dating,” Fulgham says. “For example, if a sense of humor is important to you, showcase it through your Bumble bio or through the photos you choose.” Likewise, if you’re adventurous, you may want to show a photo of you cliff-diving in Hawaii. “Your photos are all about showcasing slices of your actual life, especially the slices you’d like to share with someone,” she adds.
Include Quality Photos
Fulgham refers the first photo on your Bumble profile as your calling card. This means you should put your best photo first and make sure it is of you and only you. “It’s great to include photos with your friends too, but you want your potential matches to know just who it is they’ll be swiping right on when they land on your profile,” Fulgham says. “Showing off your smile, your eyes (without sunglasses) and your whole face makes a positive first impression.”
Ask Friends for Help
Sometimes, your friends can be your best wing people when it comes to your online profile. “Your friends will be honest, and you can trust them to tell you whether you should switch out a photo for another one,” Fulgham says, adding that, if you need help describing yourself, they can be a wonderful – and honest – resource. “What do they love the most about you? How would they describe you? Sometimes your friends know you better than you know yourself.”
Connect With Kindness
Putting a positive spin on your bio helps avoid miscommunication. Fulgham cautions against being too negative, sarcastic, or self-deprecating in your Bumble bio. “While that can work in person, it can come across the wrong way in a written profile,” she says. “Putting a positive spin on your bio helps avoid miscommunication.” For example, rather than saying 6’0 (because apparently height matters), try putting a positive spin on it and say “Tall enough to reach the top shelf when we grocery shop together.” See the difference? Friendly and approachable!
Update With Seasonal Photos
Like you do with your wardrobe, you should update your images with the seasons. “People who see more success on Bumble are usually really thoughtful with their profiles,” Fulgham says, adding, in summer, Bumble tends to see an increase in interaction and matches with those who are updating their profiles to reflect the seasonality. It shows that you’ve been active on the app recently, too.
Alternative Dating Apps to Bumble
If you’ve been reading through this guide to Bumble with the growing suspicion that it’s not really a great fit for you, don’t worry, there are plenty of other alternatives. There’s Tinder of course, similar services like Coffee Meets Bagel and Hinge, as well as Match, AdultFriendFinder and Elite Singles, but if you want a truly different, state of the art dating service, we recommend Zoosk.
Zoosk is an online dating site which stands out from its competitors: it has unrivaled features and usability. Zoosk provides a high-calibre dating experience because it’s packed full of singles and is incredibly well-run and easy to use. You won’t struggle to find the right match or waste time on people who aren’t seriously interested in dating, because it’s devoid of all the bot accounts and half-filled profiles you might encounter on lower-quality sites — Zoosk is the real deal, so if Bumble just isn’t floating your boat, we’d recommend you give Zoosk a go.