Last updated on 2019-10-13

What is no secret, is that Tinder uses an algorithm to decide who will see your profile, and whose profile is shown to you. It used to do this by assigning you a so called elo score, as covered in the founding article on this site. Nowadays, there is a new matching algorithm to decide who gets to see your profile, but the behavioral part of the score still remains.

What this means is that Tinder has created a set of rules by which your behavior is rated. And if you don’t follow them? You risk lowering your score and thereby your visibility, which means you’ll get fewer matches than you could. If you make a common mistake and break a major rule (see below), you could be left shadowbanned: Your profile will be hidden without notification. You’ll still be able to swipe but nobody will see you, leaving you without matches.

Unfortunately, they decided not to tell anyone the rules to their game, leaving us players blindly stumbling around, sometimes getting punished, sometimes rewarded for our actions. Fortunately, through years of educated guesses, tests, trial and error, as well as a bit of logic, we know these rules with 99.9% certainty and can offer you an –


Unofficial Tinder Rule Book

Unofficial Tinder Rule Book Cover

Following these rules will give you the best score and the most matches you can hope for, all things being equal.


Don’t spam-swipe right

This is a major one and as mentioned above, will get you shadowbanned if you overdo it. The funny thing is you might come across a lot of comment and sites advising you to employ this strategy, and you might even have thought of it yourself. Of course it’s more efficient to just swipe right on everybody and sort through any matches later, but as explained in “The Vicious Circle of Tinder“, this behavior is highly destructive to the Tinder ecosystem, and so it is harshly punished.

What to do instead:

It’s best to use Tinder as intended. That means actually look at the pictures and swipe right on the people you find attractive. Maybe even open the odd profile to see if they deserve a super like. Try not to bee too picky, but maintain some standards. The algorithm will thank you for it with a healthy score.


Don’t reset your account too often

It might seem an ironic thing to read here, as the Proper Tinder Account Reset Procedure guide was one of the cornerstones this website is built on, but the rules have silently changed. Tinder detects resets much more deliberately now, and punishes them harsher. It’s still the best course of action if you feel your account is totally bricked or bugged, if you can’t get any matches no matter what you try; but only if.

What to do instead:

If you just feel your score is low and you’re unhappy with the amount or quality of your matches, hold off on pulling the reset trigger! Try to increase your score organically. Which brings us to-


Don’t be unattractive

Usually referred to as Rule 2 of Tinder, Rule 1 being “Be attractive“. Don’t let the terminology fool you, though. Being attractive on Tinder is not just about your looks, but much more about how you construct your profile, how you choose your words and pictures. Thus it’s very much in your control to be attractive.

What to do instead:

Take a good look at your profile and think about how you come across. How does your bio read if the person reading it doesn’t know the context of your personality? Are those pictures really the best representation of yourself? If you need some help along the way, you can –


Don’t leave your matches hanging

In the spirit of playing the game of Tinder as intended, it would behoove you to actually message any matches you do get. Don’t leave them high and dry, as if you didn’t even want to match with them in the first place. If you need help coming up with that first message, we’ve got you covered!

Of course, this only applies if you aren’t drowning in matches as it is. You won’t tank your score by not replying to everyone.


Stay Active

This one is a bit different in that it won’t affect your score, only your visibility. I.e. if you come back after a break from Tinder, you’ll still have the same score (and expected match rate) you had before. However, the longer you have been inactive, the deeper you sink in people’s stack of profiles to swipe on.

If you can, try to space out your swiping over the day, as opposed to one big session in the evening. That way, your card will always float as high up in the stack as it can go.


And that’s it. Follow these five basic rules to stay ahead of the game!

I hope you found this guide helpful. Thoughts? Criticism? Praise? Something to add? Feel free to leave a comment below, or visit the SwipeHelper Subreddit. See you there ?