Jeremiah Rogers

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Using Tinder to Make Friends

I’ve used Tinder an enormous amount in my travels around Asia. I want to endorse it and talk a bit about it.

For the uninitiated: On Tinder you see profiles of people you might be interested in meeting. Swipe right if you’re up for talking and left if you aren’t. If you both swipe right you’re dropped into a shared chat thread. It’s remarkably simple and it works.

How to use Tinder is a personal choice. If you meet people in bars and immediately try to fuck them that’s probably also how you’ll use Tinder. If you meet people in bars and immediately try to talk to them that’s probably how you’ll use Tinder. I’m the second type.

Ways Tinder has helped me travel:

  • I met a woman named Kate and we travelled together for four days in Cambodia. We became quick and close friends, eating together and sharing very personal stories about our lives. When I meet people on the road we often share more personal stories about our lives since our friendship exists outside the confines of shared friend groups. We didn’t have sex.
  • I met a young woman in Hong Kong who wanted pictures of herself practicing yoga for her new website. I shot a few dozen pictures, edited them quickly, and sent them to her over Dropbox. In exchange she gave me a free tour of Hong Kong and bought me ice cream. We didn’t have sex.
  • I’ve gotten free tours, visited museums, and asked a girl I met on Tinder to be an impromptu translator during the Hong Kong Protests. People want to meet other people and hang out. Tinder makes that easier than other apps.
  • I’ve met countless women1 on Tinder and just had good chats with them and never met up. I’m normally 12 time zones away from home and lonely, so it’s nice to have someone to chat with during the day. I’m still digital friends with a ton of people from Tinder today and we talk often.

Tinder is an amazing tool to get to know an area. My favorite question to to ask is “What’s something around here that most tourists don’t get to see?” I’ll also often ask “What’s the dirtiest or richest part of this town?” and “What’s something interesting going on today?”

Aside from meeting up in person, conversations with locals on Tinder are valuable tool for things finding to experience and places to take pictures. I love it for that.

Selfies as Information

We should think carefully about the word “attractive”. Whether Tinder profile pictures are attractive has little to do with sex. I often swipe “no” on scandalous bikini pics and “yes” bookish looking nerds. I want to relate to people.

Tinder working purely visually has benefits. On Tinder I have one task, which is to have a profile picture that makes someone want to meet me. This dramatically limits the wasteful intellectual jousting and foreplay from text-based social apps like OK Cupid.

A selfie is worth 1,000 hard to fake words. A selfie provides a ton of information. Looking at someone’s selfie tells me, in broad strokes, how healthy they are, their mood, and how many friends they have. It shows me dozens of things that people signal to each other with how they present themselves. I find the selfie is a good way of determining if we’ll be friends.

This is generally my profile picture. Notice how I’m not naked.

Tinder is a wonderful app for meeting people on the road. Check it out if you’re a traveler.

Victoria Harbor at Night. Hong Kong, China.


  1. I only look for women on Tinder. Mostly because I have no trouble making male friends. Also because I don’t want to end up on a date with a man by accident. [return]