7 Insider Tips From A Dating-App Employee

Photo: Courtesy Alex Williamson.
When Bumble first launched in 2014, it revolutionized online dating. For the first time ever, women were totally in control of starting the conversation — much to the delight of any man who has ever hated coming up with a witty icebreaker. In the two years since, Bumble has expanded the limited definition of dating apps by delving into friend-making and soon, career networking.

Alex Williamson, 28, who is now Bumble's director of creative marketing and brand copywriter, joined the app a few months before its launch. She's the woman behind the app's viral response to a finance bro, also known as "The Connor Letter."

Here, Williamson shares what she's learned working behind the scenes at one of the most popular dating apps today.


You Become Everyone's Therapist
"There's something to be said for working for a dating app and having people know that you're constantly working with relationships and around relationships. Every time I mention Bumble, I automatically hear everybody's dating stories. I want to be like, 'I'm not qualified for this!', but I'm also fascinated by what they have to say.

"You kind of feel like you're a hairdresser. Your hairdresser knows everything about your personal life because you just end up talking about that [when you're sitting in the chair]. I'm constantly hearing about breakups, getting asked for advice, and critiquing profiles."

You See What Works In A Bio — & What Doesn't
"If you have a sense of humor, you have to show it because it leads to conversations. Sometimes, it's fun to talk to someone who has good bullshit. It's horrible to start off and have this awkward, 'Hi, how are you?', and it's hard to get excited about someone unless you know the conversation is going to go well and be fun.

"Saying something memorable helps, too. One girl on our team has a question on her bio: 'Which would you fuck, kill, or marry between queso, guacamole, and salsa?' And I remember seeing one guy's bio where he had a list of three things he enjoyed and one of those things was watching dogs back up. I still think about that — it's hilarious! If you say something quirky, it can lead to conversation."

You Learn What Kinds Of Profile Pictures Are Best
"I would recommend against selfies for men and women, because I think they can make someone look like a narcissist. It's an unfair assessment, but you want to be someone that feels accessible. The more photos that you can have that are candid and show you with friends, the better you'll convey who you are and what your world is like."

You Find Out The Best Way To Use A Dating App
"Putting pressure on the date is one of the worst things you can do when you're dating. If you're going to be open to online dating, be open to meeting anyone in any capacity.

"Maybe you meet up and it doesn't feel like a romantic date but you become friends. You can't expect to go on every date and meet The One. As long as you're yourself from the beginning, you're more likely to retain a connection — even if it isn't a romantic one — since you'll both respect each other as people.

"If you don't put parameters around how you date, you can meet some of the coolest people."
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Photo: Courtesy Alex Williamson.

You Can Make Your First In-Person Meeting A Second Date
"If you're meeting someone through a setup, it can be awkward. When you're dating online, you can get the first-date questions out of the way before the first date and almost be on a second date by the time you meet in person.

"Plus, when you're online there's a willingness to open up more to the other person because you have the app between you."

You Identify Messaging Red Flags
"We're very anti-creep here, because we created Bumble as a place where we'd want to send our friends to date. In the case of Connor, he just berated the girl he was talking to and she handled it like a champion.

"The beauty of dating online is you can block people and report them. Nobody should make you feel anything but good in that first conversation. If anyone talks to you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, leave the conversation. Don't write a gratuitous 'haha' back to something you don't think is funny."

You Realize That Only One Thing Matters
"Bumble forces women to make the first move. Feel confident in saying hi and knowing that guys are sitting on their hands dying for a girl to say hello.

"The feedback that I've gotten from guys is that the best part of the app is that since the girl makes the first move, they don't have to worry that she isn't interested in them. They know she's interested."
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