Why dating app Hinge is killing your chances of finding a nice guy

One of the side effects of writing a book about dating, is that every now and then I get a message from one of my (female) friends needing advice.

Take Margo for instance (not her real name).

Margo uses Hinge. One of the newer swipe left or right dating apps that looks surprisingly similar to Bumble or Tinder.

Margo has no problem at all ‘matching’ with guys, but after some initial messaging, her face-to-face ‘dates’ are nearly always disappointing – they’re not nearly as attractive as they appeared on the app, and the chemistry is non-existent – leaving Margo with the unpleasant task of “letting them down gently” the following day.

Except that every now and then, the guys get in there first.

This makes Margo feel like there must be something wrong with her – specifically, her personality. That maybe her enthusiasm for books, animals and geeky facts is off putting in some way?

But that’s NOT what’s happening. At all.

The problem isn’t Margo, or her personality – the problem is the app, and how Margo is using it.

What’s happening to Margo is that she’s choosing her potential dates based on photos alone, and she’s matching with a lot of these guys because most guys pretty much swipe right on every single woman they’re presented with. Way to go fellas. Way to make a woman feel special.

So when Margo she eventually meets these swipe-right-on-everyone guys, she THEN discovers they actually have very little in common.

What needs to happen, is that Margo needs to be far more choosey at the swiping stage – and to do this, she needs to review whatever profile text is available. More than that, she should never make her swipe right or left decision based on a picture alone – regardless of how cute these guys might be, or whether they’re wearing a shirt or not – it’s simply not enough information.

Instead, if Margo were to discount all the profiles that have barely (if any) profile text, she would automatically eliminate the lazy, vain, shallow men. But more than that, she’d be left with a more eloquent, thoughtful, and frankly infinitely more interesting, pool of male suitors. Men who believe that they might have to make a little more effort than simply uploading a picture of themselves without a shirt on.

More than that, now that Margo is considering profiles that have some text, she can start scanning for mentions of dogs, books, geek stuff, humour… whilst at the same time keep an eye out for any ‘Red Flags’; text that is 100% about them, political beliefs counter to her own, text that is 100% about sex, bad grammar, a hatred of dogs or cats, obvious stupidity, racist or sexist comments… whatever.

Suddenly Margo’s chances of meeting someone with whom she might actually click, have risen ten fold.

For more tips like this, download How To Stop Waiting And START DATING. The definitive guide to twenty-first century dating – whatever your age – from me, Peter Jones, best selling author of How To Do Everything And Be Happy. Only £1.99 for your Kindle enabled smart phone, tablet or laptop. Tap here to download. Also available in paperback.

50 per cent of all romances start on the internet


Twenty years ago I worked in an office where people dictated letters and memos, and handed them to a secretary to type up. Our department was considered high tech; as well as a secretary, the five of us shared a PC. It wasn’t networked. The internet didn’t exist. I honestly have no idea how we got anything done.

Now the entire world is ‘online’. My ten-year-old niece and nephew send me poems they’ve written, pictures they’ve taken or songs they’ve created, electronically, from a variety of devices scattered around their house. They visit ‘virtual worlds’ where they create and take on the persona of ‘monsters’ and meet other children of the new millennium. And only occasionally does this hi-tech world fall short of their expectations. Like when my nephew recently expressed some frustration when he couldn’t connect to Nana’s WiFi.

“Nana doesn’t have WiFi,” said his dad.

“No WiFi!” replied my wide eyed nephew.

When it comes to finding love in the 21st Century, I’m a big believer in the Internet. In How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting I actually claim that 50% of all modern day romances probably started online. Now how on earth did I come up with that figure? Buckle up people. Prepare to be nerdified.

Let’s start by looking at Online Dating Websites, specifically how popular they are. Below is a list of the fifteen most popular websites, according to eBizMBA.com. This information is ‘correct’ (or so say eBizMBA) as of October 2014. And in case their website ever disappears off the face the www you can download a PDF of the page I’m looking at here.

  1. match – 35,000,000 unique visitors per month (31.9% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  2. pof – 23,000,000 unique visitors per month (21.0% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  3. zoosk – 11,500,000 unique visitors per month (10.5% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  4. okc 10,150,000 unique visitors per month (9.2% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  5. eharmony – 7,100,000 unique visitors per month (6.5%of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  6. badoo – 6,000,000 unique visitors per month (5.5%of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  7. christianmingle – 5,500,000 unique visitors per month (5.0%of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  8. ourtime – 3,500,000 unique visitors per month (3.2%of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  9. datehookup – 3,000,000 unique visitors per month (2.7% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  10. blackpeoplemeet – 1,200,000 unique visitors per month (1.1%of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  11. howaboutwe – 1,000,000 unique visitors per month (0.9%of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  12. seniorpeoplemeet – 900,000 unique visitors per month (0.8% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  13. speeddate – 850,000 unique visitors per month (0.8% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  14. chemistry – 550,000 unique visitors per month (0.5% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)
  15. jdate – 500,000 unique visitors per month (0.5% of visitors to the top fifteen sites)

Wowsers. That’s a lot of people.

eharmony claimPay close attention to number 5: eHarmony. As of today they claim they are responsible for almost 4% of all US marriages (This is based on a survey they commissioned in 2012).

Now, if we assume that eHarmony’s stats were correct in 2012, and are still correct today, and that all dating websites are equally effective (!!!), then mathematically the top fifteen websites are responsible for a whopping 61.8% of all US marriages!!

That seems… unlikely. Fortunately I can list the reasons why:

  1. eHarmony’s survey was possibly a little optimistic back in 2012 (given that they commissioned it)
  2. And it’s almost certainly out of date today (given that there are many new players in the online dating website community)
  3. Some dating websites are definitely better than others, whilst others are worse.

But if we adjust our numbers assuming that eharmony’s newley wed statistic is actually only a quarter as impressive, ie. that they’re only responsible for 1% of US marriages – and that whilst some websites are less effective than eharmony, some are also better – this still means the top fifteen websites could be responsible for, approximately, 15.5% of all US marriages.

So what if we take marriage out of the equation? Here’s an interesting statistic taken from the 2002 paper snappily entitled Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States published by the CDC: The percentage of US women, in co-habiting relationships, that turn to marriage within 5 years are 75% for white women, 61% for hispanic women, and 48% for black women.

Let’s pretend all American women are black for a moment, and that cohabiting couples that don’t tie the knot in five years go their separate ways, This means you can assume there’s one unmarried couple cohabiting for every two married couples, and that the top fifteen dating sites are therefore responsible for 23.1% of US people cohabiting and/or married. But this figure rises when you remember that there are white and hispanic women, and that some couples co-habit for longer than five years.

Add to that number those people who aren’t shacked up together, who are *just* dating (whatever that might mean), and that number might easily double again: 46.1%

And what about all the dating websites that didn’t make the top fifteen? Actually, forget dating sites, what about the likes of twitter, facebook and all the other social media sites that actually do a far better job of introducing people than the sites that are supposed to be about introducing people!? Suddenly that initial guesstimate that the internet is responsible for 50% of all relationships seems somewhat low!

Online Dating can seem daunting – but it needn’t be a nightmare. Get How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting today, follow the Action Points and you too can find someone special.

The Wisdom Of Fay

fay's goalsReader Fay dropped me a line via facebook to let me know how she’d got on with her 2013 goals, but what really impressed me was how she’d written them.

Fay had three goals, all written in the present tense, each with a deadline, a penalty attached (ugh!), and saved on her phone where she could see them daily. Now that’s the way to write goals!

So how did she do?

I’m happy to report that during 2013 NO penalties were required – Fay has been dating someone since Oct, she’s running a marathon in May (it’s not Paris, it’s Edinburgh but I think that counts!) and she’s expanded her culinary skills with many a Mary Berry recipe.

The ‘Harrison fix up’ penalty intrigued me. Apparently it refers to her married friend who had a habit of inviting Fay to dinner, where upon she’d discover that the whole thing was a ruse to try and fix her up with another singleton.

If ‘romance’ features as one of your goals, I might be able to help! This month saw the launch of my new book How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting.

It’s available now in paperback, as an ebook, and (once I’ve finished recording it), as an audio download from audible. Pop along to amazon and select the format of your choice.

Alternatively, why not try the shorter, quirkier, companion guide, first; From Invisible To Irresistible – check it out on amazon

Stop Waiting – Start Dating. 5 Dating Tips

heart-love-romanceBefore I started on my quest for happiness, I was using my problem solving skills to figure out what actually works when it comes to courting the opposite sex. From the pen-pal clubs of the early eighties, to the lonely heart newspaper ads of the nineties, from postal dating services to the more formal introduction agencies – there hasn’t been a dating service that I haven’t tried!

And after many, many years of seemingly making every dating mistake there is – scouring every scrap of scientific research I could get my hands on – I finally cracked it. There’s love in my life. And it wasn’t an accident.

If love, lust or romance feature in your goals for this year let me see if I can impart some of my dating prowess to you now. Here are my top five tips for dating success.

Dating Tip Number 1: What do you want?

Figuring out who it is you’re looking for is probably the most effective thing you can do to kick start your love life. You might think (as I used to) that you can’t afford to be picky, that finding someone who doesn’t repel you too much and is content to remain in your company might be the best you can hope for. I’m here to tell you that the reverse is true.

After months, possibly even years, of less-than-satisfactory relationships with long periods of nothing in-between, I sat down and wrote out what I actually wanted. A list of qualities that I hoped for in my ideal person. And about six weeks later I met my wife, Kate.

Now – that’s not the whole story, obviously. There were a few stages between writing my ‘perfect woman shopping list’ and choosing to sit next to this beautiful blonde I spied from across the room, but a few months into our relationship I looked back at that list and I was amazed at just how many of the criteria Kate met. Coincidence? Perhaps. But for the time it would take you to create your own list isn’t it worth the effort?

Dating Tip Number 2: Go online!

By my calculations online dating websites are responsible for one in five marriages. Include relationships that haven’t got as far as the altar, throw in the likes of facebook and other social media websites, and I estimate 50 percent of all romances probably start on the internet. Which means that simply using your computer to meet people could double your chances of dating success.

Dating Tip Number 3: Pick a good dating website

There are a LOT of dating websites out there – finding a good one can be a challenge. My current feelings are the free-ones can be just as good, sometimes better, than the paid-ones. For extra oomph pick a site that does some form of compatibility matching!

Dating Tip Number 4: To meet ‘the one’, you must first meet ‘the many’

Very, very few people go on one date and hit the jackpot first time. In fact, in the years I’ve been chatting to people about this stuff I’ve never met anyone who has. Dating is a numbers game. If you find someone you like online send them a message. If they respond toss a couple more messages back and forth. If you still like them arrange to meet. Meanwhile; continue to browse the dating sites, continue to send messages, continue arranging dates. Exclusivity should be reserved for that special someone you’ve dated more than once, in real life, and even then only if you want to.

As well as a numbers game, dating is a skill. The more dates you go on the better you’ll get.

SDSW drop shadow colour smallDating Tip Number 5: Have fun!

Dating is tough. It has to be said. Some days it can feel like a slog. But if it always feels like a slog, if it’s tough without being the slightest bit pleasurable, well, then you’re doing something wrong!

Try changing your mindset. Dating can be a fun. An adventure. Exciting. It’s a little like a lottery; Sometimes it’s just OK. Sometimes it’s better than OK. Occasionally it’s a total disaster, but every now and then it’s magical. And those moments make up for everything.

Secondly, make sure you’re doing things you actually enjoy. For me, a good first date takes place in a coffee shop, if it’s going really well I might suggest wandering across to the pub over the road. Dinners and first dates don’t mix well. But that’s just me. Maybe you’re into bungy jumping, or white water rafting or long walks in the countryside. Picking an activity you enjoy will significantly increase the chances of your first date going well.

Want More Tips?

If you want to delve into the detail behind the five tips above, pick my brain for more nuggets of dating gems, or need a little more hand holding, then I have some very good news. How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, my third self-help book, is available today in paperback and as an ebook. An audio version – which includes the companion guide From Invisible To Irresistibleis also available at audible (co.uk and com)

You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book. Download the FREE kindle app for your computer, smart phone or tablet from amazon (.co.uk | .com)

Common internet / online #dating abbreviations, shorthand & TLAs (how many do you know?)

These are some of the more common TLAs (three letter acronyms) and abbreviations you’re likely to come across in dating profiles, messages or ‘chat’ sessions. There are others, and new ones are being invented all the time – if you think I’ve missed one add a comment at the bottom or drop me a message.


refers to the use of cannabis

any day now

as far as I know

away from keyboard

also known as

all my love

as soon as possible


awaiting your reply


bye for now

back at keyboard

be back later

big black cock

big beautiful woman

be seeing you

bondage & discipline/domination & submission/sadism & masochism

big evil grin


best friends forever

best friends for life

bye for now

be right back
(as in, “I’ve got to answer the door” etc)

big smile/bullshit
(that could make for an interesting misunderstanding!)

be that as it may

back to you

by the way

big wet kiss

come back later

check it out

see you

catch you later

chat with you later

drug and disease free

do I know you?

does it look like I give a sh*t?


don’t leave now

don’t lie to me

down to earth

evil grin


frequently asked questions

falling off the chair laughing

face to face

friends with ‘benefits’
(‘benefits’ being sex)

for what it’s worth

for your information

got to go

get a life!


go fly a kite

get it over

good luck

give me a break!

good sense of humour

glad to see you

hugs and kisses

have a good night

hugs and kisses

hurry back

how’s it going?

I could be wrong

I don’t care

I don’t know

I didn’t say that!

I gotta pee

in my humble opinion

in my opinion
(no humility)

in real life
(e.g. “let’s meet IRL”)

in search of

just kidding

just a minute

just a second

keep in touch

know what I mean?


long distance relationship

let’s just be friends

laughing my arse off

laugh out loud
(or, very occasionally, ‘lots of love’,
but that’s actually a mistake made by newbies)

laughing out loud again

long term relationship


man for man

man for couple (man & woman)

man for woman


mother I’d like to f***
(or more generally; an attractive woman in her 30s / 40s)

member of the opposite sex

member of the same sex

meet real soon

couple (man & woman) for man

couple (man & woman) for woman

more will be revealed later

mind your own business

nice one!

needless to say

non- drinker

none of your business

no problem

no response necessary


no strings attached (sex)

not that there’s anything wrong with that

no way!

oh, by the way

oh I see

oh my God!

off topic

public display of affection


point of view

peeing myself laughing

part time boyfriend

part time girlfriend


read(ing) between the lines

rolling on the floor laughing

rolling on the floor laughing my arse off

rolling on the floor laughing

are you OK?

social drinker

sense of humour

sooner or later

sick of me yet?

social smoker

sexually transmitted disease

sealed with a kiss

sealed with a loving kiss

see you soon

that’s all for now

take a hike!

to be discussed later

tall, dark & handsome



think I am in love

tender loving care

too much information

too numerous to count


“ta ta for now”

talk to you later

talk to you soon



thank you very much

very good looking


well endowed

woman for man

woman for couple (man & woman)

woman for woman


what’s in it for me?

well, got to go

would like to meet

who are you?

what the f***!?

want to go private?
(as in; online private ‘chat’ mode)

where are you from?

what would Jesus do?

what would Peter do?
(not always the same as Jesus)

who was that masked man?

whatever you say

what you see is what you get

hugs and kisses

you never know

you’re welcome

From Invisible To Irresistible

SDSW drop shadow colour small

Last week we talked about Goals and how to identify what yours should be using the ‘Vision’ method.

When I do this exercise in workshops there are a handful of Goals that come up time and time again. I blogged about the number one Goal of all time a few months back, but there’s another popular goal that easily takes the number two slot.

Even in this day and age of social media and online dating it seems that more people than ever find themselves sitting at home on a Friday night, with nothing more than a packet of crisps and a cat to keep them company. For some people that might sound like absolute bliss, but I’ve met many others who were hoping for a little more. At the very least someone who would sit between them and the cat, share the crisps, or bring their own bag for the occasional swapsie.

If finding and starting ‘a new relationship‘ made it into your Goals List then you’re in luck! Over the next few weeks I’ve got not one, but two books coming out on the subject.

How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, my long awaited third How To book, will be released in paperback, audio and as an ebook, on the 14th of February this year; Valentines Day. If you enjoyed How To Do Everything And Be Happy, if you’ve ever found any of my advice useful, if you’re fed up with being single and would like 2014 to be full of love, lust or romance… well, this might just be the book for you. Subscribe to this blog (top right hand corner of this website – it’s FREE), or LIKE the facebook page, and I’ll be sure to remind you know when it’s available.

Fed up with being invisible?In the meantime, do you remember how I met Kate? (You can find out here, or listen to the radio interview I gave to BBC Broadcaster Matthew Bannister below). When I tell people the story of how I met my wife they nearly always get the short version. The one paragraph version. But there was quite a bit more to it than signing up for a flirting course and sitting myself next to the prettiest girl in the room. I also underwent something of a self imposed image makeover. I did anything I could to turn myself into a ‘accidental relationship’ waiting to happen.

Now, I’m not about to start handing out fashion advice or makeup tips. That’s not my bag. What definitely is my bag however is a slew of ideas based on my own experience and/or scientific research, on how you can influence and improve how people perceive you. Think of it as a step-by-step personal re-branding exercise, all wrapped up in a mini-book.

From Invisible To Irresistible is the shorter, quirkier, but none-the-less completely gorgeous companion guide to How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting. Through a series of twelve anecdotes I highlight (and fix) those underlying problems, that make otherwise attractive, charming people invisible to those they’d like to date.

Chapters include:

  • Changing Your Mind – How you can think yourself more attractive, and why a little back-to-front logic might work wonders.
  • Changing Your Image – Why it might be a good idea to cut off your hair (or grow it back again), how to shed pounds without spending a fortune, and why hiring a professional image consultant could be a waste of money.
  • Changing Your Environment – Why sitting at home in front of the TV isn’t a dating strategy, why some of your friends are holding you back, and why it’s vitally important to have the right sofa.

How I met Kate

Finding a wife wasn’t quite the breeze I always assumed it would be. It required a little effort, some planning, and a somewhat unorthodox approach to problem solving. You can find out more in this short audio snippet taken from a BBC interview with Matthew Bannister. Click the big play button in the middle of the image (or here if you’re reading this in an email).

You can listen to the full length interview here.