Let's get one thing straight here: Tinder isn't all fun and games.
Here's a college girl's guide to its terrifying world – and a couple of simple pieces of advice that will help you lead a peaceful life amidst life's biggest minefield.
1) Looks aren't everything. No, seriously.
Having gone on a date or two with the odd hottie, I thought I'd really cracked this whole Tinder nonsense.
He DOES look like his picture. He DOES seem really cool. He...oh wait.
He's actually about as interesting as my snot-ridden two-year-old cousin and now I'm stuck with him for another hour. Better drink up, it's the most logical way to get through this horror.
2) You can tell pretty much all you need to know about someone by their profiler.
Over time, I have come to discover that blurred pictures, selfie takers, conveniently cropped images and pictures in which the object of your interest is unknown due to the vast quantities of similar-looking humans surrounding him, are pretty much ensured to end in 'my head just isn't in the right place at the moment.'
So basically, avoid this shower of no-hopers like the blackened plague.
3) Same goes for Bios.
Oh, you like travel? What about drinking? Dining out? Hanging with your mates? Sports? I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING.
I feel as though I've read the same fecal matter so many times by now that my brain has half died. So, speaking for all of womankind, could some of you bores start being a little less boring and a little more original because I'd really like that. Kay, thanks.
4) Your first sentence to someone is the most important of all.
"Hey hun, how are you today?" BORING. Give me something new. Something exciting. Shock me. Or even better, throw a sarcastic comment my way. Hell, a fucking insult is more exciting than a hey. Hey is for horses, not for wooing me.
Neigh to you.
5) Please ask questions that don't revolve around my job and/or where I'm from.
I'm a waitress from a suburban housing estate. Does this sound wild and exciting to you?
If, for some reason or another it does, then please turn around and never speak to me again. We want someone hilarious. Someone who makes us think outside the box. We want someone who isn't like a nosy 78-year-old woman we accidentally end up sitting beside on a long bus journey, because at the end of the day, at least she provides sweets.
6) Mention the words 'casual fun' and I'm so out.
Tinder may be associated with casual sex and no strings attached, but that does not mean that I want to bang you after a four sentence exchange. Srsly.
7) You will come across your ex at some stage and it will frighten you.
This is most likely to occur on a rainy Sunday when you're lying in bed consumed by crusting mascara and a deep sense of pure and total regret. You know what'll cheer you up? Judging people based solely on their looks. Forty-two flicks in (lawl) and...wait...is that? Yes, yes it is.
The overwhelming desire to vomit on your phone takes hold and while part of you wants to creep even further on his pictures, your nimble hands have already kicked him to the kerb.
Only one thought remains: What was I thinking for the entirety of that shambles of a so-called relationship?
8) You will also come across cheaters.
"Oh look it's Ben, Ben looks...." Then it hits you.
Ben has a girlfriend, what the fuck is Ben doing on Tinder? This will happen a lot and it really just goes to show how far along men's brains have come, in that they think they can get away with cheating on a public, location based app. You will be caught and you will die alone.
9) If you're looking for something casual and low key, avoid pretty much anyone with whom you have mutual friends.
Because yes, it's just fan-bloody-tastic to have someone to bond over and all that, but what happens when it turns out that they have a really, really small penis or the sense of humour of a twig and you want things to die quickly and quietly like a fly, but your mutual friend is all like: "So, how's the relationship progressing?"
Yeah, just think about THAT.
10) You'll hear consistent stories about your friend's friend who met the love of her bloody life on Tinder.
I'm so happy for her and not at all bitter, jealous or slightly skeptical about this whole, joyous scenario. Don't mind me, I'll just be wasting more money on another date that's going nowhere fast.
11) And prepare yourself because there's nothing more awkward than those first five minutes of a Tinder date.
And especially if they turn out to be shorter/ less attractive/ not as funny in person, which, if my shitfest of a life has taught me anything, is pretty much guaranteed to happen. I have one word for you. Alcohol. Just focus on the bottom of your glass and I promise, it'll all be ok.
12) But hey, just bear in mind that it's all a bit of fun at the end of the day.
Because there's nothing quite as lovely as getting that text, as having a successful date, as coming across someone that you actually enjoy spending time with. And if it doesn't work out? Get back on the swiping game girl, the world is your oyster, after all.