Only a few years ago online dating was that thing many of us assumed that only desperate or creepy people did, and no-one dared admit to searching for or having met their partner online; today, it's the easiest way for singles to meet new people, and it seems as though all the single ladies (and men) are doing it. There's one app in particular they're using: Tinder. Here we explain what is Tinder, how Tinder works, why Tinder is so popular, and other Tinder FAQs, including why you might not be getting any interest. Also see: 10 best sites for online dating and What is Bumble? Tinder lovers meet Bumble, the dating app that lets the girls chase the guys

I've lost track of the number of friends who've asked me about Tinder. And I'm not entirely sure why, since I'm not single. But it just goes to show how interested are people in the dating app. I do have several close friends who use Tinder, however, so yesterday I took the opportunity to force on them a game of 20 questions in an effort to answer your Tinder FAQs. Special thanks goes to Paul, who let me have a nosey at his Tinder profile and who also features in the below Tinder screenshots (the identities of the ladies with whom he has matched have been protected for obvious reasons). Also see: Best Android apps and Best iPhone apps.

Tinder FAQ: What is Tinder? 

Tinder is an online dating app that matches couples based on their physical attraction to one another. It alerts you to other Tinder users who fall within a specified age range and gender and are within a certain distance of your location, and it lets you know whether you have any mutual friends. You decide whether or not you like the look of a person: if you do, great; if you don't, they'll never know. If you're both interested then Tinder's messaging function offers you a virtual private location in which to chat and get to know each other better. It's very much like being introduced to the hot friend of a friend in a bar, but it removes the clumsy, drunken matchmaker and the want-to-curl-up-and-die cringeworthiness from the equation. 

Tinder FAQ: Why is Tinder the best online dating service?

We don't claim that Tinder is the best online dating service, but it's certainly becoming increasingly popular and is talked about more than other dating service. The people we've spoken to about Tinder like it because it's so simple: there's no 400-question registration process, and it doesn't put you in a box for - as an example - saying you're a non-smoker when actually you have been known to indulge on occasion and wouldn't particularly mind dating someone who smokes. And while personalities are ultimately what's important in a long-term relationship, Tinder recognises that when developing an attraction establishing how well suited you are to a person often comes second to the way they look. It's also perfectly suited to mobile use, such as when you're in the pub, you've had a few beers and you've got your game face on.

Tinder FAQ: How many users does Tinder have?

Tinder has 10 million active daily users, so it's a popular site on which to meet your someone. 

Tinder FAQ: How do I use Tinder? 

Tinder Settings

Tinder is a really simple app to use. Just download it, log in with your Facebook profile, specify the gender and age range of the people you'd like to meet, and how far you're prepared to travel to meet them. When Tinder finds people who match those criteria it places cards on your screen that show a large photo of the person; tap this to see a short description they've written. Below the picture is a heart icon and a cross - tap the heart if you like them and the cross if you don't, or simply swipe offscreen the card to dismiss it and move on to the next. If you like someone who also likes you Tinder will tell you that a match has been made and opens up a simple messaging function. 

Tinder FAQ: How do I get Tinder?

Tinder is available as a free app for Android or iOS; just download it from the App Store or Google Play. You'll also need a Facebook account to log in; this is necessary for Tinder to attempt to match you with people with whom you have friends or interests in common, and also take basic details such as your age and any photos you allow to appear on your Tinder profile.

Tinder FAQ: Do I have to be good-looking to use Tinder? 

Everyone is beautiful to someone. While it's true that those whose beauty shows strongly through the outside will probably make more matches on Tinder, you need only one good match to meet someone with whom you could have a very happy future.

Tinder FAQ: Why aren't I getting any interest on Tinder?

Tinder is a two-way street - you can't just sign up, forget about the app and hope people will come to you. Because the messaging system is opened up only when both parties have confirmed their interest, you won't know anyone has liked you unless you also like them. So if you want to see results, open up the Tinder app and get involved. You could also check out Insurance2Go's 10 Tinder Commandments for advice on what to do and not to do on Tinder if you want to land a date.

Tinder FAQ: Isn't it wrong to judge people on their looks? 

Tinder card

You should never judge a book by its cover, but it is human nature to do so. First impressions are important, and many relationships are born out of a physical attraction, then blossom as each partner gets to know the other better. In the end looks probably won't matter, but it would be foolish to assume that they don't play a factor in the beginning, at least for some people. Chances are, if you're not looking for anything long-term, looks could be even more important. 

Tinder FAQ: What happens if I like someone and they don't like me? 

There's no need to hide your face in shame. The only way someone will know if you've liked them on Tinder is if they like you too, then a match is made and the messaging function between the pair of you becomes active. So set your sights as high as you like - no-one will call you on it.

Tinder FAQ: Will someone know if I don't like them? 

Likewise, Tinder won't tell someone who fancies you that the feeling isn't mutual. That person might eventually work it out when several weeks have passed and a match hasn't been made, but the chances are they've liked a few people in that time and won't be pinning all their hopes on you. It's a very gentle way of letting down those in whom you're not interested without hurting their feelings.

Tinder FAQ: I've made dozens of matches - who do I choose? 

Tinder messaging

Once a match has been made the messaging function is enabled. Now it's time to get chatting and see whether your personalities also match. You don't have to talk to all of them, or any of them. It's up to you. 

Tinder FAQ: Will I meet a psycho on Tinder? 

Only the people you've liked are allowed to contact you on Tinder, so there's no chance that you'll get a bunch of unsolicited messages; and those users you have allowed can be blocked if they get annoying or a bit creepy. But you do still need to apply the same rules on Tinder as you would with any online dating site: you'll never really know who you're agreeing to meet until you do so.

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