12 Dating App Red Flags I Missed So You Don’t Have To

I used to enjoy dating apps until I realized how many losers were on there that I actually ended up going out with in person. I should have spotted the red flags that they were no good, but here are 12 that I missed (or downright ignored) so you can keep your eyes peeled.

  1. He wears sunglasses in every pic. There was one guy who loved to wear sunglasses in every single picture on his dating app profile. Shady? At first, I didn’t think so. Many of his pics were of him outside, but there was still something a bit off about him. On our date, he skipped the sunnies and had a creepy look in his eyes that made me feel uncomfortable. I should have known that if he was wearing sunglasses, he had something to hide.
  2. There’s no trace of him online. He’s active on his dating profile but then he doesn’t exist on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else—or he’s really private and a quick Google search shows me I can’t see any of these private accounts unless he accepts me as a friend or follower. I never thought a low-key social media presence was a bad thing until I dated a guy who was so scarce on social media because he just didn’t want me to see that he had a girlfriend listed on his profiles.
  3. His ex is in one or more of his photos. There was another guy who had a picture of himself with his ex and she wasn’t even cropped out. He had no shame in admitting that she was the last woman he dated. Um, hello? He’s on a dating app trying to meet new women yet he’s still got his ex all over the place? Ugh. He was still into her and that became evident on date number two when he took a call from her and bounced from our dinner date because she needed him.
  4. He loves to fish. As an animal lover, I don’t like pictures of guys on dating apps holding large fish that they’ve caught. I saw a few guys with these pics and I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but honestly, they were just full of themselves. Posting a pic like that was really about them showing how tough and masculine they thought they were.
  5. His bio is novel-length. It’s cool to see a guy who takes the time to write about himself on his dating profile, but there were some guys who went OTT, writing long essays about what they want and why they’re on the dating app. When they spat out their stories so early on, there wasn’t much for them to say on RL dates. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.
  6. He hasn’t bothered to write a bio at all. Then there were the guys who would leave their bio pretty empty. They might just write “Ask me about myself!” which I used to think was kind of funny. Unfortunately, a guy who did this and started chatting to me on the app had nothing to say. He came across as lazy and didn’t even seem that keen on being on the dating app. Ugh, so frustrating. If a guy can’t make an effort on his dating profile, what hope is there that he’ll actually be boyfriend material? Not much.
  7. He seems to live at the gym. Not only did he have loads of gym pics on his profile, but whenever he chatted to me he mentioned that he was just at the gym or headed to the gym. He was trying too hard to show me that he had a damn fine body and he wanted me to think about his sweaty biceps. Whatever. A guy like this is one-dimensional and full of himself. At least a guy with a dad bod will provide more interesting conversation!
  8. He only has one photo uploaded. I always thought as long as a guy has one pic on his profile, it’s fine. This is wrong! With guys who only had one photo of themselves on their dating app profiles, the result was never good. Sometimes the pic was about 10 years old—something I discovered when the guy rocked up to a first date looking much older than his pic —and other times it would be cleverly posed to disguise something he didn’t want me to see, like that he was lying when he said he had an “athletic” body or was tall.
  9. He’s a whiner in his profile. There was a guy who I thought was cool because he wasn’t afraid to be negative in his profile. He seemed a bit sarcastic and even jaded about dating and I thought, “Hey, that’s refreshing!” Um, no. Your dating app is basically your first impression. He was making a negative one—literally. When we met in person, it was clear that he was just as negative in real life. The guy could moan and complain about anything and everything. Next.
  10. He’s a little too keen. It’s awesome to match with someone who’s enthusiastic to meet for a real date, unlike those guys who seem interested and then disappear. Still, there can be too much of a good thing. A few guys were so excited to meet and it translated into desperation. How can he be that eager when he doesn’t even know me? Lesson learned.
  11. He’s a master of the humblebrag. You know the type. He seems down-to-earth at first, then you get to know him and he’s always humble-bragging. I met a guy who was the classic humble-brag. He’d try to show off by pretending to come across as humble, saying stuff like, “I’m single because I work too hard at my job that requires me to travel to Paris every few months. Ugh, it’s a slog!” or “A few women asked me out last week, but I’m just not interested.” He’s really trying to say he has a glam job or he’s a total catch. Ugh.
  12. He loves chatting. Perhaps a little too much. I fell into this trap once. A guy was really cool to talk to but the chats went on and on for weeks. He never actually wanted to meet in person, which defeated the whole purpose of online dating. It’s always a bad sign if he’s acting more like a pen pal than a boyfriend-to-be.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.