Life Advice



Erika Ettin: How to stand out on the dating apps

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Hi, my name is Erika, and I’m a math nerd.

Hi, my name is Erika, and I’m a dating coach.

Yep, same person. When feasible, I try to combine these two sides. (I actually started my business based on data I gathered and learned from my own online dating experience.)

In trying to keep up with the ever-changing world of online dating, sites these days have to differentiate themselves. When every site seems like a knockoff of another, how can an existing dating site or app make itself stand out?

Hinge took a stab at it, rebranding itself a few years ago by getting rid of its swiping functionality and calling itself the “relationship app.” Then it added a series of prompts for users to answer. On apps like Tinder, there’s simply a blank box where you can write anything you like (or nothing at all, though I wouldn’t recommend that), but on Hinge (and Bumble shortly after), there are now three spaces for you to write something about yourself (each limited to 150 characters). Some of my favorite prompts are ones where a user’s answer can be truly unique:

— Fact about me that surprises people


— Two truths and a lie

— My simple pleasures

So many of my clients say to me, “I don’t know what to write!” or “Everyone writes the same thing!” Just pick three prompts, and then write something fun in them. For example, here’s a “boring” and “unique” version of each:

Fact about me that surprises people


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