The Tinder code: Deciphering dating app messages

Joshua Jordan/Senior Staff

Tinder: a place of love, hookups and, what some people like to call it, “making friends.” Whether you’re someone looking for a significant other or someone who “is new to the area and looking for someone to show them around,” we’ve all experienced Tinder messages that are hard to decode. Is this a message to hook up? Are they being serious? Do they actually care? We understand how difficult it is to decipher the subtext of instant messaging! Here’s a little guide to decoding even the simplest of Tinder messages.


If you get a simple “hey,” you’re probably the hundredth person to get this message. This person is basically a serial swiper, as in they swipe right on everyone and view their options later. Don’t expect too much conversation from this person at all, though. They’ll either lose your message in the plethora of other messages or get bored with you easily.

“Wyd?” — sent at 2:45 a.m.

This is what might be more conventionally known as a booty call! No one ever messages past midnight just to see what you’re doing or where you’re at. The classic “wyd” Tinder message is blatant code for “let’s have some late-night sex”. But hey! There’s nothing wrong with a little fun before the lights go out.

“Wyd?” — sent at 4 p.m.

This “wyd” differs from a late-night “wyd.” Getting this message in the middle of the day only means that this person genuinely wants to spend time with you … or just wants an afternoon quickie. Either way, could you go wrong?

“What’s your major?”

This Tinder message means business. When you get this message, expect to be judged harshly for whether or not you can provide for this person in the future. Knowing someone’s major is like looking 20 years into their future. To some people, what you send back could make or break a Tinder fling or relationship.

“You looking for anything serious?”

Odds are, they aren’t.

“Haha, sorry I’m not on here too much. Can I get your number?”

This person moves quickly! They lie and say they’re not on Tinder too much in an effort to not come across as overly desperate. But getting your number so quickly can show the exact desperation they were initially trying to hide.

“Yeah, I’m in Haas. LOL, it’s whatever though…”

We all love a good humblebrag! Getting this message lets you know that this person has many options available to them, or at least that’s what they want you to think. Be careful — this message can only lead to dangerous charm and a broken heart down the road… but it’s all business, right?

“Go Bears!”

This person is actually looking for real friends. The school spirit in them reeks of frat parties all weekend and trying to recruit you as a leader for Golden Bear Orientation.

Any GIF or meme

Depending on the GIF and meme sent to you, this person could be the one. They’re making a genuine effort! But if they’re throwing stale, worn-out memes at you… maybe it’s best to unmatch. You deserve more creativity than that!


It’s been four weeks, and neither of you has said anything. Maybe hit them up with a quick “hey, what’s up!” Still no reply? Then we have to tell you… it’s time to unmatch.

Tinder can provide some of the most fun and confusing times along your journey to love and hookups. Yes, it can be a pain to see whether a Tinder match will be a fun fling or your next potential significant other, but don’t overthink it! You’re still young! Have some fun and keep swiping, Bears!

Joyce Cam is the assistant blog editor. Contact Joyce Cam at [email protected].