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The last time I went back to my hometown for a visit, I whipped out Tinder with my best friend and we started playfully browsing through profiles over a glass of wine and plate of chicken nuggets – truly, the makings of a fine evening. Now, I lived in a pretty damn small town, so the chances of knowing people on there already? Fucking astronomical.

Every second profile was someone I’d gone to school with, or had awkwardly nodded at on the street in confusing almost-recognition. But because we live for the drama (and were a few wines deep, tbh), this did not stop us from swiping away.

Here’s the thing – we humans are a curious bunch. If I find someone I know platonically on the ol’ love app, the first thing that goes through my head isn’t anything to do with the awkward nature of the situation. I am a grown woman with a reasonable amount of confidence, but hell fucking yeah I wanna know if they swiped right on me. Gimme that sweet, sweet ego boost.

Spotting and matching people you know can be a fine ol’ sitch if both parties know it’s not a legit match or if you’re good enough mates to laugh it off. But if an old schoolmate starts getting particularly thirsty or your year nine geography teacher pops up… yeah, nah. But don’t fret, my friend. There are definitely a few ways to proceed.

Fancy seeing you here lol

If you’ve accidentally swiped right on someone dodgy (read: your cousin), the easiest and best way to play it off is to play it cool. Crack a joke if you’re the hilarious type, but if you’re embarrassed just remember that this blast from the past also swiped you, so you’re in the same boat. Still feeling gross or weird about it? Just unmatch them. If you do it quick enough nobody will know, and you can go back to swiping in peace.

Probs not though

Amusing as it may be, there are some situations where a playful match or curiosity swipe are defs not recommended. Exes, people in positions of power and straight up thirsty fuckers should all go firmly in the NO pile. It’s simple – don’t swipe anyone if it’s going to make you feel weird about it if you run into them in person. Matching with these folk just isn’t worth the drama, especially when there are so many rad people on Tinder that you could match with instead.

Be clear AF, buddy

If you’re just matching with them for the lols, you better make that really fkn clear from the get-go, mate. Punctuate every sentence with a clearly platonic term and establish those boundaries, friend. Think I’m joking, chum? Not even a little bit, champ. Who gives a shit if it sounds like you might actually be a robot, bro. Just really stress the fact that you are not down to get down, amigo. They’ll get the message, pal.

Give it a red hot crack

Let’s get philosophical here, folks. Who’s to say that the kid from primary school who chucked a tanty at assembly isn’t now a dashing young thing that could charm the pants off your parents when you bring them home? If you think there could be a genuine connection, you’ve already got the conversation starter built in. Match away and see where it takes you – even if it’s just a trip down memory lane, you could have yourself a burgeoning romance if you put yourself out there. Yes, that was cheesy. No, I will not take it back. Deal with it, I’m an emotional soul.

Image: Getty Images / Westend61