One of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to dive into online dating is through the well-known Plenty of Fish, which functions as both a site and an app. Regardless of which device you're using it on, the platform provides a feature-packed online dating experience that doesn't cost you a dime. There's an abundance of members from all different walks of life, most of whom are continually active on the site. Plenty of Fish is designed for finding people for long-term relationships as well as arranging casual, no-strings-attached meetings, although it skews more toward the latter option.
The League is an "elite dating app" that requires you to apply -- and supply your job title, college and LinkedIn profile. Big cities tend to have long waiting lists, so you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs as your application is reviewed. (Of course, you can pay to expedite the process.) The exclusivity can be a draw for some and a turnoff for others, but I'll let you in on a secret: I've seen most of the profiles I come across on The League on other dating apps, too. So at the end of the day, you'll probably see the same faces on Tinder, if you aren't deemed elite enough for The League.

Today, app-first options — and mobile-friendly sites with their own custom apps — from AdultFriendFinder to Zoosk have changed the game thanks to massive databases of loyal, active date-seekers providing plenty of fish in the sea to choose from. That means if you're looking for like-minded people, you won't have to swim very hard or very far. Now, you just need to find the right dating site or app to sign up for.


Scams have been around as long as the internet (possibly even before…). Of course there are pitfalls and tripwires in every sphere of life, but this may be particularly true in the context of online dating. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of online scams, and I’m not going to run through any in detail here, but do some research before you go giving your bank details to ‘Nigerian princes’ promising ‘fun moments’. As a matter of fact, you should probably be wary of any person, group or entity asking for any kind of financial or personal information. It might even be advisable to follow these general guidelines:
Hinge profiles have a good balance of photos versus personality, making it the most relationship-oriented app. It's my favorite app, but I have a lot of difficulty landing a date. I air my frustrations to ELLE.com news editor Alyssa Bailey, who met her boyfriend on Tinder. "Did I tell you I used to have all my dating apps in a folder called Hell?" she says.
According to the Pew Research Center, public perception of online dating has become more and more positive. As more people use these services, more research becomes available showing us exactly how and when people use them. In 2016, Business Insider reported dating apps saw a big spike in usage on the first Sunday of every year. Presumably that's when people are done celebrating New Year's Eve and are trying to make good on resolutions. The spike in usage continues through Valentine's Day, with another even higher spike right after. These are good times to use dating apps because of the spikes in traffic. The odds of getting a match increase.
About Blog Gideon Hanekom is known as "the relationship guy" and creator of GideonHanekom.com – a top dating and relationship advice blog. He is a trained professional counsellor and one of New Zealand’s top dating, relationship, and marriage bloggers and coaches. His services include one on one sessions, running workshops for organisations, online digital products, advice and courses.

After signing up, Happn showed me 68 users it said I had crossed paths with in the preceding three hours, though I hadn't left my apartment all day. This might be helpful if you're looking to date your immediate neighbors (or Uber drivers), but I don't see the attraction when competitors like Tinder already show the distance between you and other users. Frankly, if I saw a cute guy in a coffee shop, I'd just approach him rather than check to see if he's on Happn. The app seems designed for people who don't want to use online dating but who also don't want to approach people in real life. Pick a lane.
The Tinder app no longer requires you to have a Facebook account, but you do have to be older than 18. Once enabled, you can set up a concise profile that consists of a 500-character bio and up to six images (we suggest always including a photo). You can also link your Tinder account to your Instagram, and include info about your employer and/or school. Discovery settings allow other users to find you if desired and set a few preferences regarding who you see. Then the real fun begins.

Never mind the fact that more than one-third of all people who use online dating sites have never actually gone on a date with someone they met online, those that somehow do manage to find someone else they are willing to marry AND who is willing to marry them (a vanishingly tiny subset of online daters) face an uphill battle. According to research conducted at Michigan State University, relationships that start out online are 28% more likely to break down in their first year, than relationships where the couples first met face-to-face. And it gets worse. Couples who met online are nearly 3 times as likely to get divorced as couples that met face-to-face.


You might be wondering which site is best for you, and if you should bother paying for a membership or not. To help answer that question, keep the following in mind: Free sites are geared toward casual daters, while paid sites tend to be for people looking for a serious relationship. Of course, it’s not always that simple, and there are exceptions. But the key to finding the right site (or sites) for you depends on what type of relationship you’re in search of.
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