For many singles, especially serial-monogamists or divorcees, signing up for a slew of online dating options and websites is an overwhelming and cumbersome process. Because there are hundreds of options readily available in your app store, deciphering which downloads will reap the most benefits requires research, trial-and-error and plenty of failed first dates. However, it doesn’t have to be.
Ahh, OkCupid: an oldie but a goodie. The third-most popular dating app first launched in 2004 (!!), but the OkCupid that we now know and love has been through a lot of changes in the past decade. Most recently, OkCupid has taken on the motto "dating deserves better," and has made it a point to focus on helping users foster more real, deeper connections — swoon.
It’s important to be upfront about what you’re looking for online. If you’re interested in something casual, free sites that require less information to sign up could work perfectly. It’s probably not worth paying for a membership if you’re not looking for anything long term and are willing to risk going on a couple of potentially bad dates. If marriage is what you’re after, then you might have better luck on paid sites that pair you with people who have the same priorities.
Affordability isn’t the only thing FriendFinder-X has going for it, but it’s a good place to start. For free, you can upload your information (age, location, gender, sexual interest, etc.) and photos, filter through profiles based on the same types of information, receive sexy match recommendations, and flirt. FriendFinder-X also has one of the most open atmospheres of any online sex community — share your passions with others, no shame, and even receive tips from fellow members is you’re having any problems.
You can like people secretly, and they won’t find out unless they like you, too. If you’re comfortable being bolder, then you can tap the Charm button to let them know you’re interested. However, Charms cost coins which you’ll have to buy with real cash via in-app purchases. When you get a match — which Happn calls a Crush — you can start chatting with each other.
Jenna Slater, 27, lives in San Diego and found the entire notion of meeting people online daunting. “Dating apps have always been hard for me because even though I find myself hilarious, that struggles to come across via text,” she says. “I also work insane hours and simple don’t have the time to swipe hoping the person swipes me back.” Tinder was decidedly not for her, and she began to think dating apps in general might be a bust, until she found Hinge.
Coffe meets bagel is a free online dating app where singles can find other singles looking for real long-term relationships. It requires you to authenticate the app with Facebook to get started. You’ll be asked questions before officially making it to the app. These questions will be used for suitable match-making for you. Based on your profile data, you’ll be suggested a Bagel. You both have to like each other’s Bagel before making any contacts through the message box.
Once you've installed these apps and signed up for the services, get ready for a barrage of notifications and email. Some, like daily match suggestions, are helpful, while others, like alerts that tell you every new "like" you get, can just be annoying. The good thing is you can easily tweak these alerts by drilling down into the settings menus in each of the apps.
Bumble looks eerily similar to Tinder, but functions a tad differently. The big catch with Bumble is that when opposite genders match, the woman must message the guy first — and she has 24 hours to do so. Guys can extend matches for 24 hours, if they’re really hoping to hear from a woman, as can ladies, if they want to initiate something with a match but just haven’t had the time during the first day. For same-gender matches, either person can initiate the conversation first.
Why it's awesome: Referred to as "Tinder for elites," The League is the dating app version of those really exclusive clubs that always have a line around the corner, terrifying bouncers, and a crazy cover. Okay, that kind of sounds like it's for assholes, but it's actually a comforting alternative if you're not trying to be thrown to the wolves like you would be on Match. ( The League CEO Amanda Bradford claims claims that it's actually a way for "alpha females" to find someone who celebrates and supports their drive.) It's overwhelming to skip past all of the sketchy randoms to get to the handful of good ones, and even then, they could totally be catfishing you. The League does the social media creeping for you, requires all users to connect a Facebook and LinkedIn account, and screens based on professional history to ensure that their dating pool is full of "intelligent, educated and ambitious" singles.
For our fake dating profiles, we counted how many matches and messages we received in 24 hours. We also noted whether you could block or report inappropriate behavior, how long the profile setup process was, how in-depth setup questions were, and whether we encountered any obvious bots (fake profiles like ours). For sites that require you to “like” users to get matches, we did so to the first 30 accounts we came across.
Match.com is free to join, create a profile, upload photos, and browse singles, and with its app, you can do all of that — and more — while on the go. Besides not costing you a penny, the Match app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, will also put you in front of millions of eligible men and women. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a fun date or serious relationship because Match has one of the highest success rates of any dating site, so you’re sure to meet the right person for you.
Why it's awesome: Grindr has been the go-to for gay and bi men since 2009, and that's because finding someone to talk to is damn near instantaneous. Instead of swiping right or left to match, you'll get a borderline infinite collage of people who are close location wise — and aside from it being overwhelming and slightly frightening, it's obvious that there are a ton of men out there waiting for a conversation. Most users just looking to hook up will let you know right off that they're not trying to make small talk. That's not to say it's not for relationships — one of my good friends met his current boyfriend on Grindr — but at the surface level, it's ideal for quick, casual encounters. However, in 2017, Grindr launched their thoughtful LGBTQ online magazine called Into, in efforts to make itself look more like a lifestyle brand and less like a hookup app. According to Mashable's MJ Franklin, Into is one of the most interesting digital magazines on the internet. Now you really can say you're just on Grindr for the articles. (Suuure.)
Happn is a local dating app. It uses your GPS to find people close to you. It does so with varying degrees of success depending on where you live. Like most dating apps, this one won't do you any good if it's not a popular app in your area. Thus, if you don't get a ton of matches, you should probably give up on this one. The app works by showing you who you cross paths with in real life. Once it happens enough times, their profile shows up on your timeline. You can then connect and chat. This is a neat concept because you're automatically matched with people who are usually in the same kinds of areas you are and that can be a helpful ice breaker. You can buy coins as in-app purchases. Like Coffee Meets Bagel, they're useful for adding functionality and increasing your visibility to other users.
If, for one reason or another, you don’t have the time or energy to go over what’s every single site and app out there has to offer, you can rest easy. We’ve done just that already so you don’t have to. From the internationally acclaimed FriendFinderX to the X-rated AdultFriendFinder, the names speak for themselves, but the experience they provide is better than you might expect.
When my best friend joined her first dating site, like most people, she went with one of the largest ones that was completely free. She assumed she was making the right choice, but within the first day, she regretted her decision. The site had too many people for her to sort through and didn’t have the resources to help her to do so. Plus, she had already received 40 or so messages that she needed to read. Online dating become more work than fun.
Signing up took us about 20 minutes during testing, which is more than twice as long as most of the websites we tested. You answer questions about not only about your appearance, but also about your religious beliefs and career. You then fill out a comprehensive survey regarding what you want in a partner. The questions even go as far to ask whether you want to have kids, which is an important thing to agree on if you're looking for a long-term commitment. You have to pay for a subscription to access most of the features on eharmony, and even though we couldn't read them with a free account, we got nine emails in 24 hours, which was a pretty decent response rate. There is also an eharmony app that's easy to use, making this a great service to try if you want a thorough experience.
Hinge is a community of people looking for real relationships and connections. It uses your Facebook account to find people who are looking to date. The entire concept of Hinge is based on the quality, safety and real relationships. When you going to interact with people who have mutual friends with you, then the chances are high that decency will be maintained through the initial period and you’ll be safe from the dangers that you usually getting into while meeting a total stranger.
Taste buds is a unique and new dating app for music lovers. You can make an account on this app either using your Facebook account or email. The premise of this app is to get people connect who have the same interest in the music. Based on the music taste, you get potential matches. From there, things can get interesting just based on your music choice. The restrictions are limited since you can send and receive messages prior any match with the person.
Tinder may not want to advertise as such, but we all know what it's mostly used for. You're quite literally deciding if you want to interact with someone based on nothing but profile pictures and a quote from The Office, so yeah, you can see how getting laid would be the main goal of most users — but hey, we all know those couples who met on Tinder and have been together for years. It's fast, easy, and if there's one app that even the shyest, most skeptical people will be on, it's Tinder. Hell, even celebrities can now have verified profiles on there (meaning yes, you could match with one of the Hollywood Chrises if you're really lucky). You may get carpal tunnel from swiping so much, but I guess that also means that it's nearly impossible to not find someone who's DTF.