The dating app Wingman takes matchmaking into the 21st century. With this app, you can create a dating profile for your friend and tell the world how amazing they are. Along with selecting the most flattering photos of your friend, you get to write their bio. It can be hard to self-promote and this app eliminates that problem. Once you set up a profile, the app is pretty similar to Tinder; you simply swipe through user profiles to find folks you think might be compatible with your friend. Like the profile you created, those you flip through are monitored and used by the friends of the person actually going on the date. If they think it’s a match that might work, you can facilitate a conversation or a meet-up.
When Samantha Karjala started using apps to meet more people in her small Northeastern town, she was annoyed at what they implied. “When you say you went on a Tinder date, most people expect you had sex with the person,” she says. “It’s a bummer, because I used it to meet cool people to expand my dating pool, which was helpful with the radius feature on Tinder.” She says that, despite some annoying responses from dudes, she was just out of a relationship and wanted to stick with using the app. “I think I most enjoyed the bios, because it really shows what people think is important enough to say in a few words.” Her bio was a Nicki Minaj lyric that she says, “sparked a lot of conversations”—including one with the guy who would later become her husband.
Specifying the age range and gender that you're looking for in a partner does squat to narrow down your options. Considering Zoosk sees a user base of about 40 million members, getting through all profiles that match your requirements could take ages, especially if you're looking for more than a hookup. By monitoring your swiping behavior, Zoosk can tap into your subconscious (okay, not really, but sorta) and give you what you want deep down. However, if you want to boost your profile or send more than a few messages, you'll have to buy and participate in Zoosk's coin game, which is more irritating than fun.
If you want to know more about someone, you can always just ask the friend you have in common, which is a human touch that’s absent from most apps. Moreover, people can message you only if you’ve matched, so there are no unsolicited “greetings”. You can see what sort of relationship people are looking for, and while that doesn’t sound that revolutionary, it reflects the fact that Hinge carries more of a dating expectation than a just-hooking-up expectation à la Tinder. Furthermore, because of the friends-of-friends connection, you’re less likely to run across inappropriate photos. That’s a plus in our book.