Setup is basic: You'll see pictures and short bios of potential matches in your area and can swipe right if you're interested and left if you're not. It's a pretty close mock of Tinder, except for the fact that Bumble relieves the anxiety of accidentally swiping left on a hottie by letting you backtrack. Bumble also offers a BFF feature to find strictly platonic friends and a LinkedIn-ish networking feature called Bizz in attempts to remind everyone that it's not just a hookup app.
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.)
“Big girls, you’ve got more admirers than you think” are the encouraging words WooPlus.com greets singles with. This free app is dedicated to helping BBW, BHM, and admirers find the match of their dreams. Download WooPlus via iTunes and Google Play, and then you can fill out your information, upload photos, browse profiles, and communicate at no cost to you!
You can take it for granted that everyone on the site is there for the same reasons, which is something free dating sites don't always provide. There's even a recently added Connexion (a lifelike video cybersex feature) if you're just looking to get turned on. The site has built-in broadcast options to make cybersex even easier, and the unique ability to search members by their sexual interests.
The League is an "elite dating app" that requires you to apply to get access. Your job title and the college you attended are factors The League considers when you apply, which is why you have to provide your Linkedin account. Big cities tend to have long waiting lists, so you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs as your application goes through the process. (Of course, you can pay to hurry up the review.) The exclusivity can be a draw for some and a turnoff for others. Let me demystify the app for you: I've seen most of the profiles I come across on The League on other dating apps. 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.
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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Bumble is a happy bubble of dating zen. Built to be safe and respectful of everyone, the app feels far more up to date than its competition, with modern language. For example, it asks you how you identify instead of just making you check a "male" or "female" box. It also puts all the power in the woman's hands—a man can't contact a woman unless she has shown interest in him first. Not looking for love? Bumble also offers a way to find new friends, and even a mini-LinkedIn-like section for professional connections.
Why it's awesome: hater is a hilarious concept that started out on Shark Tank (as a half joke, I might add) that might actually work. Rather than being paired up over shared interests or mutual physical attraction, the app simply matches you with people who hate the same things as you — because the bond over disliking something super specific is way stronger. In the words of Mashable's Cassie Murdoch, it "lets you drop that idealized, perky version of yourself you’ve been putting in all your profiles and lets you show off your inner crank instead."
Even free dating websites and apps give you the option to sign up for a premium option, which does in fact cost you. Premium options cost about $10 each month for basic service, or if you want more effective pairing with people you’re more likely to get along with for an average of $40 per month. You could also pay less if you purchase a membership for several months at a time.
Most other over 50 dating sites will only show you profiles of people who live close by. SilverSingles does more. All of our members take a personality test so that we can get to know them better - this helps us pair people up based on their compatibilty. Location is important of course, but knowing you're a good fit with your matches makes finding 'the one' much, much easier.
“We can’t live with it sometimes, but we can’t live without it either. I’ve had my fair share of horror stories, but my female friends are the ones who get the real zingers. There are men who don’t know how to communicate with women whatsoever. There is a massive disconnect. [My male friends will] ask me why they can’t get any matches and more often than not, I tell them, ‘Maybe saying something crass in the first five messages isn’t such a good idea.'”
Who it's for: People who don't know what they want. Zoosk's algorithm takes your preferences into its own hands and suggests matches based on how you swipe — even if you have no idea why you liked or didn't like that person. Zoosk offers ease, practicality, and a clean layout, and is a good bet if you haven't had any luck on the Tinders or eharmonies of the world.
Coffee Meets Bagel hopes to offer users better quality matches by sending curated matches, or "Bagels," each day at noon. They suggest ice breakers for first messages and the profiles are more in-depth than Tinder. For people who like a little extra hand-holding, CMB isn't the worst option. However, I felt the app was confusing to use; too many features and too many gimmicks. I shouldn't have to lookup online tutorials to figure out how to use a dating app. And why call matches Bagels?
On Hinge users are asked questions like, “What are you looking for?” and “Who is your ideal celebrity dinner date?” Says Slater: “It allows you to get a better sense of their personality outside of their abs. I also haven’t had to swipe with Hinge because when people go through my profile, all they have to do is like my answers or my photos and they’ll get put in a queue that I can look through, knowing they’ve already expressed interest. It really streamlined the whole process in terms of quality and efficiency.”
Mutual is a free dating app for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You set up a profile, and then the app works similarly to Tinder. If two people express an interest in each other while swiping through user profiles, they're matched and able to start chatting. There's even a "double take" feature where you can get a second chance to swipe right on a profile if you accidentally skip it while scrolling. Facebook is required in order for you to use the app. This is to help eliminate the presence of fake profiles or bots.
Dating apps don’t even have to limit you to your smartphone, either. Many desktop dating sites actually offer apps and vice-versa. This means you can sign on from your computer and reap the comfortable full-screen benefits of a dating site, but when your conversations and matches start coming in, you can take them with you when you leave the house -- no more restrictions.
How does it work? Mysinglefriend.com is the brainchild of TV presenter Sarah Beeny and it works by each member on the site being put forward and described by a friend. The site aims to get rid of the ‘cringe factor’ associated with having to big yourself up through your online profile and makes it more of a fun community, where like-minded people can chat, meet and potentially fall in lurve.
Much like other dating apps, POF has you take a chemistry test of your likes and dislikes, and it quizzes you about your wants and needs from a relationship, so you can be sure that you’re likely to be matched with people who are looking for similar outcomes to your own. The best part? It’s completely free and doesn’t charge to message or browse your matches. That makes it the ideal app to download if you’re in the market, but maybe aren’t actively searching for love. And if you’re going out of your way to find someone, Plenty Of Fish may have your perfect catch.