Unlike traditional dating sites, dating apps give their users the freedom to search for a match from absolutely anywhere. From no-strings-attached encounters to platonic concert buddies and lunch dates, apps are becoming one of the easiest and most commonly used methods of meeting likeminded people. And despite their reputation of being hook-up focused, there’s a rapidly growing world of niche dating apps out there that caters to all types of relationship-seekers. What’s more, apps allow users the opportunity to share their location, so not only can they search for a match on the go, they can also meet up with nearby matches almost instantaneously. But just because they’re set up to deliver on-the-move instant gratification, doesn’t mean dating apps aren’t a valid option for singles looking to get serious with someone. From Coffee Meets Bagel to Taste Buds, the options and niche categories in the App Store are boundless and very worth exploring.
Valentine's Day has come and gone, but the search for the perfect mate goes on. And your smartphone may be able to help. Even a few years ago, Internet dating meant tethering yourself to your computer, but these days, mobile devices and location-sensing apps have turned the world into your playground for dates, hookups and long-term relationships, with even Facebook testing out a dating service of its own for its massive social network. Check out our top dating, hook-up and meet-up apps that will help you find the Right One... or the Right Now. (Image Credit: Bbenard/Shutterstock)
The downside to this app is it's built-in elitism. It's meant to feel exclusive, and the language used in the marketing materials isn't exactly warm and fuzzy. For example, one of the website's taglines is, "We do the scouting and the vetting, you do the matching and the petting." Still, if an exclusive and upscale dating app experience is what you’re looking for, The League could be for you.
Happn takes location-based dating to the next level. This hyper localized dating app serves up people that you’ve physically crossed paths with. Yep, that’s right. No more missed connections, or, at least, that’s the hope. Happn has a very quick setup through your Facebook account, then you’re free to start sending off those likes. Not too much to say, except that it tends to skew younger and there may not be very many people on it if you’re in a more rural area, but it’s great for cities.
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."
One thing to note if you don't fall into the cis-hetero dating pool: While most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive, there are those that are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit. If you're a man seeking a man or a woman seeking a woman, you'll want to steer clear of eharmony: It doesn't even give you the option of a same-sex match.
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.
The app itself is well designed and pretty straightforward. You need to set up your profiles; there’s one for dating and one for networking. Once your profile is active you can review closely curated dating prospects or access the Social Mode that shows you different hotspots where other members are hanging out. Since the initial application process is so rigorous and Raya has a strict code of conduct, you will find members tend to be more respectful of others. They’re also more invested in the app overall, meaning they’re more likely to meet other members in person.
The site operates based on search, rather than any fancy, undisclosed matching algorithm. This means you can search the entire member database, and the number of members you can see in a week, day, or hour is never limited. Profiles have various areas to express your personality, and can be made as detailed (or brief) as you want. There are also useful questionnaires that give you insight into your own personality traits and compatibility skills, meant to help your online dating game regardless of the site you end up using the most. The site incorporates seven ways to discover other people, the most useful of which is with standard or advanced searches (done by who's online, by city, by new users, by contacts, and by favorites).
One new dating scene app caters specifically to queer women. HER, available for free in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, serves as a place where female-identified and non-binary people can connect to find both friends and dates. You can sign up using your Facebook or Instagram account and swipe through profiles to find people in your area. The app is also a place to coordinate and find queer events like parties and meetups. User profiles show you photos, names, a person's sexual preference and physical attributes. Much like Tinder, once you match with a person, you can chat in the app's messaging component.
POF is definitely among the best dating apps on the list. It allows you to join for free, message people for free, and engage with the app for free. However, the idea that it bills itself as a free dating app is hogwash because you definitely have to pay money for more advanced features. Anyway, this one seems to work pretty well. The interface is clean and everything is simple to use. There are some issues here and there, but nothing too drastic. It works pretty well, at least for a dating app.
If you have some time to kill, we here at Top Ten Reviews have dozens and dozens of stories about going on bad dates. We’ve been ditched, dumped, ghosted and duped so we’re pretty familiar with the pain of dating. Online dating can alleviate a little of that pain because it gives everyone the chance to be upfront about their intentions and preferences.
Changes in the last year have made OkCupid a bit more like Tinder, focusing more on swiping and eliminating the ability to message a user without matching with them first. You can still send a message -- it just won't show up in the recipient's inbox unless you match. Because who doesn't enjoy sending a thoughtful message to someone who might never see it? However, OkCupid has pointed out that these changes did help lower the number of offensive messages users received, which might be a worthwhile trade-off.
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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.
Why it's awesome: Hinge marries the modern, instantaneous feel of swiping apps with the relationship atmosphere that sites like eharmony or Match offer. Hinge literally labels itself the relationship app, or as I prefer, the "anti Tinder." You scroll like Instagram, creating a smoother (and less judge-y) feel than swiping. There's a common understanding that this app isn't just for sex, but there's no pressure to rush into a relationship either. It's chill, it's legit, and traditional swiping apps should be worried.
We couldn’t give you an extensive guide to online dating without mentioning sugar babies. This term is slang – usually for younger women who use online dating services to match with older, wealthier men who provide them with financial support in some way. This has become an increasingly popular way for young people to help ease the burden of student loan debt.
An investment banker, Kevin has his shit together, something I hadn't sensed from the two guys I previously went out with. We have a lot in common and conversation flows easily. I like him and I decide that if he asks me out again, I’ll say yes. I talk for the most part and am rambling and it soon hits me that I'm kind of drunk—closer to a wine-happy drunk, but teetering towards a problematic, office holiday party drunk. After an hour or so, I mention that I have to be up early tomorrow and he grabs the check.
I think it's just way too systematic in an already systemized world--no man wants this. Most men do not live real lives with actual freedoms, and options for greater life prospects the way they want it are near zero. One site will be full of single moms who are completely undateable, another site will be filled with the superweights, another site will be filled with rubbish, and yet another will have nothing but fake profiles for scammers.....thus you can see how futile it is for those who mostly hate the borg we call current-day society. The weight issue alone is a major no-pitch for a lot of guys. The women do not put any consorted effort into profiles as they all read exactly the same way. This fact, and it is a fact, is what you should be studying. If you're Sid the Psychopath who has a fetish of tube-feeding 240 lbs of misery and dogs, online dating might be a great thing. I applaud the writer for dodging the real issues and writing these things, leaving the poetry to the poets and such.