A study of over 1,000 online daters in the US and UK conducted by global research agency OpinionMatters founds some very interesting statistics. A total of 53% of US participants admitted to having lied in their online dating profile. Women apparently lied more than men, with the most common dishonesties being about looks. Over 20% of women posted photos of their younger selves. But men were only marginally better. Their most common lies revolved around their financial situation, specifically, about having a better job (financially) than they actually do. More than 40% of men indicated that they did this, but the tactic was also employed by nearly a third of women.
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.
Hinge is kind of like Tinder. OK, it’s a lot like Tinder — but with a few key differences that make it better. Interface-wise, it looks like Tinder’s younger sister. But function-wise, it relies more on your Facebook friends to make connections for you. Hinge connects you through friends-of-friends-of-friends and shows you not just the people you have in common, but all the interests you have in common. It does this by having you answer a bunch of questions through a Tinder-like interface. Have you been to Berlin? Swipe right. Don’t play croquet? Swipe left. This makes answering questions far easier and less time-consuming, not to mention more fun. The questions themselves aren’t as asinine as those in some other dating apps, and give you a better sense of someone than 500 characters might.
There's even a specialized app for creative people looking to meet other artists and creators. Raya is free to download but then becomes membership-based. First, you fill out an application, which is then reviewed by a committee of people and an algorithm. You may be put on a waitlist for a short time while your application is reviewed. Once you're accepted, you need to sign up for a one-, three- or six-month auto-renewing membership plan. As a member, you also have to agree to a code of conduct in an effort to keep interactions respectful and cordial. As the website puts it, it believes using technology to meet someone should feel safe and exciting. Because of its exclusivity, the app has become well-known for its famous users. We weren't able to get a membership, but several blogs and reviews circulating online claim the app has been used by the likes of Cara Delevingne, Ruby Rose and Demi Lovato.
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.)
What dating sites like Relationship.com provide is the perfect platform for that search. By creating a profile, listing your likes and dislikes and briefly describing your personal circumstances, interests, hopes and dreams, you give other single people a small window into the kind of person you are. If they like what they see, then they have all the tools they need to get in touch with you and make a connection.
The experts say: For those who are at a loss as how to sell themselves in 500 words or less, this site offers the opportunity to be described by your friend. It works on the premise your friend can sell you better than you can but they can also embarrass you too. MSF has a more chatty style in the profile and gives you a greater insight into your potential date’s world.
To avoid the awkwardness of a one-on-one with a stranger, Match.com hosts group hangouts so you can get to know a lot of singles without any pressure. The Bucket List Event Series even pairs you up based on things you’d like to do before you die so you can make new and exciting memories to further foster a relationship. The website and app are both easy to use and because your matches appear with a compatibility number, you’re more likely to have something in common. Adding something unique to your profile like your favorite MLB team is also a fun add-on a lot of other dating websites lack.
"People didn’t have mobile phones and laptops, and the process was people would go home, log on slowly, see who had written to them and write back," she says. "The courtship process was a lot slower, so it took quite a while to get from the first interaction to actually going on a date. Plus in those days, there was a stigma associated with online dating. You did not tell people you met your spouse, or partner, or even a date online."
How it helps introverts: eharmony has a feature called RelyID that helps verify the information provided by other members, like their name, city, and age. You know what that means? No catfishing. Also, your profile is only visible to the people who are a good match for you, so the experience can help to narrow your potentials down to only those who are actually a good fit.
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.
Specify Relationship Type. You’re not limited to looking for a long-term relationship. In fact, you can search for friends, penpals, people to casually date, to date short-term, or to just hook up with. You can search within a specific age range, and you can even use the site if you’re married. However, you can also specify that you’re only interested in members who are single.
Who's on Match.com? Your neighbors, coworkers and more. Match.com members form a diverse, global community of singles who share common goals - to meet other singles, find dates, form romantic relationships and meet life partners. Young and old alike, gay and straight, from everywhere around the world, singles come to Match.com to flirt, meet, date, have fun, fall in love and to form meaningful, loving relationships.
But what is it about Tinder in particular that appeals to millennials? "Raised on video games and coming of age during social media, it's not surprising that the average millennial gets bored easily and can have a short attention span — [and] Tinder is ideal for this," Jonathan Bennett, dating/relationship expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "After all, you don't need to wade through someone's life history to find them attractive. Tinder gives you the essentials and you can make a choice from there."
There's also a user feed feature in the app that's similar to Facebook. Along with a dating profile, users post information about their day-to-day lives, likes and dislikes. One of the app's most unique features is its "relationship mode," which you can turn on to let other users know you're only looking for friendship, not a date. Take note, though: The app's 3.9 out of 5 star App Store rating (as of December 2018) is far from perfect. As such, the app might not be for everyone. It also has a 2.5 star rating in Google Play, with users noting glitches in the interface. In addition, you have to pay for some features, and some people didn't like that they only found that out after downloading the app. That aside, HER is a safe online community for queer woman to connect.
Match.com has a free version, but the general consensus is that you'll need a paid subscription to have any luck. That's a hangover from the early days of online dating, when paying for membership to a site meant you were serious about settling down. But my friends and I have long since come to the conclusion that you might be a little too eager to find a significant other if you're paying to get dates, particularly given the abundance of free dating apps. There are definitely paid features on some dating apps that are worth the price, but I've yet to be able to justify shelling out cash for love.
She’s not without her complaints about the dating app format in general, though. “On principle, I don’t really like that I’m being reduced to a Pokémon card with a few photos and stats and swiping based on that,” she says. “But I got extraordinarily lucky and met my now-boyfriend, who downloaded Bumble for nearly the same reason I did! We agree that it we both felt icky making snap judgments based on dumb things while first using the app, but I guess there was enough thoughtful info that was in each of our profiles that led us to swipe and meet.”
In theory, dating apps are simply a way to meet potential love or sex partners. These smartphone-dwelling matchmakers can even facilitate experimentation, helping users code for and discover what they want from another person in any given moment. They provide a way to meet people on a user’s own schedule, which potentially democratizes the whole dating process. (Honestly, who can afford to go out every night? Carrie Bradshaw was clearly a con artist.) To look at it from a distance, the future of dating is easy and great! And yet...and yet.
Coffee Meets Bagel is one of the more popular dating apps out there. Every day at noon, men will get a curated list of women in their area. Women will get a curated list as well, but the list will prioritize men who have already expressed interest. Matches are given a private chat room to get to know one another better. It's also LGBTQ friendly for you folks out there. It's a clean process and perfect for those who have busy lifestyles. No flicking through profiles all day long. Like most, it has its fair share of problems, but most of them are somewhat tolerable. You can also buy in-app currency to get perks like more visibility and other features.
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.
Online dating is really popular. Using the internet is really popular. A survey conducted in 2013 found that 77% of people considered it “very important” to have their smartphones with them at all times. With the rise and rise of apps like Tinder (and the various copycat models) who could blame them. If you want to think about dating as a numbers game (and apparently many people do), you could probably swipe left/right between 10 – 100 times in the span of time that it would take you to interact with one potential date in ‘real-life’.