That being said, research is showing a lot of people use online dating as a form of entertainment and never actually intend to go on a date. The same Pew Research study found one-third of people who have used online dating services have never actually gone on a date. In short, don't be too disappointed if you find yourself striking out. It might be that there aren't a lot of people in your area looking for a meaningful connection.

If you're just not sure you want to commit to a monthly subscription, you may want to try a free dating site. These sites don't make you pay to communicate with other members, though some may offer premium features that you do need to pay for. Features vary widely, but experts warn you should be more on your guard for scammers on free sites. You may also find fewer people looking for something serious on these sites.

Keeping the search results wide open: If your goal is to meet someone in the immediate future for a casual drink or get together, the best option would be mobile dating apps like Tinder, JSwipe and many others. These apps allow you to quickly find similarly minded people. On most dating sites, you can use a sort feature to see which members are currently online right now and available to talk.


OkCupid seems to sit right in the middle of all the dating apps we’ve mentioned, So, if you don’t want to put a ring on it, but you’re also not into incessant swiping, this is a good match. There’s also a game-changing feeling of inclusivity, because the app offers 12 gender identities and 20 sexual orientations, giving you the freedom to just be you.
If you're not ready to take a dating app seriously, forget it. This isn't one you can download and then forget to check for a month — they'll kick you off if you don't interact with your matches. (As Thrillist's Lauren Brewer asks, "What is this fucking militant dating app?") You'll only get matches five per day, but that's because The League lets you set super specific filters and takes time to handpick the best of the best for you. If nothing else, being accepted into something so "exclusive" is a huge confidence boost — if you can get past the absurdly long wait list.
That having been said, using an app to get lucky also has its downsides. Putting out feelers for a casual hookup to strangers you haven't met yet can get dicey fairly quickly. Figuring out the right approach can take some time, too. You want to make your intentions known, but you need to do so in a way that doesn't come off too strong or make her feel uncomfortable. You'll need to exchange a few messages to see if you two are feeling each other, but you don't want to become pen pals with someone you're just trying to get it on with, either.
Wild promises it’s “the fastest way to meet and date with hot singles nearby.” Founded in 2016, the app is available for free via iTunes and Google Play, where it has a 4.5 and 5 star rating, respectively. More than 65% of members have been verified by the Wild team that they are who they say they are, and you can filter them by their gender, age, location and distance, intention, interests, ethnicity, body type, height, and the last time they logged in.
Why it's awesome: AdultFriendFinder is our pick for the best hookup site, and that's because it's literally impossible to walk away unsatisfied. It's like a Pornhub that you can actually interact with. Regardless of whether you're looking for an in-person hookup or to blow off some steam via sexting or raunchy videos, AFF has everything that your dirty mind can think of and more. Almost nothing is blurred out (no, really, there are lots of unsolicited dick pics), v=but if you don't mind that the entire thing looks like a sketchy "There are hot singles in your area" ad, you'll be in heaven.
The Bumble Fund is an investment fund started by Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd to help female entrepreneurs get support for their projects and businesses. It’s also a great way to market the company’s networking app Bumble Bizz. The Bumble Fund focuses on getting businesses started with initial funding, ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $250,000, primarily for businesses led by women of color and underrepresented groups.
Generic dating sites are designed to attract a wide range of people. They may contain a personality test or a questionnaire for members to fill out to give a general idea of what a person is like and some of their interests. There are people looking for long-term relationships, short-term relationships, hookups, and even friendship. Members have the opportunity to meet millions of people from around the world and each one could be a potential match.
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."
User-generated matches: Unless you are using a site specifically meant for a casual or very serious relationship, it has become an industry standard to offer members the chance to whittle down their potential matches. Dating sites do this based on preferences such as income, smoking and drinking, if the match has kids and whether he or she has ever been married.
As one of the most trusted and beloved dating sites, Match.com has used their 23 years of existence to bring together thousands of couples. While the company has evolved over time, they stay true to their belief that long-term relationships can be cultivated from online to in-person, thanks to thoughtful and meaningful profiles that get to the heart of their users. While you will be paying for one month, three months, six months or a year through their various subscriptions, what you reap in return is well-worth the investment. But consider yourself warned, it is an investment, indeed.
Generic dating sites are designed to attract a wide range of people. They may contain a personality test or a questionnaire for members to fill out to give a general idea of what a person is like and some of their interests. There are people looking for long-term relationships, short-term relationships, hookups, and even friendship. Members have the opportunity to meet millions of people from around the world and each one could be a potential match.
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)
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