A massive 20% of relationships and over 17% of marriages start online and there are hundreds of apps that claim to put love in the palm of your hand. It doesn’t matter whether you’re desperate to choose matching PJs or you simply fancy a flirt, connecting to like-minded people has never been easier. Here’s the lowdown on 5 of the best dating apps around:
Statistically speaking, there’s plenty of evidence that dating apps work—especially for those among us whose endgame is meeting a long-term partner. There are stats that say marriages among people who met on an app are less likely to end after the first year, and despite a big cultural annoyance about the process, the vast majority of Americans think that, ultimately, apps are a good way to meet people. Even anecdotally, a lot of the people I spoke to for this piece—all of whom self-identified as dating app haters—nevertheless met their long-term partner on an app.
When you're using apps to find a local hookup, there are a few ground rules to keep in mind that will set you up for success in the long run. The first is deciding what to put on your profile. If you're truly here for a good time and not a long time (for casual sex instead of a long-term thing), Elite Dating Managers founder Isabel James says that attracting your next casual encounter can be as easy as being upfront in your profile right from the beginning. "Explicitly state that you're looking for a hookup on your profile," she says. "Something like: 'Not looking for a long-term relationship. Looking to have fun tonight!' makes it clear." Being direct with your expectations from the get-go means you'll only be matching with women who are also looking for something casual with no strings attached, saving you the time it'd take to gauge whether or not your matches are here for the same reason as you are. Dating sites work much better if your match knows what you're looking for, and you're not being misleading.
‘Asking your date questions not only shows that you’re interested in what they have to say but it also allows you to get to know them, which is what a first date is all about! Don’t stick to small talk. More intimate questions about your date’s hopes, dreams and passions will help you forge a closer connection – and it’s a lot more interesting than talking about the weather.’
Therefore, you should focus your attention on catered dating websites and apps that cater to your age group and the type of relationship you’re seeking. You're more likely to meet women you want on a site that aligns with your values and needs, and online dating will be a lot easier and less stressful if your potential matches have been pre-screened for your needs. You already know how to best use your time on other tasks — at work or at the gym — so why not be productive in your love life, too?
Once you've installed these apps and signed up for the services, get ready for a barrage of notifications and email. Some, like daily match suggestions, are helpful, while others, like alerts that tell you every new "like" you get, can just be annoying. The good thing is you can easily tweak these alerts by drilling down into the settings menus in each of the apps.
The first thing you need to decide is how committed you are. As in, how much do you want to pay to make your heart go pitter-patter? Some apps, like Plenty of Fish, let you view profiles and send messages for free. Most of the others let you view your potential matches without charging, but make you pony up and subscribe if you want to actually reach out to them. While the monthly charges for the apps we review here range in price from $10 to more than $40, most offer a discount if you commit to a long-term subscription such as six months or a year. (You're not afraid of commitment, are you?) Then, there are all of the add-ons. Options—letting you pay to boost your ranking in search results, letting someone know that you are really, really interested in him or her or them, or undoing a dreaded left-swipe that was supposed to be a right-swipe—will cost you extra. While some apps may advertise themselves as free, all of them will try to get a buck from you in the end.
The Nuts and Bolts: Instead of having just a gallery of images, the app prompts you to choose a theme song to play during your photo slideshow. You can tell a lot about a person by the images they choose, but even more by the one song they have them coincide with! The annoying thing is that the app doesn’t allow you to look at only one geographical location, so even though I live in New York, I still have to sift through prospects in Los Angeles, London, and other cities. The other con is that it costs $8 a month, but I figure that’s like two cups of coffee, so it’s not a big deal to me.
You can like people secretly, and they won’t find out unless they like you, too. If you’re comfortable being bolder, then you can tap the Charm button to let them know you’re interested. However, Charms cost coins which you’ll have to buy with real cash via in-app purchases. When you get a match — which Happn calls a Crush — you can start chatting with each other.
With its selective admissions process, The League is like a private club in the social media dating world. Becuase the app is LinkedIn-based (but don’t worry, it won't match you with a coworker) rather than Facebook or Instagram, it promises to make you one half of a power couple. (As long as the people behind the app approve of you and let you join, that is.)
The experts say: For those nervous about dating, this site puts the control in your fingertips allowing you access to thousands of profiles and the ability to chat to potential dates at the rate which works for you. It is well known and therefore attracts a wide demographic, allowing you to widen your dating pool or limit it with their advanced matching facility.
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The Date: “I achieved the ultimate New York dream,” said Kate. “I got to go out with my hot random neighborhood crush thanks to Happn. We matched on the app, and I didn’t let it slip that I’d seen him walking to the subway every morning while I walk back from the gym for like four years until the third date. It didn't work out for other reasons, but he thought it was charming. He said.”