“I’ve always assumed that putting anything behind a pay wall makes it more attractive and weeds out the casual users and trolls,” agrees Joseph Lynn, a Chicago man who used eHarmony and Match as well as a few free sites. “The fact that eHarmony matched me with several women with whom I shared common interests led me to believe that I was seeing more quality matches.”
The Dating Pool: In a nutshell: new-agey. No surprise here. One guy named Jack was sitting on the stoop of a Lord of the Rings hobbit house. Another goth-looking 24-year-old was sitting cross-legged, arms perched on an oversize wingback canopy chair, looking ready to pet a Himalayan cat à la Dr. Claw. Again, this is two out of five potential matches. I’ll spare you the rest.
As for how to approach potential hookup partners you've matched with, transparency and manners are important, as always. "The key to initiating a hookup over a dating app is to exercise patience," says Caleb Hacke, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics. "Ultimately, it's more important to make sure you don't offend or put off anyone who isn't interested in a hookup than it is to get your point across as boldly and as quickly as possible."
A lot of dating websites and apps advertise the fact that they’re free, but be careful what you’re signing up for. Setting up a profile is always free, but most of the websites we tested offered only some of their matching services free of charge. Many dating websites make you pay to view user photos and send messages. Apps, on the other hand, are predominantly free. Upgrades are available if you want to use the app’s extra features, but for the most part a free account is all you need.
How does it work? If you are serious about looking for that special thing called love, then this is the site for you. eHarmony take this match-making lark very seriously, making them one of the best online dating sites around. They’ve even patented The eHarmony Compatibility Matching System. That’s right. They’ve taken 35 years of research to come up with a Relationship Questionnaire and pride themselves on matching users with people who are actually compatible with them.
Why it's awesome: Founded in 2000 by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, eharmony is the site for serious daters. A spokesperson for the site says it's been used by 54 million people, and is apparently responsible for 4 percent of U.S. marriages. Users answer a lengthy questionnaire that helps eharmony determine what it calls a "a select group of compatible matches with whom you can build a quality relationship." Spira says she's always seen eharmony as a "matrimonial dating site.""That doesn’t mean you’re going to walk down the aisle, but it certainly means that you’re looking for a very serious relationship that may or may not lead to marriage. It may lead to living together or at least being in an exclusive, committed relationship."
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.”
Why it's awesome: When we're blinded by love, we tend to ignore red flags and can't see when someone is all wrong for us — but friends can see it clear as day and wish we would just take their damn advice. Wingman is the unique take on dating that lets your friends play cupid, essentially making it the dating app version of the "Have you met my friend?" classic bar line. Your friends want to see you get laid (or find love, obviously) as badly as you do, and sometimes, they just know us better than we know ourselves. As Mashable's Cassie Murdoch writes, "...a little bit like handing your friend your Tinder or Bumble account and saying, 'Here, you deal with this.'" And sometimes, fancy algorithms just aren't enough.
If you're in the market for a hookup that satisfies a particular fetish, look no further than the FetL app, a dating app that connects local singles with shared fetish interests. This app packs all of the GPS features of Grindr (read: you can find out if there's anyone who's into the same fetish as you at the bar you're at), with the ease of Tinder's swipe left/right functionality to make finding a fetish hookup easier than it's ever been before. "When I'd meet people in clubs, they almost always told me that they found it difficult to meet people who shared their fetishes," Iris Li, one of the co-founders of FetL explains. She created FetL to help fill the gap, and users have been getting their needs met ever since.
Bumble looks eerily similar to Tinder, but functions a tad differently. The big catch with Bumble is that when opposite genders match, the woman must message the guy first — and she has 24 hours to do so. Guys can extend matches for 24 hours, if they’re really hoping to hear from a woman, as can ladies, if they want to initiate something with a match but just haven’t had the time during the first day. For same-gender matches, either person can initiate the conversation first.