Now that it’s summer, it’s easier than ever to get out to a bar or an event in the city and meet someone.
Despite that, we still have to deal with what Aziz Ansari called the “24/7 singles bar in your pocket”: dating apps. While dating websites have been around since the launch of the Internet, meeting people online has become more fun and accessible because of apps. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular apps right now and which one may be the best match for you.
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Founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014 after a sexual harassment suit against her former co-founder at Tinder, Bumble was the first dating app to consider itself feminist. While matches still swiped left and right to dislike or like a photo, the app had one distinct difference: once a match had been made, a conversation couldn’t begin until the woman messaged first. Wolfe Herd’s goal was “to create an environment where women could connect safely online and users who behaved negatively or inappropriately would be held accountable.” Bumble went on to develop Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF to create an environment where women could also match with career mentors or make new friends. Bumble remains an app that women can turn to in order to clear out a lot of the clutter that comes with apps or dating sites where men can message first. It still has the fun aspect of swiping left or right, but by putting the ball in the woman’s court, it changes the dynamic of most conversations for the better.
Great if: you’re a girl who likes, or doesn’t mind, making the first move.
Ah, Tinder. Tinder was the dating app that took Millennials by storm, providing them with a gamified way to meet matches: swipe left for no and right for yes based off of a few photos, a name, an age, and maybe a short bio. People flocked to Tinder because a) everyone was on it and b) you never really knew what kind of an experience was waiting for you. Tinder became the Russian Roulette of dating: predominantly known for its users ability to have casual hookups, you also probably know someone that knows someone who is engaged because of Tinder.
With the rise of other dating apps, Tinder’s popularity and dominance of the market has waned, but if you’re single, the app is probably still on your phone. Like Bumble, Tinder has branched out to include other revenue streams: Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold are in-app subscriptions that offer premium features, such as rewinding matches and increased super likes, and Tinder Places shows you matches that frequent the same spots as you in your city. While Tinder is still a viable option if you’re single and looking, other apps are surpassing it with new ways to match. Similar to Facebook, everyone’s on it, but it’s not the young hot thing anymore. Either way, every person that has used it has at least one memorable story from the app.
Great if: you want to do none of the work except for swiping and are up for an adventure.
Much smaller, but rapidly gaining more users as well as more interest from investors, is Hinge. Hinge was relaunched in 2016 by its founder Justin McLeod, whose goal for the app was to bring more substance to the world of app dating. Hinge, whose tagline is “thoughtful dating for thoughtful people”, helps you find potential matches for a relationship that are already in your extended social circle. Rather than swiping left or right like Tinder or Bumble, users can choose to “like” an element on a potential match’s profile, such as an image or a fact about themselves. When you like something, the other person is invited to start a conversation with you. The goal of Hinge is to feel like you are “getting warmly introduced at a cocktail party”, rather than meeting a stranger.
Match, the parent company of Tinder, OkCupid, and other dating sites, has just purchased a controlling stake in Hinge, placing its bet on the future of the app. If you’re not on Hinge but looking for a meaningful connection, now might be a great time to check it out.
Great if: you’re looking for a relationship or a meaningful connection on an app, but are tired of the swipe left-or-right game.
While apps make it easier to reach new people from your phone, it’s still fun to get out and meet someone the old-fashioned way. Whichever suits you best, you’ll be in for a new experience if you try out, or a give a second chance to, any of these apps.