The best dating app for you
*Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 11, 2020.
Dating is no longer a young man's game, but rather an online presence tournament — a fact that has been made even more abundantly clear during the past several months of lockdowns and social distancing regulations. So if you're looking to get back in the game, but don't know which dating app is the right one for you, check out our suggestions below.
The dating app for: "I want to get married."
If you're looking to date for the sole purpose of finding your happily-ever-after, then you probably don't want to waste too much of your time swiping. For that, we'd recommend Hinge. Marketed as the "app designed to be deleted," Hinge differentiates itself from many of the other swiping apps by letting its users' profiles do all the talking.
If you want to start messaging with other users, you must yourself first complete your Hinge profile — uploading all six photos and completing three prompt answers. You can then enter a "Discover" feed where you can 'heart' the profiles that stand out the most to you, and even leave a comment for them to hopefully respond back to you in a private message. But you're not left to do it alone. Hinge's own AI algorithm will curate potential matches for you on a daily basis, and will use any information you provide to learn more about what you're looking for, and consequently, which match is best. All of this can be accomplished using their free version only, or if you're looking to set up more specific filters on who can qualify, you can upgrade to their premium version, starting at $9.99/month.
The dating app for: "I just want to date."
Maybe you're not looking to get serious (at least not right away), but love the idea of dating and meeting new people. We've all heard of Tinder and its nightmare stories, successful marriage stories, or just downright entertaining stories. And while it is great for matching with and meeting multiple people in your area, it can sometimes be interpreted as more of a fun online game than a real dating opportunity. For the more casual daters, we'd recommend Ship. As one of the more interesting dating apps to come out in the past few years, it operates differently in that it's not leaving it all up to you, or even up to their own algorithm. It allows you to invite your best friend, your mom, sibling, whoever you want into the app, and let them figure out if a match is good enough for you, or even look for one themselves.
Sitting somewhere between a dating and a messaging app, you can sign up as either a dater or a matchmaker. As a matchmaker, you can search for matches for your friends, and message them about it right there in the app. It's an app that's meant to bring the fun back to dating, and take out all the second guessing and anxiety. You're all in this together, after all.
The dating app for: "I hate guys who message me cringe pick-up lines"
If you're a woman who is looking for a male companion, the dating app world can be, well, rough. If you haven't received an inappropriate or generally awkward message from a male suitor while using a dating app as a woman, then hats off to you. But if you have — and wish to avoid it all — then Bumble is the perfect choice. An app that lets women speak first, if a guy matches with you, he will not be allowed to message you first. You will have 24 hours to message any potential matches you're interested in, and set the tone for a respectful, and consensual conversation. The perfect opportunity to find someone you like, and avoid the "ick" first impression.
The dating app for: "I want to date within the LGBTQIA+ community."
While Grindr may be the first app that comes to mind, there have been many others catering to the specific needs of all sexual preferences under the LGBTQIA+ spectrum that have popped up since its inception.For queer women, Her is a standout app created by queer women themselves. While it prioritizes safety with 24/7 moderators, and encourages lesbian, bisexual, and queer people to find their perfect match, it also promotes an inclusive community with event alerts, posts, and comment sections that allow for women on the app to find events near them where they may meet their potential matches (or just other like-minded individuals) in real life.
And for men, while Grindr is still a popular and widely used choice, we'd recommend you look into Jack'd. Touting itself as "the most diverse community for gay, bi, trans, and queer people around the globe," Jack'd is an app similar to Grindr in its swiping/matching function, but it truly focuses on inclusivity and building a community similar to Her. You can even pull up insights on profiles to see what kind of members they're into, how long they take to respond, etc. before determining whether you'd like to message them.
So no matter what kind of dater you are, or what you're looking for, there is an app out there for you. And if you'd like to err on the side of caution during your interactions, consider getting a free second phone number from TextNow for the inevitable "Can I have your number?" question. It's safe, keeps your information private, and can easily be changed should the conversation really go astray. Now get out there!