I would like to remark on the fact that I am recently single (more here), as in no longer coupled, also known as riding solo. What a wondrous but not unfamiliar world I have re-entered. I’ve been single for most of my adult life so my newfound status as a “party of one,” is neither a foreign nor frightening experience. That being said, I also know that I want to be in a couple. I like knowing someone to their core, but, very unfortunately for my poor-introverted soul, this end goal naturally requires a fair bit of socializing and patience during the “getting to know you” phases. Because I am of the eager (erm, impulsive) sort, I have decided to waste no time in setting up my dating profiles. While I’ve used most of these apps in the past, I was surprised by how much things have changed. Here’s the rundown….
The OG swiping dating app. I started using Tinder years ago in college and, frankly, not much has changed. Swipe left to reject and swipe right to “like.” If you really like someone you can “super like” them (only a limited number of super likes in the free version), which means that the recipient will see that you liked them before they swipe on your profile. You have unlimited swipes (until you run out of people that is) and you can only message with people you have matched with (when you both “like” each other). This app is easy to set up — you just add a few photos and go. The only mandatory info are your first name, location, and age. Some people get creative with their short bio while others leave this field totally blank or fill it with a witty one-liner. You can filter by age and miles from your location. I like Tinder because most of the features you need to have a “pleasant” swiping experience are cost free. With the premium version, you can search for matches in other locations, see who likes you, among other things. Because there are so few filters on Tinder (there are no compatibility indicators on this platform), this means that you are more likely to come across a wider range of people.
Ugh, I don’t like Bumble, but here it goes. Like Tinder, Bumble also allows you to set search preferences based on basic criteria (location/ age) to swipe left and right to match with potential prospects. A “step up” from Tinder in terms of compatibility, Bumble allows to you to fill out a few optional prompts so your prospects can get a feel for your personality. Unlike Tinder, Bumble does not allow you to “freely” message your match. Instead, only the woman can send the first message and to make things even more stressful, they are only given 24 hours to do so. Then, because Bumble is basically a game, the man has only 24 hours to respond to that message. If the 24 hours elapse on either end, then — poof! — your match disappears. There are paid features that give you more flexibility, but I’m wholly uninterested in finding out what these are. Also, I have ZERO idea how this app functions for non-cis-heterosexual pairings. There are also confusing non-romantic search options (for business connections and making friends) that I have never (and will never) explore. Really, I cannot imagine that Bumble is anyone’s favorite dating app (but, apparently, it has good reviews, so, maybe, I’m just closed minded…).
Coffee Meets Bagel
I met my first ex on this app (…at least I think it was CMB…couldn’t swear on my life, tbh). Unlike Tinder and Bumble, CMB does not allow you unlimited swipes, instead, it focuses more on targeted matches based on compatibility. You will first fill out a survey with questions that focus on your personality and lifestyle habits (smoking, drinking, etc.). Then, once your profile is set up you will receive a small batch of prospects at noon each day (fewer than 10) and can swipe right or left on them. Unlike Tinder (minus the “super like” function) or Bumble, CMB allows you to see more often if someone has liked you in advance. If you match on CMB, you have seven days to message them. After the seven days, your match vanishes (regardless of whether you have sent any messages). With this format (less stressful than Bumble in my opinion), CMB encourages you to connect with prospects IRL.
Hinge and OKCupid
These apps are pretty similar, so I’ve smushed them together, however, I feel that OKC is “better.” Both apps have you fill out an extensive survey regarding your lifestyle habits and personality. A main difference is that OKC will show you how compatible you are with potential prospects (for example, 50%, 72%, 96% compatible, etc.). Seeing the compatibility percentages can be helpful to gauge interests especially considering the app allows you to see how your prospect answered certain questions. Altogether, as a free user I would say that OKC has more useful functions than Hinge, but both are nice to have if you are serious about finding someone you may be compatible with.
Do not use. I was shocked by the quality of E-Harmony. I have heard so many great things about it! It’s touted as THE app for those looking for a serious long-term relationship, but my, it was a disappointment. As a free user, there is very little you can do. The preference function is limited, and all of the profile pictures are blurred (BLURRED!!!). To make matters even more aggravating, you cannot message people for free. Once I received a message from someone (mind you, I could not even see his face); I replied, he responded back and then — WHAM — I received a notification that I could not continue the conversation until I signed up for a paid subscription. Uhh, NOOOOO! So, I deleted the app and unintentionally ghosted a perfectly kind stranger — THANKS E-Harmony.
Match is also weird. I really do not understand it. I’m not trying to brag but I have a good number of matches on all the above apps except Match. I only have four matches (kind of intimate lol), which seems weird as the content of all my profiles is pretty similar. Match divides your matches between “Matches” and “Free.” I think the free matches are where 1. two people have matched, AND 2. one person has have actively reached out and messaged you first? The four matches I have are “Free” matches — maybe, as a free user, I just can’t access the normal matches? I think this because I also have seven unread messages on Match that the app will NOT allow me to read without purchasing a premium subscription (currently priced at $37.99 per month!). It low-key feels like a hostage situation. I will not give in to their demands! In short, Match is weird and does not seem very friendly to the free user.
If you enjoy spending boat loads of money, you’re in luck because the premium versions of these apps are NOT cheap (at least, like, +$30 a month). I will pay for none of that — nope! If you are cheap like me, here are the apps where you will get the most bang for your (lack of) buck, in my opinion:
- best because it has the most people and most functions for free users
- best to determine capability and for messaging matches freely
- good number of users; okay for understanding compatibility, limited likes per day… OKCupid is just better in my opinion
- Coffee Meets Bagel
- Best for pushing you off the app (only one week available to send messages); small number of potential matches each day; can use points (awarded daily) to “like” additional matches
- Fewer users; very little focus on compatibility; must message within 24 hours before match disappears; more stressful, pseudo-feminist version of Tinder (…in my opinion)
- Will hold your messages hostage if you refuse to pay (okay, I’m being dramatic); very few features for non-paying users
- Don’t use it. You will get nothing out of it. Bye, Felicia!
Swipe and message responsibly (there are real people with feelings behind those profiles 🙂 ),