A Beginner's Guide to Dating Apps
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When you’re online dating for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the app options. Here’s a cheat sheet to the current landscape.
Tinder: The pioneers of the swipe
Tinder wasn’t the first dating app, but it’s the one that made “swipe right” a cultural phenomenon. If you swipe right on someone’s profile and they swipe right on you, it’s a match—now either of you can start a conversation.
Tinder is simple, approachable, and a great place to start. And since the app touts 1.6 billion swipes a week in 190 countries, you don’t have to stress if the first date doesn’t go exactly as planned. Someone else is right around the corner.
Special feature: With Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold, you get one boost per month, which means you’ll become one of the most seen profiles in your area for 30 minutes.
You don’t have to stress if the first date doesn’t go exactly as planned. Someone else is right around the corner.
Bumble: Ladies first
When two heterosexual people match on Bumble, only a woman can start the conversation. (For all other matches, either person can.) If you don’t start chatting within 24 hours, the match disappears—encouraging you to actually talk to people.
Special feature: Upgrade to Bumble Boost and you can see matches who’ve already swiped yes on you.
OkCupid: Really get to know someone
OkCupid has been around since 2004, and the app continues to build on its foundations, using longer, more detailed profiles with thoughtful questionnaires to create deeper connections. If you used dating websites back in the day but haven’t partaken recently, freshening up your OkCupid profile will get the ball rolling again.
Special feature: Sign up for Incognito mode and your profile will remain invisible to everyone on the site until you like or message them.
OkCupid: Online Dating App
Hinge: Go deep
A Hinge profile is a little more elaborate than others, with employer and education information alongside conversation starters (“What did your parents do on their first date?”) that can make breaking the ice just a little bit easier.
Special feature: If you spring for a Preferred membership, Hinge’s experts will provide you with personal answers to any dating questions you may have. (For example: “Is it bad for my first picture to be a group photo?”)
Her: Find your inclusive community
Although most apps offer some LGBTQ+-friendly features, Her is created specifically for lesbian and queer matches. And it isn’t just a dating app: You can see queer events in your area and join group discussions on community topics.
Special feature: Use the Events and Meet tabs to make new non-romantic connections and find LGBTQ+ events nearby.
HER: Lesbian Dating & Chat App
Coffee Meets Bagel: Quality over quantity
Coffee Meets Bagel focuses on “high-quality matches” so you don’t have to spend all day mindlessly swiping. Users receive a smaller curated list of potential matches (Bagels) at noon every day. If you match, the app encourages an in-person meeting and provides a few icebreakers to get the conversation flowing like...a delicious cup of coffee.
Special feature: With CMB Premium, see when your messages are read and learn more about your matches.
Coffee Meets Bagel focuses on “high-quality matches” so you don’t have to spend all day mindlessly swiping.