A GUIDE TO ONLINE DATING APPS: HOW TO FIND LOVE ONLINE

Guest written by Missy Modell, a musical parody artist and activist focused on the intersection of social justice and pop culture. Missy is the founder of YES MAM Creative, a consultancy for mission-based brands. You can find Missy on Instagram at @missymodell.

It’s no simple feat to date online. Creating a profile, answering the prompts, creating the filters, navigating through the matches, swiping, oh my! But like much of our world, our means of connection have turned online and we are seeing pretty incredible statistics around people successfully starting relationships online. From Tinder to Hinge to Feeld, there seems to be an app for whatever it is you’re looking for. However, before you begin, it’s helpful to understand the lay of the land and how to best show up online. 

“In 2020, 270 million adults used dating apps worldwide, which is almost double the number from five years ago. In the U.S. alone, 39% of couples in 2019 said they met online. This number is set to continue growing as the volume of 18-29-year-olds joining dating apps to meet romantic partners is increasing. By 2024, the global dating app market size is expected to exceed $8.4 billion.”

QUICK LINKS:

  1. What are the Best Dating Apps?
  2. Dating App Etiquette
    1. Dating App Green Flags
    2. Dating App Red Flags

The Best Dating Apps 

With so many options to choose from, it can feel overwhelming to figure out which app is right for you. Here are just some of the top dating apps out there now.

  • Tinder
    A quick way to connect with everyone. This app is more of a melting pot with all different kinds of singles within your radius. Users swipe left for no and right for yes! Notorious for hookups and casual encounters. 

  • Bumble
    Bumble also relies on swiping but has different categories for dating, friendships, and professional networking. The key difference is that women make the first move. There are also safety features and time limits to help keep your profile refreshed and safe!

  • Hinge 
    Provides written and voice prompts to help a diverse crowd find romantic connections. 

  • Feeld
    Caters to those in a variety of relationships (think: open relationships and poly lifestyle) and individuals with various kinks.

  • Her 
    Her is a networking and relationship app geared towards lesbian, queer, bisexual, and straight women and nonbinary individuals.

  • Grindr
    Most similar to Tinder, but focused on relationships in the Gay community.

  • Raya 
    A membership only app, designed to help a select community of verified users build connections. (Popular with celebrities)

  • Coffee Meets Bagel
    This app provides a curated group of matches that cater to your preferences so you can spend less time swiping and more time IRL!

  • Facebook Dating
    Connects your Facebook profile to their online community of users. Designed to find you a match with your preferences in a friendly manner.

  • OK CUPID
    This app utilizes a questionnaire to help you find the perfect match. It’s also international!

Online Dating Etiquette 

Dating App Do's

  1. Be Open Minded
    You don’t need to share every single interest with this person. If you’re not getting the amount of matches you desire, we recommend reducing your filters (i.e. height or age) and ditching your “list.” 

  2. Create a Profile That Reflects Who You Are
    1. High quality images (blurry ones can feel a bit suspect.)
    2. Versatility of images (show the different sides of you!)
    3. Answer the prompts thoughtfully and in your authentic voice.
  3. Take Breaks as Needed
    Similar to social media, dating apps are designed to be addictive, so it’s easy to burn out. Scheduling time or setting limits to how long you are spending on them is a great way to stay excited by the whole process. 

  4. Put in the Effort
    You get what you put in! Some have made the search for their life partner their part-time job. We aren’t necessarily suggesting that, but we do believe this journey takes time, compassion, and patience. 

  5. Meet Matches in a Public Setting
    We always veer on the side of safety and unless you know each other beforehand, it’s always advised to meet outside the home. 

  6. Be Bold
    You matched? Great! You don’t need to wait for them to reach out to you, go for it. Momentum is your friend here. 

  7. Listen to Your Gut
    They seem creepy? They probably are. 

Dating App Don'ts

  1. Catfish
    We hope that this is pretty self-explanatory but this is not a good look. Leading someone on whether it’s your appearance, age, career, et al, is not the best way to start a relationship. Don’t be afraid to be exactly who you are, we promise it’ll work out better in the long run.

  2. Use Old Photos
    Similar to the above sentiment but less *criminal.* When you show up as the most authentic you, you are more likely to find the best and most compatible match! 

  3. Let the Process Get to You
    Easier said than done, we know! Patience is the name of the game here and remember, it only takes one (or more, depending on what you’re looking for.) Enjoy the ride and try not to take it too seriously. 

  4. Waiting to Meet the "Right" Match
    Chatting for three weeks but still haven’t arranged a hang? It’s time to meet. Attraction and interest wanes the longer that time passes. 

  5. Using Too Many Group Photos
    It’s CONFUSING. Keep it simple for the friends scrolling. Recap: one group photo is ok, every photo as a group photo is not ok. 

  6. Sharing Personal Information Too Soon
    Let the people earn it (and maybe do a bit of Googling beforehand to ensure safety.) 

"To me, chemistry often exists outside of that list of things we want out of a person, and that doesn't necessarily mean you can't have... a certain set of things you're really hoping for in a partner. It just means the universe isn't beholden to our demands."
- NPR

Want more great sex tips?
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Further Readings:

Why Dating Apps Are Stressful & How to Make Them Work: NPR
5 Ways to Enjoy Online Dating: Washington Post
The Best Dating Apps in 2022: Mind Body Green

WITH PLEASURE,

LOVERS