Dating in the city has always been difficult, but with the dating world shifted almost exclusively online, most relationship-building and even dating is done through the phone. Hate to break it to you, but chances are, it’s not going to be as easy as moving to a new city and ending up with your roommate’s brother a la Ross and Rachel. Even still, we hope you find your lobster.
The good news is there are a lot of other crustaceans to sort through before you find “the one.” Depending on what or who, really you’re looking for, picking the best app for you can mean that your dating experience could be all the more “successful.” Of course, a big part of that is how you define success.
Before wading into the dating pool, you might want to answer a few questions first. Are you looking for a serious relationship? Someone to sip wine with a few nights out of the week? Or maybe just a quick, little fling? No matter what you’re after, we’re not judging! It’s all a part of choosing the right app for your expectations. Keep reading for the best dating apps for everyone!
Best Free Dating Apps With Premium Features
In more recent years, Bumble has become many daters go-to app. With a standard swipe-left to ignore or swipe-right to match interface, Bumble puts the responsibility of initiating a message in the female’s court. At least, when it comes to heterosexual couples; users looking for girl-girl or male-male connection can also use the app! One of the app’s most recent developments is the Conversation Starter feature, which helps couples who have matched you both have to swipe right in order to match! break the ice. If you’re not sure what to say when sending that first message, preloading one of the app’s Conversation Starters can help kickstart a convo.
BTW, Bumble is free!
Tinder is the OG swipe right-or-left dating app, but as you probably know, it has turned into more of a hook-up app than an app known for fostering long-term relationships. That being said, it’s not impossible to meet someone on Tinder if you’re looking for a long-term thing. But if you do decide to use Tinder, you may want to make it clear early in your conversations or in your profile what it is you’re looking for. It’s also worth noting that unlike Bumble, once you match with a potential, either party has the capability of sending the first message. Tinder also allows users to upload the most number of pictures in comparison to Bumble and Hinge.
Tinder is free but if you’re wanting to take advantage of some of the app’s more advanced features, memberships start at $9.99/mo.
Coffee Meets Bagel is another free app popular with millennial daters, especially those who are super busy or don’t have the time or patience to put in that much effort. CMB uses a specific algorithm to present you with potential matches, based on your profile and who the algorithm *thinks* you could potentially like. Plus, unlike some other free apps with swiping features, CMB offers a bit more structure to each dater’s profile. There are questions to answer and icebreakers designed to initiate and maintain! conversations.
Coffee Meets Bagel is free.
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Hinge is another dating app specifically designed to have a bit more structure than the Tinders and Bumbles of the world. It doesn’t follow the swiping strategy that has become so standard in the online dating app world and thanks to specific prompts and questions, profiles on Hinge tend to be more in-depth. Users can interact with each other’s photos, videos, or answers to in-depth questions, which is generally how conversations on the app begin.
Hinge is free.
In response to COVID, MeetMe — a dating app from The Meet Group — is stepping up its game by introducing a new feature called DateNight. The premise of DateNight is the first of its kind — a livestreaming dating game that positions you as the bachelor/bachelorette, looking for love. Daters can even win real-life prizes like $10 gift cards and more.
MeetMe is free but there is also a premium version of the app called MeetMe+.
OKCupid is one of the OG dating sites-turned-dating apps with a pretty good rep of getting people together. Like Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel, OKCupid puts significant emphasis on matching people based on the compatibility of their profiles. The app and online platform does this by prompting users to create really in-depth profiles, answering questions and prompts that get to the nitty-gritty about their lifestyles, philosophy, and wants.
The basic account on OKCupid is free, but there are also premium account options, too.
Creating in-depth profiles works well for some, but for others, answering a littany of questions can feel too tedious and time-consuming. Zoosk works a little differently; this app, which has more than 40 million users in 80 different countries, aggregates your info from social media accounts you’ve already made Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and integrates that info onto your dating profile. It means less work for you and still an in-depth enough look at who you are on your profile.
Some downfalls include spammy profiles, and advanced features — like Boosting your profile to up your visibility to local users — coming at a price.
Zoosk is free to “browse,” but you do have to have a paid account in order to engage in conversations with anyone on the app. Zoosk works with digital currency: Coins. Different features require different amounts of coins. For $19.95, you can purchase 180 Zoosk coins, for $40 you can get 480 coins, and for $100, you can purchase 1,800 coins.
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Best Dating Sites for Religious Daters
Christian Mingle has been around, connecting Christians who are looking for a relationship rooted in the love of God, since 2001. It’s a great option for people who are looking for a relationship with a like-minded individual also grounded in faith. The messaging in the Christian Mingle app goes by sending someone “smiles.” The smiles, which are not unlike “likes” on Facebook or Instagram, then open the possibility for messaging.
Christian Mingle is free to use but its premium memberships also start at $49.99.
JDate is a dating app designed to connect Jewish singles that has been around now for two decades. You can add up to six photos while setting up your profile, message with other users even if they’re Premium members, and peruse the app for other Jewish singles. It’s known for a pretty straight-forward interface, and for having an “older,” more serious clientele than its younger counterpart, JSwipe. JDate seems to be more for Jewish people who are looking to settle down in the near future, whereas JSwipe has more of a Tinder-y vibe.
JDate is free to use, but there JDate also offers a premium membership for $59.99 for one month, $44.99/mo for three months, or $29.99/mo for a six-month subscription. You can also pay a one-time fee to Spotlight your account, which basically just means increasing visibility to users in your local area.
Best Dating Sites for Special Interests
BLK is the largest dating app for Black singles. By fostering a sense of community on the app — whether users are looking to date or for other kinds of relationships and platonic friendships — BLK connects users who share similar likes, interests, and culture and helps forge meaningful connections. The app presents users with a personalized list of potential matches, allowing each user to swipe right for “Yeah” or left for “Nah.”
BLK is free but there are also premium membership options as well.
With over 5.5 million worldwide users, Filipino Cupid has been the premier dating platform for Filipino singles since 2001. The app seeks to connect Filipino singles from around the world, regardless of location. It’s also one of the largest dating sites in the Philippines. The app also features a range of settings and preferences that you can customize specifically to your needs and wants.
DesiKiss is an online dating platform with the goal of connecting Indian singles via desktop, tablet, or phone. Users share their photos, interests, and life goals, and DesiKiss provides a safe environment to do so. The app features high-level encryption and comes down hard on impersonators or fake profiles, so you only have to worry about wading through potentials, not dealing with spammy messages.
It’s totally free to join DesiKiss and you can actually sign up by connecting your Facebook account.
Looking for a fellow Italiano to bond over mozzarella with? Italy Social might be the dating app for you. The free, video-based app connects Italian singles locally, but also from around the world, so you might just find your soul mate over the phone in Sicily. The app isn’t just for connecting singles, either; if you’re planning a trip to Italy or vice versa, you could use the app to forge friendships as well.
Because it’s video-based, profiles generally feature both photos and videos, so you can actually see peoples’ mannerisms, how they talk, and what they sound like before even meeting them. You don’t have to upload a video though if you’re nervous about that. Other features include group social chat rooms, making fans people that have liked your profile, and a tag system in profiles that allows you to search like-minded tags.
Italy Social is free.
Best Dating Sites for LGBTQ+ Daters
Grindr is the largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people and has been around since its initial launch in 2009. The app/site has millions of users, but over the decade it’s been active, it has developed a bit of a reputation for being a hook-up app. Even still, many queer people have been able to find dates and long-time love using the app, but if you’re looking for a more casual thing, Grindr might be your go-to.
Grindr is free but it has also launched premium versions, Grindr XTRA, and Grindr Unlimited.
LGBTQutie puts great emphasis on forging long-lasting connections. No, this is not an LGBTQ+ friendly hookup app! LQBTQutie is designed with daters who want to settle down in mind, but it’s also an effective way to search for and make platonic friendships, too. The app has a video chat feature, messaging, and a unique capability to see who recently checked out your profile.
Signing up for LGBTQutie is free, but premium memberships cost $10/mo.
Scissr is a safe space for queer womxn to date online, designed by queer womxn. The app welcomes all kinds of people — whether you identify as lesbian, bisexual, nonbinary, or queer — allowing users to connect with other people of all kinds of backgrounds, preferences, and lifestyles. Womxn use the app to find platonic relationships, friendships, hookups, or even love, as the app places a big emphasis on safety. Users must log-in with Facebook first in order to verify their identity and catfishers and other fake, homophobic profiles are quickly deleted.
Scissr is a free app.
How did you find your significant other? Let us know in the comments below!
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