Okay, so you're finally thinking about getting back into the dating scene (opens in new tab)—but you want the chance to scope out your prospects from the comfort of your own home before you actually meet anyone IRL. And that's totally fair! Going on blind dates (opens in new tab) can feel terrifying, so it's nice to know at least a little about who you're meeting up with. And relying on your friends for a love match doesn't always pan out in the end. Luckily, there are a ton of dating apps and websites that will help you get started—and I've rounded up a few of the best dating sites and apps right here.
People find love every 14 minutes on eHarmony, so the odds are very much in your favor. You can either start a free trial, use the free site (opens in new tab), or purchase one of the site's subscription plans. eHarmony promises that you'll receive possible matches within minutes of completing your dating questionnaire, so the prospects literally come to you.
Match.com has pioneered the online dating scene since its launch in 1995, and it's not hard to see why. Simply select your gender, the gender you're looking to match with, your preferred age range, and voila! You can start seeing all of the available singles in your area right then and there.
If finding a partner that shares your Jewish faith is a top priority, consider checking out Jdate. You can even find matches anonymously thanks to the site's LookBook feature, which allows you to leave a heart on the profiles that you feel would be a good fit. If both of you "heart" each other, you'll be notified of the mutual attraction.
Hinge calls itself "The Dating App Designed to Be Deleted," so that's promising right from the outset! It boasts an entire Hinge Lab Team that works behind the scenes to perfect the science behind online dating. The app uses your location to find potential matches in your area and asks each user to complete a series of prompts rather than relying on the usual questions. The end goal is to find a serious relationship rather than a casual fling.
While Bumble has expanded into the business world recently with Bumble Bizz, (opens in new tab) it got its start as a plain old dating app. The app lets women make the first move, and lets you add up to six photos and link your Instagram and Spotify pages to make your profile look more official. After you complete your profile, the app works much the same as some of the others on this list—simply swipe to find your preferred people!
OkCupid uses both a website and a handy app, so you can find matches from your computer or straight from your phone if you prefer. It's considered the best free dating site out there, and has the numbers to back it up. The site boasts more than 91 million matches every year, and users go on an average of 50 thousand dates every week.
Coffee Meets Bagel
If the name "Coffee Meets Bagel" sounds familiar, it's probably because you saw it on Shark Tank. Founded by sisters Soo, Dawoon, and Arum Kang, the ladies-first app wants to make sure that you actually see all your matches, so they deliver six matches who have already liked your profile at noon every single day. After discovering that men were twice as active on dating apps than women were, the founders worked with women what they actually wanted—and Coffee Meets Bagel is the result.
Her prides itself on being the #1 dating app and safe space for LGBTQ+ and queer folks who are looking for love—and it's currently over eight million users strong. It allows users to join smaller community-focused group chats, find singles within their area, or just make a few new friends. There are also free and premium paid-for versions of the app.
Happn is a location-based dating app that's designed for you to meet-cute with the singles that you already cross paths with throughout your day. The app uses your location to show you a personalized timeline of singles who frequent the places that you already go—or who are in the same room as you swipe.
If your least favorite thing about dating is wading through awkward get-to-know you conversations with strangers, then XO might just be the solution you've been looking for. The app turns up the social aspect of dating with fun games and conversation starters that give users a fun, stress-free way to get to know each other before diving into more romantic discussions.
Pickable isn't the only female-focused dating app on the market, but it does take the premise to the greatest extreme. While apps like Bumble give women the power of making the first move, Pickable goes a step further by letting women swipe anonymously—you don't need to upload a picture, include your name, or even create a profile on the app to browse the men who are available to meet there. When you do feel like being seen and letting dudes on the app request chats, you can add a photo temporarily and set a time limit. During that time, you're "pickable," and after the clock runs out, your picture will be taken down again. It's ultimate, total control for women in the app-based dating scene.
In terms of sheer numbers, Badoo leads the way in the dating app world. Badoo's high number of users—521 million and counting—is thanks to a combination of factors, from being early to the game (it launched in 2006) to being available in several countries around the world. By 2011, Wired UK (opens in new tab) was already describing Badoo as a "mass phenomenon" in Brazil, Mexico, France, Spain, and Italy. In 2017, the app underwent a massive redesign and now brands itself as being for more than just dating, making it a strong option for people just looking to make platonic friends, too.
Raya is known as the "celebrity dating app," but you don't technically have to be a celebrity to join. Still, it is ultra-exclusive and, unlike most dating apps, requires an application to join. According to Raya's website, "Anyone interested in joining must fill out an application." And don't expect the admission process to be easy. Only about 8 percent of applications are accepted (opens in new tab), which is lower than the rate of admission to some Ivy League universities. If you are granted admission to the Raya community, you're expected to pay $8/month in membership dues for access to the app.
If you're looking to meet someone who shares your life philosophy and overall vibe and said philosophy and overall vibe is all about mindfulness and holistic wellbeing, then MeetMindful might just be the app you've been waiting for. Niche dating apps and websites are nothing new, from religious-based options like Christian Mingle and J-Date to lifestyle-driven hubs like the much-mocked FarmersOnly.com. MeetMindful just takes that basic, tried-and-true concept and brings it firmly into 2020 with a lifestyle category that's much more likely to speak to urban millennials today.
We all know the struggle of selecting the perfect set of photos for a dating app—can a few photos really represent you?—so what if we took all that snap judgement and hot-or-not BS out of it? Gone is the concept of swiping right or left based on looks; instead, S'more users first establish connections based on mutual interests. How it works: Each day you'll receive recommended profiles based on your previous activity on the app (the algorithm takes into account the kind of people you swipe 'yes' to the most), but the matches' photos are blurred and only become visible when you engage with the profile more. Whether that's asking the other person a question, or sending them a "wink" to let them know you're interested, the photo will slowly become more discernible as you get to know each other.
For many modern daters, the word “Tinder" is accompanied by the Darth Vader theme song. The truth is, no app embodies the “necessary evil” aspect of swiping the way Tinder does. And it’s not even Tinder’s fault: As a pioneer of the current dating app format, Tinder’s utter ubiquity means everyone has an opinion about it. And because the dating rigamarole kind of sucks in general, that means a lot of people have negative opinions about it. But you have to hand it to Tinder, they really did change the game. The OG features users love? The bio, which depending on what users choose (a lyric, a favorite motto) can be used to spark conversations, and the radius feature, which allows users to find people in their area—or not their area.
Feeld is an app for people who know what they want. It describes itself as a place to “meet open-minded couples and singles near you,” making it the premiere app for unicorns (opens in new tab) and those who want a more openly kink-friendly app experience. While that may sound pretty niche, there are plenty of pros that the average dater can appreciate. Knowing that all potential partners are looking for hot, fun people to hookup with in a judgement-free zone, means that you can skip over those awkward first few dates and early-sex convos. Plus, if you end up with someone long term, you know that he or she is fully aware of your kinks and interests—right from the start.
Julia Marzovilla is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire covering all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Offline, she’s most likely browsing the web for another pair of black boots or listening to music too loudly—often at the same time.
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