Dating Apps Decoded

So you want to start dating but you have no idea which service to use. Seriously, there are apps based on geography, religion, pets, and everything in between. I'm sure someone right now is creating a dating app based on facial hair. That's why I created a cheatsheet based on who the services target. That's not to say you can't use them all, but it's good to focus your efforts on the audience you want:

The Toe Dipper: you're back after a break from dating and want to see what's out there. You're not ready to pay for a service and would prefer low to no commitment.

Try: Tinder

It's as easy as downloading their free app. Browse the singles near you (it's GPS based) at your leisure. A right swipe could lead to a match, but it's up to you if you want to chat. Tinder's got a premium service too, but if you just want to window shop, this is a great place to start.

Let's Date: you're ready to meet some great people and get to know them better on actual dates. You don't mind paying a fee if it brings you closer to the right person.

Try: Match or OK Cupid

Browse for free but to message someone, you have to subscribe. Both services are user friendly, walking you through setting up a profile and uploading pics. Plus, they've got millions of users so the odds are good you'll find someone you like.  

Find My Better Half: you're done with the dating scene and are serious about finding the right person. You're willing to pay to put a ring on it.

Try: eHarmony

This one requires some work upfront and a monthly fee. You have to fill out a verrrry long questionnaire, ranging from religion and politics to life goals and the like. Then the service emails you 5 potential mates each day. eHarmony is very upfront about its focus on finding The One, as opposed to mere dating. And most people on there are serious about starting a committed relationship.

Ladies' Choice: Sick of rude dudes who send nudes?

Try: Bumble or Coffee Meets Bagel

Bumble was created by a cofounder of Tinder who thought women deserved more control over the online process. Bumble is similar with the swiping features but only the woman can initiate conversation. That eliminates unwanted propositions and NSFW opening lines. Coffee Meets Bagel has a similar theme of female empowerment but CMB actually curates matches based on mutual Facebook friends. Women are then presented with their best matches and they can choose whether or not to initiate contact.