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Speaking of questions, OkCupid has some that you won't see anywhere else: The same-sex couple ads are an obvious giveaway, but OkCupid has snuck in questions to weed out more conservative-minded people as a way to tell right off the bat if your potential match leans left or right. It's not perfect, but it'll help meeting in person go a lot smoother.

The entire site's ethos is built around numbers , and it's nice to know they can actually back up their algorithms. You'll have to subscribe to the A-List for more in-depth features like Double Take , but the fee isn't steep at all. Best for intense chemistry without the frills. Plenty of Fish Free version: Yes and it's great Three months of Premium: Mature newbies to the online dating world who want to bypass the distracting frills of other big sites. It steers clear of fancy features and gives the people what they want: It's not the prettiest site you'll ever see, but if you don't care about aesthetics and don't mind that it's been begging for an update since, like, , you're good to go.

Other people don't seem to mind, considering Plenty of Fish stays a tried and true option and has raked in 90 million users over the past 15 or so years. What it lacks in looks it makes up for in stats, so you're guaranteed to never get bored. Chemistry is the name of the game here, and profile building is no joke. This isn't a quick five-second set-up like other apps, but that's only because POF truly wants you to dig deep so that they can give you the best quality matches.

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Multiple questionnaires cover everything from psychological assessments to sexual needs and tons more, going significantly more in depth than many of its competitors. Only one of the tests is required and will take you 20 minutes just for that part it's questions , so you can skip the others if you're feeling lazy.


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That said, POF suggests filling out as many as you can to help them fine tune their pickings. You can do pretty much everything without spending a cent, and the paid upgrades are super affordable. Best fast-paced millennial app. Hinge Giving Tinder a run for its money as the go-to post-breakup app, Hinge is a thoughtful combo of Tinder's quick swiping and Match's relationship base. People who want a real relationship but don't want to commit to a full-fledged dating site with extensive questionnaires.

Hinge marries the modern, instantaneous feel of swiping apps with the relationship atmosphere that sites like eharmony or Match offer. Hinge literally labels itself the relationship app, or as I prefer, the "anti Tinder. There's a common understanding that this app isn't just for sex, but there's no pressure to rush into a relationship either.

It's chill, it's legit, and traditional swiping apps should be worried. Hinge started out by showing you Facebook friends of friends, but their algorithm is so smart that it has now surpassed friends of friends as a predictor of compatibility AKA you won't be matched with someone all wrong for you just because you have a mutual friend.

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Rather, Hinge helps you get to know the other person more deeply than any new app has attempted, revealing answers to juicy, detailed questions about things like future plans, religion, and vices. Seems like a good recipe for a connection past physical stuff, right? Having endless matches gets overwhelming, and if you're trying to find a genuine connect, there's no point to viciously rushing through every person in a 50 mile radius. Best for finding a friend with benefits.

Let's just get this one out of the way. If you're thinking of dating apps, you're thinking of Tinder. They pioneered the now-ubiquitous swiping function, revolutionizing the world of online dating and boasting 1. What started out as strictly a hookup app has turned into one of the biggest matchmakers in the world.

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As you're served a series of photos, swipe right if you like what you see and left if you don't. When you both indicate interest in each other, you'll get a notification that it's a match. I mean, "Tindering" is just as much of a verb as swiping at this point. Tinder may not want to advertise as such, but we all know what it's mostly used for. You're quite literally deciding if you want to interact with someone based on nothing but profile pictures and a quote from The Office , so yeah, you can see how getting laid would be the main goal of most users — but hey, we all know those couples who met on Tinder and have been together for years.

It's fast, easy, and if there's one app that even the shyest, most skeptical people will be on, it's Tinder. You may get carpal tunnel from swiping so much, but I guess that also means that it's nearly impossible to not find someone who's DTF. It's free for general use, but Tinder does offer two upgrades: Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold. These include extras like undoing a left swipe bless , send "Super Likes" to people you're really into, and in the case of Tinder Gold, see which users have liked your profile. Best for shy guys and confident girls. Bold ladies who like to make the first move or ladies who are just tired of guys thinking nasty pick-up lines are good opening messages.

It's the dating app version of the Sadie Hawkins dance, created by ex-Tinder employees ooh, drama. It pushes some women out of their comfort zone, but it's a nice change of pace. And if you don't message, you could possibly be un-matching with the love of your life, and that's way worse than being ignored. It also takes the pressure off of dudes who feel like they need to start the conversation every time. We knew you were gonna ask, so yes, with same-sex matches either party can start things off. Matches expire after 24 hours so you can't agonize over that opening line for too long, and your match list won't be filled with people you forgot you matched with 57 weeks ago.

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You'll see pictures and short bios of potential matches in your area and can swipe right if you're interested and left if you're not. It's a pretty close mock of Tinder, except for the fact that Bumble relieves the anxiety of accidentally swiping left on a hottie by letting you backtrack. Bumble also offers a BFF feature to find strictly platonic friends and a LinkedIn-ish networking feature called Bizz in attempts to remind everyone that it's not just a hookup app. Bumble is free but also offers Bumble Boost for extra features, including rematching an expired match.

Best for queer women tired of heteronormative apps. Apps like Tinder and Bumble want to say they're for all sexual orientations, but they're constantly throwing in male matches when you've specified you only want women. It's either that, or your pool is filled with straight girls just looking to "make friends.

HER is the award-winning mix of dating and social media that lets you meet girls you know are girls and not nasty men trying to pose as girls , as it requires a Facebook for signup and is solely for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. You don't see that often, and if you do, it's some highly sexualized fantasy thing for guys to drool over.

HER was made by queer women, for queer women, which was a much-needed safe space in the world of online dating. Claiming to "introduce you to every lesbian you've ever wanted to meet," HER is the perfect place to go if you're tired of the only lesbian you know being your ex girlfriend. As the user base grows at a seriously impressive pace especially in large cities , HER will help you widen your dating pool beyond the people you already know IRL.

Profiles are minimalistic and encourage you talk, and it's way more chill and comfortable than traditional swiping apps. But HER goes way past being a hookup app — that is, without adding pressure to find a romantic partner. While it can be used to couple up and find local matches that you never knew existed, you can also get involved in local LGBTQ events, read LGBTQ news, and make friends through its social-media like feed.

Best for gay guys, obviously. Most of these guys have no chill and unsolicited dick pics will run rampant, but it's the ideal gay paradise if you're tired of Tinder or Bumble throwing women into your pool when you specifically opted out. Grindr has been the go-to for gay and bi men since , and that's because finding someone to talk to is damn near instantaneous. Most users just looking to hook up will let you know right off that they're not trying to make small talk.

However, in , Grindr launched their thoughtful LGBTQ online magazine called Into, in efforts to make itself look more like a lifestyle brand and less like a hookup app. According to Mashable's MJ Franklin , Into is one of the most interesting digital magazines on the internet. Now you really can say you're just on Grindr for the articles.

Grindr also announced that they're working on an option for users to notify potential partners of their STD status as a way to stop the spread of infections among dating app users particularly HIV and AIDS. The app is free for basic use, but you can opt for an upgrade to Grindr XTRA to unlock other features like read receipts, an "online-only" viewing option, no ads, and more. Best for super picky people.


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Picky people looking for something super specific in a partner. And guys, this is not the place for the younger millennials: Rather than being thrown into an endless pool of profiles, EliteSingles lets you pick out exactly what you're looking for.

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You'll be given a limited number of matches curated for you using 29 extremely detailed, professional-level algorithms based on the popular Five Factor Personality Test. They'll even show you your own results in comparison to those of potential matches to see how you stack up. Like eharmony , the stuff to fill out is pretty lengthy — but that's what you want if you're looking for a lasting relationship, and this helps ensure that you aren't swiping through tons of people that aren't your type.

Slow and steady wins the race, right? Another unique thing is that there are separate pools based on location, religion, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation. You can even break it down by profession if — for example, if you are or were a teacher, you might only want to date someone who was also a teacher. All profiles are also verified manually with an upscale Fraud Detection System. As you could have expected from the fancy-sounding name, EliteSingles is the most expensive of the bunch but we say worth it.

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Best for people who believe in love at first sight. People constantly falling in love with strangers on the street who then spend hours scouring the Missed Connections section of Craigslist. Everyone would love for the story of how they met their person to be something serendipitous and crazy, like meeting your husband in the Starbucks line — but let's be real, the chances of that happening completely on its own aren't great.

Happn acts as a wingman that steps in and introduces two strangers by alerting app users of cuties who are physically close by in real time. AskMen's review said it best: Perfect for rom com enthusiasts or for anyone who likes to ogle hotties on public transportation and who's secretly hoping they might be doing the same. No, really — one of my friends literally watched a guy next to her on the train "like" her on Happn. If anything, it's a chance to decrease your number of missed opportunities in public when you get too shy to speak up.

Best for picky, career-motivated millennials. The League Free version: Bougie millennials who are career-motivated and looking for an equally ambitious partner. Online dating is a strange but increasingly necessary beast. As you get older, it often becomes difficult to meet people outside your existing social circle.

Chances are, you've already dated the people in your immediate sphere and online dating offers a way to not only widen your options but also to apply shiny algorithms to the mysteries of romance. If you take a look around in public — at a coffee shop, Whole Foods, or a restaurant — everyone is looking down at their phones," says Alex Williamson, vice president of brand content for local app Bumble. Online dating companies fall into two categories, each with their own set of problems.

There are the websites like Match. They offer an in-depth, and usually subscription-based, online dating experience. Then you have the mobile apps. Tinder is by far the most ubiquitous, but the Austin-based Bumble has been making a name for itself as it breaks the mold by doing something simple yet revolutionary — putting women in the driver's seat.

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It alleviates the pressure placed on men to be aggressive, and starts the conversation from a place of respectful intent," says Williamson. To understand what Bumble is trying to change, I'd like to walk you through some of my experiences, both as a single woman and as an online dating consultant. If you have trouble constructing good profiles or sending messages that lead to IRL dates, you can hire professional help. These professionals range from companies of ghostwriters to help you sound clever, to consultants to teach you how to better find what you're looking for, and even websites where you can find out which of your photos are the most likely to make someone swipe right.

I can tell you, for example, that emojis with a hyphen nose: The reason there is such an optimization market for online dating is that there are inherent problems with translating dating culture to online messaging systems. Consequently, by fault of our culture, they typically end up bombarding women online. On the flip side, women are inundated with messages, and sometimes it feels hard to cut through the noise to meet the right person," says Williamson.

Like many women, when I get online, I have dating app messages waiting for me. I might have an hour in the evening that I can devote to evaluating potential matches based on a few selfies and anecdotes. I spend most of my allotted time filtering out weirdos asking for pictures of my feet and badly spelled hookup requests. When that's done, I have very little energy left to go out and search profiles, to think about what I'm looking for, and find someone intriguing. In other words, even an independent, proactive woman like myself gets put in a passive role in these stilted online environments.

I remember once thinking that I had a pretty good idea what I was looking for and then hoping someone like that would message me. Another thing about messaging: The horror stories are true. Every woman I know gets aggressive, rude, and threatening messages more than you would think. During one consult, I let a client look at my message history and he was astonished. Some standout examples of messages included:. Shouldn't that mean I should be getting more responses? If I'm not a jerk? But there is another layer. Because, while I have a handful of rude or mean messages, I have a virtual metric ton of ones that say "Hey" or "What's up?

And doing that means reading a profile, asking a clever question, or finding the perfect GIF. I, like many women, am often too busy fighting exhaustion and cynicism — especially as the world tumbles toward political and cultural madness — to do so. When men don't get many responses, they start sending more and more generic opening lines.