Appearances can be deceiving, though. Although Coffee Meets Bagel allows for a range of super-specific preferences, the bagel it sends you may or may not match your specified preferences and, more often than not, if they do, they will be a significant distance away. The app can also be glitchy, often resulting in slow update and load times, and sometimes it’s frustrating that it sends you only a single bagel a day. You can speed things up a bit by using the “give & take” option, but it’ll cost you 385 beans to like someone who catches your eye.
Statistically speaking, there’s plenty of evidence that dating apps work—especially for those among us whose endgame is meeting a long-term partner. There are stats that say marriages among people who met on an app are less likely to end after the first year, and despite a big cultural annoyance about the process, the vast majority of Americans think that, ultimately, apps are a good way to meet people. Even anecdotally, a lot of the people I spoke to for this piece—all of whom self-identified as dating app haters—nevertheless met their long-term partner on an app.
Why it's awesome: Before there were apps on which one could swipe right and left on a dizzying number of potential connections, there was Match. Yes, Match is the mother of all dating sites. Launched back in 1995, its decades in the business help it bring a ton of insight to the table for singles looking for all kinds of connections. And with its more recent push into mobile come a few new features that have helped make the ancient site more relevant, including its very own version of Stories, popularized by Snapchat and, uh ... adopted by everyone else. Match users can shoot little videos of their day or add voiceovers to photos and post them to their profiles for other users to check out. "Match is the family brand," Spira says. "It's the one where someone could see their grandmother on, and someone could see their grandson on. It has the largest critical mass, and they have done a fabulous job of keeping up with the technology."
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In theory, dating apps are simply a way to meet potential love or sex partners. These smartphone-dwelling matchmakers can even facilitate experimentation, helping users code for and discover what they want from another person in any given moment. They provide a way to meet people on a user’s own schedule, which potentially democratizes the whole dating process. (Honestly, who can afford to go out every night? Carrie Bradshaw was clearly a con artist.) To look at it from a distance, the future of dating is easy and great! And yet...and yet.
It’s not perfect. The quiz show format won’t appeal to everyone, and the slow burn and winner-takes-all aspect mean it’s going to be a lot harder to get a date than in other apps. Also, featured dater spots are currently only open to straight women, so there’s not much here for lesbians or gay men yet, though there are plans to expand to male bachelors and LGBTQ+ episodes. You also need to email the company to apply to be a featured dater, which means it’s not exactly a pick-up-and-go app if you’re wanting to be the featured dater. However, if you’re bored of regular dating apps, or if you’re simply attracted to the fun elements and the prospect of finding love is a bonus, then give Quiz Date Live a go.
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It’s very quick and easy to set up and use. The profile creation is pretty standard. You add photos, age, profession, and interests, and you can also specify what you feel like doing, whether that’s taking a walk in the park, seeing a movie, or having a drink. Happn has some nifty integrations — you can use Facebook to set up your profile, hook up your Instagram account to automatically add photos, and add Spotify to see if your musical tastes align.
Why? It's the original “I don’t have the time to waste energy on people who don't find me physically attractive” app. I also believe people go on the app without a set idea of what they want overall, so the idea of a date and one-nighter is attractive and effortless. But that doesn’t mean everyone is opposed to relationships of growing from the first encounter.
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Bumble is one of those dating apps that tries to shake things up. It'll match you like normal. However, women get to initiate chats first. She'll have 24 hours to do so and then the man will have 24 hours to reciprocate. In homosexual matches, either one can go first. Many have touted this as a way to weed out creepy people. However, we couldn't verify that one way or the other and it makes things a little difficult for male users. The app does, in fact, show you possible matches and it gives you the opportunity to talk to new people. It has problems, but it's still a cut above a lot of others. We do like it for non-straight people, though, since they do get the classic dating experience without any bottlenecks.