Forget about the best dating sites and opt for what’s most popular instead

Even if you’ve never used dating apps or websites, you know the big names in gaming, from Tinder and Hinge to more classic picks like match and eharmony.

Dating apps and sites have been a fairly common way to meet potential partners, even before the pandemic made us live much of our lives online. In February 2020, the Pew Research Center published data that three in 10 adults have dating apps, a proportion that rises to 48% for 18-29 year olds and 38% for 30-49 year olds. And again, this is all happening before quarantines and social distancing force us all to turn to apps for human connection.

So when it comes to online dating, or people finding potential matches isn’t exactly the biggest mystery. However, How? ‘Or’ What people browsing these apps and sites to find the kind of relationships they’re looking for might seem a little less obvious.

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Even though algorithms are involved, connecting with someone out of a sea of ​​strangers still involves a degree of luck and patience (who says dating apps can’t have cute magic?) . But signing up for the right app can go a long way in finding the connection you’re looking for.

How to choose the right dating app?

Spoiler alert: No one dating app or site is better than all the others. Some are good for more serious relationships, some for dating, and some just to see where things go.

Eddie Hernandez, a San Francisco-based online dating consultant, doesn’t have a singular app that he tends to recommend. “I have an idea not only of what is the “best” application, but also of what I think is the most appropriate with where [clients] are in terms of their dating expectations,” Hernandez said.

Dating can be a dumpster fire, and online dating can sometimes feel like the least romantic and overwhelming way to meet someone. You don’t want to add even more fuel by trying to make things work on Tinder when you already know you’re a more committed Harmony type.

Ultimately, finding the app (or apps) for your unique expectations is how to find the “right” online dating experience and turn that dumpster fire into warming flames of love and connection.

What makes an app or site popular?

For the apps we found to be the most popular, we considered a few factors, such as number of users (if any), name recognition, cultural significance, and status of the app’s chart. App Store. We also paid close attention to the apps that were mentioned again and again in many interviews with daters.

It’s not common practice for all apps and sites to publish accurate data on how many active users they have, so it’s important to consider several ways an app or site might be popular. to get the most accurate image. Also, while just looking at active user counts might give you a pretty clear breakdown, that doesn’t take into account that an app like HER, specifically designed for queer women, will have lower numbers than Tinder. , despite its undeniable popularity within the queer community.

What is the benefit of using popular dating apps and sites?

The simple math is that popular apps have larger user bases, which means a higher chance of meeting someone you really vibe with. Yes, using popular apps can mean you’ll spend more time browsing through profiles of people you’re not really interested in, and yes, it can mean the whole experience becomes a bit more overwhelming than you expect. would like.

But if you’re willing to take the leap, using apps with lots of users means you’ll avoid finding yourself in the same three profiles over and over again. In other words, once you find the app that seems to match your dating expectations, you want to be sure that there are indeed active profiles on it – if not, what’s the point?

Meri Sutton-Hatcher, a 36-year-old quality assurance engineer, uses three apps from this roundup: Tinder, HER, and OkCupid. “I have a nice niche dating pool. I’m lesbian, polyamorous and trans. So that really narrows things down, so getting the dating apps that have the most people on it gives me a better chance to actually find people I can connect with.”

With other popular apps like Coffee Meets Bagel or Hinge, you’ll receive a limited number of matches or swipes per day, so even though you have access to a huge world of people you wouldn’t usually have, you don’t have to. nor to make him drown in the potential choices.

Is it worth paying for dating apps?

Almost every app or site has a paid version which, if you only pay attention to the promotional material, can seem to guarantee that you’ll find your perfect partner in no time. In reality, finding someone you actually click with — whether casually or for a long-term commitment — can take a while, even if you pay a few extra bucks a month.

It might just inspire you to stick with the free versions, but there are some benefits to pay. If you find the amount of options overwhelming or just want to minimize your scanning time, many apps’ paid features allow you to manage your matches and see who matches you first, so you can save time. in the research process itself. .

Several dating app users we spoke to for this article mentioned that they like Match and eharmony because everyone on the site is a paying user. When you spend your money on finding a partner, you give up the pretense that you’re there to kill some time – probably, other people like you are looking for something serious. Ultimately, paying for apps really comes down to how much time you want to spend online dating and what you’re looking for, but it’s a decision well worth weighing up.

As for other considerations when picking popular apps and sites, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you — check out our top 10 picks below, in no particular order.