I Spent A Month On 3 Different Dating Apps & This One Worked The Best
It’s in every single girl’s nature to flirt and meet new people, but when it comes down to actually dating, the Modern Brown Girl knows that a lot of consideration goes into finding her ideal partner. Although being selective and careful when choosing a potential partner is highly important for obvious reasons, you also have to be open-minded in finding ways to go about meeting others. Since today’s society calls for way more technology than our parents and grandparents used, the dating culture is now comprised of swipes and likes.
I wanted to see for myself just how technology makes or breaks the dating scene, so I downloaded Bumble and Hinge and created an account on OKCupid (it also has an app, but the best way to view everything is on the actual website). While it mainly started as research in the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome of my mini, social experiment.
Since I excluded Tinder from my research due to its reputation for mainly being for hookups, the first app I downloaded was Bumble. I liked how Bumble makes sure you’re a real person and gives you the option to sign in through Facebook so it can pull basic information and pictures from your profile. It’s also inclusive of gender preferences, so you don’t have to be heterosexual to participate. Additionally, Bumble has the BFF and Bizz “modes” you can switch to in case you just want to meet new friends (a great idea for those who just moved to their city) or if you are looking to develop your career. The feature I liked most was that if you are a straight woman, you are the one who needs to message the guy first so that your inbox isn’t full of unwelcome messages. You simply swipe left or right, and it shows you the matches that you’ve made so you can send a message to the guys who liked you back.
The first week I used it, I had six matches; I messaged them all a very creative, “Hi there!” to start conversations, and all but one replied back. The majority of the conversation threads were superficial and vague, (“Sooo what’s up?/How’s your night going?”/etc), which I was okay with since I was still new to the scene. However, I quickly grew tired of swiping and the seemingly repetitive conversations, so I wasn’t active on the app for long. I did manage to meet up with one guy, but with the lack of chemistry, we didn’t pursue anything.
I honestly just needed a few days in using this website until I decided it wasn’t my favorite. The layout wasn’t easy to use, and if you downloaded it as an app on your phone it didn’t show the same features that the actual website provided. Plus, there were way too many questions to ask you in order to potentially match you with someone (questions based on topics like Lifestyle, Sex, Religion, Ethics), so it felt like the Cosmo quiz that never ended! Also, you can be messaged by any guy, so my inbox was full of messages from a bunch of strangers (luckily, none were gross). OKCupid also requires that you buy upgraded features to see all the people who are interested in you, which I was not about to do.
I did like how your profile was centered on the basics about yourself and what your goal was (new friends, short-term dating, long-term dating, etc). The other apps I used didn’t have a this as an option, so this was super helpful and eliminated asking the awkward question of “So, what are you looking for?” Although OKCupid wasn’t my ideal choice, it would probably benefit someone who is willing to spend time and money on their profile and is not on any other dating apps. It’s quite time-consuming to be as specific as possible when answering all of the questions down to the very last detail of stating just how important something is to you (for example, whether or not you smoke/enjoy talking about politics/shower daily), but apparently the beauty of the site is found in the algorithms that OKCupid uses to match you with others as best it can.
Thank goodness for Hinge! This one was definitely more my style for many reasons. First off, you need Facebook to create a profile, which I honestly liked so that you knew they were real people. Plus, logging in with Facebook allows Hinge to see which of your mutual friends have other friends that are on Hinge. This is pretty much like meeting someone through a friend at a party, so I thought was an interesting component. I also like how you don’t have to swipe to show interest. All you have to do is like a person’s picture (you get to upload six) or like/comment on their responses to the three prompts they included on their profile, like “Never Have I Ever…”, “What Makes Me Happy” and “Dream Dinner Guest”, among many other choices.
I found the profile layout clean and organized, and I thought it showed the most pertinent information that you’d want someone to know, which gave the app an overall classy touch. I had twice as many matches on Hinge than I did on Bumble during my first week on the app, and I even had dinner with the first two guys I matched with. Luckily, they were very funny and sweet guys and although it didn’t work out with either, I’m glad I got to meet them instead of just having conversations the app.
Not long after the last date, I had one more date with a Hinge match. Although I was feeling tired and ready to take a break from the app, I was still pretty excited to grab a drink with the third match since we had a fair amount of common interests. I thrive on both sharing my opinions and passions while also learning about another person—especially when they are vastly different from me—so my date and I definitely hit it off! What also helped was that we had an idea of what to first talk about since viewing each other’s Hinge profiles left us curious about each other, something you can’t get by simply swiping right.
The Bottom Line
While online dating and using dating apps is not going to be everyone’s first choice, I think they should try it at least once if they feel too shy to approach others in person. The conversation threads or profiles allow you to get the basic info out of the way, but you should definitely save the bigger topics for first dates like dinner, drinks or coffee—that is, if you have more than just hooking up in mind. I also like how dating online lets you meet people that you might not otherwise meet in your neighborhood; when technology is accessible to people all over the city, you are sure to meet others from different backgrounds who have interesting stories and life experiences to share. No matter how outgoing you are, it’s convenient to have a little help from technology when dating.
Of course, I wouldn’t recommend relying just on dating apps to meet people. For example, I was able to have a nice date with a guy who I met on one of my nights out with friends by simply talking to him and asking about his interests. You also want to keep in mind that it’s important to continuously develop your social skills, even if that means getting out of your comfort zone and approaching someone you find attractive. Trust me, the slight, temporary sting of rejection isn’t worth becoming a recluse and missing out on the world around you, even if you had a couple awful experiences in the past.
If you feel like you really cannot meet guys or girls on your own, or if you feel like you just keep meeting the same type of people, a balanced use of dating apps combined with in-person introductions could be very beneficial to your dating life. I limited my time spent swiping/liking/messaging to three to four hours a week; too much of it can be overwhelming and taking too long to respond shows disinterest. This in no way is a guarantee that you will meet your next dream guy/girl, but there’s no harm in it when you’ve got time, patience, and the willpower to get back out into the dating scene. Just remember to be yourself, not take anything personally, keep communication light and honest, and have fun!