Although I’m not in the dating market, I have lots of girlfriends who are and looking for that special someone. I’m sure some of your can attest, dating in the modern age is not easy! There’s so many questions. Where do you meet people post-school years? How do you meet people if your social group is all couples? How do you meet a guy in a city where they never approach you (cough cough: Vancouver)? When online dating first came out, it seemed like a taboo topic. But now, going online and using mobile apps to meet a potential someone is totally the norm. And if you’re still hesitant, my advice is to just take a chance, the worse thing that can happen is he’s a dud and you have a good story to tell your friends. The best case scenario he turns out to be super awesome and you’re inviting me to your wedding! I say that makes it a pretty good risk!
Now let’s decode the options you have – these are a few of the majors Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. And for those who still think these apps are for ‘hook-ups’ only, I beg to differ cause I’ve had friends who’ve developed long-term relationships with good guys they met on these apps. If you have more to add to the list, please share in the comments. I interviewed my friend who’s active on these apps to give me the scoop.
Tinder: It’s a simple interface and easy to use. Swipe left if you’re not into him, swipe right if you are. Once you’re matched you can start chatting – either person can initiate. The app is free (with paid versions with more features – see below).
Bumble: It’s a similar interface to Tinder and also easy to use. The difference is if you’re matched, the woman has the opportunity to initiate the conversation within 24 hours or it disappears from your connections. Men also have 24 hours to reply – this implied sense of urgency to make contact and interact is great to avoid flakes or users potentially using the app for the wrong reasons (i.e. ego boost, in a relationship but wants to see what’s out there and uses app “for fun”). Men also get a one-time 24 hour extend feature per day to extend a match for an additional 24 hours (say a girl hasn’t responded to his message in the 24 hour gap) – this is another way to indicate they are very/actually interested in a girl (i.e. Please message me back – in a non-creepy way of course). Now if you swipe the wrong way (wait, he’s super cute!!) – you can backtrack. You literally shake your phone to undo your last swipe. You get three backtracks per day. The app is free.
Hinge: Hinge relies on your Facebook network for possible matches (you’re connected to the network of Facebook friends who are also on Hinge). It’s been called the ‘classier’ version of Tinder. It connects you to friends of friends, so there’s a sense of security there knowing the person is connected to someone in your network. And if it’s a friend you’re close to, you can ask them for more deets if you choose. Hinge gives you a limited number of matches a day, so it’s quality over quantity. Hinge also shows where someone work, where they went to school and their hometown. Since the matches will be more qualified if they’re connected to your network (i.e. you’re more likely to date people within your social network who share similar interests). The app is free.
The Bad – Stranger Danger!
Tinder: Once you match, guys can message girls or vice versa; girls tend to get a lot of copy and paste cookie cutter type messages (seriously guys, we can tell), guys tend to get a lot of spam or porn bots.
Bumble: It’s a little buggy and laggy, but not much stranger danger as girls can choose who they talk and interact with – also there is the option to block and report. The 24 hour time limit can be a downside if you’re not active on the app, which can result in missed opportunities to connect.
Hinge: The app has limited availability in Canada right now (it’s not available in Vancouver, but it is in Toronto). You’ll only receive a limited number of matches per day (based on the number of friends you’re connected to via Hinge). So if you’re all about the numbers game, this may not a disadvantage. Because the Hinge matches are based on your friend’s networks, if you prefer dating a lot younger or older, then you may be limited (since it’s likely your friends have friends who are around the same age).
The Special Features
Tinder: The app is free, but there are paid versions for more features. Tinder Plus is $9.99 if you’re under 30, $19.99 over 30. The two features include Rewind (undo last swipe) and Passport – allow to change location and swipe anywhere in the world. Perfect if you have plans to move soon and want to meet someone in that new city.
Bumble: There’s a BFF feature, so you can search for friends to connect with. Especially great if you’re in a new city and looking to make friends. There’s something called VIBee, it’s a verification status that promotes good online behaviour and accountability; you get a special sticker on your profile that identifies you as a VIBee user. Algorithm decides based on user’s behaviour like what percentage of conversations are two-way, if a user has been reported for spam or abuse or likelihood of a user following up on conversations. VIBee users also have an option to switch on a mode where they only see other VIBee users so connections are more confident and real.
Hinge: There’s a feature called Story Cards – these are optional questions you can answer that will surface uncommon commonalities you share with matches and potential matches. You will have the chance to answer only at times when you have no more potential matches.
Now there you go! Try out the apps and see which ones you like the best.