Dating Apps: The Essentials

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve never been on a dating app before. You might be thinking to yourself “are dating apps dangerous?” or “are they filled with fake profiles?”. Whilst these are legitimate concerns, online dating has come a long way since the days of clandestine chat rooms and incognito ASLs!

Fears allayed, welcome to 2020. Dating apps are so commonplace that there’s a good chance more than 50% of the single people you know are using them. That might well be why you’re wondering what your options are. Without further ado, let’s get started on what’s out there in terms of options.

Dating Apps: Which One?

The great thing about dating apps, much like dating, is that there’s something (or someone) for everyone. Sure, there are apps that are typically associated with finding hookups vs. serious relationships, there are even apps for dating while traveling. 

There are also apps for people with specific religious beliefs, lifestyle, attitudes, and more. If you’re already in a partnership and looking for a third partner to join you two, there are even apps like Thrinder specifically designated for threesomes or polyamorous relationships.

With all of these choices, it might seem a bit overwhelming. Maybe you’re a Jewish, athletic guy and wondering if you should try JDate (a dating app for Jewish singles), Sweatt (a dating app for “fit people”), or something more general like Hinge.

The truth is, there isn’t one “right” app for you to use. Generally speaking, I’d recommend trying a more general app to start, especially if you’re new to dating (Zoosk and eHarmony are good options). 

After all, why limit your options down if you don’t have to? However, if you’re someone who tends to get overwhelmed or have options-paralysis, less may be more.

Dating experts recommend trying one dating app at a time to avoid this options-paralysis. Besides, if you’re chatting with 10 people at a time, it can lead to you forgetting who’s who, and not having a meaningful conversation with anyone at all. 

In summary: yes, there are tons of apps available for every single preference or type of person—but sometimes it’s better to keep it simple.

Dating Apps: Who Are They For?

Because of the popularity and plethora of dating apps, not everyone on dating apps is looking for the same thing. It’s important to keep this in mind as you get started on your dating journey (a journey that’s hopefully a short one!).

It’s never a bad idea to pretty quickly ask your match (or your date) what they’re looking for. Of course, some people might not be exactly sure, or they may tailor their answer in the hope of matching your intent, but it’s still a good conversation to have.

Some people download dating apps because they’ve decided that this is the year that they find their life partner. Others may be newly single and looking to “get back in the game” by any means necessary. Many people—especially younger people on more casual apps—may simply be bored or desire some attention.

Once you get into the more niche apps, what people are looking for can get even more specific, like the Thrinder app I mentioned above. There are also people looking for non-traditional “sugar baby” type arrangements on sites like Seeking or What’s Your Price.

On the more tame side of things, plenty of people may simply be looking for friends. Apps like Bumble BFF or Raya’s networking platform have incorporated a special feature into their apps specifically for friend-finding or networking to avoid any confusion.

Essentially, dating apps can be for anyone as long as you’re honest about your intentions and you respect everyone you match and meet with. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, that’s okay too, sometimes using dating apps can help you figure it out!

You Have Nothing to Lose (and Nothing to Fear!)

If you’re still not sold on giving dating apps a whirl, think of it this way: you really have nothing to lose. Just because you’ve downloaded the app doesn’t mean you have to go on a date. 

If you’re worried about being rejected, the beauty of dating apps is that you probably will never have to see or hear about this person again. It’s much less risky than asking out your co-worker or going on a blind date with your boss’s niece.And, if it makes you feel any better: 39% of U.S.-based heterosexual couples and 60% of same-sex couples met online. So, you’re definitely not alone. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and have some fun, the dating world truly is your oyster!