Dating Apps for Young Adults

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Dating apps can be awesome. Hundreds of single people in your city, all looking for someone to spend time with. Whether you’re looking for someone for Friday drinks or you’re looking for your one and only, there’s somebody out there for you. But with so many options out there, what’s the best dating app for young adults?

Good news. We’ve done the hard work and found the answers to that question. We’re about to hit you with some knowledge and share the best dating apps for young adults!

Young people in a crowd and on each other's shoulders

The Best Dating Apps for Young Singles

RankSiteFree Trial Link 
#1ZooskFree Trial
#2Higher BondFree Trial
#3Elite SinglesFree Trial
#4Christian MingleFree Trial
#5JdateFree Trialjdate logo
#6eHarmonyFree Trial

What Makes a Great Dating App for Young Adults

  • Ability to filter by age – Seems like a no-brainer, right? But if you want to meet single people in your age range, an age filter is a must. If you are a younger single person, dating app algorithms may show you people roughly your own age, but if you want to nail it down, use those age filters to keep those potential matches right on target. This is an easily overlooked feature of a dating app for young adults, but when it’s not there—it’s a big miss.
  • Ability to post plenty of pics – Physical attraction aside, a picture is worth a thousand words…but if you’re scrolling through an app on your phone, who wants 1,000 words? Flipping through someone’s profile pics is a quick way to find out if you have things in common. Interested in hiking? Show a picture of yourself on the trail. Are you a gamer? Show yourself having a good time, controller in hand. The best dating apps for young people understand our time constraints and visually-oriented minds.
  • …But plenty of room for text, too – Balancing work, school, and the rest of your life can limit the time you have for quick coffee dates. Getting small talk out of the way with a quick bio up front can give you a good idea of whether you’d like to cede some of your spare time. The best sites have a good balance between a lot of photos, as well as space to share who you are and what you want out of a relationship or dating.
  • Great privacy settings – When you’re young and single, you might end up bombarded with messages and chat requests. While this might sound awesome, there may be times when you need to cut someone off you’re not that into. It can be really useful to have a way to slide out of someone’s DMs real quickly.

Helpful Tips for Dating Online When You’re Young

It’s true: Pics matter

Being young and single likely means you’re interested in dating other young, single people. Most people are honest, but there are definitely people who lie about their age. While you might not need to request a driver’s license pic before the first date, trust your gut if their pics look a bit dated, and be honest with your own photo choices.

For example, if you’re a young, successful entrepreneur seeking a like-minded single to date, it’s important to show that off in your profile. Show yourself hard at work on your next great idea. If you’re a pet lover, show off your fur baby. The cat person versus dog person debate is real.

Slow down the swiping

You might be tempted to do your daily yes/no dating app swipes while you’re waiting for the bus, or in line at the store, but set aside time to check profiles when you’ve got a minute to pay attention. You put time into making a profile that shows your best self, so expect that other singles have done the same. Who knows what you miss when you’re not paying attention?

Remember: It’s a conversation

Being young and single on a dating app is no different than being young and single at a bar or festival: If you want to introduce yourself, neither a “hey” nor a wall of text all about you is likely to get a conversation started. If you’re messaging them, it’s a given you find them attractive, so steer away from physical compliments and go for substance.

Show them you’re paying attention. That first message should be a quick hello and something specific about what you liked in their profile. If they respond, feel free to share more about yourself and ask questions about them. Don’t dominate the conversation, and don’t be surprised if “‘sup girl” leaves you on seen.

Don’t be too disappointed if someone doesn’t respond.

There are lots of reasons people don’t respond on dating apps. People lead busy lives – that’s why they’re using a dating app. They may also be in the early stages of seeing someone else but aren’t ready to take their profile down just yet.

Or they may have a different set of deal breakers like politics or religion than you have. Look at it this way: Imagine getting excited when you hear a ping from the app, only to find it’s a “sorry, not interested.” Sometimes a non-response is the best way to go.

FAQ About Using Young Dating Apps

Can I keep people out of my age range from contacting me?

In most cases, no. As a young, single person, you’re likely to get not just people your own age, but also older people who prefer to date younger. Some apps have privacy controls that will allow you to stay “invisible” and only reach out to profiles that interest you, but this will also keep people your age from reaching out on their own.

What if the app I’m using only shows me older people?

Dating apps all have their own personalities. If you’re not finding singles in your age range, it may be that the app’s local users skew older than what you’re looking for. The good news is that finding a dating app is just like dating — if you give an app a try and you don’t find what you’re looking for, there are plenty more to try! That’s why our recommended list doesn’t have just one option but several dating apps for young people to try.

Some sites allow me to connect my social media. Do I want to do that?

Finding that balance can be tough! It’s a cool, up-to-the-minute way to show how you spend your days, but it could also reveal your full name, regular hangouts, and more. If you do decide to connect your social media to a dating app, make sure you remember that each post tells a little more of your story. That can mean TMI for you potential date, but it can also provide some first–date ice breakers. If you’re really worried about this, you can check out our list of dating apps that don’t make you use Facebook to log in.