Online dating can be overwhelming. From picking out the right photos to the nerve-wracking exercise of describing yourself without sounding either too humble or bragging, dating online is inherently stressful—at least in the early stages.
But there are also so many apps to choose from—your phone’s app store is awash in them. So how do you pick the right one? We’ve got some questions you can ask yourself to streamline the process Don’t worry, once you do a little sleuthing you’ll find the right one for you!
What’s Your Goal?
With so many types of dating sites out there, knowing what your endgame is can be an asset. Some apps have a reputation for being best for hookups—though that rep can change over time, you’ll still find plenty of the ultra-ultra-casual daters there, so be on the lookout if you’re hoping to fall in love.
Others are geared specifically to people who are marriage-minded. That may be exactly the type of site you’re looking for. Realistically, though, you’re probably somewhere in between: you’re looking for more than a one night stand, but you’re not willing to commit until you find the right person. Knowing what you’re looking for to start can help you decide which app is for you.
Do You Want To Spend Money?
Many apps are what people call “freemium.” That means that the basics of the service are free, but throwing down a little—or a lot—of cash will give you extra options that may streamline the process or make things easier to navigate.
Paid features can be things like keeping your profile hidden so you get to decide who makes the first move, or highlighting your profile for a set amount of time to get more eyes on your pics. None of those are vital, but plenty of sites will steer you toward paid features by making navigating them a pain without them.
Other sites have a subscription fee—usually after a short free trial. While it’s not a slam-dunk, paid sites can be a better option for those who are in it for the long haul (and, in many cases, financially stable enough to afford the cost). Committing to a site can correlate to someone who’s committed to finding the right partner.
Are You Looking For Someone Specific?
There are plenty of dating apps that allow you to cast a wide net—whether that’s just daters in your town or anyone across the world. That can be a lot of sifting. But your identity, the identity of who you hope to date, or their job or hobbies may help you narrow your search. For example, if you’re on the LGBTQ+ spectrum and seeking same, there are lots of sites and apps that don’t allow hetero folks to join.
Likewise, if you’re in a specific profession or spend your off time devoted to a specific hobby, there’s likely a site just for you, too. Do a little searching to find a site that sounds good, then do a little more searching to find out if it’s the best of the best. In fact, we’re here to help you do just that.
Check This Out: Best Dating Apps by Category
How Important Is Privacy?
It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when choosing the right dating app, but privacy is an important consideration for any information you put online. Some sites encourage or require you to link your social media accounts to your profile, and they may share more than just your first name and location.
Some default to showing the line of work you’re in, or even the name of the company and where you went to school. That’s a lot of info for nosy folks to dig into, and that takes a lot of fun out of getting to know people.
Also, be careful to check all of your settings when you sign up. Some sites use real profiles as bait to show potential daters who they’re missing out on by not joining the site—you may be just the catch they’re looking for to highlight, and that might be more info than you’re willing to share.
Other sites—especially those geared toward meeting quickly and more casually—will tell people exactly how far away from you a potential dater is—sometimes even down to being on the same street!
Again, think about if that’s information you’re comfortable with a stranger having. Again, plenty of those icky scenarios are avoidable as long as you keep an eye on your settings, so don’t worry too much if an app seems like a good fit otherwise.
What Do Your Friends Say?
Do you have a friend or two who met their significant other on a dating app? If you have the same sensibilities and tastes, there’s a good chance the app they used could work for you, too. Ask them about their experiences, how long it took them to meet the person they’re with, and what they do and don’t like about the site. This is one of those your mileage may vary situations, though. Still, it’s worth getting some feedback. Nothing beats a personal recommendation.
How Patient Are You?
As frustrating as it seems, finding the right person—no matter how long or seriously you intend to date—can take time. That’s okay. While we hope that you’ll have nothing but great experiences, a bad date or two along the way is completely common.
A more generic dating site is bound to have a larger dating pool, though, so if you’re not the patient type a larger site can be a good place to start—and there’s nothing stopping you from using more than one site at the same time! Whether you’re ready to start going out for drinks with online dates and playing the trial and error game or whether you’d like to take it slow and chat online for a bit, there’s definitely a site out there for you.