Dating apps: The best and the worst

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Being single on Valentine’s Day sucks, to say the least. You’re stuck watching everyone else go on cute dates and get chocolates and oh, the PDA.

The Hallmark holiday really makes you want to go out and find your other half, and what’s better than dating apps?

Some of them are great and you can make meaningful connections. Some of them suck.

I tried a bunch so you don’t have to.

Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish is awful. The sign-up process was incredibly strange in that it asked for not only the standard dating site information (name, email, etc.), but it also wants your religion, profession, if you smoke/drink/do drugs, your income, height, body type, eye color, and education level.

I can understand why it’s there — it gives your profile viewer more insight as to who you are as a person and makes everything a lot more transparent, which is hard in the online dating world.

But it also seems kind of intrusive. Those kinds of things are maybe things that I would want to find out about somebody later, or maybe never at all depending on how the relationship progresses (or doesn’t).

And it gets worse: immediately upon the completion of my profile, I was bombarded with notifications. Whether it was somebody sending me a message or the app telling me that someone had “liked” me, I had a notification every five minutes at least.

I was immediately so put off by it that I ended up turning off push notifications. I didn’t return to the app until I started to write this article and went to refresh my memory, but for whatever reason, my profile didn’t exist anymore. I tried to send recovery emails to all of my email accounts and none worked, so ultimately I gave up.

Plenty of Fish had one redeeming quality: it doesn’t force you to show your name. Each user creates a username that other users see (which I did not know, and therefore made mine “kakashilover7” after my favorite Naruto character). You have the option to show your first name, which some users might want, but it keeps who you are more private until you’re comfortable.

Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel is lesser-known, kind of weird, and definitely a waste of time.

It has the generic set up — add some photos, write a little bit about yourself, fill out what you’re looking for, etc. But the discover page where you look through other users is strange.

Rather than viewing one person at a time and liking or disliking, you have a sort of in-app currency — “beans” — that you spend to like someone. It notifies them when you do so and things go from there.

The problem is that the beans that you use to like someone are fleeting, and the most efficient way to get more of them is to spend money. There are in-app methods for getting them, like scrolling through photos and choosing which one is “better,” but each set of photos only gets you a single bean. Liking someone takes almost 400.

Bumble

Bumble is one of those apps that we all know and get Hulu ads for all the time.

I like Bumble. It’s basically Tinder (which we’re getting to) but women send the first message.

After you match with someone, you have 24 hours to send them a message. If not, the match expires, and that’s that. For me, it gives me a chance to make a better first impression than just being taken aback by some lewd message.

There’s nothing complicated about it and everything is user-friendly. You can even connect Spotify to show others what music you like.

The biggest drawback for me is that Bumble is trying to be something it’s not.

There are sections for finding dates, friends, and business connections. It feels like Bumble is trying to branch out and be more than just a dating site to gain different kinds of users, but it should just stick to what it knows.

Tinder

Tinder is like the sacred chalice of dating apps.

It’s easy to use, has plenty of users, and doesn’t require a ridiculous amount of work.

The profile setup is easy, the short bio is optional, and of all the apps I used, it was the easiest to navigate — everything is straightforward. You swipe right or left, you get one super like a day, you send messages. You can even set it up with your college email account so others can see what school you go to. It’s easy.

Tinder is the most ad-heavy, though. Throughout the swipes, ads for various companies came up and threw off the flow of the swipes.

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