Relationship Tips

The Definitive Guide to the Best Dating Apps for Finding Love and Sex (or Whatever)

Mary Grace Garis

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It’s easy to get overwhelmed by dating apps. The endless stream of matches, messages, gifs, and shirtless selfies is a lot. But the dating burnout can start as early as not knowing which dating app to use in the first place. Tinder? Bumble? Something that connects you with dogs (I mean, dog owners)? How do you choose the best dating apps for you?

Now, I’ll level for you, your literal mother and I are probably the only two people who aren’t using dating apps at the moment. To each their own, but I can’t do it, it’s too Seamless-y (and IDK, it would probably tick off my S.O.). But I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom, and if you’re going to use the apps I’d rather you do it based on what you’re looking for. And whether that’s a DTF dude to boink, a woman you can grow old with, or someone with a full and robust beard, here’s how to get started.

These are the best dating apps to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, in no particular order

1. Tinder

Great if: You’re looking for something easy right now.

I won’t sermonize here because most of you are intimately acquainted with the app. In short, Tinder is best if you’re looking for something low-commitment, in uh, a variety of ways. It’s no muss, no fuss swipe-intensive approach works for quick hook-ups with the very occasional long-term success story.

2. Ship

Great if: You, like, actively want your friends to set you up.

Betches new baby, Shipallows your friends to swipe for you, which definitely isn’t the worst plan. After all, when you’re trying to decide which way to swipe or how to respond to a message, isn’t the move to drop that screenshot in the group chat? Ship seems to streamline that process, so it’s a match if you’re very squad-forward (or can’t be bother to overwork your index finger anymore).

3. Hinge

Great ifYou’re trying to look for something slightly more serious than Tinder.

Right now, Hinge is “designed to be deleted.” (Does anyone really want to keep swiping until they’re using Depends? I don’t know, you do you.) Your matches are based on questionnaire that pairs you people who share common interests and expectations. You know, people who might actually want to date versus people that’ll never be dignified with a last name or introduced your second tier friends. Try it out when you’ve past the rebound phase and feel ready to graduate to dinner plans.

4. Her

Great if: You’re on the quest for solid queer connections.

Her is an app “for queer womxn, by queer womxn,” and a really safe space to find lesbian, bisexual, queer, or gender non-conforming partners. More than that, Her is big on building a community; the company hosts parties and socials in over 15 cities across the country. So it’s great for finding your person, but it’s also great if you’re looking to expand your LBGTQ circle.

5. Bumble

Great if: You want to be in control of who you talk to.

If you’re less enthusiastic about the idea of a salutation dick pic, Bumble might be the match for you. As a refresher, Bumble ethos is that women are in charge of making the first move. It encourages a more female-friendly environment in this way, with a dedication to stomp out hate speech and bad behavior. Your roommate might still end up accidentally dating a Trump supporter for six months, but this why you gotta vet people thoroughly IRL.

6. Lesly

Great if: You’re looking for women and the OG apps are not cutting it.

Lesly has a Tinder-esque swipe right interface but dumps all those bros holding fish (to which I say, regardless of sexuality, thank GOD). Instead, you can match with other LGBTQ singles. The app promises that each registered user is “rigorously scrutinized” by staff to ensure that you’re not getting scammed. No one wants to find out that the cutie with the bob haircut is some finance guy named Mike.

7. Hater

Great if: You’re the person who boasts that they’re “fluent in sarcasm,” which, okay, we’re not 15 anymore. As someone who literally couldn’t write this piece without sarcasm, can we just all agree that it’s code for, “I’m kinda mean”? That, or you’re just very, very picky.

Here’s the deal, Hater matches you up with someone based on—you guessed it!—what you hate. You mark a seemingly endless list of prompts of things like, “facebook stalking,” “vegan food,” and “paying for a broker” with whether you hate, dislike, like or love it. And I wanna snark on this, but this is kind of a perfect filter if you’re one of those loves-to-bitch Misery Loves Company types. Or, like, any New Yorker.

8. Loosid

Great if: You’re firmly committed to a sober lifestyle.

It’s pretty much a dating default to “grab drinks” after work, to the point where some of my friends have designated “Bumble Bars.” That go-to can breed awkwardness of you struggle with addiction or just don’t mess with booze anymore. Enter Loosid, a supportive app that connect you with not only connects you with other sober-minded singles, but thoughtfully tunes you in to alcohol-free events in the area.

9. MeetMindful

Great if: You want something meaningful and embrace wellness as big part of your lifestyle.

And there is a very good chance that you’re down with wellness if you’re here, so here’s the situation. MeetMindful is all about “connecting with intention.” There’s no swiping, just a questionnaire that asks about your feel-good passions (yoga? spirituality? meditation?) and then presents you with a platter of people you can choose to “like.”

10. Sweatt

Great if: You’re looking for your swolemate (I’ll see myself out).

Sweatt is serious when it comes to fitness, and if you’re serious about fitness, I couldn’t think of a better app. It really separates the people who love hitting up the gym versus the people who say they love hitting up the gym. Good luck, you crazy kids, I’ll be here on my couch eating ice cream for dinner!

11. Twindog

Great if: You’re not effing around when you put “Dog Mom” in your profile.

Yo, if I was single I would exploit this to no end. Twindog is an app for dog owners, and allows you to match with other pups in the area. Oh, and maybe you’ll fall in love with their person 101 Dalmatians style. AND THE DOGS COULD BE THE RING BEARER AND FLOWER GIRL AT THE WEDDING. I don’t know how legit it is, but it might be preferable to my old technique of lurking Fido-less in Brooklyn’s McGolrick dog park, hoping to leash in a dude with a Corgi.

12. Bristlr

Great if: You’re sexually attracted to Hagrid.

Or if you’re just a fan of facial hair. Bristlr boasts the incredibly direct tagline of “connecting those with beards to those who want to stroke beards.” If beard-stroking is a big priority for you, then truly, go wild.

When it comes to dating apps, here’s how to put your best foot forward. And here’s some advice for flirting at the gym IRL.

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