The dating landscape of the 21st century doesn’t rely on the perfectly timed meet cute where you capture the perfect stranger in your local Kroger while selecting the vegetable to go with your holiday ham. Instead, today’s singles swipe right or left looking for love. The smartphone is a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, and as such, it makes sense that it has found its way to becoming the conduit between forlorn hearts. When leaving your love life up to a gadget, what application is best? Christan Marashio, creator of the popular website And That’s Why You’re Single (www.atwys.com), says that asking Siri to help find love is where most people go wrong. “Sites and apps exist not to help you find love,” Marashio says. “They are there to help you find dates; dates are where you find the relationship.”
Changing perspective about dating applications starts with knowing the purpose of each site. Marashio doesn’t agree with the notion that certain sites are for quick hook-ups only. The main difference between apps and sites like OkCupid, Match and Plenty of Fish is that the apps do away with the profile building. They stick to the simplest markers many people use to decide if they want to go any further: looks, age, location and height. By doing away with the time-consuming profiles, they free up time for real conversation with a potential date, albeit on a smaller screen. “People just looking to hook up are more likely to use an app because it’s easier,” Marashio says. “It’s the path of least resistance.” upscale magazine has compiled a list of 10 applications (with a few app versions of online dating sites) to help you to enjoy dating in this brave new world. Marashio reminds singletons looking for that movie-quality first encounter to tune out the white noise and focus on where the people are. “As trite as it sounds, it is a numbers game,” she says.
Zoosk | iOS, Android | Partially free,but for additional features, it starts at $29.99 (minimum 1-month subscription). Zoosk is the number one dating app used by more than 27 million singles. With a name that equates the meat market of the dating game to a zoo, this app uses a sophisticated matching technology called Behavioral Matching™ that learns your tastes and matches them with people who like you. The more you use it, the better your matches. Zoosk has a feature for personal introductions along with chat and messaging options.
Tinder | iOS, Android | Free |Tinder is a pairing behemoth boasting 9 billion matches since its launch in September 2012. As one of the first “swiping apps,” it has quickly gained in popularity and is known for its “swipe right to like a picture, swipe left if you don’t” feature. You match when someone you swipe right for swipes right for you. Although there’s fun to be had with this app, don’t get caught up in the swiping motion, for you might decline too quickly a potential date who on a second pass could have been a good fit.
Match* | iOS, Android | Partially free, but for additional features, it starts at $35.99. | Match has a track record as the number one app for dates, relationships and marriages and is considered an “all-in-one” app. Match uses an algorithm that delivers only the individuals who meet your standards in case you don’t enjoy browsing for dates. A new crop of matches arrives every day, waiting for a “yes” or “no.” Don’t keep them waiting. *This is an online dating site with a supporting app.
Plenty of Fish | iOS, Android | Partially free, but for additional features, it starts at $38.99 (minimum 3-month subscription). | Plenty of Fish leads the crowd as a free site that started the trend. Today, it continues to have the most freebies. Its advanced matching algorithm offers a sorting option, so use it to your advantage. You can also send and receive unlimited messages without being charged. POF claims it has the most users, which may be due to the accessibility to matches without a paid subscription. If that’s true, it ups the odds of finding your new mate. *This is an online dating site with a supporting app.
OkCupid Dating | iOS, Android | Partially free, but for additional features, it starts at $9.99 (minimum 1-month subscription). | OkCupid Dating overtly uses math to calculate the absolute best matches for you. The algorithm ranks your matches based on answers to a questionnaire about what’s most important to you, which makes it easier to spot deal breakers and red flags. A unique feature to the OKC crowd allows you to see who’s visited your profile. “Focus on the people who show interest,” Marashio said. “That ‘Visitors List’ is a gold mine.” If you’re serious about your mission, being able to send and receive free unlimited messages is sure to help your cause. But Marashio cautions to first view their profile and tailor your message to meet the recipient’s interests for the best chance to get a reply. *This is an online dating site with a supporting app.
Coffee Meets Bagel | iOS, Android | Free |This app may sound like a utilitarian breakfast, but it uses your Facebook information to select your best matches without posting your activity to your page. Each day you receive one new match. Your “bagel” is customized for you based on common interests, attraction and other factors. You and your bagel share mutual friends, so they aren’t completely random. Over time, this app learns what you like, and your options continue to improve among your friends of friends. What could ever go wrong when leaving your dating life in the hands of Facebook’s algorithm?
Hitch | iOS, Android | Free | If you can’t trust an algorithm to find your match, you can always ask “fixing up” that is the mundane reason your parents met and, by extension, why you’re even here at all. With this invitation-only app, you rely on your best buds to hook you up with their friends. In this exclusive community, you pick a good friend, and the app suggests potential matches for that friend based on your circle. In the days of old, friends used to avoid this challenge, but today people are opting to download it. In the end, you get to plot the course of your friends’ social life. How cool is that?
How About We | iOS, Android | Partially free, but for additional features, it starts at $8.33/month. |This app is for the spontaneous dater. It allows you to coordinate a date the same day or night, in five minutes or less. Have an hour to kill? Meet someone new. “How About We” is the “It’s Just Lunch” of dating apps. Cough up your coins for access to messaging and the skinny on who likes you and to browse profiles anonymously.
Badoo | iOS, Android | Partially free, but for additional features, it starts at $12.99. | Similar to Tinder, this app shows you people who are nearby. It’s on you to reach out to them. Start the conversation if you dare.
Tagged | iOS, Android | Free | This app has more than 300 million members. Tagged’s signature feature allows you to play “meet me” to connect faster. The user can filter people by location, age, gender, nationality and more.
Contributors: Ailene Torres with Patrice Tartt