My biggest issue with sleepovers is that I tend to wake up long before my host, leaving me to find some form of entertainment for the hours until my friends wake up. In times like this, I like to open up Tinder, swiping mostly left on men and women I’ll never see again. During my most recent sleepover, I decided to give Hinge a try—something I’d heard about in edgy tweets, the author of the tweet joking about deciding whether to unpack their emotional baggage on the first date or the second date. I figured if that was the kind of joke that was made about it, then maybe it was a good fit for me. While I scrolled through profiles, clicking a little green heart to show my approval of how Jeremy spends his Sundays, I was struck by two things: how different it was from Tinder, followed by the revelation of “Hey, I could write an article about that.” With that, I decided that I would try several different dating apps and give a summary of them, so you wouldn’t have to.
Now, as I’ve spent most of my nearly twenty years of life single, I’ve used my fair share of apps to try and find a good match for me in whatever area I might be in. Let the record show, though, that I only use Tinder only about once a month when I’m bored and have just finished the last episode of whatever Netflix show I was binge watching.
You know it, you love it. Or maybe you hate it. Tinder is the OG dating/hookup app—I’d say your best bet due to the sheer number of users it has worldwide. Signing up for Tinder is pretty simple; you can do it the hard way and fill in your information yourself, or you can log in through Facebook. Beware: if you use Facebook as little as I do, it will fill in your pictures with that embarrassing selfie that you had as your profile picture for years before someone else finally took another decent picture of you. Despite its claims that it “will never post to Facebook without your permission,” I can’t help but fear that it will—but so far, so good.
As far as the GUI goes, Tinder’s is very easy to use. It’s gotten more complicated throughout the literal years I’ve had this app with the introduction of Tinder Plus, but it remains basically the same. Swipe right to like someone, swipe left to show that you are not interested. In case you want to look extra desperate, or you come across a real hottie and the risk of them swiping left on you is too great, you can swipe up to super-like someone. In case the swiping system is too hard for you, they’ve included two huge buttons at the bottom for the same function. The button to the left lets you undo the decision you made, whether it be liking someone or disliking someone—but only if you’re willing to shell out the $10 a month it costs to get that feature.
My favorite part of the app by far is the ability to link your Spotify account—it gives me the chance to show any potential matches that I really am a ~cool girl~ without having to say anything. If you exclusively use your Spotify to bump your guilty pleasures, this feature is probably not for you—the app auto-selects your top artists (although it’s usually not even the right song).
My biggest issues with the app are the paid features and a pretty major glitch that I’ve run into more than a few times now. Paying for Tinder Plus is not necessary, but without it, you have a limited number of likes and super-likes, which means once you run out, you have to wait for both to refill, which I believe takes 12 whole hours. Gold users can also see who has liked them before they come up in the discover page, which I feel is kind of like cheating. At the very least, it takes away one of the most fun parts of the app.
The major glitch that I’ve discovered is that Tinder will match me with people I vividly remember swiping left on. I’ll be the first to admit that I get a lot less picky when I’m under the influence, but I know for a fact that I swiped left on Pedro, whose only picture is a blurry picture of a pickup truck.
Overall, I’d give this app 4/5 flames. It has a high volume of users, matches don’t expire, and no one group of people is expected to start the conversation.
Bumble was founded by the female former co-founder of Tinder, so it shares a lot of features with the app. Login is through Facebook again—I’d forgotten that I used this app for about a week in high school, so I got a really unpleasant surprise when I found the pictures it had preselected for me.
The major difference between Bumble and Tinder is that women are required to make the first move within twenty-four hours of matching, or else you lose your chance forever. In theory, this sounded like a cool idea, and was the driving factor in my decision to try this app in the first place, but in practice, it was horrible. I did not want to start any conversations. I am already painfully awkward in person; therefore, forcing me to start the conversation over the internet resulted in me just googling pick-up lines and hoping for the best.
On top of that, Bumble offers BumbleBFF and BumbleBizz—two versions of the app for making friends and…business networking…respectively. Thanks, Bumble, but I’d rather not find my next boss the same place I find my next one-night stand.
Overall, I’d give Bumble a 2.5/5 bees. I don’t check it enough to stop matches from expiring, and most of the people I saw were Tinder users anyway.
I was so hopeful about Hinge. After seeing that tweet, I thought that maybe I had found “The One” of dating apps. Now, after about a week of use, I’d say that this was by far my favorite of all the apps I tried.
Hinge is pretty different from any other dating app I tried. Its interface isn’t cluttered, but it’s a little weird. You’re presented with one person’s entire profile at once, given the option to like any specific aspect of their profile—from the pictures they’ve selected to be on their profile, to their Instagram photos (if they’ve chosen to connect), to their answer to one of three questions they’ve chosen out of the app’s broad selection. This gives users the chance to form a real connection, rather than one based only on appearance. While Hinge markets itself as “a dating app for thoughtful people,” I unfortunately mostly had people only liking my pictures and not leaving a comment (and the same picture, too!) despite my super interesting confession that I have a recycling bin in my room filled entirely with LaCroix cans. And of course, what dating app would be complete without the couple sharing an account in an attempt to find a bisexual woman who’s willing to have a threesome with them? Just ask your friends, dudes.
I’d give this app a perfect score: 5/5 likes if it were not for the fact that the majority of the users are far too old for me. That didn’t stop me from reaching out, but I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that most of my matches are between the ages of 25 and 35. I’ve had some great conversations with them, because at that age I’d imagine you’re not just trying to get into a girl’s pants anymore.
Overall, I give Hinge 4.5/5 likes, because of the whole massive age gap thing, and because there will come a time when they present you with your “most compatible” – the first thing this notification made me think of was the Black Mirror episode “Hang the DJ,” and I was not a huge fan of that. Also, I think he swiped left.
Coffee Meets Bagel:
Coffee Meets Bagel was by far the worst out of all the apps. Its interface was cluttered, so going through profiles was not at all straightforward. Login was also through Facebook, and much like Tinder, it used this feature to let you know how many common connections you had with potential matches. Matches also expired quickly on this app, prompting pretty much every single one of my matches to hit me with that unwanted phone number before we had any semblance of a connection.
To top it all off, despite me giving the app my location, it still matched me with people who lived an hour or more away from me. 0/5 coffees or bagels.
I honestly don’t know what I expected from this one. Any situation where someone is seeking validation from a person much younger than them in exchange for money just sounds like a recipe for disaster. But hey, college is expensive—and you gotta do what you gotta do.
Seeking Arrangements’ interface is also pretty cluttered—going through profiles is not as much fun as a swipe or a tap of a heart. If you want to find someone who is well enough off to support your lifestyle, it requires a lot more dedication than your lighthearted afternoon Tinder sesh.
To make matters worse, once I found someone interested in being my sugar daddy, I got…offputting vibes from him. Like, I get the whole point of the site is that young women give older men attention in exchange for money, but he wanted more attention than I was able to give. This isn’t unique to the app, however, as I’ve received those repeated “hey” messages we all know and love across several platforms after forgetting to respond one time. If you’re willing to endure all of this, though, there’s good money to be made on this app.
Overall, I’d give it 2.5/5 sugar babies.
I mean, we evolve to adapt to our surroundings, right? And at Johns Hopkins, by far the most daunting social media action I’ve taken is adding any given one of my past hookups on LinkedIn. Modern romance, if you will.
1/5 connections because people probably will not hire you if you seriously attempt to woo them via a business network.
Despite all these apps promising to never share to Facebook without my permission, I live in fear of the day where they all simultaneously decide to expose me as being desperate. If this article helped you in your search for love, however, it will all be worth it. Go forth, swipe left and right to your hearts content, and seriously—please don’t try to flirt on LinkedIn.