5 Top Online Dating Platforms: what my friends & I think of them

I've had a lot of expe­ri­ence with meet­ing friends, roman­tic part­ners, and busi­ness alliances from the inter­net — nowa­days, it's an essen­tial tool for social­iz­ing. Naturally, my friends and I have Big Opinions about some of the most pop­u­lar dat­ing apps.

Everyone's jour­ney is dif­fer­ent, so we can't account for everyone's per­spec­tives. This post is a just-​for-​fun fast blast cri­tique of court­ing dur­ing COVID-​19 the osten­si­bly gild­ed tech age.

AUTHOR'S NOTE APRIL 2023: The world has changed a lot since this post was writ­ten, and so have my views. This post, writ­ten three years ago, doesn't rep­re­sent my cur­rent stance on online dat­ing. That may be a fresh top­ic for anoth­er day, 'kay? Consider this blog post a time capsule.

5 Top Online Dating Platforms: what my friends & I think of them 1

Dating apps listed in this post:

These online dat­ing plat­forms are list­ed in no par­tic­u­lar order.

Each has pros and cons, and dat­ing pref­er­ences are high­ly personal!


What I like about Tinder

Tinder is one of the most pop­u­lar dat­ing apps, mean­ing there's a huu­uge vari­ety of peo­ple. It's what you make of it!

Its quick and snap­py swip­ing makes it an intro­duc­ing app in its purest and most ver­sa­tile form: part long-​term relationship-​finder, part wed­ding date-​seeker, part hookup app.

If you're a straight woman whose pri­ma­ry strat­e­gy is vol­ume dat­ing — meet­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble — Tinder might be a good fit for you.

Everyone uses it dif­fer­ent­ly, but I liked Tinder for the assort­ment that it offered me. From there, I got a full cal­en­dar, com­pan­ion­ship, sto­ries to tell, and a healthy bal­ance between being delib­er­ate in dat­ing vs. drop­ping my expec­ta­tions of what's meant to be.

(I may be biased because I found my cur­rent boyfriend on Tinder!)

What's not to like about Tinder

Gender ratio. The flip side is that men far out­num­ber women on Tinder. Adult hookup sites tend to be a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence for guys: dying of thirst instead of dying via drowning.

Ugh, cam, scam, and spam bots. Need I elaborate?

Low bar­ri­er to entry. The min­i­mal invest­ment need­ed to make a Tinder pro­file means that you may run into peo­ple who are get­ting over an ex, seek­ing a shot of atten­tion, or oth­er­wise just don't give that much of a shit.

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What's to like about OkCupid

OkCupid gives users a bird's eye view of their match­es, with ample options for fil­ter­ing — includ­ing whether the per­son is open to poly rela­tion­ships and mak­ing new friends.

Its ques­tions cov­er a wide range of top­ics, from lifestyle to eth­i­cal val­ues to inter­ests to sex­u­al­i­ty to so much more. As far as fea­tures go, it's one of the more robust dat­ing sites. You can learn a looot about some­one from their OkCupid profile.

The downside of using OK Cupid

Analysis paral­y­sis. Some users might find the infor­ma­tion and options overwhelming.

Don't hype up a poten­tial match too much. Enthusiasm is great! What's not great is pro­ject­ing on to some­one who you think they are. With OK Cupid's long pro­files, it may be tempt­ing to assume you know more about a per­son than you actu­al­ly do. Remember that what they show is still surface-level.

The algo­rithm is wrong some­times. It usu­al­ly worked well for me, but not always. Someone might have a 94% match rat­ing with you based on fac­tors like lifestyle and inter­ests, while being dis­re­spect­ful or inap­pro­pri­ate­ly lewd.

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What's to like about Bumble

The big draw of Bumble is that the onus is on the woman to mes­sage first. Guys on Bumble can take a break from the expec­ta­tion of always lead­ing everything.

I also like that Bumble has a built-​in timer to com­bat the wait­ing game — if you don't mes­sage a new match with­in 24 hours, for­get about it! The match expires. As well, there's a "nudge" fea­ture to remind you to con­tin­ue the con­ver­sa­tion if you're bad at texting.

And even if you're not look­ing to date, there's also a BFF fea­ture for mak­ing friends and Bizz for busi­ness collaboration.

What I didn't like about Bumble BFF

To be hon­est, I most­ly used Bumble for the BFF sec­tion, not dat­ing. And I was soooo wrong when I thought Bumble BFF would be less depress­ing than the dark side of Tinder.

The recur­ring Bumble BFF bio tropes:

  • Don't have any friends beyond roman­tic partners
  • Just moved to a new area
  • Otherwise bored and lonely

I was in a sim­i­lar boat, but it wasn't fun to see so many peo­ple lead­ing with that.

Conversations die off quick­ly… I under­stand the cycle. At first, it's like, OMG SO MANY POSSIBILITIES! Hi, new friend! Hi, to anoth­er new friend! And then it gets over­whelm­ing see­ing so many open loops to maintain.

…but get­ting ghost­ed by a poten­tial friend feels so much more hurt­ful (for me).

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Pros of using Hinge as a dating platform

Proponents of Hinge would argue that, unlike Tinder, it's for those seek­ing qual­i­ty over quan­ti­ty. Its algo­rithm empha­sizes those it thinks you would enjoy meet­ing up with, includ­ing follow-​up ques­tions to refine future match­es for you and oth­ers. Plus, every­one has lim­it­ed "likes" per day, so they're more thought­ful of poten­tial part­ners to choose, instead of hoard­ing contacts.

What's not to like about Hinge

Sometimes, the match­ing algo­rithm is con­fin­ing in the wrong way. For one of my friends, Hinge over­whelm­ing­ly shows him peo­ple who don't meet his phys­i­cal pref­er­ences. Shallow? Maybe a lit­tle, but the frus­tra­tion is understandable.

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Facebook Dating

What my friends liked about Facebook Dating

No bots! Facebook Dating is a lot like Tinder, but many of my guy friends pre­fer the for­mer because you know you're talk­ing to actu­al people.

Matches based on events, liked pages, and mutu­al friends. For bet­ter or worse, Facebook knows A LOT about many of us. The data's already been giv­en to them, so there's no need to answer a fuck­ton of match ques­tions. I found that many of my Facebook Dating match­es know peo­ple I know, giv­ing us plen­ty to talk about!

What's not to like about Facebook dating

Clunky inter­face. When I used Facebook Dating, it loaded more slow­ly and didn't feel as intu­itive as Tinder's swip­ing did.

Its algo­rithm is wrong some­times. If Facebook doesn't know much about you, that may be a good thing in gen­er­al, but it won't do you any favors in get­ting suit­able match­es. One of my friends keeps see­ing peo­ple with toootal­ly oppos­ing polit­i­cal views because of that.

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There's no such thing as a perfect dating app or site

That's a giv­en — for one, there are lim­i­ta­tions to how much com­put­ers can under­stand for human chem­istry. But also, dat­ing isn't one-​size-​fits-​all. There are so many strate­gies and ways to go about it, but the right peo­ple — and tools — for you will match your dat­ing "style."

Sound off!

Tell me in the comments section:
  • Which dat­ing apps and sites have worked best for you?
  • Which had the worst match­ing algo­rithms, in your experience?
  • What were you look­ing for, and how easy was that to find?

A note from the writer:

This post is spon­sored, but that doesn't sway the opin­ions I expressed! Do you run a sex-​positive busi­ness look­ing for expo­sure? Get in touch and find out ways to work with me!

If you'd like to sup­port me in oth­er ways, con­sid­er buy­ing sex toys via my links or leav­ing a tip. Thank you!

2 Responses

  1. Erica S says:

    So I’m a non-​binary folk who’s 28 and sin­gle, and who cur­rent­ly lives in semi-​rural Vermont, who typ­i­cal­ly looks for either a mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ship (poly or monog), or friend­ships, and I‘ve had vary­ing results with dif­fer­ent dat­ing plat­forms. I’ve been using Bumble and Tinder for 4 yrs, most­ly in sub­ur­ban NYS, and start­ed using Hinge in late Fall 2019 when I moved to VT as a friend had rec­om­mend­ed it. 

    Platforms I’ve used: Bumble, Tinder, and Hinge, most often. 


    Positives: So I find Bumble’s algo­rithm to be pret­ty accu­rate. I enjoy the folks I meet on Bumble (both men, women, and NB folks), and tend to have good con­ver­sa­tion. I can’t recall ever meet­ing a super weirdo or “bad per­son” through the app.

    Downsides: Not as great a selec­tion in rur­al areas, I get tired of hav­ing to answer folks first with­in a short time frame (which I know is a crit­i­cal part of Bumble’s fea­tures!), and along those lines, Bumble has a real­ly weird, strict gen­der iden­ti­ty form that makes you choose “male”, “female”, or “oth­er” and doesn’t let you switch back and forth reg­u­lar­ly once you choose (at least last time I checked). 


    Positives: Easy to use, wider selec­tion of peo­ple to match with in more rur­al areas. 

    Negatives: More as*holes and BS, tbh haha, for instance peo­ple (most­ly cis men) act­ing more jerky and less respect­ful. More folks look­ing for hook-​ups (no judge­ment), and less for mean­ing­ful conversation/​relationships (what I tend to be drawn more towards). 


    Positives: Really mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions I‘ve had, and real­ly kind nice folks I’ve chat­ted with and met. I think folks on Hinge TYPICALLY are look­ing to engage in respect­ful inter­ac­tions, and the demo­graph­ic appears to be slight­ly more mature than oth­er plat­forms. There’s also this neat fea­ture that allows you to fil­ter your pref­er­ences for things like whether you want your match­es to drink or smoke (or not), reli­gious and polit­i­cal views, edu­ca­tion lev­el, and oth­er sim­i­lar demographics. 

    Negatives: Pretty ter­ri­ble algo­rithms (my match­es don’t align with my inter­ests or attrac­tions), less great in rur­al areas but still decent. I find there are more cis men using the app than les­bians or NB folks. Weird plat­form that has tak­en me awhile to fig­ure out (has a slight­ly diff out­line than the “swipe left” fea­tures of Tinder/​Bumble that I’m used to). 

    All in all I’ve always looked for mean­ing­ful con­nec­tion, whether that be sexually/​intimately, or via friend­ships. I’d say I’ve had about 60% suc­cess but, I’m still sin­gle, so who knows. 🙂 Onward..!

  2. D. Dyer says:

    As a blind per­son and as a per­son who is gen­er­al­ly look­ing less for hook ups and more for longer term rela­tion­ships I have found OkCupid to be the most acces­si­ble and fruit­ful of these options. Tinder I have found dif­fi­cult to use and I sim­ply haven’t tried the oth­ers, not on Facebook which lim­its options.

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