I remember the first time I downloaded Tinder. It was my freshman year at the University of Maryland. My friends and I were bored and looking for entertainment. I had the app off and on, mostly using it for shits and gigs. It wasn’t until sophomore year, when a friend showed me Hinge, that I realized there are many dating apps out there — and not all are created equal. 

Dating apps are genius — there’s a thrill with little consequence. Believe it or not, I’ve actually had some positive results from these apps. Technology has completely changed the dating landscape, so why not work with it? While it might be easy to dismiss dating apps as “pointless” or “stupid,” don’t knock it till you try it. 

Whether you’re looking for something serious or just want a few laughs, dating apps are a great pastime. Here are five popular dating apps ranked — start the year off right by shooting your shot.

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  1. OkCupid

To make a profile on OkCupid, you begin by answering 15 questions and what you want your ideal person to answer. Based on these answers, OkCupid gives you a match percentage for compatibility. The theory is logical, but the 15 questions were too simple and honestly stupid. One was, “Would you rather be normal or weird?”

It’s a very user-friendly app, but the “match percentage” doesn’t seem very reliable. It doesn’t give you much of a chance to differentiate yourself either. It has the same, fast-swipe interface as Tinder, which is not very conducive to meaningful connections. But, try it and maybe it’ll work for you. Even if nothing happens, at least you’ll get a laugh out of it.

  1. The Inner Circle

The Inner Circle is geared toward professional people looking for serious relationships. You can tell from the prompts that it’s not for your average teen. They ask your dietary preferences, work-life balance, preferred books, etc. Not only that, to ensure you are “serious about dating,” they screen you before you can start using the app. I got approved after five minutes, so I’m not sure how strict the screening process is. 

The interface is nice and similar to Hinge, but the facade of exclusivity is a major turn-off to me. Why do you need to get “screened” for a dating app? Plus, in order to see messages and to message other people, you have to pay a subscription fee. Maybe this app would be best post-grad, but definitely not for your average broke college kid. 

  1. Tinder

I wouldn’t really consider Tinder a serious dating app, but it is fun for what it is. It’s fast – you get a lot of options thrown at you, almost too many. Swiping left or right primarily based on the first picture always seemed superficial and shallow to me. Ads constantly pop up as well to buy more likes or “super likes,” making the interface not very appealing. 

Tinder gets a solid middle rating, because it’s great if you want a quick fix, or just a laugh with your friends. I wouldn’t advise it if you’re looking for a serious relationship, but who knows, anything could happen. 

  1. Bumble

My favorite part of Bumble is their slogan about “bee-ing kind” while using the app. The bright, yellow interface is cheery and positive. You can use it to find relationships, romantic or friendly, or for networking purposes. This could be nice if you move to a new place and want platonic connections, not just romance. 

Bumble sets itself apart because if you match with a member of the opposite sex, the woman is required to make the first move, shifting the typical dynamic that men have to make the first move. If you don’t reach out in 24 hours, the match will expire. Matches get stale on other dating apps, so the immediacy keeps it fresh.

  1. Hinge 

Hinge takes first place for a few reasons. It has a clean interface: white and aesthetically-pleasing. It doesn’t feel grimy to be on the app. There isn’t an endless stream of profiles to swipe through. Hinge creates a specific list based on the information you give the app. Overall, the app is less geared towards hook-ups — and more toward dates — but still remains casual. 

There are funny captions and prompts to put with your pictures, such as “As seen on my mom’s fridge” or “The moment I knew my modeling career was over.” It’s easy to start a conversation on Hinge because the match begins with you liking or commenting on a specific part of the person’s profile like a picture or prompt. Overall, there is a good ratio of pictures to captions, making it easy to let your personality shine.

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