Maybe you’re new to the dating thing. Maybe you’ve just ended a long-term relationship and want to get back out there again. How or where do you start? You’ve got lots of options today, and they don’t necessarily involve joining a singles group at a church or community center. Frankly, those are probably safe but so last century. Today’s dating scene, given two years of pandemic and a primarily digital world, is quite different than that of your parents. So, let’s unpack some of the options you do have to “get out there.”
There’s no lack of dating websites where you can look to find a match – just Google the term and you’ll find pages upon pages of apps and lots of opinions about which are the best. Many of them are placed into categories by specific demographics (age, location, religion, gender identity, etc.), and some are well-known and popular.
To get started on any dating app, you will have to create a profile, and the goal is to produce one that is engaging, even a bit humorous, but honest. In fact, if you have problems putting together a profile, there are even those who will write them for you.
Here are several of the most popular to give you a start:
This site boasts 30 billion matches, and users give it a pretty good rating. It is set up for both casual hookups and more serious relationship-seeking. It’s definitely geared to a younger audience – Gen Zer’s through young millennials.
Those who are only seeking a serious relationship will want to consider Hinge. Their motto is “the only dating app meant to be deleted.” They have a large user base of all ages, and they do pretty well with the screening process.
Taimi is a great app for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. It is the largest global social network and dating app for all gender identities, with a user base of 15,000,000 worldwide. Geo-location, video chats, and more make it so popular. The fact that it is also a social network is a big plus.
Stands for Adult Friend Finder and has a user-base of 77 million looking for one-night stands, threesomes, and other kinky encounters.
The pros of dating apps are obvious – you are “shopping” online, at your own convenience, and will learn a lot about the possible matches before you move forward for more serious exchanges. The cons are also obvious. As the saying goes, “you may have to kiss a lot of toads before finding your prince (or princess),” and there are always the safety and privacy factors. Stick with those that are well-known and have been around for a while. In fact, many dating apps now run background checks on users.
You could be in for a fun time. There are reliable speed-dating companies all over the U.S., so sign up for one based on your demographic and see what might come your way. The process is simple – you sign up for an event, arrive on time, and then make the rounds of possible matches, with a set time limit, during which you ask each other questions. At the end of the session, you select those of interest. If it’s mutual, you can arrange for a future meetup.
Tips that will make the experience better:
- Keep an open mind and go in to have fun without high expectations
- Devise your questions ahead of time and think about how you would answer some typical ones
- Use only a trustworthy company – check them out first
The pros of speed dating are clear – you meet others face to face, and you meet a lot of people in a single evening. But there are cons as well. Each conversation is too short for a full profile, and there’s not a lot of “screening” for participants.
So, you hear, “I have a friend I want you to meet.” The person knows you are unattached and looking. The offer can come from a co-worker, a friend, or even a family member. And so, you agree. This may be a crapshoot, but also worth a try. After all, the person making the offer knows you pretty well, and you hope they are not hooking you up with a dud, just to do a favor.
In terms of safety, an arranged blind date by someone you know is almost guaranteed. And it’s only one night wasted if it’s an epic fail. You even might get a nice dinner or a chance to meet other singles if the date is to a party.
Relax and Be Patient
Dating today involves a new set of ground “rules.” You can certainly go to clubs and bars and hope to hook up, but you have to be careful – ax murderers and STIs do exist. Fortunately, you can use some of the options above and do some screening on your own before you take a plunge.