When it comes to dating apps, you know which one reigns supreme: Tinder. And love it or hate it, Tinder has changed the dating landscape forever.
Pre-Tinder dating sites and apps typically required filling out lengthy profiles; the idea was to match based on personality traits as much as appearance. Tinder, however, pretty much reduces everyone to an image to be swiped. That’s efficient—why waste time if there’s no instant physical attraction, right? But this focus on looks has messed with our self-esteem, research has shown, and steered us away from potential matches we might have real-life chemistry with.
If Tinder works for you, then keep swiping away. But if you wish there was another dating app that gives you more control and doesn’t lend itself to judginess, then this list of five new or underappreciated dating apps is for you.
One of the biggest problems with dating apps, many women say, is that it’s hard to tell if a guy you match with is a quality dude or d-bag before you start chatting or meet IRL. That’s exactly what the just-launched app Plum hopes to change. Here’s how it works: Early on in the dating process, women will be allowed to rate men (in an Uber-like way) on the non-physical components of a guy they dated. Men with high ratings will be placed higher in Plum’s algorithm, putting them in front, so women using the app see higher-rated matches.
You’ll also be limited to five matches per day, which gives you fewer options but eliminates the problem of having so many possible matches, you can’t decide who to go with, co-creator and CEO Jenna Birch, author of The Love Gap, tells Health. “We’re also feeding you information about your matches in an interesting, intentional way,” she explains. Bottom line: Plum is geared toward daters who are looking to create and invest in a connection.
If Find My Friends and Tinder had a baby, it would be Happn, an app that connects people based on how often they cross paths in the real world yet don’t know it. Here, you can browse people and see how many times you’ve been in close physical proximity, and where exactly it happened (hence the name). Since there’s a high likelihood that you and your match work, live, or hang out in the same area, right off the bat you know you have something in common.
Fem is a dating app “geared towards lesbians looking for other lesbians.” But you don’t have to be feminine or femme-presenting to create a profile. Queer women of all sexual orientations and gender presentations can use it.
What’s neat about Fem is that it’s a video-centric platform. The app encourages users to post introductory videos—not photos—about themselves straight to their profiles. That means you’ll get to hear a potential match’s voice before meeting in real life (which definitely cuts down on the likelihood of catfishing). If you’re shy about filming yourself, it’s no problem; videos aren’t required, just encouraged.
MeetMindful has a theory: Healthy relationships start with mindfulness. Everyone who uses the app is genuinely interested in living a happier, healthier life—and also finding someone to share it with, according to the app’s founders.
Instead of sharing a pithy, one-line bio, MeetMindful has users fill out a questionnaire about their passions, life happenings, and how they incorporate mindfulness—by doing yoga, meditation, or gratitude journaling, to give a few examples. The basic flow of the app also encourages a mindful approach. Instead of endless swiping, you can browse and express interest in potential matches without having to eliminate those who aren’t catching your eye (or mind).
When HER came on the scene, it was a game changer for queer women. Known as a lesbian dating app, it’s actually a great platform for straight women and non-binary folks looking to meet queer women and gender non-binary folks. The platform tagline, “find your person,” is not gender-specific.
Earlier this year the app launched a new look, allowing users to create a social media–like presence and sign up for communities (which function like Facebook pages). The app even suggestions queer-friendly events users can go to to meet IRL. Whether you’re looking to make more queer friends in the area or are on the quest for something more, HER’s got your back.
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