Time’s up, Tinder: three alternative dating apps to spark a flame

Tinder is old news.

With all the new dating apps on the market now, I thought there had to be a better alternative to the endless cheesy pick-up lines and downright dirty openers on Tinder.

I chose three different dating apps for my experiment – Bumble, Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel. I connected each app to my Facebook account, chose my pictures, added a bio and answered some questions about my likes and dislikes.

Bumble
Likability: 8/10
Age range: 18-24

Bumble is easily the best alternative to Tinder as an app designed for women who are sick of pick-up lines, disrespectful messages and innuendos. Just like Tinder, you swipe left for “no” and right for “yes” through a slideshow of singles, but on Bumble, women hold all the power – only they can start the conversation.

If you’re looking for matches of the same gender, the same rules don’t apply. Either party can message first.

After a match, women have 24 hours to respond – if they don’t, the match disappears. However, men have the option to extend their time by one day with one girl – just one – from all their matches.

As a passive person when it comes to starting conversations on dating apps, it was nerve-wracking to know I had to start one on Bumble. I asked myself “Is this joke too weird?” or “Should I really be myself?”

Thankfully, I found a solution: gifs. Bumble came with a keyboard of hilarious gifs that I could use in lieu of actual words. Instead of typing “hey,” I started the conversation with a gif of a penguin waving.

It worked. After matching with a solid number of attractive men – most of them from GW, Georgetown University and the University of Maryland at College Park – and striking up conversation with 10 of them, I managed to grab myself a date. He actually showed up, and we had a pretty good time at Poppabox.

If Tinder is your tried and true, Bumble definitely won’t disappoint.

Hinge
Likability: 4/10
Age range: 23-27

Hinge is meant for professional men and women. The app saves you from Tinder’s endless swiping by matching you with people you share mutual friends with on Facebook.

Better yet, Hinge asks you dozens of questions after you download it to further narrow your selection and find the people with whom you have the most in common.

If you answer “yes” to the question “Do you enjoy playing Risk?” the app will automatically match you up with other people who also enjoy playing Risk. The more questions you answer, the more likely it is that you will find a match.

After you match with someone, you can see what you have in common with them: The app shows your match’s job, height and university. You can also see what sort of relationship they’re looking for and read bios like “writer,” “political junkie,” “nerd” and “adventurer.”

The people I matched with on Hinge were slightly older than those on either Tinder or Bumble and slightly more serious.

It took me a full day to match with anyone and set up a date. Of course, having so much in common, my date couldn’t possibly ditch me, but when he showed up, the conversation felt stilted. We ran out of things to talk about outside of what Hinge said we had in common.

All in all, I’d say college students should stick to Bumble or Tinder.

Coffee Meets Bagel
Likability: 6/10
Age range: 22+

It’s rare to find a dating app that uses food as its theme. Rarer still is finding a food-themed dating app that actually works.

Unfortunately, Coffee Meets Bagel is a half-baked app.

When using Coffee Meets Bagel, you are referred to as a cup of coffee on a mission to find your perfect bagel. Unfortunately, I was only allowed to see a maximum of 10 new “bagels” each day, with a fresh “batch” coming in promptly at noon.

Coffee Meets Bagel runs on a points system: For every swipe or detail you add to your biography, you earn “beans” that you can use later to unlock more singles, or bagels.

Unfortunately, after flipping through the first batch of bagels, or matches, didn’t feel like I had to scroll through the rest. Maybe it was the lack of diversity because of the limited number of bagels I was allowed to view each day, but there weren’t that many singles on the app that caught my eye.

The one thing Coffee Meets Bagel did well was make conversations easy. After a match, the app gave suggestions for conversation topics based on facts we’d added on our bios.

For example, the app suggested I talk to Mike, a “bagel” of mine, about his time in Southeast Asia.

Despite the well-picked conversation topics, the sheer amount of time it took to find a single “bagel” I was interested in was ridiculous.

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