Dating apps were introduced as the holy grail of finding love for introverts. Then they became the best thing for finding romance for busy adults. Now, dating apps have replaced meeting people in bars.
Unfortunately, they have also become as ineffective as a bar hangout at finding a stable relationship. But all hope is not lost, as the demand for fling-free apps is being filled by a few apps that make personality fitness a major part of their matching strategy.
Let’s look at the four best apps for relationships.
Relationship Goals and Dating Apps
To understand which dating app can lead you to the most fulfilling relationship, you need to be clear on what you want out of a relationship. For instance, if sexual chemistry is more important to you than personality fit, a hookup-centered app would be better for your relationship than a dating app geared towards hobby matching.
If physical beauty is your highest priority, then a photo-based app is the best fit. Let’s look at some of the things most people look for in a relationship so we can best judge how different apps score on each.
Desirable Traits in a Stable Relationship
What you desire in a relationship might be different from what someone else desires. So how can we pinpoint what is universally desired in a relationship? By looking at the opposite of what’s universally painful in a relationship. The absence of the following factors makes for a poor relationship.
Getting into a relationship is like starting a construction project. After all, you start building a life with someone. No matter how long you plan on them staying in the relationship, you want it to be solid. Honesty is the foundation of trust that holds together a relationship in its vulnerable moments. An app that is best for relationships must have a way to filter out dishonesty.
A relationship where partners aren’t attracted to each other in a relationship where the party that’s not attracted is compromising. This can lead to passive aggressiveness and resentment, which can be destructive to the other partner’s self-esteem. For neither partner to feel unwanted, both must want each other. No app can be good for a relationship if it cannot show how much you are attracted and attractive to potential matches.
Finally, if your personality doesn’t gel with that of your partner, your relationship can exist, but it becomes hard work. No one wants to do hard work without retiring at some point. If you don’t want to feel like you have to retire from the relationship down the line, you must choose an app that can show how good of a personality fit you are.
Hinge is a dating app that connects with your Facebook profile and creates a pool of potential matches from friends of your friends. This is much safer than matching with random strangers as the chances of getting catfished are quite low. But how good is the app for relationships based on the established desirable traits for relationships?
Hinge ranks above average in honesty because you can know more about the person you match with from other sources, mainly your mutual friend(s). People can not get away with lying about their job title or height.
But aside from the information that their friends would know, they can lie about other things, and you would not know. That’s why at least 4 points are subtracted from the overall honesty rating. Still, this doesn’t guarantee that people will lie. It just shows that they can.
Mutual Attraction: 8/10
It is said that attraction is in the animation, and Hinge allows you to upload videos. You can see not just how someone looks in a still but also how they move. Of course, not everyone has to upload videos, so there is a chance you might be seeing highly-shopped images.
But because you have mutual friends with your match, you can look them up on Facebook and see what they look like in videos. The 2-point subtraction is because there is no guarantee that you’ll find videos on their Facebook profile either. Asking mutual friends to send you their videos can be awkward.
Finally, Hinge shines the brightest when it comes to judging a personality match because, aside from allowing messaging like most apps, it creates a connection where you can ask your mutual friends if you’d be right for each other.
Most people have an idea regarding the kind of man or woman who might be ideal for their friends. The one point subtracted here is because there is a chance that the person you match with doesn’t have reasonably close friends among your mutuals. They might have people they met once on their friend list who happen to also be your friends.
Hinge is ideal for relationships in ‘small world’ cities where the odds of bumping into the same people are high. In such places, having mutual friends with someone really means that you can learn more about your match through said friends. In larger cities, mutual friends might not mean much, especially for people who add people after meeting them once or twice at networking events. Overall, the concept is good, and the app performs pretty well on the personality-match and mutual-attraction fronts.
A few social studies have shown that while not all men look for hookups exclusively, males are usually more interested in flings than women. If your personal experiences also align with this somewhat studied generalization, then you can see why a dating app where women make the first move would theoretically lead to relationships. But aside from skewing the motivation for matching, how does the app perform on the relationship metrics?
Bumble’s performance in ensuring honesty on the platform is average at best. Because of the nature of the app, men cannot use clever opening messages or wit to fish out a reply from someone they’re interested in. This incentivizes image doctoring and motivation-faking.
Bumble has posted cautionary articles on detecting catfish profiles and has introduced a verification system to showcase which profiles are verified to belong to the photo-holder. Still, no tech team can find out which users are faking their motivation. Plenty of Bumble users are on the app to find the right match for a relationship.
Many are guys who do not want to make the first move, and they too can fall for escort services masquerading as private persons. If you’re a female and start getting love-bombed, you should be alert regarding the motives of the other party. And if you’re a guy getting approached in a sexually aggressive manner by a profile that seems too good to be true, you need to watch out.
Mutual Attraction: 8/10
Bumble not only allows you to see pictures and videos of your matches, but also allows you to follow their stories. The ‘stories’ are just like Instagram and Snapchat stories, where the uploaded videos are only available for a single day. This gives you a front-seat view of the life of your potential partner.
Of course, these clips are polished and selected deliberately to show their best side, but they can work as a decent disqualification metric. If someone’s “best self,” as shown in their own stories, isn’t attractive to you, you might not last as a couple. Please note that while the app allows users to post such updates, it doesn’t force them to do so.
Bumble has one of the best personality-assessing datasets of any dating app. While a user can fake their motivations based on what their match wants, they cannot falsify their entire personality and hobby stack to create a precise match. Bumble gives interest badges to users with activities and hobbies ranging from sports to canvas painting.
It also allows them to showcase whether they are homebodies or love to go out. There is a space for your favorite books and movies too! Even before you match or talk to someone, you can tell how much you have in common. In the absence of such data, any user can pretend to like the things other users like after learning about their hobbies and favorite movies.
This app is one of the better-performing ones for relationships but it leaves a lot to be desired on the honesty front. Because Bumble is known for having users interested in relationships, those looking for hookups know they have to pretend to want a long-term relationship.
If such a person hooks up with you and then leaves while you think they were looking for a relationship, you might assume that you are the problem. Unfortunately, there is not a lot Bumble can do about people’s motivations.
Its saving grace is its interest badges and hobby stack, which allow users to give as much information as they like about what they are interested in and what they enjoy. This can help you assess whether a potential match would make a good long-term partner well before you start talking to them.
Coffee Meets Bagel: 8.5/10
While most dating apps are owned by Match Group, which owns Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel is an app that – for now – is independent of the dating tech giant. Coffee Meets Bagel is truly anti-tinder in that it focuses on quality over quantity. The potential matches on your CMB interface will be different from the ones on your best friend’s feed.
Why? Because you are different people. If you ever wondered how Youtube suggests the best videos and how your Instagram explore page is populated by photos and clips interesting to you specifically, the answer is algorithmic data profiles.
CMB uses algorithmic profiling to connect you with a limited group of potential matches with the highest odds of being “the one for you.” Let’s look at how well the app works across the relationship success metrics.
While there is no way to verify the truth value of anything a potential match says to you, the app incentivizes honesty by creating a frame where being yourself gives you the best shot at getting a date.
When a platform is skewed towards getting you matches that would be most interested in people like you, you don’t need to pretend to be someone else to be successful with your matches. This applies to everyone on the app, which results in an overall honest culture within the platform’s user base.
Mutual Attraction: 8/10
The app allows users to post pictures and videos, which facilitates a very accurate assessment of attractiveness. More importantly, its focus on conversations can help you glean the potentially attractive traits that are not physically evident. It also allows users to comment before matching, which gives you a shot at showcasing your wit or interest even before you match.
Given that CMB’s entire model seems to be geared towards getting users settled with their respective matches on the app, it is no surprise that it ranks the highest when it comes to personality matching. After all, it uses self-professed interests as the algorithmic foundation for finding potential matches.
Coffee Meets Bagel is a very good app for relationships because it is a very bad app for hookups. While other apps with a reputation for having relationship-oriented people can invite hookup predators who pretend to want a relationship, CMB’s strictly limited drip-feed of curated matches works against the volume-based strategies of fling-seekers. Its interface and algorithm both work to produce an excellent platform for finding a long-term partner.
Where mass-matching is the single most popular strategy for finding flings, Once is an app that goes as extreme an opposite as possible with its one match a day proposition. The idea is that the app’s algorithm learns as much about you as possible and finds you the best match each day.
This scarcity makes it harder to reject matches because there’s no ‘next pretty face’ after you say no to a potential match. This mimics real life as closely as possible because you don’t have the luxury of an infinite stream of matches when it comes to finding love offline. Let’s see how well the app mimics love in finding honesty, mutual attraction, and personality-based rapport.
There is little reason to pretend to be someone else on an app that is designed to find you people who would be most interested in people like yourself. Still, the extreme scarcity created by the app’s single-match proposition can trigger desperation and inspire white lies. Once is not full of lies, like apps that enable mass dating, but is not entirely free of courting-stage lies.
Mutual Attraction: 5/10
Generally, Once finds matches that you find fairly attractive. However, on a day where the app finds you, someone you don’t find attractive, 100% of your matches are not attractive. This is the drawback of the one match a day proposition. Over a long enough period, you will find someone you find incredibly attractive and with a personality, but the process won’t be instant.
Again, this mimics real life, where you might not find the most attractive person right away, but you continue talking to people until you find someone who is not just the best person to spend time with but is also good looking according to your preferences.
Once is excellent at finding people that would be ideal for each other on paper. In many cases, this can translate to a real-life relationship, but in some instances, it is simply a connection between what two people pretend to be. Let’s suppose you’re a shy, awkward individual but create your profile pretending to be an uber-extroverted personality.
The algorithm will start suggesting people that are the most compatible with extroverts. Of course, you wouldn’t lie or pretend when filling up your profile, but what if the other person does? Again, this comes back to the honesty metric. The need to lie is emphasized on Once, a dating app that creates as much scarcity as real life.
Once is a great idea of an app, but by being an app reminiscent of an offline connection, it holds the drawbacks of offline dating. Still, it is far better than the apps that have become synonymous with hookups. As long as you can see through lies and are confident in your gut judgments regarding honesty, the app will find you your match. It is not worth it for hookups, which is why even the people who lie on this app do so to get into a relationship.
The best app for relationships depends on what you want from the app. If you are a man and don’t want to approach people, Bumble will work for you. If you want a touch of destiny, you can signup for Once. Hinge is for those who find security in mutual connectivity, while Coffee Meets Bagle is for people who don’t like to waste their time filtering for personality fits.