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Dating is a part of life that never seems to get easier with experience. No matter how many times you’ve been around the block, that giddy feeling that comes with texting a new love interest or lying awake with butterflies is universal. But in a social media-dominated cultural landscape, dating seems to include more swiping than meet cutes. The “talking” stage – and all the complications and lack of communication it brings – has replaced the chivalrous traditions that characterized dating in earlier generations.

Recent years have seen hook-up culture and situationships become the norm, especially with the tight grip that reality dating shows like The Bachelor and Love Island have on the public. Sometimes it feels like no one really dates anymore, and for those who enjoy the freedom of the single life, that’s for the better. But for the romantics, there are still plenty of swoon-worthy experiences waiting to be had. The dating scene may look different than it has in the past, but finding love and companionship is possible – it just takes a little more persistence.

As silly and superficial as it can feel to swipe through potential partners, dating apps are still an effective way to meet people you would’ve never come into contact with otherwise. They are especially helpful for those looking for shared qualities in a partner. Whether it’s sexuality, age range, religion, or career, dating apps can still help you filter through the duds to someone with true potential.

Dating apps should still be approached with caution and care. Navigating these platforms takes some practice, and a few helpful tips never hurt. In case you still haven’t tried it out, or for anyone who just needs a refresher, here’s a guide to some of the popular dating apps out there.


The dating app that sends the most shivers down the spine. Although you’ll have to look through literally millions of users, it’s one of the most popular platforms for a reason. Its simple, swipe-based interface will at least help you find someone you’re attracted to – even if it’s just for a one night stand. After all, a consistent hook-up is never the worst thing to have on your roster while you search for other matches.

However, don’t discount the possibility of finding real love. Tinder, of all the apps, is the most successful matchmaker. Of the 67 percent of Americans who have met their partner through a dating app, over 29 percent are married or engaged to a partner from Tinder.


Bumble is one of the rare dating apps that allows women to be in control of the first move. While this method helps to cut back on the amount of less-than-savory pictures and unsettling messages from online creeps, it also empowers women to flip the traditional gender roles projected onto the dating world.

With some non-romantic settings available, like Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz, you can also use the app to meet new friends and make professional connections. Who knows? Maybe your next swipe could result in a new bestie or business venture.


You might recognize Hinge from their commercials featuring the fuzzy app icon being tossed in the trash. It’s the app “made to be deleted,” intended to build more meaningful connections through its inclusion of various discussion prompts and personal info on the main profile page. Along with physical attraction, matches can be more easily made on shared values, interests, and experiences. Messaging options aren’t limited to mutual matches; users can like and comment on other profiles at any time.

Keep in mind, the users on Hinge are more likely to be open to a serious relationship. Hinge’s own analysis reveals that 72 percent of first dates lead to a second, with the average messaging time before exchanging numbers being a brief 3 days. You might experience more success than you anticipate.

Raya application icon.


The most exclusive platform on this list, Raya was once referred to by the New York Times as the “Illuminati Tinder.” This is because the app is designated for more high-profile users; scrolling through, you’ll come across actors, musicians, athletes, and other public figures. Raya doesn’t advertise itself, either. Rather than your run-of-the-mill signup process, it requires a referral from an active user to create an account. It was originally designated for people in the creative and multimedia industries when it launched in 2015, but has since begun including successful individuals across others. Knowing someone with an account doesn’t guarantee you access, but if you can play the part, it’s worth a shot.


Grindr, the most popular app targeted toward the queer community, is somewhat infamous for its associations with casual hook-up culture. However, it has also fulfilled a genuine need for LGBTQ+ people, many of whom didn’t have the same access to online dating resources before its creation. While it may be more difficult to find a serious partner, it’s not out of the question. If anything, Grindr offers a place where people across ages, genders, and sexualities can be united and protected in their search for intimacy.


Salams, a dating app for Muslims, connects progressive, smart, and fun people together the halal way. With marriage being the promoted end goal, users can connect across state borders to find their perfect match. For those rooted in the Islamic faith, Salams is a great way to find people with similar values in Western society. Also, toggling from Salams Love to Salams Connect will show possible work connections, overall building community under shared religious ideology. 


OurTime was created for singles over 50, one of the few apps available to connect mature singles looking for love and companionship. The no-nonsense approach helps users to filter through people looking for casual hookups in favor of secure relationships. The senior-friendly content, coupled with an intimate atmosphere, creates a platform where people can be comfortable meeting new people and beginning relationships.

Courtesy of Jasmine Carter via Pexels

As convenient as they are, dating with apps may not be everyone’s preferred method of meeting people. If swiping on any platform is not your style, there are many real-life avenues to meet potential partners – they just require a little more effort. A night out to a trendy speakeasy alone or with a friend can be a great way to find yourself in a conversation with someone across the bar. Attending speaking panels, professional conferences, artisan workshops, or local classes are surefire ways to meet like-minded people, too. Wherever your dating ventures take you, be sure to keep these mantras in mind. 

Put Yourself First

Some cliches exist for a reason: self-love is truly the most important form of love. Without loving and respecting yourself, it’s difficult to feel fully secure and express love outwardly to a partner. As challenging as it can be, investing in time alone to identify individual goals and values is necessary for the success of any future relationship. Confidence is also one of the sexiest qualities anyone can possess; people that move through life with self-assuredness are a magnet for suitors everywhere they go. 

Putting yourself first also means listening to your gut. If you’re starting to feel like a relationship isn’t the right one for you, communicating those feelings directly is the best way to prioritize yourself while respecting your partner. When you enjoy spending time alone, being single can be just as fulfilling as sharing life with someone else.

Be Open-Minded

Judging others too early is one of the easiest ways to alienate yourself from real connections. Although it’s easy to gravitate toward your “traditional” type, a growing list of failed relationships could mean it’s time to try something new. Often, differences between partners can bring balance and excitement that help the relationship stay strong.

Take an open-minded approach to events and dates, as well. Although certain activities might feel out of your comfort zone, trying something new with a partner can be an amazing way to bond over a fun experience.

Communicate Openly

Honesty and communication are essential for any successful relationship. This means being honest about your intentions, feelings, and expectations, and communicating openly with your partner. If you’re not happy or something is bothering you, it’s important to speak up and address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem.

Don’t Settle

One of the biggest mistakes people make in their mid-twenties is settling for someone who is not a good match for them. It’s important to remember that you have plenty of time to find the right person, and settling for someone who is not a good fit can lead to unhappiness, regret, and resentment on both sides.

Avoid Red flags

When we’re looking for a romantic partner, it can be easy to get caught up in someone new. But you have to know your red flags. Whether it’s from previous relationships or advice from a friend, if someone you’re seeing tips off your alarm, trust your gut.

It’s important to consider your goals and values when choosing a dating app and to be honest with yourself and your potential partners about what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. While dating in your mid-20s can be exhausting and even a bit overwhelming, focusing on yourself and knowing what you want before you start the journey will increase the likelihood of success. Your next great love may be a block, a swipe, or even a hook-up away.

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