As a follow up to the blog post titled Why You Should Be Online Dating, I felt it necessary to give the unlikely online dater and the casual online dater advice with online dating app reviews. It's hard enough to get out there but if you pick the wrong app, you might just give up on the whole thing: curled up in the fetal position, eating Ben and Jerry's out of the carton while rivers of salty tears run down your cheeks. 

If you're watching your dairy, those triglycerides, or just want a partner in crime, I've reviewed some online dating apps including: OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, eHarmony, jDate, ChristianMingle, and Tinder. But first, a video showing you just how far the dating game has come since the 80's.

Before online dating, there were videos. After you watch that video of suave 80's hunks, thank Jesus for the 21st century and dating apps. Beware, though. You can still be as creepy as them if you're not careful about those profiles and how you use the apps! As a preface to all the online dating app reviews, please don't say you're, "looking for fun," in your profile! That advice was free; take heed.

Online Dating App Reviews

OkCupid screenshot

1.) OkCupid

After all the online dating I've done, I had to list OkCupid, first. It's where I met my, now, fiancé. What else is there to say? This is a freemium way to meet people in your area while giving you as much control over importance of religion and importance to the responses people give to questions you deem relevant. Another big win is that there are literally millions of people using this app. OkCupid is the best of online dating. They have great technology and they were the forerunners of developing this new season of online dating. It was started in New York City and everyone, here, is one it. If OKC isn't popular in your city, I'd recommend making a profile anyway. It's a good time to start answering questions you think are important to know about your potential suitors. OkCupid is the hands-on approach to seeking out your damsel or knight (READ: if you are really picky, this is definitely the app for you!). It worked for me––only 18 more days until we get married!

Coffee Meets Bagel profile

Coffee Meets Bagel profile

This is the perfect app for someone taking a low-key approach to online dating. It's respectable and you get a new match everyday at lunch. Just one so you will never be overwhelmed. The downside, if there is one, is that there isn't much information available to look at if you match. Another factor of note is that if you lose touch or get busy but plan on going out again, you had better have a number to contact them. After a couple weeks, your match self-destructs (in the app, not the person––FYI) and you can't contact them in the app! No complaints on Coffee Meets Bagel, although, I do wish I could have been more specific in preference to who I'm looking for. This app will prioritize people you know through a friend––you can pay a little bit to see who that friend is, maybe get a real life introduction? This really is the classier, casual dating app. I continued using this one for 1.5 years until I met the future Mrs. Tasman.


3.) eHarmony

Never tried it but know a lot of happy people who have. Why not take a personality test to get matched with exactly what you're looking for? This is the more "hands off" approach to online dating. I preferred having control over my dating pool to an OCD level so I stuck mostly with OkCupid. The downfall for me was probably that more [mature/serious] people looking to their future with a spouse they can really connect with are on eHarmony. At least the stereotypes I made up in my head. This is worth a shot, for sure, especially for members of faith.


4.) jDateChristianMingle, and many more

Are you Jewish or Christian? I've heard that a couple times in my life. And I found myself asking the same question when it came to online dating profiles! Usually you couldn't pick both. Turns out that the company who started jDate, is the same company that started ChristianMingle. Same profiles and look, differed demographics. The parent company is called Sparks and their customer service is terrible. Also, If you're looking for your faith-based demographic: Jewish, Christian, whatever (they have other options)... it is deceptively obvious you would start with these, right? Wrong. If you're nominally religious, perhaps it will work for you but the interface sucks and the technology side of it is antiquated. You can only scratch the surface of what is available in filtering ideal candidates for a relationship (sex, age, career, distance, etc). Not to mention the customer service. This is a site(s) I think is better left to the early days of the Interwebz. Don't waste your time. Did I let you know how bad the customer service is, yet?


5.) Tinder

I think that Tinder gets a bad rap for being a hookup app. That's probably because it is––SOMETIMES. I was playing in a rec soccer league this spring and after our games, we'd go get brunch together. While we were sitting around and everyone on our team went around the table talking about how they met. No joke, literally everyone in a relationship on our team was from a Tinder swipe. And they were all in committed relationships. It shocked me. When they finally got to me, I was the only one in a relationship not from Tinder. SOOOOOOOO, there is hope for Tinder. When I used it, I found it to be easy it get matches but difficult to find anyone with ALL the things I was looking for: faith, career-minded, family-oriented, normal, etc... something was always lacking. I don't think I'm alone in this experience with Tinder, however, I know very well that my experience is not the only one––hence my OkTinder soccer team. 

Tinder is more than a hookup app but it might be for less than a marriage app. I hope my friends in Tinder relationships get married to one another but after using it, it seems very surface––any depth that might come from Tinder would only be indirectly via the people on a date going below the easy questions. For anyone looking for a serious relationship that might lead to marriage, Tinder is a classic case of "swipe left."


6.) Craigslist & Everything Else

Yeah.... don't touch Craigslist with a ten foot stick. I say this with the greatest of respect for the enigma that is Craigslist. The amount of anguish and suffering found in listing a dating post on Craigslist will make you crazy. The anonymity is nice, I suppose. I feel like it has mostly become cesspool for unsolicited sexual activity. Don't believe me? Just take a look at your city's dating classifieds.

True confession: I used to binge on the Missed Connections section. It's addicting.

Everything else through mid-2015 is garbage. They are not even worth mentioning. Trust me. 

Next Steps

One of the best summaries of what to do and what not to do is the book Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. It will be a great addition to the apps you just read about.

Another good book to check out is by one of OkCupid's founders: Dataclysm by Christian Rudder. This is a particularly good read if you're interested in big data as it relates to online dating. OkCupid is one of the largest databases of singles in the world. They also have some curious social scientists, like Christian Rudder, who want to know how people and online dating intersect. OkCupid even keeps a blog (although it hasn't been updated in over a year) following trends on their app. It's a snippet of what to expect from Dataclysm––check out OkTrends.

Knowing about biases, perceptions, and strategies in the online dating realm can help you meet your special someone. Regardless of whether or not you check out Rudder's book, I'll talk more about online dating strategies in the next post.


Next time I'll share practical advice for your online dating profiles!