It's hard to remember a time when online dating wasn't super popular because we all know a few people who met their partners on a dating app or site. Speaking of which, if you feel like you're ready to upgrade your single status, we suggest getting on the online dating bandwagon. If you've never done it before, swiping through what seems like a catalog of potential partners may feel a little strange at first, but what's the harm in putting yourself out there? You might even have fun in the process. There are a lot of options, so if you're wondering what the best sites to meet people are, consider this your guide.
When it comes to assembling your profile and selecting the right dating site, you might be a bit overwhelmed at first. Different dating sites are designed with various audiences in mind, so your first step should be deciding what your goal is: do you want to meet someone to hook up with? Are you trying to lock down a forever kind of love?
Even if you're not sure what kind of connection you want, that's okay. You may figure it out once you've spent some time on one of these six sites.
A mix of social networking, compatibility testing, and online dating, OkCupid is a bit different from other sites (in the best way.) It's perhaps the most diverse and inclusive, too. For instance, when selecting your gender, you can choose between 21 different options, including trans man, pan-gender, gender-fluid, and intersex, to name a few. And when you're deciding what you're looking for, you can choose between a variety of monogamous or non-monogamous options.
For the majority of the profile setup, it feels pretty standard. First, you choose who you're interested in (men, women, or both), add some basic info about yourself, and choose your best six photos. After that, you'll be presented with a 15-question survey (be thorough in your responses) which ultimately determines your compatibility with other users. The questions include topics like politics, past relationships, and even general hygiene.
Then, start sending out likes and discovering matches! For the most part, OkCupid will show you profiles with a high compatibility rating, so you'll like your prospects, guaranteed.
eHarmony is similar to OkCupid in that it uses a compatibility matching system to find you potential partners. It's based on your responses to 29 different personality variables, including where you'd like to end up (in a big city, small town, quiet suburb, etc.), what you find most attractive in a partner, and why you think you're single at the moment. Setting up a profile may take a few extra minutes, but it's definitely worth it.
Unlike most other dating sites, eHarmony only allows you to contact those whom the system has determined highly compatible with you, and sometimes this process can take weeks. Still, we think it's worth it to find someone you can spend your life with.
You may not know this name as well as you do eHarmony, but Lavalife has been around since 2001. Out of the top dating sites, Lavalife is one of the more versatile of the bunch, allowing users to join under a variety of different dating personas that can be connected (or kept separate) with your main account. For instance, if you aren't totally sure what you're looking for, you can sign up and create two profiles (one for serious dating and another for casual hookups) within the same account.
Fun fact: This site boasts more users in Canada than any other dating site in the world!
Plenty of Fish
Plenty of Fish is excellent for several reasons, and chief among them is it's filtering tool. For instance, if you only want to see potential partners who practice a specific religion, you can include that in your filters. Others include income, race, and education level.
This site is feature-rich, too. Think heavily-trafficked forums, compatibility questionnaires, and a Who's Seen Me button. The best part about Plenty of Fish is that you don't have to upgrade your membership to use any special features. We'd consider that a plus.
Try not to spend too much time in the pre-date banter phase. With all online dating, there's always a period of time between matching and meeting in person, but if you spend too much time in that phase, it puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your in-person meeting.
Match.com consistently ranks as one of the largest dating sites in the world at Hitwise (a performance marketing and technology network for companies) and other statistic-gathering websites.
One thing to note about Match.com is that you can't do much without becoming a paying member. For instance, if someone tries to contact you, you can't read the message without paying. But you can't put a price on love, right?
You can use cool features like the site's MatchWords tool to see profiles that include the specific words you favorited. So if you would like to meet someone who loves dogs, you can use the word as a MatchWord to connect with someone who also adores pooches.
Lovestruck was founded in the UK, but it's available in China (Hong Kong, specifically), the United States, Australia, and Singapore. Though it's completely inclusive, it's mostly targeted at young professionals who have a hard time meeting people because of their complicated work schedules. Like Match.com, Lovestruck has a Keyword Search tool which lets you navigate through profiles that feature a specific word. You'll be amazed at the prospects.