I remember when I first gave online dating a try in 2013, it was still a very new concept in India that we were extremely skeptical about. When I told my friends about my decision to create a profile on OkCupid, all my friends raised their eyebrows in surprise. ‘How can you trust people online? This can’t be safe,’ they said.
Back then, Tinder wasn’t even heard of and I actually decided to keep it a secret that I was on OkCupid after I realised how I was being judged by everyone. Fast forward three years later, and now it seems like almost every month there’s a new TV commercial about some new dating app or the other. This only shows how attitudes and perceptions have radically changed over the last three years when it comes to online dating. The same friends who told me online dating isn’t safe are now busy swiping on Tinder!
Now that online dating is no longer treated with skepticism and there’s no stigma about looking for love or just good old casual sex on the internet, the big question is which app should you invest your time and efforts on? The most popular dating apps in India as of now are Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, Woo, Truly Madly and then there’s Aisle.
Other than OkCupid, I have also used Tinder, Hinge and Aisle till date and through these apps I have had the opportunity to go on a few dates as well. Some good dates, a few awkward ones and also one really bad date. These are the 5 ways to crack online dating. Here’s my take on these four apps:
If you’re one of those few people who still hasn’t tried out this app out of curiosity, if nothing else, let me explain how it works. You have to connect your Facebook profile with the app through which it will access your photos along with your work and education details and the pages you have liked. Of course, you have the option to choose which pictures you want to put on your Tinder profile and if you’re not comfortable with letting strangers know where you work or study, you can hide those details. Tinder doesn’t post on your wall and don’t worry, there’s no way your Facebook friends will know you’re using the app unless they’re also using Tinder and happen to stumble across your profile.
Pros: Once your profile is set up, you can swipe right on a profile you like and if not, simply swipe left. This feature is excellent for women because you get to decide who you want to talk to and who you don’t. I was hesitant to join Tinder because of all the Tinder nightmare stories I had read online. However, since I am in complete control of who can message me, I get very few inappropriate or creepy messages.
Cons: The only major disadvantage of using Tinder is that very few people bother to fill out their bios, so it is a little difficult to find like-minded people who you can actually have a great conversation with. You’re basically just evaluating people based on their looks and many people criticise Tinder because of how superficial it is. This brings up the question of pictures or text, what is more important for your online dating profile? Despite this, I did manage to meet some cool people and even made a friend or two. However, there will be times when people just don’t bother replying to messages on Tinder. My guess is they download the app out of curiosity and then lose interest or they don’t have a reliable internet connection on their phones. The app works best only when you have WiFi or at least 3G. Also, the sex ratio is highly skewed. There are far more men than women, so many men complain about not getting any matches. Did you know, 46% of Indian women are comfortable with initiating dates through dating apps?
OkCupid can be used both on your desktop and phone, unlike Tinder. Though OkCupid is not as popular as Tinder, it is widely used by Indians. You can create a profile with any email ID and you first have to mention your sexual orientation and gender. The site allows bisexual and gay people to hide their profile from heterosexual users. You have to put aside a good hour just to fill out your profile which includes your height, body type, zodiac sign, job, income (optional), religion and even if you have or want any pets or children.
Pros: OkCupid puts a lot of emphasis on writing more about yourself on your profile. You have to fill out questions like self summary, what am I doing with my life, things I’m good at, six things I couldn’t live without and also the most private thing I’m willing to admit. Of course, it isn’t compulsory to fill out all these sections but the more you write about yourself, the more messages you get. This feature is great because I was able to figure out who I could actually have something in common with and I’ve had some great conversations with people I met on OkCupid. Also, they have an entire section of questions based on a wide range of topics from ‘How kinky are you?’ to ‘Which is worse, starving children or abused animals?’ Based on your answers, it will assess your personality and calculate your compatibility with other users. You can also put filters on your searchers based on height, body type and even ethinicity.
Cons: Just about anyone can message you on OkCupid, which is extremely problematic. Within the first two days of setting up my profile along with a picture, my inbox was filled with around 100 messages and many of them were highly inappropriate and disgusting. You have the option to block those users but manually blocking 10 different men every single day becomes tiring and tedious. Also, since OkCupid doesn’t connect with your Facebook profile, people get to enjoy their anonymity and think they can get away with sending offensive messages to others. These are the 12 things people need to stop doing on dating apps.
Hinge is a lot like Tinder and I didn’t find any difference both the apps in terms of its features. The only difference between Hinge and Tinder is that while Tinder looks for people who live around you, Hinge connects you with people through your social circles on Facebook. To be honest, I didn’t meet any like-minded people there. Because of that, I used Hinge for a very brief period of time before uninstalling it. However, just like OkCupid and Tinder, it is free.
Aisle.co is the only dating app on this list that isn’t free. While OkCupid has certain features known as the ‘A-list’ which allows you to browse through profiles anonymously with an additional fee and also get some other perks, Aisle won’t allow you to connect with anyone without first paying their hefty fees. The site or app works by first connecting either with your Facebook or LinkedIn profile. Just like Tinder, it won’t post anything on your wall or LinkedIn profile.
You have to fill out details like your height, weight, religion, etc, and then specify your hobbies or interests based on a scale of 1 to 10.
Pros: You can also use Aisle on your desktop unlike Tinder and Hinge. You get a fair idea of users on the site since it specifies details and since it isn’t free, your chances of finding love and someone who is also looking for a serious relationship is higher. Like OkCupid, you can also use filters for browsing through profiles.
Cons: It is way too expensive. Just for sending out three invites, you have to shell out Rs 1,799 and the rate goes up to Rs 3,599 for sending out seven invites. Most 20-somethings are broke enough as it is and spending all that money even before you meet someone seems a little outrageous to me. But I guess each to their own. Also, I felt that the profiles could add more sections that people should fill out like OkCupid so if I do decide on spending all that money, at least I know for sure that it’s for someone I have something in common with. This is the secret to setting up a perfect online dating profile.
So what’s my final verdict? I am yet to try out all the other popular dating apps out there, but from these four, I would go with Tinder. Tell us in the comments section about which dating app you prefer using