Exactly What to Expect on the Most Popular Dating Apps of 2023
If you are "on the apps" like I am, then you've probably grown accustomed to many of the usual trends — ghosting, catfishing, and even "OnlyPlans," Plenty of Fish's newly coined term that refers to plans repeatedly never coming to fruition. Personally, I can't tell you how many photos I've swiped through featuring men proudly holding a freshly caught fish or "I'll fall for you" prompts that are finished with "if you trip me." It all starts to feel pretty tired after a while. But sometimes dating apps do lead to positive — or at least interesting — experiences that aren't so run-of-the-mill. For example, my best friend swiftly swiped right on a Tinder profile advertising a free front-row ticket to an NYC Paramore concert and ended up at the show that same evening. The dude had flown in from Charlotte, NC, and was seeking a one-night-only-style date with zero expectations, save for full appreciation of Hayley Williams's vocals. But what if she wanted more than that . . . say, a lasting connection without an expiration date? How should she know which dating app is most useful for building a relationship with the type of person she's looking for? How should any of us know?
That's exactly why I began testing the waters, signing myself up for as many apps as I could to get a feel for each one. From taking notes about benefits only available to premium users (aka those who pay to upgrade for a weekly, monthly, or yearly fee) to analyzing my encounters in an effort to come up with a list of pros and cons, I've learned the ins and outs of nine different dating apps that are popular right now. Of course, there are more than nine, and I'm not on Feeld, Lex, Chispa, or HER, so I conducted interviews with current users to write thorough reviews of those apps.
My research has led me to determine which platforms are best for developing long-term relationships, exploring sexuality, and finding quick hookups or even "situationships" (Tinder reported it "saw a 49% increase in members adding the phrase to their bios" in 2022). Some dating apps, like Clover and Plenty of Fish, offer a live-stream feature, where you can connect with new singles instantly, as a nontraditional way of getting to know each other. There are also apps that value stances on social and political issues, with Chispa designing profile badges to help people express their opinions; Tinder reported that activism and voting rights as interests both increased (84 percent and 37 percent, respectively) in 2022.
Ahead, I'm breaking down the basics of each app so you know which one(s) to sign up for, whether it's worth an optional payment plan, and what your profile just might reel in. Thankfully, no actual fish. At least not yet.