If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.
Plenty of Fish (or POF) tries to combine the ease-of-use of a simpler matching service with some of the brains of a more robust, comprehensive dating site. It matches based on mutual likes, but the more information you add to your profile, the more intelligently it'll try to match you. It has a speed matching feature, called MeetMe, which will present you with singles in your area that match your interests quickly, so you can cut through the fluff and contact someone about a date. Alternatively, you can browse matches by interest or by people who live nearby. At the same time though, it retains some of the simplicity of other services—if two people like each other's profiles, you'll get a notification to connect right away. How much effort you put into finding a good match—whether you go by mutual likes and location only or you fill out your profile with tons of information—is entirely up to you. Oh, POF is also free, and offers mobile apps, just like the other services.
Dating is hard work, so we did some of the legwork for you by taking a deep dive into seven of the most popular apps. Check out our brief thoughts on each below, and then click through to read our in-depth reviews. Everyone's needs and wants are different, so not every app will be a great fit for you, but if we can help play a part in uniting you with your forever person or your Friday-night fling, we're here to help.
Those of you who nominated POF shared your success stories, which were also great to hear, and praised it for walking that line between being detailed and smart but also super-easy to use and find people to meet with. Many of you noted that the service is free, and others bemoaned the fact that POF users aren't necessarily active and getting responses may be difficult. Read more in this nomination thread or this thread.
No honorable mentions this week because the nominees dropped off pretty quickly after that - but there were plenty more nominees if you're looking for more than these five. Head back to the call for contenders to see them. One thing we'll note though—more than a few people pointed out that with dating services, you do hand over a ton of personal information when you fill out these questionnaires and fill out your profile. That's a lot of information being harvested from you, especially in the case of the free services, that's used for who-knows-what. That said, you are trading that information for a service that the dating site provides—helping you find a match. Just be eyes-open about that transaction before you sign up and fill out all the things. Finally, when you do get into online dating, don't forget toi make time for it to get he best possible results, and of course, be on your best behavior.
One thing to note if you don't fall into the cis-hetero dating pool: While most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive, there are those that are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit. If you're a man seeking a man or a woman seeking a woman, you'll want to steer clear of eharmony: It doesn't even give you the option of a same-sex match.