When looked upon with the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, the dating we did in our 20s was the stuff of romantic comedies, especially when compared with what it’s like a decade later. While it’s actually easier to date in your 30s in the sense that you know yourself better, by the time you reach a certain age you’re just, well, SATC’s Charlotte said it best: “I’ve been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” Sheer exhaustion is the reason going to bars is a no-go most nights—especially given the inevitable epic hangovers and a lack of single girlfriends with whom to wing-woman—but luckily, this is the digital age, so we can meet lots of men without ever leaving our Netflix accounts unattended. Here, 12 apps to try if you find yourself single—and ready to mingle—in your 30s (plus, how to take a perfect selfie for your profile).
Homepage Image: Adam Katz Sinding
Coffee Meets Bagel
In a recent study, analytics company Applause ranked apps based on their user reviews, and this one came in third, which is promising. While the app once sent daters only one match per day, which was helpful for those who feel the "shopping" element is a little icky, it recently switched things up so that men receive 21 matches per day whereas women receive just five. Before you delete it based on this inequity, know that the well-intentioned people at Coffee Meets Bagel made these changes based on user feedback—apparently, men like quantity and women like quality. Shocking!
If you don't want to lose the serendipitous aspect of real-life dating, you should probably sign up for Happn. This app promises to match you to people with whom you've crossed paths in the non-virtual world, somehow making things feel a little more organic. If you, like us, live in a sprawling city like Los Angeles, you know how important convenient geography can be in terms of making a relationship last.
Sparkology requires that men be graduates of top-tier universities in order to join, which feels a bit gross considering it doesn't have the same standards for women. Men are also subjected to a points system, which is purported to help ladies know which ones are serious (a feature we can definitely get behind). In order to join, technically you must be invited by a current member or the Sparkology team, but if you click on the "Join" button, you're asked to link your Facebook profile for evaluation.
We don't think anyone should be ashamed to be "caught" online dating; however, some of us may not so much appreciate our colleagues or future colleagues knowing what's up in our romantic lives, so the fact that The League hides your profile from LinkedIn and Facebook contacts is a big plus in our book. Another thing we like about The League? The platform kicks people off if they're not actively dating: No looky-loos allowed. The League has recently shifted its strategy somewhat to become events-focused, as it's hoping to transition into something akin to a members-only club like The Soho House rather than just a dating app. The League is only available in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and its waiting list is allegedly 100,000 people long. Good luck!
Most of the women we know who frequent dating apps at present are on Bumble and report good experiences—it ranked fourth on that aforementioned list based on user reviews. This app is known for tasking women with the first move (once a match has been made)—which is great if you'd like to reduce the number of obscene things total strangers feel justified in using as pickup lines on some apps. On another note, Bumble's just announced the launch of BumbleBizz this fall, which is basically swipe-based networking. We're intrigued.
If you're one of the "old people" who has gotten on board with Snapchat in a big way, you might want to try Lively, the newest app on the market. We have a feeling its demo will skew 20s, so if you're looking for a slightly younger man, this could be the perfect platform for you. Your Lively profile will pull videos and images from various apps on your phone and edit them together to tell a complete story about you. The app comes to us from the creators of dating website Zoosk.
If you think your life is a rom-com, or should be, Tindog might be the app for you. It matches your dog with another dog, which is definitely the perfect setup for a meet-cute if ever we've heard one. Something to consider before joining, however, is how hard it is to be rejected in online dating. Now imagine how hard it will be for you when your beloved, perfect pet is rejected, as happened here. We just don't want you to get hurt....
If you're into astrology, Align is pretty fun, and it'll save you the trouble of finding out your signs are incompatible down the line. We don't know how serious the contenders are on this platform—we don't use it as, to be honest, we barely even know our own sign—but if nothing else it will provide a welcome distraction from the tedium of scouring the digital universe to find your cosmic match.
According to Time Magazine, 82% of Match users were over the age of 30 as of 2014. This has likely changed somewhat given that in the same year, Match redid its mobile app to include features more akin to Tinder than OG Match. Still, Match tends to draw a more serious crowd than many other apps, in part because elements of the platform require payment.
Some of us have personal feelings about this one—which we won't share because, diplomacy—but suffice it to say that you will definitely meet a specific type of person on this platform. Raya is exclusive and basically requires that you have a cool job, know cool people and have a lot of those cool people following you on Instagram. If that sounds like your kind of filtration system, we say go for it. Just be warned in advance that it's unlikely that the attractive celebrity with whom you're matched will be dating only you anytime in the near future.
We recently added Canada to our list of countries worth moving to. Maple Match hilariously promises to enable your move north by partnering you with a Canadian. We're pretty sure this app is a joke—you can only join the wait list for now—but we're hoping someone invents it for real, stat.
By our 30s, ideally we've broken bad habits and patterns and are now only dating people who would make appropriate partners. If you, however, laughed out loud at that statement (we did), you might want to consider signing up for Wingman. This app leaves the fate of your dating life in the hands of your friends, who are the sole deciders when it comes to who you will or will not go out with. We're guessing the results of such an experiment would be vastly different than anything we've experienced while steering our own ship, and we're so down to find out.