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Dating in the 21st century was never a walk in the park, but a global pandemic certainly hasn’t made it any easier. 2020 has unfortunately forced everyone indoors and online, so singles are forced to limit their dating lives to exclusively online or socially distanced activities. As every headline in 2020 will tell you, these times are “unprecedented,” which calls for new ways to adapt to new situations. This is why I tried out Tinder and Bumble, so I can let you know which, if any, of these apps are worth your time.


Note: I’m not affiliated in any way with either app, just a girl trying to make the best of a pandemic. And for the purposes of this experiment, I used the free versions of both apps, so that’s what the reviews are based on. 


The basic setup of the two apps is very similar for each one. For those who have never used a dating app, the basic idea is that each person creates a profile, sets their preferences for things like age range and distance away from you, and then you’re given a stack of people to swipe through. As you swipe, you won’t know if a given person has liked you or rejected you when you see them, but assuming you both “swipe right,” it will then be revealed that you too have matched and you’ll have the chance to talk. This means that there’s no risk of rejection since no one will know you like them unless they like you back! While Tinder and Bumble are both pretty similar, there are some key differences that mean that there are certain benefits to each one. I’ll discuss these apps in two main categories: app design/user experience and the overall personality and vibe of the app.


App Design:

As far as the app itself, Tinder is probably the easiest to use, and the format is pretty straightforward: swipe right if you’re into them… left if not so much. But Tinder also offers a third option for the truly lovestruck: the “super like”. This is a feature where if you decide you especially like someone’s profile, you can show them that you like them with a “super like,” taking away the anonymity that’s normally there as you swipe through potential partners. This is a great feature to use if you’re confidently interested in someone, but I didn’t find myself taking advantage of it very often. 


In Bumble, the overall format is similar, but there’s a couple of big differences. One is that, if you happen to be a straight cis-gender couple, only the woman is able to initiate the conversation. And the other big difference is that she only has 24 hours to do so before you lose that match permanently. From a woman’s perspective, this feature is convenient in that you can avoid any unwanted messages, but it also adds pressure to have to be the one to initiate conversation, so I’m not sure it’s worth it. The 24 hour rule is a good one though because it forces you to actually start a conversation with someone instead of just letting your matches sit in silence forever (as I found myself doing a lot with Tinder!).


Overall, I actually prefer Tinder as far as app design because I prefer the more straightforward design, and I don’t necessarily always want to start the conversation, so I think it works slightly better.


Overall Personality:


One place where Tinder might lose out in my opinion is in the apparent overall goal of the app. Tinder seems to encourage casual short-term relationships, and doesn’t seem to have a lot of expectation for long-term connections. When you set up your profile for instance, Tinder for the most part just has you choose some good pictures of yourself and if you want, add a brief bio. Bumble on the other hand encourages you to answer cute prompts like “We’ll get along if…” in your profile, which seems to encourage people more to actually get to know each other. On top of that, the advertising for Bumble seems more centered around finding a real relationship, whereas Tinder’s marketing seems to be especially made for college students seeking short-term flings. 


Both of these apps are useful for different situations, but in the end it’s mostly about what it is you’re looking for. To me, Bumble just felt a little more wholesome which I appreciated, but really everyone should just pick the best one for your particular goals. If you’re just looking to meet new people, Tinder is straightforward and probably the easiest to use, but if “the one” is what you’re after, you’ll want to stick with Bumble. In the case of both apps, it’s extremely easy to use, and you have essentially nothing to lose, so if you're single and tired of sitting at home in quarantine, I suggest trying out a dating app- you might (or might not) find your soulmate, but regardless you’ll at least get a good laugh!

Eliza is a third year majoring in Cognitive Science and minoring in French. Her interests include traveling, social activism, and spending time with her closest friends!
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