With more and more people playing the field into their 20s, 30s and 40s, meeting people outside of your circle has become a fine art.
Of course, these apps are designed for people of all ages and are used by a broad spectrum of individuals, young and old.
It was back in the early 2000s that the staple dating site Plenty of Fish was founded, creating a whole new world for singletons to mix and mingle in.
Then in 2012, the globe was introduced to the game-changing app Tinder, which brought a whole new meaning to online dating. In recent times apps such as Bumble and Happn have been developed, which have broadened the horizons of the dating field and how one may meet the new love of one’s life.
Happn is a creepy/charming app depending on your perspective, that shows you all the people who have the app that you crossed paths with during the day.
According to the Happn founder, the app is supposed to be recreating the serendipity of real life.
The app shows you a list of the people you have passed while going about your business and then you have the option to like or dismiss them, never to be seen again.
If two people who have passed each other mutually like each other, you then have the option to chat; however, if you don’t match, you have the option to buy credits from the app that will allow you to send a message to someone who has not liked your profile.
Your Happn profile is a selected nine pictures along with a bio. It can be linked to your Instagram account and you can choose a song to represent your personality also.
Bumble is another innovative app that again opens a chat channel between users who have mutually liked each other, however on this app, the female must open the conversation, send the first message, and if no reply is sent in 24 hours, the match disappears.
The app also has a find-a-friend function where you can meet and match a BFF through swiping right on a profile of six pictures with a small bio.
Old faithful Tinder is an app most people are familiar with. It allows you to match with people who have reciprocated your like. This is good because it means people can only converse with you if you have expressed an interest in them and also it removes the “do they don’t they like me” element of dating that has seen so many people fall by the wayside.
For those who are in it for the craic and like the bit of mystery involved in meeting new people and working out your shared intentions, there is a handy little feature where groups of people can match up to go for a drink.
People are matched the same way as prospective lovers, by both parties swiping right, indicating an interest in meeting up.
It is a location-based app where you can match with people close by or within a specified proximity range. But by paying a small premium, you can avail of Tinder Plus, which allows you to match with people in a chosen location.
This is handy if you are about to head on holidays or moving to a new place and you want to get to know people in the area before you arrive.
Plenty of Fish is another dating site that has moved with the times to provide a more modern approach.
In 2015, Plenty of Fish was sold to The Match Group which owns Match.com and Tinder and it remains one of the most popular apps for online dating, with 65,000 new users across the globe every day.
The app is not as intuitive to use as Tinder and you can receive messages from anyone who takes a fancy to your profile, which can be annoying at best and unsettling at worst.
Also, because the profile is not linked to Facebook or Instagram, the level of veracity is reduced.
Catfishing, where a person uses fake photos as their personal identity, is not unheard of on the site and caution is advised if a Justin Bieber lookalike hits you up for a chat.
As an avid user of online dating apps, I think the best advice you can get is to take it all with a pinch of salt.
People are lazy and superficial in the online world and in some cases, very rude. The best way to survive the wild west of online romance is to have a sense of humour and be aware that avatar snaps are not always a good representation of the person you are going to meet, so focus on personality.
Every encounter is a chance to get to know someone new, and if you are friendly and open you might just meet someone special, even if it is just a new best friend.