Millennials are a strange breed: We want what we want when we want it, but what we want tends to be very specific, and, if the 10 zillion sleek startups out there are any proof, it has to be glossy, user-friendly and full of clean lines. So, then, what are the best dating apps for millennials, who have embraced dating online the way most of us embrace a slice of pizza after a long day's work? Though apps like OkCupid and Match are old standbys, they are the decidedly basic bitches of dating apps, without the bells and whistles — or, should I say, understated ambient music or whatever millennials are most obsessed with these days — of newer, glossier apps that promise dating with a side of pizazz.
The dating apps on this list are ones that tend to favor forward-thinking premises over generalized I-want-to-find-love matchmaking, and throw potential lovebirds together because of specialized algorithms. In other words, instead of matching two people because they have a bunch of things in common, these popular dating apps might match you because you crossed each others' paths, or because you have a bunch of friends of friends in common. Here are 10 apps that satisfy the millennial itch to date.
How can I not put Tinder first on this list? The popular dating app that people love to hate is insanely popular, and promises to facilitate millennial to millennial contact, whether you're in the mood to settle down, hookup, or something in between.
Millennials can never resist anything novel and love a good angle (yeah, pun intended, I suppose), and Align delivers on both fronts. The dating app makes love connections based on horoscope, not personality (though some might argue that the two are one and the same), making for a new take on the whole online dating experience.
Billed as the "Uber of dating," Clover takes the millennial on-demand app obsession (Seamless, Postmates, DoorDash . . . ) and gives it a romantic reboot. Pick a time and place, and the app will find someone to meet you. Extremely risky — but, then again, so is ordering sushi from an unknown restaurant, and we do that all the time.
This app uses technology that, when we were kids, would have totally blown our minds. Millennials who used to dream of being able to see friends' faces while talking on the phone have been gratified by video chat, and now those of us who wished they could somehow communicate with the people who crossed their paths can do just that. Of course, there is a catch: that handsome bespectacled stranger three tables over at the coffee shop has to have Happn too. If they do, they'll pop up in your app — and you can say hi via your phone, which is the only way a millennial knows how to say hi anyway.
Millennials are all about girl power, and Bumble is too. Women have to make the first move; a dude can't message you until you've reached out. If you're a woman seeking a woman, this is basically just Tinder — with prettier lines and perhaps a kindlier client base.
To appeal to the millennial tradition of exclusive, understated and minimalistic, Hinge only gives you 10 matches per day, drawn directly from people who are friends of your Facebook friends.
Like Bumble, women rule the roost at Wyldfire. Men can only join the app when they're invited by women; ostensibly, most men who made it through security are friends of women who have the app, though nothing is stopping a man from making a fake profile for a woman and then inviting himself, other than time and dignity. I won't hold their suspiciously Lilith Fair–y name against them.
8. The League
If you have a yen for being one half of a power couple (and what millennial doesn't?), look no further. The League vets out "randos" and keeps its membership expectations high. It's been critiqued as snobbish and elitist; if you're OK with that, try filling out a profile, which pulls in your Facebook and LinkedIn info, and see how well you fare. If you get in, you'll get five matches per day.
This dating app no one has ever heard of brings people together via their LinkedIn profiles. True love has never been more romantic. At first glance, BeLinked is duddier than most, but millennials are pretty into LinkedIn. If it can get you professional connections and even a job, why can't LinkedIn help find love?
Millennials like to be active. SWEATT caters to exercise devotees. Now millennial exercise freaks can meet likeminded counterparts via SWEATT, an app that connects people via their favorite fitness routines, among other health-minded things, so you can sweat it out with a new partner.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Images: Fotolia; WiffleGif (10)