We all know what dating apps can do, but there are also so many dating app perks you probably didn't know about. After all, the mobile dating app game is highly competitive, so I don’t blame the apps for having different features and constantly upping their mating-and-dating game(s).
More and more people are using dating sites and apps year after year. For instance, 15 percent of American adults have used them, according to a national survey by Pew Research Center from June 10, 2015 to July 12, 2015, among 2,001 adults. To be more specific, 12 percent of American adults reported using an online dating site and nine percent reported using a dating app on their phone. And almost three times as many 18- to 24-year-olds use the sites and apps now versus in 2013. Is anyone surprised?!
It seems everyone I know has tried a dating site or app, and I’m sure you know lots of people who have, too. Plus, many people are getting engaged and married after meeting someone through an app. I know at least 15 people who met and married via Match, Tinder, eHarmony, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish... and the list goes on and on! So, here are seven things you probably didn’t know your dating apps could do, and they’re definitely all worth a try. After all, the more unique features out there, the better, right?
1. The League — Join Or Start An Event Or Interest Group
The League is a by-application-only mobile singles community (you need both Facebook and LinkedIn to apply and — good news! — it blocks you from matching with your Facebook and LinkedIn coworkers and connections if you want). The members-only app is aimed at ambitious, busy professionals who "value intelligence and drive.”
Users receive five matches a day, aka there’s no endless swiping (thankfully!). Aside from being revamped, the latest feature of The League is giving members the ability to create and RSVP to events, as well as chat with others attending in real time. Users can also generate and join interest groups, like a running group or women’s wine circle, and then meet up with fellow League members over their common interests. In group chats, they can plan in advance, or come up with a last-minute event and see who’s game. I think of these new additions as a more invite-only and exclusive version of Meetup groups — but with a dating twist. Pretty rad, right?
2. Tinder — You Can Declare An Anthem Via Spotify
A couple of weeks ago, Tinder introduced a new feature — adding Spotify to users’ profiles. This means that instead of just seeing what interests and friends you and a potential match have in common, now you can analyze them based on their musical tastes, too. Maybe you and a potential match will connect via Usher’s “Crash” or The Chainsmokers and Daya’s “Don’t Let Me Down” (hint, hint). You can feature your “Anthem” — aka your favorite song — on your Tinder profile, as well as display some of your other favorite songs. Yep, all via Spotify. Even if you don’t have Spotify, you can still create an Anthem and play previews of others’ songs. Talk about love at first listen…
3. Happn – Send Voice Messages
Now with Tinder, you can see what music you and other users have in common, and with Happn, you can send Spotify songs to your matches... but did you know you can send voice messages, too? See that microphone icon above? Just press that, then hold it down as you speak!
I initially met my boyfriend on Bumble, but then we saw each other on Happn, too. We’d write messages to each other on Bumble, yet we’d voice-record messages to each other on Happn, a minute apiece. (Warning: It’s addictive, and you’ll probably want to leave multiple audio messages in a row.) It was fun, and great, way to hear how someone speaks and annunciates. Plus, it gives you an added piece of their personality (i.e., sense of humor, etc.), more so than just typing and written messages do.
4. The League — You Can Cut The Line
Waiting for someone to message you back on a dating app is ~the worst~ right? But now, with The League’s “power move” feature, you can dig into the app’s algorithm and increase the chances of a match in just 24 hours — and it’ll only cost you $7. It’s a way to cut through the competition and move ahead in line, so to speak. You’ll be able to skip their waitlist and then show up in their next batch of matches with a special heart icon. You can add a message, too, or not.
With The League, you get five matches a day. With that algorithm, two out of the five have already liked you, and those two come from each user’s “hearted queue,” ranked in the likeliness of a match occurring. So with the “power move,” you’ll probably be seen sooner, and your whole goal is to get offline and meet someone IRL, right?
5. Bumble — Find A BFF, Not Just A BF or GF
I know some of you may be thinking… find a BFF on a dating app?! Why, yes. Personally, I think this feature is great! For instance, I recently returned to Chicago for family reasons, leaving behind my 10-plus years of friends and BFFs in L.A. In Chicago, a lot of my friends are married with kids, which means it’s not as easy for us to meet up like we used to, and others have moved away. Enter Bumble BFF. Just like using Bumble for dating, you read potential BFF’s profiles, look at their pictures, then swipe right or left. Then, you see how your messaging rapport is, and escalate to phone calls and coffees.
And, if you already have a BF or GF, you can filter your Bumble settings to just search for BFFs. (I met my BF on Bumble, so why not find a BFF on the app, too?) Plus, flakiness among friends is the worst, right? Bumble prevents that by making BFF matches message within 24 hours (just like with their dating!), and every chat now requires a reply within 24 hours, too. Hint: If you’re into ghosting, this is not for you.
6. Happn — Let Other Users Know What You’re Up To Tonight
Recently, Happn added a “See You There” feature, wherein you can tell other users (whose paths you’ve crossed) where you’re headed, whether it’s grabbing some food or checking out a concert. It’s taking common interests to a whole new level by stating them right there, on the app, and giving you an automatic in. You want to grab some food, too? Well, great — you already know the other person’s game.
Just touch the + availability button at the bottom of your home screen, choose an activity, and then it’ll be visible to other users in your timeline via an icon on your profile. But, it’ll only appear for four hours at a time. Another win, I think, because it makes you make plans. Or not. No procrastinating and endless-messaging here. Happn just wants to make it happen — you meeting a match IRL.
7. Tinder — Match With An STD Clinic
A few months ago, Tinder added a “Health Safety” section to its app (under the “Help & Support” section, then under the “Safety” section), wherein you can find clinics to get STD and HIV tests through Healthvana… for free! It’s a great addition for people who want to go get tested, but are not sure where to go or don’t want to spend money doing so. “It's a resource where people can learn a bit more about their sexual health, and having the biggest dating site in the world have it on there is a giant step forward,” Ramin Bastani, CEO of Healthvana, tells Bustle.
See? There's much more to dating apps than just swiping left or right.
Images: Fotolia; The League; Tinder; Happn; Bumble