As a 5ft 9in glamorous cocktail type who says she hates bankers, she freely admits she’d have swiped right past him on Tinder or blocked him on Match – and he e
Pros: Free to join and to have limited contact with members. You can connect with Facebook so getting started is much quicker than with other sites. A one step Facebook log-in process leads on to a few simple questions (the most obvious – height, kids, whether you drink or smoke), a description and a photo – then you are in. You can browse a selection of pictures and ages before logging in, anything more specific requires you to become a member. Members can search by interest, location or age.
Cons: It’s not really free. To use the site fully – sending unlimited messages to other members – payment is required. As with many free or low-cost sites, ads can be frequent and feel spammy. There are no compatibility filters, so once you’ve filtered by the basics, there’s no way of narrowing it down. However, perhaps controversially, arguably this is more of a pro than a con – as the saying goes, opposites attract! And there’s no sense in ruling someone out for reasons that may become insignificant once you’ve met in real life.
The tick-boxes on many dating sites are a common part of the structure of the sites – and people often fill them in and make their choices quickly, based on in-the-moment gut feeling, prejudice or a past bad experience.
But too many filters and rigid check-boxes can have you dismiss huge numbers of people at once – something that apps like Bumble, Happn and Tinder tried to do away with (though that brings its own set of issues).
One 5ft 10in friend reports she saw only 400 potential men to browse when she logged in to Match. When she reduced her height to 5ft 9in, that rocketed to almost 2,000.
A full 1,600 men would have unknowingly discounted this amazing person because of 2.5cm of extra leg length – and she would have continued to find internet dating limited and unsuccessful.
It seems unavoidable over here that if we have filters and tick-boxes for features and likes or dislikes, we could be cutting off literally thousands of potential suitors because of something we might have thought minor or irrelevant if we met in the flesh.
And, by the way, the tick-box that chooses whether you’re shown people with children or not can have an even more dramatic result, with 90% of the people I asked (a straw poll of 10 in the office) saying they’d chosen not to be shown people with children.
Yet many friends of mine who had previously ruled out anyone with children on a dating site are now happily dating (or married to) single parents they met in real life.
Another friend is about to marry the short, bald banker with absolutely no ‘online dating’ message-type chat she met at a party. But the moment they spoke in real life, they were hooked. It’s charisma, not check-lists, that win hearts.
Plenty of Fish
Free messaging. Quick to join, lots of interactions, constant flow of fresh members. Has a ‘chemistry test’ to match you with personalities that suit your own and meet your ’emotional needs’, and a ‘Relationship Needs’ service that claims to be able to tell you what you need in a relationship, where you screwed up (without knowing it) and a customised plan to make your next relationship successful. Which sounds like a hella challenge…