There are three realizations you come to once you enter the real world as a working adult:
1. A 9 to 5 job is rarely ever just 9 to 5.
2. Your free time is pretty limited.
3. Dating sucks.
The social freedoms you enjoyed before joining the rat race take a hit once you’re working for The Man. Unfortunately for singles, this can be hazardous for your dating life.
For busy professionals, the idea of “finding someone” might seem like a daunting task. With deadlines, work dinners, and meetings galore, trying to meet someone often falls to the very end of your to do list. This is why dating apps were invented though: to make online dating way easier, enabling you to use your free time wisely. (Waiting for a meeting to start? Swipe on Tinder. Commuting to work? Message with that cutie you found on OkCupid.)
Whether it’s something casual or a real relationship that you want, there’s an app that will make your search a whole lot easier. Ranking highest on our list were EliteSingles,Match, and OkCupid. We found that with sites like eharmony and Match, the initial output (i.e a lengthy sign up and/or membership fee) is worth it for the return. After all, those who are willing to pay the price for love are clearly serious, unlike some swipe-based free apps where the likelihood of even meeting up in real life can be slim to none.
Read on for why these are the 10 best online dating apps for people who work for a living:
EliteSingles: For the professional who wants someone equally educated
The gist: EliteSingles caters its site specifically to professionals. In this contest, “elite” seems to simply mean that one is in possession of a bachelors degree. (The site boasts that 82% of its members are college educated.) The signup process for EliteSingles is similar to that of eharmony, in that it requires you to take a lengthy personality test before showing you your matches. The personality test is based on the Five Factor Model, which breaks down your personality in five main categories: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Once you finish filling out the personality test, the site gives you several different options to find someone, including recommending matches, showing your profile visitors, or their “Have You Met” feature that shows you compatible matches that may fall a bit outside of your chosen filters.
Why it works: EliteSingles members are more than likely going to be in a similar boat as you. They’re educated professionals who took the time to fill out a lengthy questionnaire in hopes of finding someone just as serious as them (not to mention that they have enough disposable income to pay for the site — if the questionnaire wasn’t enough to weed out the pretenders, the membership fee would probably do the trick.) These people know what it’s like to work hard and can be empathetic when you’ve had a long day at the office. EliteSingles also only shows you members who it deems you compatible with based on your personality, so you can be at ease knowing the odds are already in your favor.
3-month membership: $89.85 / month
6-month membership: $69.95 / month (40% savings)
12-month membership: $49.95 / month (50% savings)
Match: Best for singles with Type-A personalities
The gist: Like eharmony, Match has been around for a while. In fact, even longer (it’s rocking that 1995 launch date.) Match has plenty of success stories on its résumé, with more constantly in the works with apparently 25,000 users joining every day. That’s quite the dating pool.
What’s great about Match is that, unlike sites that limit you to matches, the site also allows you to view pretty much everyone. While you’re welcome to view random profiles, Match’s other cool features include Match suggestions (where they recommend compatible suitors), and the “Missed Connections” feature, which uses GPS technology to show you potential matches that you’ve already crossed paths with (so to speak) in real life.
Why it works: Match is great for the working professional who doesn’t want to feel like they’re missing out on the “real life” dating experience by being limited to the confines of other curated dating apps. Similar to being out in the real world, mingling with all kinds of singles, Match gives you access to the entire pool. However, you can filter options however you want. There’s also a “dealbreaker” option that lets you rule out profiles of people whom you know you could never make it work with. Time is money, people, and we can’t afford to waste our hard-earned money on dead-end leads. For professionals who are darting back and forth between meetings, the Missed Connections feature is clutch for the days you don’t have time to stop and get the number of the cutie you on the Starbucks line.
3 months for $26.99 per month
12 months for $20.99 per month
OkCupid: Best for people who need profile prompts
The gist:OkCupid gives you the option to make as in-depth of a profile as you want. If you’d rather not spend time answering hundreds of questions before you start your search, just fill out the basic info (age, religion, smoking habits, etc.) and fill out a few prompt questions to show off your personality. But the best part about OkCupid is probably its list of extensive — and some kind of bizarre — optional questions. The questions cover specific political views, sex fetishes, social habits, and more. Whether you choose to share them publicly on your profile or keep them private as a way for the app to narrow your matches, it’s definitely a way of getting the hard or awkward questions out of the way right off the bat.
Why it works: By the end of the work day most of us are pretty fried. After eight hours in an office it can feel draining to sit and try to be creative when filling out a dating profile. OkCupid is great because it gives prompts and ridiculously-detailed questions that help you out in showing your true colors without having to think too hard about it. Filling out an OkCupid profile is actually fun. Plus, it helps narrow the field and allows you to put your best foot forward. Get the hard questions out of the way to avoid spending an extended period of time with someone who has clashing views or interests that you consider a total deal breaker.
A basic subscription is free, however, a paid subscription gives you nice features and a competitive edge, with read receipts and “boosts” which are basically paid promotions of your profile on the site.
6 months for $4.99 per month
3 months for $7.99 per month
1 month for $9.99 per month
Zoosk: Like having your own personal dating assistant
The gist:Zoosk is the app that can read between the lines to figure out what you need. Signing up is pretty easy. Once you log in with either your email or Facebook, just fill in some basic info (body type, education, religion, and a brief “about me” bio), you’re free to start browsing profiles. However, there are other optional questions designed to let other singles know exactly what you’re looking for. Zoosk asks you to describe your perfect date, your idea of the perfect match, and more. Once you’re ready to go, the dating site gives you a variety of interactive options, from sending hearts and smileys, to a swipe-like yes or no feature, to showing you which users have viewed your profile and those who are currently online. Zoosk allows members to verify their profiles through video, in order to show that they actually look like their pics.
Why it works: Like Match, Zoosk gives you a wide variety of options in terms of finding other single people. What’s even better though, is that Zoosk actually analyzes your interactions and uses them to find you more matches you’ll like. This is a dating site that pays attention to what you’re into, and when they spot a winner, they’ll throw them into your radar like a qualified personal assistant. So just know, that the precious time you’re allotting to Zoosk outside business hours is not being wasted. The more you use the app, the higher your chances are of being paired with a match you’ll be super excited about.
1 month for $29.95 per month
3 months for $19.98 per month
6 months for $12.49 per month
The League: For those with high standards
The gist: Although the word “pretentious” might come to mind even just from hearing the name The League, this dating app argues it’s “equalist, not elitist.” The League is like the Ivy Club of the online dating world. While a paid membership may quicken your approval process, the app still has a very selective screening process to ensure that its members are all of the same, er, status. (Think CEOs and entrepreneurs.) All users are required to provide their Facebook and Linkedin info so that The League can vet profiles and confirm credentials. The dating site stores your social media contacts so that it can block them from seeing your profile or being suggested as a potential match. The League let’s you be *super* picky and doesn’t shame you for it. Their whole premise is pretty much “never settle,” so you can expect your matches to match on pretty much all of the criteria you specified. Users are also provided a “concierge,” AKA their personal concierge at The League who can help them through their experience. As a paid member, users can also attend League-sponsored events to meet other members.
Why it works: This is pretty much a white glove service in the form of a dating app. The League isn’t messing around when it comes to giving you the experience you deserve. They clearly have a good grasp on what works for professionals, based on the fact that they use your Linkedin and Facebook to block you from your connections on the two. Mixing business with pleasure is never a great idea for the wise professional, and the League knows that.
Guest membership: Free (limited perks but fewer matches)
1 month for $19.99
$199.99 annual dues
BeLinked: For people obsessed with LinkedIn
The gist: If LinkedIn and Tinder had a baby, it would be BeLinked. Seriously. When signing up for the app, it auto-fills info from your LinkedIn profile. You can then make it more personalized by adding more photos or listing your interests, as well as adding preference filters (in terms of age, location, school, occupation) to narrow the kinds of profiles you’re shown. After that, a functionality similar to Tinder takes over. Swipe right for profiles you like, swipe left for the ones you don’t. If you like someone and they like you back, congrats! It’s a match and you’re free to start chatting.
Why it works: Sometimes you just want the simplicity of Tinder without the worry of spending countless hours swiping past profiles of undergrads. If you’re past that part of your life and need someone more mature and well-established in their career, but you’re not quite ready to commit to a 200-question love survey, then BeLinked is the dating app is for you.
It’s free to download the app, but to get Premium perks (like the ability to narrow your match options by city, occupation, etc.), a subscription will cost $6.99 per month.
Pro tip: You can unlock the same Premium features for free if you invite 3 or more friends to the app via text.
Coffee Meets Bagel: For those who need a little push
The gist: Each day, guys are sent up to 21 profiles called “bagels” to either “like” or “pass” on. For the bagels that were liked, the app will then figure out the best possible options for women out of the men who expressed interest. Point being: women will only be presented with matches who are already interested.
Why it works: Look, you’re busy. You have meetings, your hours are long and sometimes you just feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, especially not enough to pencil in a date. Instead of getting stuck in complacency in the world of swiping and one-liners, Coffee Meets Bagel will give you the little push you need to actually take this thing into the real world. Once you’ve made a match (with someone who’s already interested), the app will take you into a private chatroom and set you up with some prompt questions to get the ball rolling. Coffee Meets Bagel will even follow up with you and encourage a date, so you’re less likely to forget about a promising match when a busy work week takes priority.
1 month membership: $34.99
3 month membership: $74.99
6 month membership: $119.99
1 year membership: $179.99
Bumble: For those who think dating rules are a thing of the past
The gist:Bumble is the app that turns the tables and has the ladies make the first move. Similar to Tinder, setting up your profile on Bumble is pretty straight forward and follows the “swipe left or right” method. After signing up (you’ll need a Facebook to do so), just fill out a brief bio and start swiping. When two people both swipe right (for yes) on each other, a “connection” is made. At this point, the woman then has 24 hours to start a conversation. If she doesn’t make a move within the time limit, the connection is lost. *However* if guys see that time is running out but don’t want to miss out on a match, they have the option to extend the connection for an extra 24 hours. The catch is: you’re only allowed to do this for one match per day, so best save if for someone you think is extra special.
Why it works: Women do not have the time or patience to sift your a hundred “hey” messages. Bumble helps to empower women and weed out some of the unwanted sleazy messages they might receive on other dating apps. Bumble is a win for the guys as well though, since they can use the app knowing that all of the matches they receive are from women who are interested. Plus, they won’t need to stress over formulating the perfect pick-up line.
Cost: Bumble is totally free, but you can get Bumble Boost for $9.99/month for some cool bonus features, including BeeLine, which let’s you know immediately when someone swipes right on you. This feature is great for those who want to make connections but don’t have time to do the whole swiping thing.
Happn: Best for a second shot at missed connections
The gist:Happn is like the dating app version of Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” section. You know, the one where hopeless romantics can post about that cute guy or girl they locked eyes with on the train, only to never see them again. The app uses GPS to show you singles that you’ve crossed paths with in real life throughout the day. Your homepage is essentially just a list of profiles in chronological order of when you were near them. If you see someone you’re interested in, you can “heart” them, or, if you really want to make sure you get their attention, you can send them a “charm,” which will prompt a push notification. Once they like you back, you can start a conversation.
Why it works: If you’re a busy professional whose workday is jam-packed, you may barely have time to pay attention to anything other than the task at hand. Unfortunately, this could mean you’re not paying attention to the people around you, some of whom you may really hit it off with. For those who spend their days darting from meeting to meeting, spending their lunch breaks on the phone, or generally rushing from one task to the next throughout the day, it can be hard to notice, let alone strike up a convo, which people who could pretty much be your destiny if you’d just take a minute to talk to them. Happn gives you another shot.
Cost: Happen is free, but additional features (like sending “charms”) can be purchased.
eharmony: For straight people who hate dead-end flings
The gist: We’ve all heard of eharmony and most of us have seen the commercials. eharmony has been around since 2000 and there’s a good reason why it still feels like a relevant presence in our dating lives. It works. The site uses a scientific approach to dating. Based on the results of a lengthy questionnaire (shorter than it used to be, but it’s still 150 questions) created by eharmony founder and psychologist Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the site finds your most compatible matches. The questionnaire is called the “29 Dimensions Personality Assessment” and covers topics such as likes and dislikes, hobbies, behavioral habits, and more. According to Warren, the topics covered in the assessment are the ones necessary to find you the perfect mate.
Why it works: Plain and simple, the efficacy of eharmony comes down to the results and a kickass reputation for success. For professionals, it’s the difference between wasting energy on people who either aren’t serious or aren’t for you, and matching with like-minded individuals who, at the very least, you’ll get along with. Membership may be pricy, but if you’re looking for something serious, you’re way more likely to find someone on the same page if they’re also willing to pay the price.
Downsides: This is definitely a site made for straight people, as those in the LGBTQ community will not find what they’re looking for on eharmony. Their sister site Compatible Partners, which caters to the LGBTQ community and was born out of a discrimination lawsuit against eharmony, seeks to fill that gap.
The sign-up process for eharmony can take up to 40 minutes, which for people on a time crunch can be quite the commitment. If you like everything else about eharmony though, then we suggest settling in with a glass of wine and spending the time to answer the questions. You’re only helping yourself by giving the site more info to work with though, so we suggest taking the time to do it right.
3 months for $57.95 per month
6 months for $35.95 per month
12 months for $22.95 per month
There is a free version, but in order to communicate with matches and see pictures you have to get a paid subscription.