The upside of dating in January? None whatsoever. The first month of the year is across-the-board blah. The main problem (in love terms) is that thanks to excessive drunken swiping in December, we’ve now exhausted all our options. Is there any sadder notification to receive than the one letting you know “there are no more singles in your area”?
The one pinprick of joy is the sheer volume of fresh chum being pumped into the digital dating meat grinder. According to Bumble, one in five new users joined after ending a committed relationship as a result of the pandemic. Add to this the post-Christmas breakup season and it’s likely that, even if you completed all of the dating apps back in December, there’ll be a crop of fresh faces (read: gym selfies) popping up on your feeds any day now. (Don’t get us wrong, we’re not happy that people are breaking up — schadenfreude is so un-chic — we’re just saying it’d be nice if we weren’t haunted by people we’ve rejected five times already).
And in 2022, it seems that more daters equals more dating apps. A whole new crop has sprung up recently. There’s double dating app Jungle which promises to be a fun (and safer) new Hinge alternative, while voice note app String launched last year as a way to make dating more personal during lockdown.
Everyone’s talking about Victoria, the exclusive new members’ club of dating apps, video dating app Snack just launched an anti-ghosting feature, and The Sauce has just announced it will plant a tree for every match (therefore can be added to new year’s resolution list as your way of doing one good thing for humanity every week). Read on to find out which app to commit to.
USP: “Non-cringe” double dating (does that really exist, though?)
Happy days. You no longer have to choose between dating and going out with friends — Jungle lets you do both at the same time. The app’s creators say they spotted a surge in Hinge, Tinder and Bumble requests for double dates so decided to build a platform that does all the hard work for you. The benefits of doubling up? At least you’re guaranteed a fun night out with your wing-man or woman (and have a story to laugh about afterwards).
Bonus feature: for a small fee you can have your profiles rated by dating experts.
Do say... So, what did the experts say about everyone’s profiles?
Don’t say... Foursome?
Victoria the App
USP: If Soho House made dating apps
Victoria the App describes itself as “a private global community centred around curated experiences” (no, not orgies… we assume). The idea is that you’ll meet fellow creatives (lol) and hit it off (if you don’t, it might be good networking).
Like Soho House, membership doesn’t come cheap — subscriptions start at £26.49 — but you’ll also be invited to IRL events with “likeminded people”. Victoria says its values are kindness, acceptance and positivity but basically, as long as you have good taste, good manners and plenty of money, you’ll get in.
Do say... Fancy checking out the new Leigh Bowery exhibition?
Don’t say... I’m only here to find a hot musician
Tinder meets TikTok. Snack promises to rid your feed of stale selfies and misleading prompts — its app is based around the way Gen Z-ers really connect in 2022, via video. Upload clips from your camera roll or answer a selection of Snack’s video prompts (My childhood dream job was... and my current profession is...), then let Snack’s algorithm do the matchmaking.
Instead of swiping left or right, potential matches’ profiles will be displayed in a feed. Just like or reply to their videos to get the conversation started - and be wary of ghosting. Snack’s latest feature means users will get reported and “deprioritised” if they ghost too often, a bid to “bring some manners and basic decency to the dating game”. About time, too.
Do say... I like your bucket hat :P
Don’t say... Who’s PinkPantheress?
USP: Find your perfect personality type
It’s the age-old dating question — do opposites attract or is it better to go for someone just like you? So Syncd believes it’s a combination of the two and claims to have found a compatibility formula that works, with proven results (see its success stories catalogue).
The science-focused app is based on the 16 personality types theory, using a five-minute test to determine your personality type, then pairing couples who have enough similarities to understand each other and enough differences to create a spark. Your type might surprise you.
Do say... My celebrity personality match is Jean Milburn from Sex Education. Who’s yours?
Don’t say... Oh, my exes have always been blonde
USP: Sustainable swiping
Here’s an incentive that’ll make Greta proud: video dating app The Sauce now plants a tree for every match, an important step towards its mission of becoming a carbon neutral company.
That’s not The Sauce’s only USP. The app says it’s on a mission to get rid of “dry dating” by offering video profiles, so you feel like you’ve already met someone before you actually do. Profiles feature short video clips so you can get a feel for each person’s energy — their voice, their laugh, how they dance — basically all the intangible qualities that build attraction in real life. Developers say Wednesdays are the most popular day on the app.
Do say... Apparently 95 per cent of The Sauce’s first dates lead to a second date — fancy testing the algorithm?
Don’t say... Happy hump day ;)
USP: For music lovers (NB: not indie sleazebags)
Match according to your music tastes — POM stands for Power of Music. The app uses an emotional algorithm to create a profile of users from their imported music library, such as Apple or Spotify. Along with asking you six seemingly random questions, it’ll then analyse your data, including the type of music you listen to, when you listen to it, your reaction when you listen to music and what it says about your character.
The app was founded by Vihan Patel, 22, who first made the connection between dating and music when he accidentally sent a playlist to the wrong girl at school. After bonding over the playlist, they then went on to date for a couple of years. Just think, you could be next.
Do say... Dinner at mine? You bring the playlist.
Don’t say... I’m not actually into Billie Eilish but I’ve got a real thing for goths
USP: Talk, don’t text
String launched last year as a way to make dating during self-isolation more personal. Rather than sending strings of robotic one-liners, the app lets you put a voice to your match by sending each other voice notes. No texting is allowed: either react with an emoji or voice note.
Do say... Hey, I hear this is the one app it’s OK to start a convo with “hey” on.
Don’t say... Sorry, I can’t believe I’ve been talking for 12 minutes now
USP: A sense of (sexual) adventure
This one’s for singles and couples and it’s more about helping you find your next hookup than anything too serious. You might just find out more about your own sexual identity, too — users say Feeld has helped them discover polyamory, meet best friends through threesomes and changed their perceptions of gender. Select from more than 20 sexualities and gender identities to find a partner interested in the same sexual experiences as you. You can pair profiles with a partner if you’re already in a relationship, or create group chats.
Do say... My partner and I love the look of your profile, we’re free on Friday.
Don’t say... I’m not very good at this whole casual thing
USP: Sexual diversity
Taimi is the world’s largest LGBTQ+ social platform, with almost nine million users and social features from chat-based networking to video streaming. It’s all about making users feel safe: the app uses several layers of verification, 24/7 profile moderation, live support and pin/fingerprint/Face ID so your interactions are in safe hands.
Do say... Loved your livestream yesterday — are you looking for something serious, casual or just friendship?
Don’t say... What’s your address? Let’s scrap the drinks part
Traditional Dating Club
USP: Personalised feedback
Traditional Dating Club doesn’t believe in algorithms or computer matching. Founder Dennie Smith runs her site the old-fashioned way, with a small team of five, vetting every profile, sending dating tips and emailing you if she thinks you should edit your profile. A real life-Cupid.
Do say... Would love to show you my favourite view in London, are you free for a walk tomorrow?
Don’t say... Sorry for the radio silence, work’s been really busy