What's the best dating app for you?

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Dateless this Valentine's? There's an app for that. Illustration by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Your smartphone is a great, terrifying thing — it holds infinite possibilities, one that includes being able to swipe through countless dating profiles that can alter how your romantic life would go.

Online dating, now commonly done via apps, is now more than just a multi-million business venture. It has slowly sneaked its way to becoming less of a taboo and more of a cultural norm. Its accessibility, mixed with the fast-paced demand of our modern lifestyles, makes it a convenient choice to look for dates.

However, the vast amount of choices can be a caveat on its own. More options mean more stress and dissatisfaction, leading to a lot of fleeting and short-lived connections. The emergence of dating apps has called for diversity too, resulting in different dating sites that can cater to a particular group of people with the same sexual preferences. Locally, Filipinos are no strangers to dating apps, as one survey found that 71 percent of Filipinos know at least one couple who met online.

Here’s the lowdown on the dating apps that are available here in the Philippines and what users have to say about them.

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Tinder

Tinder came onto the scene in late 2012 and has then redefined modern dating culture. The gist is simple — and would then be the standard format of dating apps that follow — you create your own profile and will be presented with potential matches based on various factors such as your geographical location. You can ‘like’ someone by swiping right or choose to pass by swiping left on them. A ‘match’ would mean that both parties swiped right on each other, and messaging ensues.

Tinder is now the most popular online dating app, garnering up to more than 1 billion swipes a day. It’s no surprise that Filipinos adapted to it — our heavy internet usage means that we spend a huge chunk of our time looking at our phones.

Francine, 22, says, “I started using Tinder in early 2014 and it was the first app of its kind that I have ever tried. It was famous as one of the best dating apps at the time, and some of my friends were on it so that made me download it too for fun.”

Nowadays, it is not uncommon for partners to have met on Tinder, and a lot of successful, long-term relationships have started from the app. Mostly, though, a lot of connections are still flings. Karla, 22, shares her experience, saying, “I dated someone from Tinder. We started as friends and it was fun, but I wouldn't say that it ended well. Now I pretend the guy doesn't exist.”

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Bumble

Bumble was founded by Whitney Herd, the co-founder of Tinder, who left shortly to create her own dating app. Bumble is a lot like its predecessor, but with a more radical approach — women are to message first or the matches will disappear within a 24-hour time period. In a same-sex match, either person can reach out. A lot of people comment on its exclusivity, as it is still not available on Google Play, leading to a more concentrated pool of matches.

Camille, 23, says “Last year, I just started embracing my bisexuality more and actually tried to meet girls on Bumble because I have this impression that people on there are generally cooler.”

Bumble isn’t also exclusive to dating, as there is an added feature called Bumble BFF, for finding friendships and possibly networking. Karla, 22, states that Bumble is a good platform for good conversations, saying, “Some people in Bumble usually use the platform because they just really need company or someone to talk to.”

For some men, however, the app's distinct feature is discouraging. Nat, 22, says, “For women, I guess it helps them to be more assertive. But for men, you’d have to be patient, so it makes you lazy to use the app after a while.”

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Grindr

Grindr is a geo-located dating app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people constructed to help them meet other people in or closest to their area. Upon creating an account, you can add a small photo with or without a bio, and are immediately presented with a list of people nearby.

Grindr is notoriously known to be more of a hookup app. John, 22, says, “What I feel makes Grindr stand out is that it’s the most popular app that is exclusive to gay men, and that it’s more convenient in that most people usually know how things go down on Grindr, which is primarily hookups and sexual things as opposed to more platonic, ‘get-to-know-you-first’ kinds of things you get on places like Bumble and Tinder.”

Grindr is also known for its many controversies — offensive speech is one that is commonly found within the app. “You may find traces of homophobia and misogyny from many of the users there,” says Brian, 22. “It's up to you whether you give these people the light of day or not. I see it as a good opportunity to educate people on how to properly treat others, especially since many of its users are discreet men who have no idea where to place themselves in the spectrum and see Grindr as the only avenue to explore.”

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Her

Using the same interface as Tinder and Bumble, Her is exclusive for lesbians, bisexuals, and queer women. Her frequently tops online lists of the best dating apps for queer women, and it is proudly created by queer women themselves. Carla, 23, says, “Basically, I was there for its exclusivity. It was efficient for me because I was only attracted to girls, so I was glad that there was a platform that offered that.”

Her is popular with college students, as a lot of young women use the app to explore their sexuality. However, Carla notes, “What I didn’t like from it was the tendency that people were still more on the experimental side of things. A lot of girls I talked to were exploring whether they were really into women and as for someone who was no longer in that stage, I had to sort of skip most of those conversations.”

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OkCupid

OkCupid dates back from 2007 when it was exclusively an online dating website. OkCupid is sort of the middle ground between a dating app and a hook-up app, as you are given a thorough questionnaire about your personality and preferences that can match you to a more suitable partner with the same inclinations.

OkCupid is all-inclusive, and it isn’t targeted to a specific group of people. Elle, 23, says, “I like how thorough and liberal it is. The thing is, I don’t think it’s as quick or popular as some of the other dating apps here in the Philippines, so there are fewer people for me to choose from. I also feel like it is more used by people a lot older than me.”