So, if you're anything like me , you've had way too many nights in the house all alone binge watching a Netflix original , glass of wine in hand (choose your fave)

 while your girlfriends are out having a "date night" with bae.

Now , while most days I am more than content to stay in my pjs and rock out by myself, who doesn't love "me" time, other times it can get quite lonely. Yet it seems, over are the days where you could hope to socialize with a nice guy out at your local bar over a cold brew (I'll take a margarita, though) and it not turn into a sex talk of sorts. Nope, nine times out of ten , most guys are just looking for a quick hook-up; in my day we called those "hit it & quit its". Let's face it , we live in the age of social media and face to face interactions are just so rare and sad to say, awkward. Or is that just my social anxiety talking? Nonetheless, we are starting to see a sharp increase in the number of people who are now searching the interwebs for love (and hook-ups too). Crazy enough , I count myself as part of that statistic and it's very bittersweet. I never imagined having to resort to internet dating , but having the convenience and accessibility of an app downloaded right to my home screen, somehow makes it all feel less "2003 creepy online dating site"-ish and more like the social media accounts that I already juggle. I still dream of finding my future husband in Aisle 8 of the supermarket, but now it may just be because that's where we agreed to meet up at  (I mean not really because that would be weird). I'm sure , if you've watched television anytime in the last 5 years, you've been bombarded by commercials that boast that their online dating site is the best in terms of "more marriages accounted for" or "more percentage of second dates," but we all know those findings to be subjective. I'm not bashing the bigger sites like "E-Harmony" or "Match.com", but I just have a real problem with the idea of paying for love. Sure ,the first month is free, but that's how they get you. You enter your card info with the intention to cancel before the trial period is over and then life happens ,now all of a sudden you're stuck with a bill for 29.99$ and nothing but an inbox full of horny men to show for it ( been there , done that.) Hey, if you have the extra room  in your budget to do that, by all means, but there are sites out there that you can try it out for FREE and who doesn't love free stuff?! Besides, it's better to test the waters and see if online dating is something you really want to do before shelling out money for it; no one wants empty pockets and inboxes full of losers. These three dating apps that I am about to list are all apps that I have tried and liked in one  way or another. Understand that this list is relative and everyone will feel differently depending on preferences and such , but hopefully at least one of these sites will aide you in finding one of the few "good guys" still left (sarcasm, guys.) I know throwing tradition to the wind and jumping into the pool of people dating online can be intimidating and confusing , so I can only hope that some of the advice I provide here can help make your transition a bit smoother. If you are as reluctant as I was then this post is for you. To make this the most productive I will list according to rating , 1- meaning the best out of three, 3 being the worst. I will also provide you one pro and one con for each so that you can make an educated decision. I took the liberty of making sure that all three apps are optimized for both android and IPhone. I know what you're thinking, love isn't this complicated , and you're right , but unfortunately us humans are! So let's go:

3. Bumble

 

Tagline: "Some things are just meant to bee."

The Gist: You peruse through a sea of men swiping left to pass and right when you're interested. A match is complete when you're interest is shared by the same person and then he's added to what they call your "hive" (rthe list of matches.)

Pro: Women are the initiators; the men are not allowed to reach out first. I like that this goes against tradition and gives us ladies the upper hand at (passively) pursuing the guys we actually want to converse with and eliminating the ones we don't. It's different and maybe what some would coin as sexist, but we all know who really runs the world, right? 

Con: Accompanying the rule, that only women can reach out to initiate conversation, is a 24 hr response limit which states that your match only has 24 hours to respond before the message thread is deleted; the matchee is then thrown back into the pool of eligible bachelors. While this pressures the person to respond back in a timely fashion it also doesn't leave much room for excusable circumstances. I don't know about you all, but there are days when I am really just too busy to get to all my notifications, but that doesn't make me a horrible person. Now taking 3 or 4 days to message back is rude and depending on who you are , grounds for being on my ish list, but 24 hours is not a long enough period of time. That's just my opinion. 

2. Hinge

 

Tagline: "Meet new people through friends."

The Gist: Similar to other dating apps, there is the swipe left for no and right for yes feature, but with this dating app your matches are composed only of friends or friends of friends; you must have an active Facebook account to sign up.

Pro: Online dating is already hard enough without falling prey to the idea that there are nothing, but creeps and predators searching online, so maybe having mutual connections might help you feel a bit better. I mean, they're still a stranger , but not like a stranger stranger, you know ?

Con:You know the saying "birds of a feather flock together?" Well, that could be either a really good thing or a really bad thing depending on which Facebook friend is in question. I think it's a pretty great idea to have mutual friends or friends of friends as matches, but it is also very limiting. Jake's friend could either be really good guys or a group of immature momma's boys. Ahh, the options!

1. Tinder

Tagline: "It's a match!"

The Gist: Tinder deserves the praise for establishing the newfound wave of the swipe feature (left or right) to show your interest in a potential suitor; this is a big part of why I joined Tinder, swiping is fun! So much like the first two apps you swipe left or right and as long as both of you are interested you are able to communicate freely; here there are no 24 hr limits ," you talk first" or mutual friends needed.

Pro: I LOVE Tinder. I also no longer have an account with them. Long story, but I am pretty biased because some really good things (heads out the gutter)  and some pretty lousy things resulted from a match that was made on Tinder, so yeah, there's that. My bias aside, Tinder is pretty awesome because it has the functionality where you can only swipe on people who live in the same state and x amount of miles from you (you get to choose.) This eliminates long distance headaches, catfishing (well, a little) and months of unnecessary conversation with someone you will probably never get to see in person. Unless you're looking for a penpal , then go for it! 

Con: I'm not sure that this is exclusive to Tinder, but it's where I see it done the most; why don't guys know how to respond back ? I am not the kind of girl who refuses to initiate conversation, I don't take myself too seriously, but if I have the balls to reach out the least you can do is say hello. Another issue I have with Tinder is that if you accidentally swipe left , after playing a game of how long you can I swipe before someone attract pops up, you cant undo it without paying money. It's only 4.99$ but as you can see from this lovely list of FREE apps that I have composed, I don't like to spend money. I can't tell you how many beautiful people I have missed out on because of premature swiping. Word of advice: watch those fingers.

And that about rounds it up for my Top 3 favorite Dating Apps! Let me know in the comments below if you have used any of the three. Are you a fan? Is there another app that I should add to my list ? Or do you prefer the more traditional way of dating ? Fun fact: My ex co-worker turned friend has been in a successful relationship going on two years with a guy that she met on, wait for it, TINDER! So I guess there is hope after all. ( I hope she doesn't mind me putting her on blast haha)

Here's to happily ever afters, no matter how your story starts :)

From one babe to the next, blog on <3

-Taj