This article has been a long time coming!! Beyond being asked this question a ton, I am always collecting data about the newest and best tools for meeting people. Right before “what online dating sites do your recommend?” is always “what do you think about online dating?”. If you are already sold on online dating and want to get right to the results skip down to Best Online Dating Sites of 2016 below.
Review of Online Dating
If I could tell you a place where tons of great singles hang out, wouldn’t you want to go? The greatest advantage of online dating is just that, a huge congregation of singles open and upfront about their single status, and often about what they are looking for too! Hooray, no spotting someone at the grocery store or coffee shop, with no ring on, wondering “but are they single….”
Sure there can be downsides to every strategy, but my main mantra here is What You Focus On You Find. If in the back of your mind you are wondering about/ expecting/ guarding against the creeps, liars and weirdos, you will inevitably find them, because what you focus on you find (that is just how the human brain works). In other words, if you are looking to be right about it being a waste of time, disastrous and risky, you will continue to gather evidence to support your theories. In that case, don’t put yourself through all that pain!
For those of you going online, or continuing to date online, the best way to create positive momentum is simply to concern yourself with finding the “good ones”. Of course there are tons of great people just like you, who are in fact looking for you as you read this. So when you are out there, in the world or online, hone in on the good ones and all the others fade into the background. Mindset is the determining factor in online dating. If your mindset is off (i.e. expecting disappointment) get it tweaked before chatting with anyone online.
I didn’t do this. I had a crappy mindset online. I would start out excited and hopeful, sign up online and start connecting…. until I wasn’t impressed or blown away by the prospects (they weren’t wonderful human beings to me, just prospects…yuck I know) or until the few I was excited about didn’t get back to me. Then it was a stupid, part-time job I hated and quickly dreaded. No wonder I couldn’t wait for my membership to be up, I expected to be underwhelmed on the few dates I did have, and guess what, I always was. So I burned all my bridges with online dating for a long while, and matches became less and less, until I gave up on it entirely. And blamed online dating, “stupid thing never works”.
Once I got some brilliant coaching and I got to see how closed-minded I was, my heart was so open I didn’t even have time to sign up for speed dating and online dating again, before the love of my life showed up. A story for another time, because he was in my life for almost a year before he “showed up” as someone I could potentially date.
Bottom line: if you are resisting online dating, hate it, or don’t want to do it, than don’t. The worst thing in my experience is forcing yourself. However if this attitude persists, AND you are not meeting anyone “in real life”, than I’d highly recommend a mindset check-up.
Best Online Dating Sites of 2016
Yes, the whole reason you came here today! After lots of searching for a neat collection of all this data, as life would have it this 2016 Review crossed my desk! The Best Online Dating Sites of 2016 by reviews.com!! Thank you universe. It’s unbiased (as far as I can see, and I’ve done some digging), current and very comprehensive. Ding Ding Ding!!
My only concern is that based on their data collection techniques, they are really only commenting on online dating sites, not apps. And of course tons of singles are using apps just as much, if not more than, the traditional sites. However, coming from the research world myself, lets cut them some slack. The apps are not really releasing the same kind of data on usage that we currently have from the website platforms out there, and as researchers you can only measure with the data you have.
Given that it is a lengthy article let me point out some of the highlights, and by all means go check it out for yourself to find which sites feel the best for you, given your preferences, and goals. They prioritized for large user numbers as well as active members, and left out niche sites (based on geography, age, religious affiliation, same sex dating) so the results are for the average heterosexual dater out there.
Bottom Line……OKCupid #1
Doesn’t surprise me, I’d say this one is most popular with my clients. It’s free, super user-friendly, and based on this review had the highest scores for quality communication (read “I love biking too have you tried the Humber trail?” versus “Hi, how are you?”). One distinction I actually really love was how they categorized messages, take note gentleman because they were examining the traditional men approaching women with these opening messages. Besides the obvious “Bad Messages” being dick pics, harassing or scamming, there were also the following:
● Extremely short: “Hi beautiful”
● Generic copy-and-paste: “I found many features of your profile interesting”
● A neg: “I like your big nose”
● Passive-aggressive or a guilt trip: “You probably won’t respond to this, but…”
Then there is the Mediocre Messages which I will quote directly, because it is so clear.
● Suggestive, but not outright obscene
● Only talks about your physical appearance, but isn’t lascivious (overtly offensive & sexual)
● Impersonal, but starts a conversation: “Any plans for the weekend?”
● An attempt to be personal, but falls flat: “I see you like playing Scrabble! I like mountain biking.”
And of course what I love most is how they defined a Good quality message, especially because anyone can do this!! However, not surprisingly, there were WAY more Bad and Mediocre messages on all sites. Which means there is a HUGE opportunity out there for men to stand out.
● Mentions something you have in common
● Asks about something in your profile
● Talks about things that are specific to your profile that aren’t your physical appearance (I can’t say enough about this one, women want to know you are interested in way more than just their appearance. Like our appearance is just an added bonus, even though it is the number 1 factor that drew you in in the first place.)
● No glaring spelling or grammar errors
TOP 4 Online Dating Sites
The top 4 that made it to in depth analysis we: OkCupid, Match, eHarmony & Plenty of Fish. Interesting to note that Match Group owns most of these (OkCupid, Match.com, Plenty of Fish), including Tinder, and many others. Check out all the details of the comparisons in the full article. Most Underwhelming……eHarmony. I totally agree with their bottom line recommendation “To get the best results, sign up for one of the big four sites and a smaller, targeted site too. Then, fill out your profile completely and send personalized messages like you’re the real person you are.”
Happy Dating and thank you Reviews.com for making online dating a little bit easier!