In a la carte situations, where paying simply boosts your profile to be seen by more people, Carmichael thinks of this similarly to advertising-“it’s just another way to create demand,” she says.
But in a situation where, for example, a woman might pay in order to be able to extend the conversation and message a man, Carmichael just suggests that someone be aware of their values. “I have a lot of [female] clients who prefer more traditional courtships, who it might not align with their values to need to pay to have a longer time to message this man.”
If you live in a small town or work in a high-visibility field or something that might cause ethical or sticky situations seeing someone you know on an app-or being seen-you may also want to consider apps that will allow you to have a private profile or to block certain people.
Some apps have more detailed profiles to fill out than others. Is it important to you to have a lot of conversation and information about someone before you potentially meet up, or are you the type who matches with someone and wants to quickly nail down a match and get to meeting up in person quickly?
For Your Approval
While many or most apps allow anyone to sign up, there are some apps that only allow users in after approval. Users create profiles that are then vetted by the staff of the apps.
“For people who are able to join-it’s a real plus,” says Carmichael. “You’re going to know you have something confirmed in common, if someone has vetted you both. You’ve gone through the vetting process and you show that you’re both invested in the process. That starts people off on common ground, which is a great place to start.”
To Niche Or Not to Niche
While there are many larger sites and apps that you iliar with, if there’s a niche you can think of, there’s probably a dating site or app for it, such as Dig, a dating app for dog owners.
The advantage to niche sites, says Carmichael, is that “you know you have something in common, just as if you were to meet someone at the gym or at church. It’s nice to have something in common especially if it’s something that connects to your lifestyle and general attitudes.”
However, due to the generally smaller user bases of niche apps, she recommends an “all-of-the-above approach” of trying both these bigger and smaller apps.
If you are in a typically marginalized group that is underrepresented on dating apps-or it is important to you to date within your culture-these types of niche apps can help you separate the wheat from the chaff so that you are only seeing the type of people who interest you.
Those in marginalized groups may experience racialized sexual discrimination on apps, which adversely affects their mental health, so niche sites might feel safer for those who prefer to date within their culture or race.
You might also want to think about whether you want to be a big fish in a small pond or have a wider range of matches to choose from. Some people will get overwhelmed by having a huge dating pool while others feel like it increases their odds.
Although dating apps can feel really daunting and overwhelming, Carmichael suggests only spending 10-15 minutes a day-no more, no less-on the apps to “stay on even kilter with it. People often binge-date on dating apps and will spend an hour on the apps every day for a week and then burn out and get frustrated.” Research supports this-more time spent on apps led to worse mental health outcomes.