still swiping

A 1,232-Swiper Poll

Current and former app users about their habits, their horror stories, and what they’ve learned.

Animation: Pablo Rochat

Of dating-app users polled

367 said their least favorite app was Tinder

“I hesitate to even call it a dating app because I and every one of my friends only ever went on there in search of hookups or validation. You’re just swiping through a catalogue of faces. Most people I’d see wouldn’t even bother to write anything in the description, so it would just be a judgment call based on a picture, an age, and a name (any of which can be fake).”

“I’ve gotten the weirdest sex requests on Tinder. Seems like most people using that app only want to have group sex, or they’re traveling and looking for someone to ‘show them around.’ ”

“Never again. If the blurry photos weren’t bad enough, the people are also disrespectful.”

“It felt like a meat market. I never had quality connections, and lots of gross people messaged me, including a secret Trump supporter trying to get me to go out with him before saying ‘I’D NEVER DATE YOU, LIBERAL SCUM!’ and another guy who asked me for money.”

… but 242 said it was their favorite for keeping profiles “short, sweet, and simple.”

“Tinder cuts to the chase. There aren’t many opportunities to lie or be cutesy. I don’t want to learn that The Great Gatsby is your favorite book — we both know it isn’t.”

353 said their favorite app was Bumble …

“I’ve had the most successful matches on Bumble, meaning they led to actual dates. And I’ve made some genuinely great friends using Bumble BFF.”

… while 654 said they preferred Hinge.

“People are forced to answer the prompts, so I can more easily weed out bad texters.”

“Unlike Tinder, you can filter based on political views and dating goals.”

“Hinge is the best, but that’s not saying much.”

They’ve learned when to swipe left at red flags, including:

When someone has different interests from you. “Holding a goddamn fish” (215).

Very different. “Loves guns” (95). “Too many group pictures” (107).

Or are too into themselves. “Shirtless photos” (133). “Mirror selfies” (60).

When someone can’t express themselves. “Bad grammar” (46).

Or expresses “anything too explicit about sex” (97). “I was asked on a Bumble date to a TGI Fridays. In the first ten minutes, my date said this was where he took all of his dates. Then he asked for a hand job in the car.”

And when to swipe right.

415 said they were looking for a good sense of humor.

167 said they valued similar interests.

95 said they valued education or intelligence.

70 said they wanted someone with similar political views.

602 said they have a height requirement.

Unsurprisingly, most were looking to fall in love and get laid.

965 used apps to find a partner.

447 said they use apps to get laid.

441 said they have sex after the third date.

403 said they have sex after the first date.

“I got pregnant from a one-night stand off of Tinder. He wanted me to get an abortion, but I kept the baby.”

105 married someone they met on an app.

20 admitted they used the apps to cheat on their partner …

“But only after he did it to me. Tango = two.”

… and 11 caught a friend’s partner cheating on the app.

“I saw a friend’s fiancé. I screen-shotted his profile and sent it to her. He convinced her that someone had catfished him. Girl, he’s not cute enough to get catfished.”

14 realized (too late) that they were taking part in an affair.

“I went out with a Tinder date who, when pressed, admitted he was married.”

“I met a firefighter on Bumble. Good-looking, stand-up guy. He liked to say, ‘You need to trust me. I’m a man of my word.’ Turns out he was a serial cheater and was having sex with five women at once, me included.”

While 11 said they use the apps to keep their options open.

“I used a dating app while in a relationship for an ego boost. It only went as far as a few flirty messages.”

“Seeing who else was out there when a long-term relationship was falling apart helped me picture a future without them.”

“I use Lex to imagine what cheating on my male partner with a woman would be like.”

“My husband and I met at 21, so I never got a chance to use the apps. I looked at Tinder once when I briefly considered being unfaithful, but it was so awful I abandoned the idea of cheating. I probably swiped for three days before I swore off it forever. Now I pray my husband outlives me.”

720 said they swiped when bored.

121 said they used app dates for a free meal.

“I ended up at a beautiful restaurant that would have cost hundreds of euros. The food was amazing, the wine was incredible, the company was so-so.”

Few were spared from bad dates.

38 went out with someone who didn’t look anything like their profile pic.

“Brooklyn Inn, Match date. I sat at the bar and had a beer before he arrived super-late, ten years older and 30 pounds heavier than his pic. He spent the whole time bragging about who he’d smoked pot with at Grateful Dead concerts.”

“I matched with a guy on Hinge, and I swear he used someone else’s photos. He looked at least ten years older and was dressed in a completely different style.”

“Slightly older than me, didn’t look like his pictures at all (different haircut, body type, etc.). He was nice, but there was no attraction. I ended up giving him business advice for his start-up and didn’t like it when he kissed me.”

423 had at least one app date from hell.

“We found each other on Bumble and met for a drink after work. He invited me to his place for dinner a few days later. I show up and he’s shit-faced, in his underwear, watching a basketball game that he had bet a lot of money on and was losing. He proceeded to blame me for every bad play. After an hour of planning my escape, he offered me a bottle of water. He ran to his car and got a half-empty bottle of Evian from his back seat: ‘It’s Evian. You look like you appreciate nice shit.’ I walked out.”

And 40 went on app dates that felt actually unsafe.

“Can we do background checks? I’ve had several men get into stalker territory. As I’m someone who has had very real and traumatic experiences, it would make me feel safer.”

958 had either been ghosted by an app match …

“This guy I met on Tinder was supercute: blue eyes, tattoos, and lived a few doors up from my parents. I was house-sitting there, so we met, and our first date lasted two days — no kissing or sex involved! We then saw each other nearly every day for a month; I met some of his friends, we cooked dinners, and we walked the dog together. Then he just disappeared.”

“I was the queen of getting ghosted. So many insecure guys who would make it to the third date to hook up and then ghost me after I was transparent that I wanted something serious. Always after getting some, they’d ghost.”

… or ghosted other people.

“I’ve ghosted people who’ve given me the ick.”

341 would rather swipe on behalf of their friends …

“It’s fun, like window-shopping.”

“Sometimes my friends have overly specific requirements that are either shallow or have led them down the wrong path. They need a fresh pair of eyes.”

“I don’t think any of my friends have the same taste, so we all think different guys are cute. We have projected our phones to the TV and had a happy hour while swiping.”

Some swiped obsessively.

189 use dating apps multiple times a day

187 use them a few times a week

138 use them daily

While others were off the apps for good.

576 never use dating apps anymore

418 have deleted Tinder

353 have deleted Bumble

333 have deleted Hinge

They all had thoughts on what needs fixing.

45 would like to be able to leave reviews of their fellow users

“I like the idea of women being able to rate the guy. Not in a mean way but on whether his profile matched who he was in real life.”

91 would like more relevant prompts.

“It should be mandatory to explain your last three relationships: How long they lasted and why they ended. Would help weed out some of the serial cheaters.”

“Add questions about current events that give a sense of someone’s values. ‘Yea or nay on masks?’ ‘How do you feel about “Don’t Say Gay” bills?’ ”

69 would like more freedom with filters.

“I’d like an ‘Only show me people who say they’re looking for a serious relationship’ option.”

“Apps should allow you to filter out your siblings. Hinge tried to set me up with my brother.”

“I want apps to use roads to determine distance. I always get guys from Long Island, who, as the crow flies, are 12 miles away but a three-hour drive from Westchester.”

“Kinky? Want to cheat on your wife? Conservative Christian? FILTER PLEASE.”

38 would like to know who’s there only for sex.

“I am looking for a serious relationship, and I feel like 99 percent of the time, my matches aren’t on the same page.”

“I’m a lesbian, and only about half of the profiles I see are single women attracted to other women. The rest are hetero couples looking for a third, straight girls looking for friends, women looking for friends with benefits, or men with the line ‘Not sure how I got here’ in their bios.”

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A 1,232-Swiper Poll