Are there any dating apps that don't require serious time commitment?
July 7, 2021 6:03 AM   Subscribe

So since covid started I haven't had a lot of time or inclination to date. But this is changing and I want to get back into this. Personally, I prefer meeting people in real life and engaging in stuff I like to do. That hasn't been easy these past years.

I know Tinder is a hook up app. I used it in the past, but I really wasn't a fan of it. It demands that you swipe too much and it's always trying to manipulate you into paying. I never paid, some friends did, and they've told me the results were disappointing.

At any rate, I simply won't have a lot of time to engage in ungodly amounts of hours swiping. And honestly that takes out all the fun in this. As far as I'm concerned, I don't know that this should be some sort of chore.

Is there any sort of dating app where you just get some good pictures, spend some time in there and generally things just move along? I'm happy to message people and make an effort but not to spend a huge amount of time on this. I'd rather this be a side thing in addition to me meeting people in real life.

I've just seen how obsessed people become with this and I really don't want to do that.

Also, is it true that women have preferences for taller men? I came across a group of people yesterday that seemed very insecure about that, claiming that being short was terrible. I've never even heard of this or that it was apparently a thing.

Finally, sorry to say it but Grindr doesn't work for me. Others have suggested that but I'm not into men, so I can't.
posted by Tarsonis10 to Human Relations (25 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
MeetMindful and Coffee Meets Bagel only give you something like 10 potential matches per day.

It is true that on average women have a preference for taller men, but not all women, and even for those who do it can be outweighed by other things about you.
posted by catquas at 6:34 AM on July 7, 2021

Best answer: Are you willing to pay for a dating app? Unfortunately all of the free ones are going to be at least a little annoying about trying to get you to pay, because, well, they need to make money.

That said, I’ve had decent luck using OkCupid and making it clear in my profile that I want to meet up pretty quickly, I don’t want to spend a long time chatting. One thing that helps is putting a first date suggestion in my profile — it makes it easier for people to suggest a meetup.

As a woman, I personally don’t give a shit about how tall a man is. Do some women have a preference for tall men? Yeah, it’s definitely a thing. But it’s not as common as media/pop culture would have you believe. Some women prefer short men also and lots don’t care.

Also, maybe this is kind of an off the wall idea, but I actually really love in-person speed-dating events. Even though you strike out most of the time, it’s a low time commitment and you get to meet people right away instead of futzing around on the internet first!

For context for all of the above, I’m a late-20s bi woman. I understand that dating app dynamics can be very different for men so take my thoughts with a grain of salt!
posted by mekily at 6:36 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

This tends to be location-specific as well. Different apps are more popular (ie, where the singles actually are) in different places.

I'm in NY, most people seem to be on Bumble or Hinge, but yes, they are a time suck. But, dating is a numbers game, and you have to put in the time to get the numbers. It's not like a Target where you go and are able to find exactly what you need and pick it up and run out. You have to put effort into dating, the same way you have to put effort into relationships. I don't really care that much about getting into a relationship right now, so I spend maybe 20 minutes a week on the apps. But I have friends who are prioritizing a relationship that spend hours on the apps every day. So, only you can decide what is 'too much'.

And yes, on average, women prefer taller men. Men, on average, prefer smaller women. And yes, it's unfair and can suck for some small men and big women. But that is definitely not the case all the time, or even some of the time, as what we 'prefer' doesn't mean it's must-have. I too am attracted to taller men, but I've enjoyed dating some not-tall men also. I'm a not-small woman, and some men who tend to go for small women, like me sometimes too.

Point being, don't get hung up on height. And don't be lazy about dating. You have to put in the work if it's something you want.
posted by greta simone at 6:48 AM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Addressing the height question, I'm a woman who prefers tall men. I'm 5'4". My current husband is 6 feet tall... so was my first husband. I adore looking up at a man who is significantly taller. My second husband, however, was exactly my height. I didn't give it a second thought when deciding to date him, and rarely thought about it when we were together. For me tallness is something I enjoy in a partner if they have it but it doesn't bother me if they don't.

Being tall probably does give some guys an advantage, just like being rich or handsome does. I'm sure some women pass over short men, probably moreso the shorter they are. But I would also suggest that at least some of the men who are the most bitter about their height getting in the way of dating may be more comfortable blaming that than facing the possibility that there is something else about them which is putting women off. Such as bitterness, defensiveness and anger at women for not wanting to date them.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:01 AM on July 7, 2021 [9 favorites]

Yes, lots of women will not date a guy that's shorter than them, or even that's not significantly taller than them. Just have to accept it and move on; as an average looking 5'4"44 year old divorced guy with no kids, a good job, and no dead fish in my profile pictures, I matched with all kinds of awesome and attractive women in my smallish city*. Hinge was my preference, just the right amount of information about the person to know quickly if there may be a spark, and people didn't seem to be into stupid jokes or clever pick up lines, just honest conversation about hobbies and music and etc before moving on to a coffee date and then potentially more.

* Prior to becoming happily engaged.
posted by ftm at 7:16 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I am a straight cis woman but I am not every straight cis woman. I am 5'7". I have dated men ranging from 5'4" to 6'5". The only time height ever mattered was when someone clearly lied about his height on a dating site (all men are 5'10", didn't you know) when he was my height or shorter. Do you think I am stupid? Do you think all women are stupid? Lying or whining about your height only makes you seem like a bitter little man. 80% of your perceived height is in your attitude.
posted by phunniemee at 7:19 AM on July 7, 2021 [17 favorites]

Best answer: First, being short as a man is really not an issue... for me at least? I'm not sure what you consider to be short but I'm a woman who's 5'6" and with heels I'm taller than a lot of guys I date. They don't care and I don't care. I'm also in a big metropolitan area that's very international and more focused on careers than looks.

Most men add two inches to their height on their profiles so I expect it. It's the only fib I don't mind because it's minor; lying about age or other stuff does bother me. Right now I'm dating a guy who says he's 5'10" (but probably is 5'8") and one who is 5'5" (but probably is 5'3".) They're nice nerdy guys with great personalities, good careers, and good self-care (which is more important than looks in your 40s, eh?) Someone being tall is cool but really meaningless. There are definitely women who like tall guys but that's not something to worry about it.

Second, I hear you on the dating apps. Tinder can have some great matches but it's a lot of time scrolling through people who probably aren't. OKC was great many years ago but now seems to be less of what I want (non-ethically non-monogamous and ENM people.) I had mixed feelings about Bumble but I'd say the best quality men are there. Hinge looks promising and has the best women (I'm bi) but was a bit weird with men.

Online dating is probably equally hard for men and women but in different ways. Apparently, there are a lot of bots and fake accounts of women. You probably can tell who's real, although we've all been catfished for a few hours or a few days. (Never before but yes in 2021 for me?!)

There's a good new video by Matthew Hussey called "How to find a relationship if you hate dating." Stuff like match their energy and effort, don't show the best or worst of you right at the beginning, etc. I really recommend watching it for tips. Basically, you engage but don't make it your life. I've had online dating take over my life in terms of effort but I've found a balance these days. You can also take breaks. Good luck!
posted by smorgasbord at 7:26 AM on July 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: About the height thing. I've never really cared that much about it. I just ran into some men who did and made a big deal about it.

For the record I believe I'm around 5'6" - 5'8". I don't really know the exact number because that's not something I care about. I am unsure if that's tall or not. Frankly, if someone says no because of that, I really don't know that I would be to hung up about it.
posted by Tarsonis10 at 7:35 AM on July 7, 2021

Best answer: If you don't want to spend a lot of time dealing with dating apps... don't. Set up a profile somewhere, open the app when you want to, set limits on yourself for how much time you want to spend there, close it and go on with real world stuff. Any app can suck you in if you're in that space, and it sounds like you're really not.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:38 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Just list your height as 5'8" and you'll be set! If people don't want you for that reason, then it's their loss. It's easy to think stuff like "I'm too short/tall and that's why I'm not getting dates" or "I'm too thin/fat and that's why I'm not getting dates" when it almost always has nothing to do with that. Fortunately, people like all sorts of appearances. Unfortunately, stuff like racism and classism continues to play a big role in dating. But online dating is a crap shoot, part luck and numbers games. It seems like you are unintentionally disqualifying yourself before you even begin. It's understandable but please just be open to seeing!! It may take 2 dates or 200 dates but you will eventually find someone whom you really like and also thinks you're the bee's knees. Ask friends for feedback on your profile and dates as a lot of men have good intentions but don't always realize the vibe they're sending.
posted by smorgasbord at 7:42 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

In my experience, Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel were a little less about the mindless, endless swiping - in my day CMB only gave me (a cishet woman) 5 potential 'matches' a day, so the time investment it took from me was pretty minimal.

Datapoint of one here: I don't care about the height of men I date, in fact I have frequently been attracted to men who are my height, it really doesn't bother me. I know that plenty of women do prefer to date men taller than them. I hope you will not allow this to feel like a thing for you. If a woman doesn't want to date you because of your height, it's entirely her problem.
posted by unicorn chaser at 7:48 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I just ran into some men who did
Were these people that you know, or were they people on the internet? Because if it's the latter, I would encourage you to stay away from that forum. The "women hate short men" thing is often an incel/mgtow/pua talking point online.
posted by twelve cent archie at 7:50 AM on July 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: ^internet. It's more of a political forum, but a lot of people there are quite insecure about themselves and dating. It's reddit for the record.

I don't really pay a lot of attention to it, nor am I really going to go crazy like those incel people or whatever. The only reason I've been on that site, is because everything is still pretty boring because of the pandemic.

I do know some men in real life that always say the typical "women..." do X or Y. I don't pay much attention them either. The comments about height were merely out of curiosity.
posted by Tarsonis10 at 7:55 AM on July 7, 2021

Best answer: (A thing I have noticed in re shorter men - the shorter men who only want to date women who are shorter than they are and very thin and petite are the ones who really cut into their dating pools. A shorter guy who wants to be the big and tall one in the relationship is going to have more problems than a shorter guy who doesn't care.

Also, a funny thing: on the internet, "too short to date" is "anything under about six feet". In real life, women do not think of men who are 5' 8" as particularly short; the average female height is 5' 4", so anyone 5'5" and up is going to be taller than the average woman.)
posted by Frowner at 8:39 AM on July 7, 2021 [10 favorites]

Best answer: You can cut down on time spent slogging through profiles by outsourcing. Hire a virtual assistant to bookmark the possibilities. For those who have a bare profile the VA can send the initial contact message.
posted by Sophont at 9:05 AM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Last comment I swear.

At any rate good suggestions all around. Won't listen to men centric groups about dating anymore, I swear every time I do, they are really terrible at this and miss the mark completely. Besides that, I think people make this all too complicated. "Too short to date"? That sounds exhausting. I think I'll just stick to my original plan:

1. Get good pictures.
2. Open profile in some app(preferably whatever is popular in Canada).
3. Join clubs, events and groups that may interest me.
4. ???
5. Profit.

The rest just sounds like too much overthinking, and that's exactly what I do not have time for.
posted by Tarsonis10 at 9:46 AM on July 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Won't listen to men centric groups about dating anymore, I swear every time I do, they are really terrible at this and miss the mark completely. Besides that, I think people make this all too complicated.

Ironically, as a person who has given a LOT of dating advice right here on metafilter, you are right on the money with this. Especially in early dating, a good rule of thumb is if you feel like you need to crowd source opinions on what might be going on, you are already spending much more time & overthinking the issue than the situation warrants.

If it feels good, go for it. If it feels bad, stop. Have fun and don't be too hard on yourself. And don't pay attention to anyone who thinks they have One Weird Trick to game the system. (Cough unless it's my own advice on how to send a good first message cough.)
posted by phunniemee at 10:02 AM on July 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Another tall woman chiming in to say I've been attracted to plenty of men shorter than me.

As for how to date with apps, I agree with all those saying that you get what you put in - back when I was dating, my goal was to go on at least one first-date per month. I (not conventionally attractive/located in a small city) found that didn't require that much swiping. I restricted Tinder to moments like waiting for the bus, when I was early to a doctor's appointment, etc. But I also had female friends who were aiming to be in a committed relationship as soon as possible who spent much more time on it.

My only advice is prioritize having pictures that reveal information about you rather than just what you look like - I swiped left on a lot of profiles that had little info + photos of just the guy standing and smiling. Have photos of yourself with friends, engaged in whatever activities you like to do.
posted by coffeecat at 10:25 AM on July 7, 2021

There's a new app called Thursday that only works on Thursdays - swipe, match, message, it all goes away at the end of the day. (I haven't used it... I'm partnered)

If nothing else that might make the app stuff more of a "special occasion" rather than something always lurking in the back of your mind. Hopefully it's available where you are, but it might be it's too new to have lots of folks on it.

Another option is to keep the dating app on a separate device that you keep at home and only turn on for a daily swipe session or something.

I think you're definitely right to want to engage with this on your terms, otherwise it feels like work rather than a potential way to meet someone interesting and attractive to you. Likewise your photos and profile should reflect your priorities, but as others have noted, have key info in pictures and words, don't leave it mysterious or you'll attract mysteries. Joke and you'll attract jokers, etc.

As for tallness, it's definitely a thing, at least in the cis het dating world I'm personally familiar with. I don't know that the women referred to all heavily prefer tall guys, they are just X percent more likely to choose them all other things being equal (as if that's an option... but hypothetically speaking). But it's far from a rule, my shorter friends on the apps find plenty of dates.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:50 AM on July 7, 2021

Best answer: Yes to good photos! And please have a thoughtful, positive profile (which is to say, focus on good things about you and what you want, not what you don't want--negativity can be a real turn off when you don't have any other information about a person).

Be honest about your height. For some women, this is an issue. Some people only want to date people who have brown hair; some people only want to date people with certain body types. This is just how it goes, and yes there is a heteronormative expectation that the man should be taller than the woman. Some cis men and women really care about this, and others do not. By including your height, you rule out people who think you aren't the right height for them (best not to waste people's time!).

I don't think it's right that we should assume all men are lying about their height. Lying in your profile is not great! It starts your whole relationship off where you have knowingly lied! If you don't know your height, then I guess don't include it. Or maybe get your height measured?

Also, yes, lots and lots of folks get down on online dating. I think that attitude screams right through on the dating apps, so I tend to think that kind of attitude can reinforce itself. (Like, some men complain about online dating in their online dating profiles. Maybe some women do too, but I don't see their profiles. All I can think is, why are you complaining to me about something I am also doing?)

It can take a bit of time. One way around this might be to use a less popular app and use filters. For example, keep your age range of interest somewhat limited (I go with ten years in either direction of my own age; yours might be more or less). Also, sometimes paying can help you save time. For example, with some apps, if you pay, you only see profiles of people who have already liked/swiped right on you, so you don't waste your time swiping through profiles of people who you won't match with. Which is to say, it might be more efficient to just go ahead and pay and see if that helps you save some time. (I think they might also boost your profile if you pay but I don't know how that all works.)

I think it's okay to want to meet up relatively quickly! That's certainly my preference too. I'd say after you exchange a few messages with someone, if they're friendly and you're still interested, go ahead and suggest meeting up. If they don't accept, then move on.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:20 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Even before there was social distancing and a pandemic, I would have long, funny conversations with some matches who were great to chat with, but would never want to meet in real life. This is totally cool as I'm not everyone's cup of tea, and sometimes people just want to talk to another human being. But I slowly learned to start asking people if they'd be interested in meeting earlier in conversations, as having an army of pen pals can decrease the time you have to message with people who would like to meet in real life (pre-pandemic.)

So one way to decrease the time you spend with online dating: ask people if they'd like to meet. Don't do this the first or second message as you want women to feel safe and get a sense if you're an obvious creep or not. But don't wait until the 10th message to ask if they'd like to meet.
posted by mundo at 11:28 AM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Re: height, I have met multiple women who were surprised enough to remark that I was telling the truth on my profile. Apparently there’s rampant profile inflation going on.

The best things I ever did to my dating profiles was crafting them to deliberately put off the kind of people I didn’t want to meet. So put that weird hobby on there. Change the job title to something not so “in demand”. Put something honest and vulnerable on there, not just “I like tacos and beer”. Filtering is what takes time and effort, so do as much as you can before custom input is needed.
posted by Jobst at 2:49 PM on July 7, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: The best things I ever did to my dating profiles was crafting them to deliberately put off the kind of people I didn’t want to meet.
Yes! If you have a particular hobby or interest or political leaning or family situation that is really important to you, and you know some people aren't into, I think it's great to go ahead and say so! That way, folks who are into that thing will find you, and folks who aren't will keep moving. You can say it in a positive way, and be upfront about it.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:59 PM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

I agree that it's a numbers game, bit there are no prizes for getting lots of matches. As a guy, I put a lot of very specific detail into my profile, enough to clearly put off potential non-matches. As a result, I only got a very few messages (usually just a smile, maybe once a month). But those matches were really worth following up on.

As to making up your height /weight /age, I just don't understand that at all. Do these people intend always to date sitting down or something?
posted by tillsbury at 1:16 AM on July 8, 2021

The most efficient option would be something like how OKCupid used to be, where you could easily search for people who best met your parameters and not bother looking at other people. Unfortunately, it's been taken over by swiping apps, which force you to see people whom you have nothing in common with. Some people make it less of a time suck by quickly swiping right on everyone instead of looking at their profiles; they only take the time to look if they make a match. Some apps are implementing things to make this more difficult, but it might be something to consider.
posted by metasarah at 10:18 AM on July 8, 2021

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