Valentine’s Day is around the corner and you’ve swiped through everyone in your area on Tinder. Is there any hope left of getting a date?
While most online dating is done on apps now, there are still a bunch of great dating websites out there. Unlike their app counterparts, dating sites tend to offer a little more direction when it comes to matches. Instead of matching purely on initial impressions, many dating sites include filters based on interests, values, and personality questionnaires.
But, because dating sites are less ubiquitous than apps like Tinder and Bumble, often you need to know what (or who) you want before you sign up. I’ve rounded up a wide selection of the free online websites out there — the rest is up to you!
If You Want a Lot of Potential Matches…
It has to be said – if you want the best possible results, you’re likely going to have to spring for a paid membership at tried and true dating websites like eHarmony. These sites have a ton of members, most of whom are serious about what they are looking for, and the monthly expense deters a lot of potentially sketchy users. If you want to give the site a try before handing over your credit card information, you can sign up for a free trial membership – just be aware that some functions will be limited until you upgrade to a paid membership instead.
But, if a paid subscription isn’t in the cards for you, you still have lots of options! If you want to cast your net as wide as possible, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, and OKCupid are probably your best bets. These sites (and their corresponding apps) are well-known and have hundreds of thousands of active users. All three sites use personality metrics to rank your matches, and you can send and receive messages with anyone who catches your eye.
Unfortunately, a free service and wide user base can result in a lot of negative attention. Brace yourself for spambots, some awkwardness, ghosting, and the potential for a diamond in the rough.
If You Are Open to Anything…
If you find popular dating sites overwhelming, but are still open to meeting a variety of different people, there are some great lesser-known options out there.
Oasis Active is one U.K.-based site (and app) that has fewer users, but a similar approach to the industry giants. The site also offers searches for friendships and meet ups, if that’s what you are looking for. One twist: you only have three days to reply to anyone who likes you before you are unmatched!
If You Aren’t Sure About Online Dating…
If you’re someone who still feels a little uncomfortable with online dating, why not try a compromise? Sites like Meet Up let you host or join different activities in your area. While it isn’t explicitly a way to meet people romantically, it increases your chances of meeting a special someone who likes the same things that you do!
If Appearance Is Important to You…
Let’s face it, appearance determines a lot of matches online. If you’re even more concerned about appearances than the average person, these sites may be a better fit for you.
Beautiful People is a dating site dedicated exclusively to, well, beautiful people. To make an account on the site you must have your images “approved” by existing members. Basically, if you’re into exclusive clubs determined solely on appearance, this is a great way to meet other people just like you. But, if this sounds slightly horrifying, another site is probably a better choice.
On the other side of the coin, Ugly Schmucks is a website that matches people who aren’t confident in their appearance with those who are more interested in personality than looks. The site states that it intends to help people fight the barriers that society puts on dating, and insists that “you can be very happy on an ugly date!”
If Personality Is Important to You…
If you want to focus on personality, LoveFlutter might be the perfect dating website (or app) for you. Each user posts a 140-character fact about themselves, overlaid on their blurred profile photo. Select potential matches based on their fact, and then click to unblur their faces.
If Music Is Important to You…
Tastes in music can make or break a relationship. The dating site Tastebuds puts music lovers first. Quickly enter the musicians and bands you love to listen to, then immediately see matches who share your taste in music.
Whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship, or a new concert buddy, this site may be the perfect solution! Even if you don’t end up with a date, it’s almost impossible to leave the site without finding at least one new favorite band.
If Beards Are Important to You…
Some people love growing beards, some people love stroking beards. These people should be able to find each other. At least, that’s what the people at Bristlr believe.
This site (and app) is basically Tinder, but the bigger your beard, the more matches you will get. So if you’ve been working on growing your beard lately, this is your chance to shine. Go get ’em tiger.
If What You Eat Is Important to You…
Eating is a big part of our lives. So, it’s important that you and potential partners are compatible with what you eat!
Two potentially helpful dating sites for individuals with food sensitivities are Gluten Free Singles and Vegetarian Dating. These sites both limit users to those who have specific dietary restrictions in place — definitely helpful when it comes time to pick a restaurant for the first date!
If Mental Health Is Important to You…
Mental health struggles are an isolating experience for many people. No Longer Lonely is a dating website that focuses on matching you with someone who understands.
All users on this site have some form of mental illness, and therefore have some first-hand knowledge of your lived experiences. The website’s community is intended to act as a supportive and safe place to find a partner, friend, or network.
If Pets Are Important to You…
Date My Pet offers an online dating experience that cuts right to the most important part of dating — the pets involved.
You will only find pet lovers on this site, and it’s expected that profiles will include details not only about yourself but also about your pets. After all, when your animals aren’t compatible, is the relationship really going to work?
If Your Family Farm Is Important to You…
Farmers lead a unique lifestyle, and it’s not for everyone. The dating site Farmers Only is one of the easiest way to make sure that any future romantic partners understand your life.
If you aren’t a farmer but still take pride in your country lifestyle, you might have better luck on the U.K.-based site Muddy Matches.
What Have You Got to Lose?
Sure, some of the sites listed above are slightly ridiculous, but at least one of them is sure to match with your interests! Since the sites are free, the only thing separating you from your potential matches is the few minutes it will take you to sign up for the site.
And, if nothing else works, I suppose you could always try to revamp your Tinder profile one last time.
Were you successful in finding a Valentine’s date? Let me know which site you used in the comments!