Let’s just state the obvious real quick: Dating can be an absolute nightmare.
Blind dates are awkward, people become disinterested and ghost, and dating a close friend can end awkwardly. This is probably a pessimistic outlook, but sometimes, it genuinely seems like your chances of finding a match dwindle by the day.
If you’re one of those people who has simply succumbed to the idea of being alone because “real love isn’t out there,” listen up: Match wants to change your mind.
Unless you’re brave enough to strike up a conversation in person and don’t care about rejection, we can all agree that the serendipitous, waiting-for-the-right-person-to-appear-IRL type of dating isn’t all that successful. That’s why online dating exists, and you’re seriously not alone in wanting to try this.
While some sites are definitely geared more towards something casual, Match is a place where you can find a serious, long-term relationship with someone who shares your passions and values. They guarantee that you’ll find someone in six months, and if you don’t, they’ll give you six months for free. This means that it’s not just another one of those sites that you give up on after a month. 1.6 million people in the UK met their partner on Match, so it’s probably worth your time.
If you’re feeling down, remember that there’s not just one person out there for you — there are likely many people you’ll be able to build a connection with. You just might need help sorting through millions of single folks in order to find them.
Creating a profile takes way less time than you think
When you think of popular, marriage-minded dating sites like Match, you probably think of extensive questionnaires, cringeworthy forms about how honest or loving of a partner you are, and an all-around lengthy sign up process that is, honestly, pretty tiresome.
Finding someone who shares your values is just as important as finding someone with good communication skills and the rest of that mushy stuff.
Surprise: It’s truly not that bad, guys — and we’re usually cynical about this stuff. Of course, it’ll take longer than two minutes to set up your profile, but if you join Match looking for something serious, you’ll appreciate the extra depth.
They’ll ask you the basics about yourself: Physical appearance, religion, if you smoke or drink, etc., and give you a range of responses that aren’t just a hard yes or no. They’ll also ask about your interests and hobbies, with choices like travelling and sight seeing, wine tasting, cooking, nightclubs and dancing, politics, religion, and volunteering. Because while the mushy, deep stuff is important, Match knows that your romantic partner should also be your friend.
Our favourite part was that they allowed you to specify what you want in a partner: You’ll choose which of those same personality traits you’re looking for in someone else and rate how important they are to you. For instance, we’d prefer someone who doesn’t smoke cigarettes, but it’s not a deal breaker — Match lets you specify that preference exactly, and won’t give you potential matches that had that in their answers. This is a super simple way to make sure you’re at least somewhat on the same page as someone and gets the surface-level things out of the way. This means that those awkward conversations don’t come up two months into the relationship. Finding someone who has the same values as you is just as important as finding someone with good communication skills and all the rest of that mushy stuff.
The initial questionnaire only takes above five minutes, and bam: You’re set up with an account, ready to meet matches. However, there’s a load more stuff you can add to your profile to give potential matches even more info. Adding more is optional, so you can totally be mysterious if you want — but if you’re picky or want to avoid future disagreements, we’d suggest filling out some more sections.
Image: match / screenshotThere’s no weird sliding scale that makes you rate how honest or good at communicating you are, and we love that. Seriously, who’s going to admit their faults and say, “Yes, I’m a liar and horrible at talking about my feelings”? Instead, Match will ask you to fill out some more things about your home life, hobbies, and interests in a conversational manner that just seems really relaxed. It doesn’t feel like a traditional online dating questionnaire at all, and that’s a good thing.
It might seem strange that they’re not asking anything about the deeper parts of a relationship, but personally, we think that’s a bit tacky — and what Match is doing is clearly working, or they wouldn’t be one the most popular dating site on the internet. Just go with it.
Match’s homepage is well-designed and user-friendly — and that’s rare
If you’ve been on other dating sites before, you know that homepages can get pretty wonky. Notifications for 10 different ways of messaging pop up, blinking ads with naked parts interfere with clicking on things, and potential matches are plastered everywhere. Having a lot of options is obviously a good thing, but when there’s a collage of singles with infinite scrolling, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Image: match / screenshotMatch’s interface keeps things simple: You’re shown one match at a time, only have five tabs across the top, and there’s no scrolling — actually, there’s barely any scrolling. Everything you need to get the full experience is right in front of you, clean and organised in a way that makes the process calming instead of overwhelming.
There are a few ads, but in our opinion, they don’t really interfere with the user experience. Yeah, they’re annoying and slightly distracting — if you have so many users paying monthly to use your site, do you really need ads on the home page?
Finding a match
Similar to Tinder, Match will show you one profile at a time, and you can decide to match them or skip them. Unlike Tinder, Match gives you significantly more information on the person, so it’s not just the blind swipe based on whether you think they’re hot or not.
We have to point out how nice it is to only see one person at a time. When you’re given too many matches at once, you don’t even know where to start looking and might miss someone important during the rush. With one at a time, you’re forced to more seriously consider the person and their intentions, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this is part of what makes Match so successful.
Match will take your skips to gather info about what you like (or what you don’t like), and use that information to give you more honed-in matches the next time around in hopes of getting you closer to your special someone faster. You could easily get 10 or more matches within the first day, depending on how active you are.
Aside from the matching game, another way to find interested folks is to check your interests tab. Here, you’ll see other people who have come across your profile and “liked” it, given you a “yes rating” or a “fave” — we’re not really sure what the difference on these is, but it seems to be a way of telling someone that you’re interested without having to wait for them to swipe on your profile. You can also send someone a wink, which is the dating site version of Facebook poking, but more flirty. Of course, you can also direct message people, and people can message you without being a match — which means you’ll have some randoms in your inbox. However, you can filter your messages to block people over or under a certain age (or height) and other specific values. We thought that was a nice touch and a way to keep from getting overwhelmed with 50 unread messages.
People on Match take dating seriously, and it’s awesome
The singles on Match are actually genuine. You might get a few corny pickup lines, but other than that, it’s mostly people being friendly, introducing themselves, or asking a question to get to know you better.
If you’re tired of getting dirty messages on Tinder, this is going to be a breath of fresh air.
You can tell that they took the time to check out your bio and took your interests to heart, which is certainly a nice alternative to most messages you’ll get on swiping apps. Considering these people are paying a decent amount of money per month to use this site, you can assume a good chunk of them are there to find a genuine connection and not just mess around — so it’s not a surprise that most of the messages are calm, cool, and collected. If you’re tired of getting dirty messages on Tinder or someone asking for nudes as their opening line, this will hopefully be a breath of fresh air.
After you upload even one picture, you’re pretty much guaranteed to receive a handful of messages within minutes, which is a serious confidence boost. Match’s member base is so robust, and what those members are looking for in a partner varies so greatly — nobody can be everybody’s cup of tea, but on Match, you’re sure to be someone’s.
Another way to meet people: Match hosts group events IRL
One of the coolest features of this dating site are the Match Events. Paid members can attend local events (based on their post code) and meet up with users from the same area in public places for a chance to mingle and meet members you may not have come across on the site. Some of our options were speed dating at a local rooftop bar, a beer tasting and brewery tour, a beginners’ sword skills class (sounds like a date that would be on Love Island), and a few webinars for people looking for relationship advice.
Match goes above and beyond the usual dating site features to up your chances of meeting the one.
Honestly, we love this idea: Meeting with a group in a place like a bar is a seriously low-pressure way to meet new people who are looking for the same thing as you, and if you’re really too nervous to ask someone on a first date, one of these events would be a great time to meet up in a relaxed environment. Someone will host the event, of course, so it won’t just be this awkward free-for-all, and they’ll make sure that everyone gets introduced without it feeling unnatural. Plus, if you’re travelling or going on holiday soon, Match also offers the option to check out local events in other areas — just change your city at the top of the “Events” section. Match genuinely goes above and beyond the usual dating site features to get you out of your comfort zone to up your chances of meeting the one.
The app takes on a social media-y feel with the option to post a story. Like Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, Match has a cool video feature that lets you post 24-hour stories to show potential matches what you’re up to, what your voice sounds like (extremely important), and gives them a fuller sense of what it would be like to meet you IRL. Match may be one of the more established dating sites, but it’s certainly not old fashioned — and they continue to load their app with more and more ways for users to manoeuvre through the masses and find their person. It also acts as insurance against catfishing, which is always a relief.
Image: match / screenshotMashable’s Cassie Murdoch writes:
“It’s also a really good way to get a sense of how someone strings together their thoughts. Are they a good storyteller? Are they funny? Are they off-puttingly taken with themselves or too reserved for your taste? It’s a lot to ask of a minute-long clip, but in the high stakes numbers game that is online dating, this is exactly the kind of sorting tool many people are hungry for.”
There’s also a feature called “Missed Connections” that uses your location to help you find matches that you’ve potentially crossed paths with in real life. Kind of weird, but “I saw the love of my life in the Starbucks line every morning and didn’t even know,” will be a good story to tell at your wedding, at least. It’s worth noting that you do have to opt in to this feature, which seems sensible.
There’s a free option, but without paying you can do next to nothing
You can technically use Match without dropping any money. However, like almost every other acclaimed online dating site, the free version is borderline worthless. Free members can post photos, send and receive winks, conduct searches, and use the Tinder-like matchings system. That seems like a good gig — until you realise that free members can’t message people.
The entire point of Match is to meet someone IRL and find a lasting connection, and that’s gonna be pretty difficult if the only way you can communicate with someone is through winking. Free members also do not have access to Match’s group events, which is a huge pain as that’s one of the coolest things Match offers.
If you want to do anything besides just look with Match, you’ll want to upgrade to a paid subscription. Like almost every other dating site, Match follows the whole “the longer you stay, the cheaper it is” policy: Get three months for £19.95 per month or six months for £9.99 per month. Subscriptions may seem pricey, but when you consider that places like eharmony or EliteSingles ask you to pay £40 or £50 each month, Match’s prices suddenly don’t look so bad. Check back for deals around the holidays (AKA cuffing season) and in January and February, which are the most popular months for dating site sign-ups.
Good for: People ready to commit or who want a lot of options
Match’s user base is massive. It’s the place to go if you want a lot of options or if you’re tired of falling for the same type of person. Variety is guaranteed, and it’s fun to see how many people out there are in the same boat as you. It makes you feel less crappy when you know that there are 30 plus million folks out there who are also still single, and it’s just nice to know that if it doesn’t work out with one person, there’s always someone else ready to meet you.
There’s a difference between wanting a long-term, serious, monogamous relationship and wanting to get married ASAP. For those who aren’t looking to get married just yet, and thus can’t see themselves signing up for eharmony, but who are also so over Tinder, Match is a good compromise. Match boasts the perfect levels of serious and fun, offering a spot for people to express exactly what they’re looking for so that there’s no confusion down the road.
If you’re someone who appreciates a clean design, you’ll be more than happy here.
We have to give a shoutout to Match’s web developers: The site actually looks nice. If you’re someone who appreciates a clean, minimalistic design, you’ll be more than content here. For those who’ve grown accustomed to design-forward sites and apps, Match hits that mark. It has all of the stuff you need, and none of the stuff you don’t. The desktop version is good, but the smartphone app version is even better. This is smart, as most people are on the go and will be using Match on their phone way more than on their computer.
The app will show you your daily matches all at once instead of one at a time, so you’ll have to scroll — but the Discover tab is where the app gets a little jumbled. Everything still looks clean, but it’s basically endless scrolling of the profiles within the distance you’ve set (no compatibility figured in), so this is probably used more like Tinder. Regardless, the app is user friendly and makes it easy to do some swiping or searching on the morning commute or while waiting in line at the shops, and makes using a dating app feel cool — and not like begging someone to marry you.
Bad for: Impatient people or those who just want to hook up
Nope, sorry. This isn’t the place to find a friends with benefits situation, and you’re going to look pretty strange if you slide into someone’s messages and propose that. Most users will mention what they’re using Match for in their bio, and we have yet to see someone say that they’re looking for something casual. No one is going to shell out £25 a month to find a hookup. They can do that for free at the bar.
Match is a place to meet someone special who you genuinely want to be monogamous with, and if those aren’t your intentions, skip Match for now. And don’t get on here and lie about your intentions. Really, don’t be that person. If you’re someone who ghosts easily or who just wants a fun night, try AdultFriendFinder or Tinder instead.
This isn’t the place to find a friends with benefits situation.
Match takes time. With over 30 million monthly visitors, we’re sure you can guess that it takes a while to sort through them and finally come across your soulmate. That comes with time. Match guarantees that you’ll find someone in six months — not one month. It’s physically impossible to get through everyone on the site in a short amount of time. Since it’s a site for serious relationships and not just hooking up, it could be very possible that matches will be hesitant about meeting in person until they’re sure that they’re interested. Overall, the process is just slower, and if this is something that is going to annoy you, we’d suggest a site where more immediate action is encouraged.
Match is a great dating site for millennials and more mature people alike, and if you’re young and looking for someone in their early to late 20s, you have plenty of options. However, we would love to see Match do some advertising toward the younger crowd like OkCupid does. OkCupid markets specifically to young people (especially those in the LGTBQ+ community) and there’s no question that the marketing alone gives it a leg up on places like Match, which — although it does cater to the LGTBQ+ community — but could probably do better.
If getting a lot of phone notifications gives you anxiety, we’d suggest immediately updating your email preferences with Match after you sign up. Because if you don’t, you will get an email for what feels like any time someone even looks at your profile, and it can get annoying.
If would also be cool if Match offered music preferences as one of the things that you can select when choosing what you’re looking for in a match. From experience, we’ve noticed that people who like the same music get along really well. Music taste tells so much more about a person than people realise.
Aside from the fast-paced Tinders and Bumbles of the world, Match’s obvious competitor is eharmony. Right off the bat, Match has the size advantage. If nothing else, we’d pick Match simply because it’s been around longer and has loads of veteran masterminds behind the matchmaking process — having 20 years of experience is enough to make us trust them.
eharmony is all about marriage and features a 29-dimension matching system — the registration process there takes longer and goes a bit deeper. This isn’t to say that Match isn’t serious, because it is — it just gives a little more leeway when it comes to people’s intentions.
In our opinion, there’s nothing super standout about Zoosk or Plenty of Fish. They’re both user friendly enough (nowhere close to how nice Match looks, though), have decent user bases, and have pretty much the same idea as Match. Zoosk is unique in that it finds matches for you based on your on-site activity rather than asking you questions, which is worth trying. We’d assume that most people on one online dating site may have made profiles on multiple dating sites just to cast their net in as many places as they can. If we could only use one site, we’d definitely choose Match, but making a profile on these two as well (if you feel like paying) would up your chances big time.
The final verdict
Match is the place to go when eharmony is way too serious and full of people too old for you, and the place to go when you’re tired of Tinder matches hitting you up to have sex and then never talking to you again. It’s truly a great happy medium, and we don’t think that middle ground between friends with benefits and marriage is something a lot of other dating sites consider.
Usually, our main problem with dating sites is their layout and aesthetic — whether it’s terrible fonts, annoying ads, or an overwhelming amount of notifications and faces scrambled everywhere, we always have something to complain about. With Match, we didn’t. It’s modern, clean, and really easy to navigate.
While their claim that you’ll find your person (or your potential person, at least) in half a year is comforting (although not really guaranteed), we’re just happy with the fact that Match can reassure you that no, all of the good people in the world are not taken, and there truly are plenty of fish in the sea. Well done, Match. Well done. You’d think it would be old fashioned and lame as it’s one of the sites that’s been on the market the longest, but we’re here to say that it’s the complete opposite. We were super impressed by the whole experience.
Sign up here. You got this.