I just read an article about Collide – the new Christian Tinder.  It’s hilarious.  Like Tinder, you swipe left or right based on attractiveness; unlike Tinder, though, users also have to give their favorite Bible verse, rather than a brief (or non-existent) description.  So, be thinking about your list of deal breaker verses now, people.  You don’t want to be stuck with that guy who puts down Job 19:17.

Legitimately, I thought the article was written by the Onion at first, but I looked it up, and this thing really does exist.  Unfortunately, though, it’s only on the iPhone, so this Android user will have to wait a while to get started on this probable solution to all of my problems.

In the meantime, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to review all the different dating options I’ve tried; hopefully, my experience can be helpful to someone (or entertaining to all).

In order of worst to best:

POF (Plenty of Fish):

I haven’t been on POF in several years, but the last time I signed up was because I had two friends who were married from the site, and one of them was a super cute blonde in her mid-20s.  So, I figured it had something going for it.

Positives: free.

Negatives: as with all free sites, there are a lot of huge creepers and spammers, and you’re more likely to get catfished (this has never happened to me).  Also, POF has a super sketchy reputation.  You can set your settings to filter out people who have solicited sex.  But, the fact that they needed to give that filter as an option is disturbing to me.

I did, however, go on one of my favorite online dates through POF.  He was very nice, took me to a great restaurant on the boardwalk, prayed over our meal, and looked like a more attractive Manning brother.  We had very little chemistry, so it didn’t go anywhere, but it was a nice date.

Bottom line: skip it.

POF gifChristian Mingle:

One of my besties just got engaged to a man she met on Christian Mingle.  I had tried it many years ago and HATED it – it seemed that every man wrote in his profile about a Proverbs 31 woman (I have nothing against this model of a hard-working, diligent, strong woman, but when a man puts this in his dating profile, he wants a Stepford Wife).  And one guy even thought debating about predestination was good first-chat convo.

But, when my friend got engaged, I thought I’d give it another chance; maybe it had improved over the last 6 years.  Christian Mingle is not free, so I reactivated my profile to look around and see if there was anyone who could entice me to pay.  There was not.

Positives: Most everyone will share the Christian faith.  You can search without paying/committing.

Negatives: A lot of ultra-conservative Christians, not that many attractive people, kind of expensive.

It worked for my friend, but my vote is that it’s not worth it.

Christian Mingle gifE-Harmony:

I’m hesitant to put e-Harmony so far down on my list because I think it’s a very legitimate service that has worked for a lot of people.  But, personally, I do not like it at all.

Positives: Matching system is based on something other than that you both exist (also, I really love taking surveys about myself).  Most people on there are very serious, because that junk is expensive (see negatives).

Negatives: Expensive!  While I have noticed eHarmony doing sales lately (I signed up last year for $7/month for 3 months), they’re generally pretty pricey.  And when they have their free weekends, you can’t see pictures.  Without fail, every guy I’ve ever talked to without seeing pictures has proven, once we become facebook friends, to be unattractive.  I don’t want to be shallow, but c’mon, let’s all be honest here.  Attraction is important – especially when you can’t see someone in real life to know if their personality helps.

Also, even personality wise, I’ve seldom really been into the guys sent to me on eHarmony.  I don’t know if I’m answering questions about myself incorrectly, but they’re sending me guys who I would never be interested in in real life (maybe this is the problem?!).  Unfortunately, you can’t search on your own in eHarmony; you get who you get.  And you can’t speed up the process either – they only release matches to you in batches.  It’s very controlled – and I prefer to browse on my own terms.

Bottom line: try it if you’re rich or can get a good sale.  Skip the free version, as it only promotes false hopes for both of you.

Eharmony gifOk Cupid

Free like POF, Ok Cupid is slightly less sketchy.  I’ve never been able to figure out the madness that is their matching system (I’m certain there is no method to it), but they do at least allow you to filter emails from people not in your search criteria to the junk mail folder.  Predictably, this one stays a lot fuller for me than the one with messages from people I might actually want to talk to.

Positives:  Free and slightly less creepy than POF.   You can search for people, and the matching system does at least help you know who you will definitely NOT be compatible with (aka, the chain smoking atheist in an open relationship).  They also send you super encouraging emails when your profile gets clicked on a few times, like, “You’re one of the hottest members on OkCupid!”

Negatives: still a lot of weirdos because it’s free, and anyone can contact you.

Bottom line: if you are interested in passing some time, or if you have the patience to sift through all the oddballs, and you want a free service, it’s not too terrible.

OKC gifMatch

Match is not cheap.  Less expensive than eHarmony, but also no free weekends or really cheap sales.  However, you can search without paying – and see pictures!  (You just can’t talk to anyone, so…)  The people on there also seem a little more committed than on the free sites, and the pool is pretty wide.

Positives: You can do your own searching, but Match will also send you people they think fit your criteria and are therefore good “matches”.  They also have real life mixer events for Match members.  I’ve never been to one of these, but I like the concept.

Negatives: The matching criteria is weird; often, I get notifications that, “Like you, Johnny doesn’t smoke.”  They also send me a billion emails, most of which I think are lies (I conveniently had 5 new men check me out 4 times this week exactly at 5:00?)

Bottom line: I really think this is the best of the online sites.  It may or may not pay off ultimately, of course, but I think it’s definitely the most widely used by serious-ish people.

Match gifTinder

Last but not least is Tinder.  I WISH Tinder did not have such a bad reputation (many people regard it simply as a hook-up app) because I really love it.  Every time I mention that I use it, I give people almost this verbatim disclaimer:

“I know Tinder has a sketchy reputation, but I really like it because to me, it’s the most like real life.  You see someone you think is cute, you start talking to them, it goes somewhere or it doesn’t.  You don’t analyze all these things they happened to decide to write about themselves.”

And I fully agree with that.  Unfortunately, I am rather in the minority, I think.  But, still, there are a few people who use the app as it was originally intended (when it was designed by Mormons.  True story.) as a way to meet people close to you who are already interested, at least on some basic level.

Positives: Quick, free, easy, efficient, fastest way to a date (you’ll probably not send emails back and forth forever.  It’s messaging to texting to a date in usually less than a week, I’ve found).  Because people have to mutually express interest in order to even talk, it weeds out people not in my search criteria (aka, distance and age range), as well as obvious creepers (gym selfie takers are automatically dismissed).

Negatives: There are a lot of people on there just to hook up.  And, when you discuss it, people may initially judge you (feel free to use my disclaimer).  Also, because there is really little or no description, you don’t have the opportunity to eliminate any very good-looking people with whom you do not share core values, so it can lead to disappointing dead ends (or regrettable compromises).

Bottom line: Use good judgment, but it’s a fun, easy, modern way to get to know people.

Tinder gifOf course, we all still want to meet someone in real life.  That story just seems more romantic, and although the taboo of online dating has certainly diminished, I don’t think kids are yet dreaming of the day they will log on to a computer and meet their future spouse.  But, the reality is that our world is online.  So, if/when you venture into the crazy world that is cyber dating (or re-venture, if you’ve, like me, tried and given up multiple times), hopefully my guide will help you.  But, feel free to completely disregard it, as I’m sure almost all of us can find both a huge success and an utter failure story for each of these sites.

Happy hunting, everyone!  Enjoy your weekend, and leave me some comments if you’ve tried any of these sites.  How do you think my rankings are?  Would you add any others to the list?  Let’s swap stories!