Valentine's Day special: Best online dating websites
If you’ve woken up this morning knowing full well that you needn’t stick around for the postman to arrive, take heart - you’re not alone. Well, you are, but you’re not, if you get our meaning.
In this connected world, meeting new people is only a few clicks away, and online dating has replaced the age-old newspaper classified ads as the place to put your feelers out. And these days, you don’t need to be a code breaker from Bletchley to figure out what people are looking for either - WLTM, YSF, w GSH etc have been replaced by plain language, straightforward presentation and some clever computer algorithms to help match you up with compatible people.
The stigma that once surrounded online dating is also a thing of the distant past and, nowadays, it’s fair to say that most of us probably know at least one couple who met online.
There are some big, successful names out there, like match.com and eHarmony, and they'll certainly pair you up with dozens of potential soulmates, but as always on the worldwide interweb, things have diversified. So, here, we’re going to show you a few of the best online dating services which might help you to narrow the field a bit, or maybe have you taking a slightly different approach. Enjoy. And good luck.
We start with one of our favourites – tastebuds.com. Easily one of the best indicators that you’re going to get on with somebody is a shared music taste, so we’re a bit surprised that this kind of service hasn’t become bigger before now. Starting out couldn’t be easier: you type in three of your favourite artists, what gender you are and what you’re looking for and straight away you get people who like the same or similar things.
It's a simple yet effective introduction, which immediately gives you something to talk about, and the whole site feels much more laid back than some, with an emphasis on the social side of things rather than the full-on, in your face dating. If music be the food of love, this is where you can eat as much as you like and not lose your appetite.
OK, stop sniggering at the back. We’re not talking jokes about nurses’ bedside manners and firemen handling greasy poles here, we’re talking about a sensible attempt to introduce people who don’t necessarily swim in the same social circles as the rest of us.
If you wear a uniform, it’s likely that you’re in the armed forces or the emergency services, and that means one thing straight away – you work weird hours. This can make it pretty hard to meet people in conventional ways, so this site makes it easier. Yes, there are definitely going to be people here who just like the uniforms regardless, and there’s really nothing wrong with that, but we also reckon that uniformdating.com is a good place to find like-minded people who will understand the stresses and strains of those who do some of the most stressful jobs, under the toughest conditions.
A “first filter” for many burgeoning relationships is location, and services that aren’t going to introduce you to somebody from the other side of the world have a certain appeal for those who’ve already laid down some roots. City-specific sites, like Dating Republic in London, have proved a big hit, and Lovestruck works in a similar way, but has sites covering big cities across the world.
This is aimed at professionals and is likely to appeal to people who maybe have to move around a bit for work and don’t want to have to keep joining new sites all the time. It’s not just city types bragging about the size of their bonuses either, this is one of the slicker operations we’ve seen, with mobile apps to keep track of your activities and regular, exclusive social events to make meeting face-to-face much easier.
So we’ve talked about the city slickers above, but what if you live out in the sticks? If you live in a rural community, the pickings can be slim when it comes to your perfect potential partner. So Kissing Gates is just what you need to broaden your horizons and see what lies beyond those fields yonder.
As niche dating sites go, this is one that will pack an appeal for many, even if you don't actually live in the country. If you're a fan of the fresh air, this is where you might find somebody to share some outdoor, ahem, pursuits.
My Single Friend
If you’re on your own, absolutely one of the worst things that can ever happen is your friends trying to fix you up. If you’re lucky, your mates know you so well that they would only ever introduce you to somebody they know you’re going to like. But very often, your well-meaning mates meet another single person and immediately think that means you'll have something in common. Sound familiar?
If it does, then send your friends a link to mysinglefriend.com, where you can at least let them get involved in a constructive way. It’s all the brainchild of TV presenter Sarah Beeny, who is “notorious for setting her friends up” and the basic ethos is sound – if you’re not very good at selling yourself, get the people who care about you most to do it for you. We like this site and people we know who’ve used it say it’s a nice way to go about the daunting prospect of starting to meet people online.
Personal Dating Agent
If all of the above still sounds like a bit too much hard work, or you’re just not sure how to go about presenting yourself in the right way, then why not get somebody to do it all for you? On Personaldatingagent.com, you’ll find a bespoke service that takes all your profile information and everything on your wish list and tailors your approach to maximise your compatibility and overall success rate.
Yes, it’ll cost you a few quid - $300 (£192) per month - but love is never cheap, so a small investment up front could lead to a lifetime of happiness. So there you have it. A few nuggets we unearthed while panning for dating gold.
Happy St Valentine's Day.
As ever, let us know if you've come across better sites than we have and also let us know if you've had any luck. Keep it clean though...