Edie Freedman is a student at New York University studying social and cultural analysis, politics and psychology. There she is a writer and editor for The Tab NYU.
In the last few years, a new dating dilemma has emerged: do I use Bumble or Tinder? While Tinder is the older, more widely known and commonly used dating app, Bumble irons out a lot of the creases many of us experience on Tinder. With sibling sites developed like Bumble BFF (to help you meet new people in an unfamiliar place) and Bumble Bizz (for your professional connections), this social network “rooted in promoting kindness, respect, and empowerment” is making a strong case for itself as the only online dating app you need (at least if you’re looking for something besides dick pics — for that, stick with Tinder).
The Benefits of Bumble:
1. Female Empowerment
The best and most commonly known difference between Bumble and Tinder is that, on Bumble, women take the lead and are the first ones to initiate contact — the virtual version of women approaching men in public and making the first move. By flipping the script, Bumble gives women more control over the courting process, allowing them to set the tone of conversation and thus establishing a precedent for any potential relationships — whether casual or serious — from the get-go.
2. No Creepy Messages
When I first downloaded Tinder, I received a one-word message from my first match: “Anal?” Introductions like these are pretty commonplace on Tinder. Personally, I find these kind of direct messages to be overly aggressive, extremely impersonal, and pretty unsettling. With no context, no introductory query about your day or even a simple “Hello,” this approach can feel like the virtual equivalent of being grabbed from behind at a club. While I find men who know what they want attractive, there is a distinct difference between confident honesty and sexual crassness.
But on Bumble, with women setting the tone and taking the lead in messaging, the conversation is usually instantly elevated, making initial responses from men about anal et. al. ill-placed and ineffectual. If you’re on Bumble, you know that kind of thing isn’t going to fly, so most men don’t go there.
3. It’s Self-Selecting
Because the women are always the first to start the conversation, those who don’t get messages tend to just drop off. This therefore leaves behind the popular people — the people who not only regularly use Bumble but the people who have had success with it. That means a greater percentage of users on Bumble compared to Tinder are eligible and, most importantly, respectful.
4. Greater Potential for More Meaningful Interactions
A friend of mine — a former Tinder user and now a Bumble convert — once described Bumble users as “more settled, not too fussed about finding a soul mate, but interested in a slightly higher level of commitment than a 3-minute shag before being ghosted.” I have only been on Bumble a short time, but every conversation I have had on there has been longer than any conversation I have had on Tinder; in fact, I matched with someone from my hometown of London and had an extended discussion about being Londoners in New York (something that’s never happened with someone on Tinder). My roommate has used Tinder and Bumble for the past year; she’s only gone on dates with men from Bumble (she currently seeing one of them).
Bumble strikes the balance between being a serious dating site for future spouses and a place to find random encounters that start and end with sex. This doesn’t mean you can’t successfully seek out a casual, one-time sexual encounter on Bumble. But if you’re looking for a date or even just something with a bit more conversation, Bumble has Tinder beat.
5. No Underwear Pics!
Bumble’s official policy is that while poolside pictures in your bathing suit are allowed, underwear pictures — i.e. the quintessential Tinder mirror skivvies-selfies — are no-gos. Dating sites require you to make a great instant impression; one look at Tinder, and you’ll be convinced that a semi-naked body shot is required for catching the most eyes and receiving the most matches. While some may feel empowered by showing skin, there are plenty of people who either aren’t interested in objectifying themselves publicly (especially on the Internet) or aren’t as confident in their own naked form. This policy alleviates the pressure to do so and its attendant anxieties. Online dating is tough enough without having to worry about crotch shots — yours or anyone else’s.
6. Matches Are Fresh
Once a woman has matched with someone on Bumble, she has 24 hours to message her match. After sending that message, the receiver has another 24 hours to respond. If they don’t, the match expires and disappears from your account. While this may seem a bit brutal, quick expiration on unresponsive Bumble matches makes the app feel fresh and uncluttered. You won’t feel weighed down by a bunch of matches your unsure of or a bunch of people you’re still waiting to hear from. If you’re like me, you will probably message several matches at once, with the expectation that not all of them will reply. By the end of the 24 hours, you will be left with the people who are checking their Bumble regularly and actually care about replying to messages, i.e. compatible people who are enthusiastic about this process.