Out of all of the dating apps I have tried over the past few months, Bumble is one that I had some initial trepidation with, and perhaps the most difficult to engage with for a new (female) user.
Because Bumble only allows for female users to message matches, you have to be willing to make the first move and open with something clever. In using this app, I very quickly gained a newfound appreciation for the struggles of men on online dating apps, who have to find interesting and unique introductions to woe female users. But it’s come highly recommended by several friends and colleagues, and I’ve known couples in serious relationships who have met via Bumble, which is always reassuring.
The app is quite easy to set up and use, and I would recommend downloading on a Smartphone, as it’s a swipe left and right set-up. You fill out a few short questions and openings and add in all of your basic information and a brief summary or background, fill out your interests, and then begin matching with other users. Even though it’s a swipe left or right based on photos and brief summaries, the app is known for attracting users who are seeking more serious relationships, and seems to be another good middle of the road option, akin to OKCupid.
It also seems to offer unique benefits to both male and female users, a unique factor of differentiation in the category. If you’re a woman, you can expect that having to initiate conversation will decrease the odds of harassment, lewd language, or unwanted contact. Of course, in the online dating world, safety is invaluable. If you’re a male user, it might be a unique surprise and relaxing to not always have to make the first move.
The second main factor of differentiation is this can be used for purposes outside of online dating as well, even if you’re in a relationship or not looking to date, you can use the business features to network with professionals in your industry, or the friendship features to connect with neighbors or meet locals in new cities (or ones you’re currently visiting). The friendship features may also be good if you’re uncertain if you’re looking for a relationship, or want to do so over a longer period of time.
This review will cover how to set up the app and the interface (complete with photos to walk through all of the first steps), some main positives and negatives unique to Bumble and important to bear in mind prior to download, and a final verdict, including who this app may be good for and why you may want to try it out.
This review only covers the dating features and portion of the app, and will not feature any anecdotes or personal dating tales.
Image Credit: Bumble
How To Set It Up
To start using Bumble, you can login using your Facebook account or email. If you’re using the platform via a web browser, you’ll use your phone number and be sent a code.
You then input very basic information about yourself and some background (all the usuals: zodiac sign, height, education, style), and use the settings option to set your preferences for prospective matches (age, male/female). You’re given a few creative prompts (i.e. what are two truths and a lie?) and asked to upload 6 photos, or import them from social media accounts. You can link your Spotify and Instagram accounts as well, if desired. You then begin looking at different profiles and photos, and swiping left or right, depending on if you like the profile or find the user physically attractive.
When a user you’ve approved of likes you as well, a message appears that says “Boom,” and you have the next 24 hours to send a message. The other user is given 24 hours to respond to initial contact (not extremely convenient for those who are busy or cannot use the app for a period of time, and perhaps frustrating if you’ve missed out on a potential connection this way). From there, you use a messaging service to chat back and forth and see how the conversation proceeds or talk about shared interests. In comparison to Tinder, this app seems more suitable if you’re seeking a more serious or longterm connection. In comparison to apps like OKCupid, it seems slightly more casual but users are also open to serious relationships, as well as exclusively physical connections. It’s important to bear in mind that if you’re a female user, even if you’ve established contact, you are still likely to receive a lot of physical commentary, and potentially match with a few bad apples (the rate seems higher than OKCupid but lower than Tinder for this).
I will admit that I was quite inexperienced with establishing initial contact or using opening lines and trained in crafting first responses, however other users seemed very forgiving of this, and I found they picked up the conversation and created further momentum fairly easily.
Connect Profiles If Desired:
Sample (Uncompleted) Profile:
Sample Mutual Connection:
While I did not use any of the paid features on the app, users who elect to sign up for plans can expect boosts in profile views and other enhancements. With “Bumble Boost,” users can enjoy added features, such as seeing users who have already swiped right on your profile, re-matching with expired connections, and extending your matches for an additional 24 hours. There’s an option to purchase “Bumble Coins,” which allow you to send “SuperSwipes” and make a bold first impression, however this feature does not seem very useful and I do not understand the difference between a “SuperSwipe” and regular one, other than alerting other users you are using the paid service. The prices for both boost and coins are displayed in the photos below:
Who The App Is Good For/Designed For
This app is definitely great if you’re seeking dating (serious or casual), if you’re seeking to network with different professionals in your industry or find mentors in different industries, or if you’re visiting a new town or have recently moved and are simply hoping to find new friends.
It’s ideal if you’re more middle of the road, in terms of being open to finding a genuine connection and dating, without only seeking a casual or physical relationship, but also not settle down immediately or feel pressured.
One of the greatest downfalls with online dating in general I’ve experienced are meeting users who either want to take things very fast, or are not at all seeking longterm relationships and/or genuine connections. Bumble is great if you’re a woman who experiences a lot of unwanted attention and contact via other apps like Tinder, and a great way to reduce unwanted harassment or lewd comments (without completely eliminating the possibility).
It’s also ideal if you’re a male user who’s become tired of always having to make the first move, or deal with a lot of messages that are not responded to. It’s suitable for men and women of all age ranges, and LGBTQ friendly if you’re seeking a same-sex relationship. It is not ideal if you’re a female user who would be uncomfortable making the first move, but is ideal if you’re not afraid to try that out and see if the process yields different results compared to more traditional services in the dating category.
I like this feature, as the majority of my previous relationships have started this way, and you get to be selective and pick users you feel commonality with. On both ends, you’re only speaking and contacting users that you have liked.
Sample Matches Using Quick Match Formula:
Positives and Negatives
Positives and negatives are certainly unique to what you are seeking and individual preferences, but with the Bumble app the main pros seem to be the ability for only women to make the first contact, reducing unwanted messages and harassment for female users, and letting male users relax and not feel as much pressure to always initiate. The company also seems to have a very strong feminist style marketing strategy, and social media platforms are peppered with female empowerment statements, another positive in a category that often feels to be just the opposite. As far as downsides, luckily they are few and far between in comparison to the positives, but if you are a woman always having to make the first move can seem tiring, and as with any dating app paid features will yield better luck. Additionally, the other user only has 24 hours to respond after you’ve sent a message, which is not ideal if you are busy or simply unable to use the app.
Here are some main pros and cons to bear in mind before you download the app and get started:
- In comparison to a lot of other platforms and apps in the category, matches tend to be quite attractive and provide really clear photos (this makes me wonder if other apps only show or display profiles of the most popular users to paid users)
- The female user in this case is always the initiator, and while it seems strange at first, it’s actually quite smart, as it greatly decreases the odds of harassment or lewd language
- Great app for male online daters who have grown tired of always having to make the first move
- Block and report features are designed to enhance safety for users
- The blog content section has great pieces and writing about various topics (not limited to dating or romance)
- Great middle of the road option: users do not seem to be seeking marriage immediately, but many are also interested in forming genuine relationships rather than strictly casual
- The app has “friendship” features, so you can use it if you’re looking to meet new people or visiting a new city or town and hoping to connect with locals
- The app also has business networking features, where you can connect with professionals in your industry or mentors, and learn more about different industries
- There are backtrack features, so if you accidentally swipe yes or no to someone, you can go back and reverse the choice, this is a great feature as often with Tinder if you accidentally swipe left or no to a profile you really enjoyed, it’s quite the disappointment
- Always sending the first message can be tiring, however it is empowering and unlike other dating apps, I have yet to experience any harassment, lewd comments, and take solace in no unwanted contact or need to “pass” on someone, just to have their profile pop up under options again
- Options for linking Instagram and Spotify accounts, if desired
- Perhaps there is a setting that can change this (but I have not discovered it), but every time you receive a new message, your phone vibrates, and it is rather annoying, especially if you cannot return the message at the time or are in a location where you’d rather your phone stay silent
- As with all dating apps, there are paid features that are designed to give preference to certain users, however in this case (particularly for women), I don’t see a need for paying for any special features, as users can expect to match and receive messages very consistently and quickly
- The users photo takes up most of the page, so if you’re quickly swiping on the basis of attraction or want to move quickly, it’s often difficult to craft a unique message (as you cannot return to the profile prior to sending)
- The other user only has 24 hours to respond to your message (and you only have 24 hours to send it), which is not ideal if you are busy, traveling, or otherwise unable to use the app for a single day
- It’s important to note that even if levels of harassment or unwanted comments are reduced, there will likely still be some with any dating site or service used
- The app does not work for Windows phones, and is compatible with iPhone and Android only
The Final Verdict
The Bumble app is definitely easy and fun to use, and a great way to establish new connections or dates with those with common interests.
It’s a good middle of the road option, in terms of level of commitment, and users can expect to find others interested in everything from very serious relationships, friendship, and casual relationships. The female user has to reach out first and establish initial contact, which is a great way to prevent unwanted messages, and great for male daters who are tired of always making the first move. It’s suitable for all ages, and also has professional/business networking features, and features designed exclusively for meeting new friends, which is a great way to establish new connections in your area, especially after a recent move. It’s also a great way to connect with locals if you’re on a trip. There are options to share social media accounts, as photos are limited to 6. If you’re seeking new connections and dating potentials without some of the hassles involved with a lot of other apps on the market in the category, Bumble makes a great option. Safety features such as blocking and reporting are strictly enforced, so users can feel safe in establishing contact. It’s nice to chat back and forth and the interface is quite simple, so setup is fast. While there is no particular algorithm for matching, you can view the prospect’s interests, information, dietary interests and read through their profile to see if there is any common ground.
I would highly recommend this app to women using online dating services who don’t want unwanted or undesirable contact (often when using different apps, even after passing a users profile will still display). I would also recommend this for men who would prefer being contacted first.