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10 Lesser-Known Uses for Dating Apps

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Young brunette woman leaning on her hand smiling at phone
It can be difficult to find that special someone in real life and on dating apps alike, but you might be missing out on something else without realizing it. If you broaden the scope of what you’re looking for beyond a romantic relationship, you might find that, even if things don’t go in that direction, you can still get a lot out of your app-inspired meetings.

People have used many different dating sites and apps to find friends, roommates, professional collaborators, and more. In fact, some apps even have features that are designed for things like networking and developing friendships.

If you’re open to finding more than a date or a hookup on a dating app, or simply curious about the possibilities, keep reading to learn about some outside-the-box ways to use dating apps.

1. Finding Friendships

No matter which app you’re using, you can write on your profile that you’re looking for friends and swipe accordingly—and even if you’re primarily interested in dating, don’t dismiss someone just because you’re not feeling that kind of chemistry. Maybe the person you don’t click with romantically will be someone you click with platonically—they could even become one of your best friends down the line.

If you use the dating app Bumble, you can create a separate profile designed specifically for finding friends using the Bumble BFF feature. Other apps, like OkCupid and Plenty of Fish, let you broadcast on your profile that you’re looking for friends and find others who are as well.

2. Networking

Keep an eye out for people in your line of work, and you just might find a professional mentor or collaborator on a dating app. Meet up as friends first and see if any opportunities come up, or write on your profile that one of your goals is to make professional connections. It might sound bizarre, but even HR magazine has noted that around one in ten UK employees uses dating sites exclusively for networking.

If you’re using Bumble, you can switch it to “bizz” mode to find colleagues, clients, mentors, investors, jobs, employees, or just friends in the same industry as you. The profile prompts let you share information about your career goals, work experience, and more.

3. Meeting Roommates

People are looking for housing all the time, and just as many have extra space in their homes. Since dating apps are designed to help you find people you’ll get along with, they take some of the guesswork out of finding others you might enjoy living with. You can write on your profile that you’re looking for a roommate, especially if you’re using a feature to look for friends.

On Bumble BFF, you can even add the tag “roommate life” to your profile.

4. Matchmaking

If you don’t hit it off with someone or can tell you won’t before even meeting, you may still know someone who would get along splendidly with them and vice versa. If you spot someone on Tinder who seems like a good match for a friend, you can tell your friend about them by clicking the “share” icon on their profile and forwarding it to them.

If you and someone you meet mutually agree that you’re not meant to be together, you can ask each other to keep an eye out for each other’s potential matches.

5. Linking Up With Fellow Event-Goers

If you’re going to a concert or music festival, you can connect with other attendees ahead of time and during the event using Tinder’s “Festival Mode”. Starting a month before the show, the app lets you select the event you’re attending and match with other people going to the same place. You can also join a “festival-goers” space where you can chat with people attending festivals not listed on the app, or who like festivals in general.

Aside from Tinder, there are many other apps designed for finding a night out.

6. Finding Travel Companions

It can be hard to get to know new people when you travel, especially if you’re by yourself. To make it easier, FairyTrail lets you connect with fellow travelers or locals wherever you are. People in over 100 countries use the app to meet friends, dates, and more. Or, if you’re looking for someone to travel with, MissTravel lets you meet fellow travel lovers and plan shared vacations.

7. Meeting Those With Common Interests

No matter how obscure your passions and interests are, you’re bound to find someone who shares them—and there’s a dazzling variety of dating apps to reflect that. Spiritual Singles lets you find others who share your spiritual interests, Find Fishing Dates connects those who enjoy fishing and boating, Dig links up dog lovers, and there’s an app for cat people, too, called Tabby.

These apps can also help you find friends who share your interests and offer a judgment-free space to chat about them.

Finding someone with common interests is essential when dating as a senior.

8. Finding Workout Buddies

If you’re looking for someone to help motivate you to work out—or just to keep you company during your next job or gym visit—check out Fitafy to meet other singles who enjoy exercise as much as you do. You can search for people who are into running, weight lifting, or whatever your activity of choice is.

Datefit has a similar premise, with a feature to find friends as well as romantic partners who share similar fitness interests.

9. Gaming

Some apps let you meet fellow nerds while indulging your love for gaming—and with the sheer growth of the gaming industry, you won't be hard-pressed to find someone you connect with.

Kippo is both a dating app and a massive multiplayer game: You can create a profile (with real pictures of you) that lists your gaming interests while engaging in avatar-based gaming and live chat with other users.

Using the app SLIDE’s Singletown feature, you can similarly wander around as an avatar, meet other avatars, and then see the profiles of the people behind them.

10. Understanding Your Astrological Chart

Several dating apps double as astrology apps, letting you not only learn more about who you are but also meet others who are astrologically compatible with you. Struck analyzes your chart and matches you with others who have matching charts, Nuit does the same while also offering you daily horoscopes and astrological forecasts, and The Pattern not only helps you find friends and partners but also teaches you about each relationship based on your charts.

A Final Note

There are so many kinds of connections you can make with so many different people, and opening yourself up to all of them will drastically increase your success on dating apps. Try to go on a date with an open mind so that you’re able to see everything this person has to offer you. And if you’re looking for something specific that’s outside the realm of dates or hookups, taking advantage of one of the features above can help you find that!

And if you've read through this article and decided that you'd prefer to stick to the dating scene, then take a look at our reviews of Zoosk and eharmony, two great apps guaranteed to find you someone special.

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Suzannah Weiss is a writer, certified sex educator, and sex/love coach.