Finding love in the age of online dating can be daunting. How do you start conversations? How do you tell if they’re joking when there’s not a “LOL” or crying laughter face emoji? How do you deal with guys who try to call you baby after the first five minutes?

Whether you’re a complete noob to the world of online dating, or you’re just trying to find something new, I’ve got some things to tell you – particularly some advice on which dating app is best.

I tried 3 different apps, namely Tinder, OKCupid and Bumble and here’s what I’ve learnt:

Tinder

I downloaded Tinder in December 2016 after deciding that I would give dating apps a chance and get back into the dating game after a bad break up. 

I’ll admit that swiping left or right and getting matches was addictive at first and I got quite the thrill whenever I got that notification. I didn’t really have any prerequisites for matches yet and basically swiped right if a potential match looked cute and his profile sounded cool. I’ve learnt to be more selective now. 

With its increase in popularity, you can now find everyone and their uncle on Tinder. This means you’re going to find a lot of creepy looking guys (shame, sometimes they just have bad profiles), joke profiles and fuckbois. You sort of have to sift through all of that to find the gems on Tinder, but they are there. I’ve been on a few dates from Tinder, but a lot of people use Tinder as a hook up app, so be clear about what you want from the beginning and don’t be surprised if he doesn’t message you back after that first date. 

READ MORE: 18 kinds of guys you’ll find on Tinder

Bumble

I downloaded Bumble after spotting it in the play store. I had heard of it before and thought that I’d give it a try. Bumble is very similar to Tinder in that it has the same basic set up – people’s profiles come up, you can look through their pics, look at their bio and decide to swipe left or right. 

But, unlike Tinder, you have a free backtrack option (well, for 3 swipes at least) so if you change your mind about a swipe, you just shake your phone and the profile comes back. You can also do a BFF search and look for people you’d just like to be friends with, but I've never explored that option. 

The best part about Bumble though? Girls make the first move. This is obviously moot if you’re a girl looking for other girls, but if you’re a hetero woman looking for a guy, this means you get to take control of the situation. The only downside is that matches are only there for 24 hours and your match has 24 hours to respond to your messages so if they don’t, the match is gone and so is your hope of chatting up that pretty young thing. 

Bumble is a great alternative to Tinder – it looks better, there are less fuckbois to sift through and it puts the power in your hands instead of theirs.

READ MORE: My online dating match wasn’t woke enough

OKCupid

I decided to download this one, also on a whim after hearing about it from other people. Honestly, I was bored of Tinder and while Bumble was great, I wasn’t getting my match fix there. So I decided to try something a little different. 

OKCupid also has a swipe function so you can “like” people in close proximity to you but it also lists potential matches by their match percentage according to an algorithm they’ve set up to make sure the two of you get along well. 

Also, OKCupid asks you questions in 6 different categories, namely: Dating, Ethics, Religion, Sex, Lifestyle and other so you can read these questions and see if you and your potential match have similar replies and if you want to message them or have them reply to you. 

I like that OKCupid has these questions and works out your match percentage, but I've found there were a lot more creeps on OKCupid than on Tinder and Bumble combined. And people can still message you if you haven’t liked them. I’ve been privy to some really creepy shoutouts. 

READ MORE: Does the rise in sexually-transmitted infections have anything to with dating apps?

What I’ve learnt overall

Online dating can be really shitty, ya’ll. I’m not going to lie. You’re going to get your hopes up that maybe this guy will be someone you can actually date only to be disappointed when he can’t even string two words together. 

You will find complete idiots whose profiles looked so great on paper, but then they say something sexist/racist/homophobic to you and the illusion is shattered. 

But also you can potentially have a really good time. I personally like talking to different people and hearing their stories and what interests them. If that turns into a date or something more then that great, if not, then at least you learnt a little something about someone else. 

What have your dating experiences been like? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or email us