Are Niche Dating Sites Right For You?

Nina Livelo | 12.03.19 | 0 Comments

So you’ve joined an online dating community in the hopes of leaving behind the exhausting world of IRL dating. Hundreds of thousands of potential partners appear on your screen with the click of a button. It’s like magic and at first, it seems promising. Once you’ve scrolled through what could be the entire population of a small country, though, you’re drained. It can begin to feel like you’re drowning in that metaphorical sea of fish everyone’s always going on about. Enter: niche dating sites.

Niche dating sites are unique dating sites tailored to specific communities. By narrowing the field for entry, they ensure users a higher chance of finding a match, at least one who shares similar ideals, interests, or features. From redheads to sneaker-heads, it seems like there’s a niche dating site for every demographic these days.

Though these sites often taut higher success rates, they’re not for everybody. You may be better off sticking to traditional dating sites. Together, we’ll figure out whether niche dating is the right path for you.

What Makes Niche Dating Sites Different Than Traditional Dating Sites?

You probably already know how traditional dating sites work. Fill in your profile and an algorithm presents you with a long list of possible matches. Otherwise, you fill in a search bar with information about your perfect match and see what it comes up with. This method is great because there are lots of options. In fact, many traditional dating sites use their huge userbases as an incentive to join. While they rely on the idea that more users means more chances at love, niche dating sites disagree.

To these specialty dating sites, less is more. Instead of providing a meeting place for everyone, niche dating sites focus on single demographics. As a result, the communities tend to be rather small, which is actually what makes them so appealing. Knowing outright that your match already meets your fundamental requirements takes much of the guesswork and tedium out of dating.

It’s no surprise that interest-based dating sites would be a success. 64% of happily married couples say that having shared interests is the most important aspect of a relationship. For people who have a passion they want to share with their partner, niche dating sites could be promising.

The Wacky and the Wonderful

If there’s one thing that the Internet is great at, it’s reminding you that you’re not alone. The web has long been a meeting place for like-minded individuals and now, it’s a marketplace for like-minded individuals, too. Whoever you’re looking for in a partner, there’s probably a niche dating site where you’ll find them.

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Glasses-wearers looking for fellow four-eyes may try the dating app SPEX. Online gamers looking for a Player 2 have the option of GamerDating. Cat lovers, tall people, vegetarians…the list goes on. When it comes to niche dating, there’s no such thing as being too specific.

Where Filters Fall Short

If you already subscribe to a traditional online dating service, you might wonder, “why not just filter your results?” Traditional dating sites like Match and PlentyOfFish provide such an option. By checking a box, you can sort by appearance, personality traits, lifestyle options, and even certain interests. This method can allow you to pick and choose while still casting your net wide. If you change your mind, you can just uncheck the box.

However, the filter method does have a couple of drawbacks. First of all, filters aren’t always specific enough to accomplish the goal of most niche dating sites. Sure, you might be able to find other LGBTQ singles with a filter, but you probably won’t find other farmers. For that, you’d be better off visiting a site like FarmersOnly.

The other issue with using filters has to do with the paradox of choice. This is the idea that having too many options may lead to choice paralysis and increase the likelihood that you won’t choose anything, or anyone, at all. With so many different filters to fiddle with, users often change their minds about who they’re even looking for.

Should You Choose a Niche Dating Site?

The thought of joining a specialty dating site can sound fun and intriguing at first, but it might not be necessary. Niche dating tends to be best suited to the LGBTQ community, religious singles, and those who date within their race. Everyone else might want to weigh the pros and cons of niche dating before forking over a monthly subscription.

niche-dating

Pros

  • A good alternative to the fatigue of traditional dating sites and apps and their endless streams of options.
  • You can be more specific about your interests than is possible on mainstream sites. For example, Jewish singles may be able to filter for other Jewish singles on Match, but Jdate allows you to specify whether you’re Orthodox or culturally Jewish.
  • You are more likely to meet people who take you seriously and aren’t just fetishizing you.

Cons

  • With fewer profiles, you might find yourself getting bored more quickly.
  • Only dating other people like you closes you off to a world of discovery. You may miss out on the chance to fall in love with someone who’s nothing like you.
  • Sometimes superficial connections end up being shallow connections.

The Best Dating Sites by Niche

If you’ve come to the conclusion that niche dating is worth a go, it’s time to find a site. Here are a few options for some of the most popular niches.

Seniors

Mature adults over age 50 now make up 12% of people who use online dating sites. One of the niche dating sites that cater to this demographic is SilverSingles dating. People also rave about OurTime’s website because of its simple, intuitive interface.

Gay Men

A Market Watch study from 2017 found that online dating is the most popular way that homosexual couples met their partner.  Sites like Gaystryst are especially popular for gay men looking for lasting love. For hookups, the gay site MenNation is a better way to go.

Lesbians

The biggest problem for lesbians when it comes to online dating is getting catfished by men. To avoid being sexualized and cornered by straight men online, try sites like Compatible Partners, which is made specifically for the LGBT crowd.

Reminders: Tips for Successful Online Dating

online-dating-success

  • Spend time crafting your profile. The best way to attract a good match is by being honest about yourself. Choose a picture that reflects who you really are and write a bio that shows off your interests and personality.
  • Take your time talking to matches online before meeting up. That’s what dating sites are for. If you spend time getting to know your potential date before meeting up with them, you’ll be more comfortable when it comes time for the actual date.
  • When you do decide to meet your date, choose somewhere you feel comfortable. Pick someplace public where you’ll be able to relax and talk.

Time to Test the Waters

Traditional dating sites still provide the security of a near-endless supply of matches, but they might just be too much. Niche dating sites succeed where traditional sites fail, helping people make meaningful connections based on shared interests. If you’re looking for singles with the same qualities as you, it may be time to try out a niche dating site. Even if there’s no love connection, you’re bound to meet like-minded friends.

Nina Livelo
author

Born in San Francisco, Nina Livelo has spent the better part of the last decade hopping from city to city around the globe. When she's not working as a freelance writer, you can find her looking for the most unique local bite to eat.

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