The old folks might say that kids these days don’t get serious about anything. While it’s true that fewer 20-somethings than ever are dating with marriage in mind, that doesn’t mean they aren’t dating seriously.
If you’re dating in your 20’s, you’re very serious about meeting sexy, fun people who make you feel like the rock star you are! And luckily there are plenty of dating apps for 20s to meet one another, whether you’re looking to keep it casual or hoping to meet the love of your life.
Top Dating Apps for 20 Somethings
When it comes to the best dating app for 20 year olds (or 20 somethings), our top pick is Zoosk. The reason for this is two-fold. Number one—the site has over 35 million members which means a ton of unique options. Your 20s is all about learning what you like and what you don’t like, so why choose a niche site that cuts you off from this valuable experience.
Number two—Zoosk caters to singles looking for serious and casual relationships (and everything in between). The chances are extremely high that what you want in your 20s romantic life will change multiple times. You may want casual for a while, and then you may want something a little more serious. Or even more, you just may not know what you want at all (and that is okay). With a site like Zoosk, you can set up one profile and use it for several different relationship goals. It’s the best of both worlds.
If you’re in your 20s and want to meet some amazing singles, 35 million of them to be exact, check out Zoosk!
What Makes These the Best Dating Apps for 20-Year-Olds
Whether you’re looking for casual or serious dating, you have a lot of options in your 20s…like A LOT. It’s one of the most-served age brackets in all of online dating. And while lots of options are great, it can make actually choosing a site a bit of a drag.
That is reason number one that we put this guide together to recommend these top 20 year old dating apps. But how did we reach our conclusions? What makes these truly the best options for singles in their 20s? Well, here are a few of the reasons
- An abundance of singles in their 20s and early 30s:– It’s not going to be a great option if there’s no one to date, right? These dating apps have plenty of singles right in your age bracket.
- Some singles in their late teens:– If you’re in your early 20s, you’re probably cool with dating someone who is 18 or 19, but not any younger. These dating apps allow users of this age but tend to have hard rules about anyone younger making them the ideal options.
- Options for serious and casual dating:– Everyone is looking for something a little different at this age. For that reason, the top options need to accommodate flexibility, curiosity, and multiple end goals. You’ll see that the options provided are good for serious dating, casual dating, making new friends, hookups (some of the options), and anything else you could be looking for.
- Tech-friendly platforms:– While we don’t think that every website you visit has to have a dedicated and downloadable app to use, we do think that every dating website needs to be mobile friendly. 20 something year olds are generally on the cutting edge of technology, which means you want the ability to meet and match on the go.
- Clear social media stances:– For some 20 somethings, they want to connect their dating profile to their social media (Instagram Facebook, TikTok, etc). For others, they want to be 10,000% clear the two will never be connected. Whatever the case, we get it. For that reason, our top options give you the flexibility to choose, but also do it in a way where you know for sure what is or what is not being shared.
- Affordable pricing:– Especially in your early 20s, the cliché that money doesn’t grow on trees probably feels pretty dang true. While we don’t ever advocate for using free dating apps because of quality and safety concerns, we think you can get great results from affordable options without setting your wallet or purse on fire.
What Dating in Your 20s is Like
There are a lot of reasons you might be curious about what dating in your 20s is like. Maybe you’re fresh off your 20th birthday and brand new to the scene? Maybe you’re well into your 20s and have been focusing more on your education and career? Maybe you just got out of a long-term relationship with someone you’ve been dating since high school? No matter the reason, diving back into the dating pool can be scary when you don’t know what to expect.
Here are a few things to break down what you may experience out there. And after that, we’ll take a look at the hookup culture vs. serious relationships for singles in this age bracket.
- This is the age where relationship goals will be the most polarized. – When you’re dating in your 30s, a large majority of people are looking for something serious. In your 20s, though, everyone is just figuring it out. This means you’ll have a lot of people looking for casual fun, a lot of people looking to find someone to marry, and a lot looking for everything in between. None of these relationship goals are wrong, they’re just different. Be prepared for this, and be okay with it. You’ll see in our tips section that this is why being open, up front, and clear about your goals is so important when dating in your 20s.
- The awkwardness will be at its highest (and that’s okay) – Unless you started dating at two years old, you aren’t going to have decades of experience. In fact, a lot of people in their 20s are brand new to dating, which is totally fine. Think about the first time you did anything. For the most part, you were probably confused, awkward, and didn’t know what to do with your hands. Expect this when it comes to dating other single 20 year olds. But also—embrace it. Learning about yourself, the world, and dating can be a fun experience. Just be safe about it, and don’t let the awkwardness be a turn off.
- People may judge you for having different priorities – As we mentioned earlier, people’s relationship priorities will be polarized. But, on top of that, their priorities as a whole might be polarized. For example, some people might only care about their career and not about dating at all. Some might be the opposite. The possibilities are endless. And while we embrace this and you probably do too, not everyone will. Expect some people to try and judge you because you don’t have the same priorities as them. And when that happens, what should you do? Ignore them. It’s your life. You do you, boo.
As you approach your 30s, you may start to feel pressure – Especially for people who have been on the hunt for a serious relationship without much luck, expect to start to get a little pressure from people (or yourself) as you approach the big 3-0. While this pressure is much stronger when you get into your late 30s, it still can happen in your late 20s. We’re not here to say the pressure is right (because it’s not); we’re just here to tell you to be prepared for it. Again, though, it’s your life. And an even more specific response, you have so much time in life. Lots of people meet their significant other in their 30s and 40s and live happy lives with all the same opportunities as those that met them in their 20s.
- You may also feel pressure in your early 20s – Don’t think that pressure is only reserved for those dating in their late 20s. Expect some pressure in your early 20s, but different kinds of pressure. Again, people like it when people are doing things the way they are. It makes them feel like they’re not alone and that what they’re doing has to be right. The reality? Sometimes it is right, and sometimes it’s not. Expect to get pressure to date more seriously, have more fun, be more experimental, do more things sexually, date certain kinds of people…the list is pretty endless. What do we think of this pressure? It’s crap. Plain and simple. Again, you do you boo. It’s your life, and you get to make the decisions that are going to make you the most happy and that have consequences you are okay with, both positive and negative.
Hookup Culture vs. Relationships in Your 20s
The recurring theme you’re probably seeing here is the great battle between hookup culture and dating for relationships. For those not familiar with the term, hookup culture is the idea that singles can (or should) experiment around sexually and have no-commitment fun with whomever they choose.
Are either of these approaches right or wrong? We’re not here to judge how you choose to date and how you choose to live your life. The answer to that question is that you need to do what makes you the most happy, as long as you’re good with accepting the potential consequences.
Here are our thoughts on the two approaches to dating in your 20s.
Hookup culture is something a lot of people enjoy. They see their 20s as a time to experiment, learn about themselves, and try new things. It’s clearly not the way our parents used to date, but it’s become quite widely accepted, especially in college towns or areas with a lot of younger people.
The pros? It can be fun. The cons? You do risk getting an image as a playboy or one of many rude terms people use to identify promiscuous women. Additionally, there’s a lot of belief that engaging in hookup culture makes it near impossible to meet someone special and sours a lot of relationships from the start. Again, if it’s not your goal to meet someone special though, that probably doesn’t matter. Lastly, be aware that there are potential sexual consequences. We’re not here to give you a sex-ed lesson, but at least consider this.
For those looking to meet someone for serious dating in their 20s, you might feel like you’re all alone. Why? Well, the hookup culture is absolutely the loudest. You’ll hear way more people bragging about their one-night sexual exploits than you will people bragging about a great meaningful conversation they had.
The reality, though, is that a lot of singles are looking for more meaningful relationships at this age. All you have to do is check out one of the dating apps for 20 year olds we recommended and you’ll see what we’re talking about. The pros of dating for something serious? You have a lot fewer risks to your reputation, sexual health, and emotional well-being. The cons? You might feel like you’re missing out, though, we’d argue that FOMO is probably going to be a lot more temporary than you think.
Ultimately, it’s up to you. Just decide on a course of action that makes you happy and one that comes with consequences you’re okay living with.
Early 20s Dating vs. Late 20s Dating
Does dating really change from your early 20s to your late 20s? The answer is that for most people it does, but it’s really up to you and what you want. Typically, people in their very early 20s are looking for more casual dating. Does this mean if you’re in that age bracket you can’t look for something serious? Absolutely not! It’s just the overarching trend.
As singles get towards their late 20s, you start to see a bigger shift towards “settling down” and finding serious and more committed relationships. Again, this doesn’t mean you have to give up casual dating if you don’t want to. Just be aware that a lot of your peers will be making the shift, so you may need to date a little younger or look a bit harder for what you want.
How This Affects Your Dating App Choices
The dating apps for your 20s that we recommended are geared around a few different relationship goals. And when it comes to picking the right app for you, that’s how you should be making your decision. All of these apps have singles in their 20s, but the goals of these singles vary by site.
- If you’re not sure if you want casual or serious, try a site like Zoosk.
- If you’re looking for someone who may also be career-focused, try a site like Elite Singles.
- If you’re looking for a serious and committed relationship, try a site like eHarmony or Christian Mingle.
Tips for 20-Year-Olds Look for a Serious Relationship
- Be clear about what you want – Singles in their 20s want all different things. It’s imperative that you clearly state your intentions and ensure that’s reciprocated before putting yourself in a situation where you may risk getting emotionally hurt.
- Be open to different kinds of people – Rather than focusing on traits you think you want in a perfect match, set loose guidelines on dating apps and focus on the big picture when reading a profile. You wouldn’t want to miss out on someone amazing just because they had a tiny flaw! For more, check out our article, Why Mr. or Ms. Perfect Does Not Exist.
- Look for shared values over shared interests – When it comes to creating a life with someone, shared values are absolutely necessary. You can love all the same music and share a passion for poodles, but if you don’t agree on the fundamentals—your relationship isn’t likely to go far.
- Don’t wait for a relationship to be the person you want to be – Sometimes it feels like that great trip you want to take or the club you want to join would be so much more fun if only you had the right person on your arm. Don’t wait! Doing the things you want to do with your life now will make you a thousand times more attractive to people who share your interests.
- Don’t prioritize bars and clubs for meeting – Yes, bars and nightclubs can be a lot of fun, and they’re a great place to meet other singles. However, they’re generally reserved for singles looking to hookup or casually date. Yes, these are situations that could turn into something more serious, but there are a lot better places to prioritize your efforts if you want something meaningful.
Tips for 20 Year Olds Looking for Casual Dating
- Be up front with your expectations – Make it clear that you’re looking for short-term or casual fun, if that’s what you’re looking for. Starting off with honesty will help reduce the potential for drama later on. If someone expresses they want something serious and you absolutely don’t, share that. Don’t pretend you might be open to it just to get the fun you want.
- Reach out first – Don’t just match with people, say hello! If nobody reaches out first, there’s no conversation and no first meet. If you’re nervous or aren’t sure what to say, here is a great first-message guide to help you make a good impression.
- Yes, you have to fill out your profile – Just because you aren’t looking for something serious doesn’t mean potential matches don’t want to know who they’re talking to. As we discuss in our article, Reasons You’re Not Getting a Response, the next move someone makes after reading a message is to read your profile to gauge whether or not they want to respond. Give them something to respond to!
- Try anything once – Date and talk to people you wouldn’t usually date! Since you’re keeping it casual, there’s no pressure to find Mr. or Ms. Right. Look outside your usual preferences to find connections with people who have different perspectives. You might learn something about yourself in the process, plus you increase your chances of getting to that first meet.
Dating Apps for 20s FAQ
What’s the best dating app for 20 year olds?
Honestly, the best dating app for 20 year olds depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something casual that may turn into something serious, Zoosk might be best for you. If you’re a young professional looking for other people who respect the importance of a career, Elite Singles might be best for you. If you’re in your later 20s and looking for something serious, eHarmony is probably the best dating app for you.
Is dating harder in your 20s?
If you’re honest with yourself and others about what you want from your love life, dating will be easy at any age. The great thing about dating in your 20’s is that a higher percentage of your peers are single.
How do I find love in my 20s?
You can try the bar scene, join a club, or go to singles events, but dating sites and Apps, for 20somethings, are hands-down the easiest way to meet a wide variety of potential partners.
Why is dating so hard in your 20s?
Broad cultural ideas about dating may have stayed largely the same, but expectations for our lives have changed drastically through the last few generations. People in their 20s today have more debt, less financial stability, less job security and a broader array of career options than their counterparts thirty years ago did. That instability can contribute to insecurity, a feeling that one is not ready for a relationship, or a sense that life is too overwhelming to handle the work it takes to have a relationship.
It doesn’t have to be hard though! If you want to date, just do it! Throw up your hands to everything else and just put yourself out there. You don’t have to be perfect to meet someone who’s perfect for you!
All you need for successfully dating in your 20s is a desire to meet people who make you feel good and a willingness to take the steps necessary toward meeting them–and since you’re reading this article, we’re guessing the time is right for you. Whether you want to find your soul mate, a romantic fling, or an activity buddy, you can do this!
So get out there! Sign up for one of the apps above today, build your profile, and start talking to potential matches!