Filtering Love: Dating App Filters Narrow Your Search

Key Points

  • Dating apps set the course of dating in the 20th century, and new features continue to enhance the compatibility of your matches.

  • Filters on dating apps allow users to limit their search to people that label themselves with certain qualities.

  • Filter your pool of potential matches by age, location, gender, sexuality, political views, religion, relationship status, height, ethnicity, and many more categories.

  • Be careful not to overuse the filters on dating apps as it limits your match diversity and promotes discrimination when filtered by race, body type, sexuality, and other characteristics.

Society relies on dating apps to find love, dates, and casual flings. With a plethora of users, there are now filters on dating apps to narrow your search. From age and location to height and interests, filters on dating apps allow users to find exactly what they're looking for.

Have you ever stopped to think about these filters' impacts on dating culture? From perpetuating harmful stereotypes to promoting exclusivity, using filters on dating apps is a controversial topic that deserves closer examination. Be careful when incorporating these filters into your criteria, and only select features that are genuinely non-negotiable for you. You might be surprised by a cutie who is outside of your typical type!

New Age of Dating

Dating apps have revolutionized the world of dating. Since the 90s, people can log onto their computers to search for love. This allows you to meet a higher volume of people much faster. Showcase your best features, include information about your hobbies and interests, and announce what you seek.

This way of dating increases your chances of meeting someone you're compatible with compared to just approaching random cuties at the local bar. Many dating apps use algorithms to match you with compatible people based on your preferences. This makes things even easier for users searching for their perfect type.

Girl on dating app

Filters on Dating Apps

Most dating apps can filter your pool of potential matches by a series of preferences. OkCupid has a feature to filter out straight people. Tinder added a height filter, so users choose a minimum height for their matches, equipped with a height verification tool. Some filters prove very useful for users, but some promote exclusivity and shame to some groups of people.

If you're looking for a specific feature in someone you're dating, these filters are extremely useful in narrowing down your results. Remember that these filters only work on people who have added this information to their profile.

For example, suppose you are looking for someone of a specific religion and set your filter to this. In that case, the app will show profiles of people who have included this information already. Adding filters to your dating app pool limits the number of users you can match with.

According to Paul Eastwick, an associate professor of psychology and relationship researcher, "The problem with this approach is that we might pass on people who don't meet our criteria on paper, but might prove compatible in person. Compatibility cues — what we might call 'click' — are easily picked up face-to-face…”

“If you think your online dating pickings are slim or you're meeting people you don't click with, try widening or changing your criteria. For example, you could extend the age range of potential matches or swipe when you find yourself in a different part of town."

Here are some classic filters that are universally available on Hinge, Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Grinder, and many other dating apps:


Filtering your potential matches by age is important to find someone age appropriate. If you're open to any age, make a wide range within your filter preferences.

Props to you if you're open to dating any age, but be careful when dating someone significantly older than you on dating apps.


Each person's sexuality determines which genders they want to match with. Unless you're utilizing dating apps to find friends, the gender filter is essential in finding someone to match with, depending on your sexuality.

Select all the genders you wish to match with, and maybe add your sexual orientation to inform your matches.


The distance between you and your matches is logistical in finding someone to date. Decide how far you're willing to travel to go on a date, or how far away is okay for your boo to be.

Using dating apps

Your location often determines your preference for how much distance is acceptable. People in cities typically have a much smaller radius they're willing to date within versus people in the countryside. Start with a small distance and see what's available for you nearby. Play with expanding your distance if you exhaust the options closest to you.


Most dating apps provide the option to filter your matches based on their highest level of education. This feature is controversial as it may promote classism. Remain open-minded and compassionate with people of any education level.

Check out the feature if you feel dead-set on dating someone with a certain level of education, but skip it if you're able to stay open-minded about education levels. After all, someone's level of formal education doesn't reflect how smart and capable they are.


If you are looking for a match that shares your cultural background, filter your results only to see users within a certain ethnicity. Although this is useful for building a life together, stay open-minded to the ethnicity of your matches. It's a beautiful experience to date someone of a different ethnicity or be in an interracial relationship. Skip this one if you're on dating apps just for fun and casual relationships.

This feature is controversial as it's not inclusive. However, if it's vital for your culture and traditions to date someone within your ethnicity, give it a go.

Popular Dating Apps and Their Filters

Most mainstream dating apps have a feature to filter your results based on your preferences. Here are some unique filters available on popular dating apps:


Hinge is one of the most popular dating apps on the market, known for their thorough profiles and ability to change your location anywhere in the world. The app claims they are "designed to be deleted," attracting users in search of a relationship.

This app prioritizes your demographic details and preferences. Every user must upload six photos and answer at least three prompts to post their profile. There are countless options for values and interests.

Hinge uses a "most compatible" feature to recommend a match to you. These featured profiles come from the preferences you selected and users they liked in the past. Hinge believes that the person they display to you is most likely to like you and most likely for you to like back.

Hinge also has the option to narrow down your results yourself. As the app promotes long-term relationships, they find importance in matching you with someone you share values with. Some filters require a paid membership to use, but others come with the free version of the app. Hinge features the standard filters for gender, age, location, education, and ethnicity.

Here are some other filters available on Hinge:


If you refuse to date someone under a certain height, select this feature on Hinge. This ensures all of your potential matches meet your minimum height for riding.

Consider how important this is to you before adding it to your filters. You don't want to miss out on true love because someone is an inch below six feet tall!


People devoted to their religion usually want to date someone with the same beliefs. If you must bring home someone within the same denomination, filter your potential matches by religion. This avoids incompatibility issues later or awkward conversations on a dating app over religion.

Girl using phone


If you feel strongly about your political views and want to date someone with your values, filter your matches by their declared political party. This is useful with the recent rivalry between political parties and is more sustainable for long-term relationships.

Political views represent your values and views of the world, so find someone who aligns with your values.


Filter your potential matches on whether or not they have kids. Perhaps you have children and only want to date people who also have children. Maybe you have an aversion to rugrats and having kids is a deal breaker for you.

Regardless of your reasoning or preferences, filter your matches by children if you have a strong preference regarding offspring.

Drinking and Smoking

Hinge offers a feature to filter your matches based on how often they drink and smoke. This is especially useful for recovered addicts who avoid dating people with substance habits. On the other hand, perhaps you enjoy partying and want to find someone who's able to keep up with you.

Drinking and smoking habits play a bigger role in relationships than people realize. At least add your preferences to your profile, and filter your results if your boo's habits are important to you.


Tinder is notoriously the dating app for hookups. It's one of the most popular and most-used dating apps in the world. There's no shortage of users even in unexpected places. You have a large pool of potential matches to swipe through, so adding filters isn't as limiting.

Filters are useful when looking for someone you are compatible with to build a relationship. However, Tinder doesn't exactly have a reputation for finding soulmates. If you're one of the countless people using Tinder for hookups, consider skipping the filter step and staying open-minded to any type of match.

Swiping on dating app

If you're searching for a relationship and have specific preferences in dating, consider using their filters to narrow down your search for love. The free version of Tinder allows you to use these filters, so the only thing you miss out on is that mega-hottie that forgot to add the right info to his profile.

Tinder features the classic filters for gender, age, location, ethnicity, and these others:

Education and Work

Tinder allows users to filter their matches based on their level of education and field of work. This feature promotes classism, especially when overused.

If you're specific about dating someone within a certain field of work, filter your results to match your preferences. Use this feature to play around and determine which field of work interests you the most to settle on your type.

Skip this feature and be more inclusive in your matches. Someone's work is hardly relevant to how compatible you are together.


Filtering your matches on their music, sports, and hobbies is one of the most useful ways to narrow down potential partners. Compatibility is largely based on an individual's interests and habits. Finding someone that also shares your love for hip-hop music makes your lives flow together more easily.

If you dream of sharing a passion with a potential partner, add a filter to your Tinder to only meet people within your criteria.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation plays a large role in your compatibility with someone. Members of the LGBTQ+ community especially prioritize matching with people that identify with certain sexual orientations. If you're looking for a specific sexual orientation in your partners, use this filter.

This feature is controversial as some users use it to feed their homophobia. However, it also protects the LGBTQ+ community from homophobic users who filter them out.


Bumble is a popular dating app famous for its unique dynamic of women messaging first. It has also gained a reputation for Bumble BFF, a feature to only look for friends on the app. The interface is simple and pleasing to use, with a large user base around the world.

Bumble offers filters like many other mainstream dating apps. Some of these preferences are available to all users, such as gender and age, but other features require payment.

Bumble allows users to filter by gender, age, distance, education, height, politics, children, drinking and smoking habits, religion, and these other qualities:

Exercise Frequency

If you're a gym rat, you likely want to find a boo that loves lifting as much as you. If yoga in the evenings is a part of your routine, an ideal partner has their mat out next to you. When exercise is a top priority in your life, it's nice to find a partner with the same ambition.

Having a shared drive to move your body keeps each other motivated and ensures you have a similar mindset for self-care. Filter your matches by their frequency for movement to find a compatible match for you.

Man using cell phone

Zodiac Sign

If astrology is important to you, you can filter your potential matches by their star sign. If you swore off Pisces men after your last crazy ex or find that only Cancer women emotionally fulfill you, Bumble has your back.

Remain open-minded with the zodiac sign of your matches, but utilize the feature if it's truly a deal breaker for you.


OkCupid's platform works by analyzing your personality from a set of questions and matching you with compatible people close by. Their system is more complicated and thorough, attracting users who want deeper connections.

In addition to their algorithm for compatibility, filter your results on your specific deal breakers. Some filters are available for all users, but others are exclusive to paid members.

Beyond the classic age, gender, location, education, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and substance habits, you have other options for filters:

Relationship Status

OkCupid has an open-minded platform for users beyond a monogamous relationship. If you're monogamous by nature, filter your results to see users with a "single" status. If you're in search of dating a couple, filter your results to see your options.

This filter allows users to explore and match with a specific relationship dynamic in mind.

Body Type

OkCupid has rolled out an option to filter your potential matches by body type. This feature has received much backlash as it encourages discrimination against certain body types. This also promotes unrealistic and unhealthy body standards.

Of course, some people like what they like and utilize this feature to reduce their swiping time. Stay open-minded and inclusive in your vision of beauty to maintain a healthy view of body types and open up your options for dating.

Match Questions

If there's a match question on OkCupid, which is vital for you in a relationship, you have the option to filter your matches by this answer. Find someone very specific to what you're looking for, but be careful not to be too specific and limit your options.


Grindr is a unique type of dating app geared towards matching local gay men for hookups. The app is for gay, bi, trans, and other queer men. It's a leading app within the LGBTQ+ community.

The app contains classic profile features and a location-based matching system. There's a messaging feature to chat with someone after matching.

Grindr received criticism years ago for its ability to filter matches by race. Critics accused the app of discrimination and racism. This filter is now removed.

Users have the chance to filter their potential matches by age, distance, ethnicity, and relationship status. Some filters are available for all users, but some you must pay for.

Here are the other unique filters featured on Grindr:


Men on Grindr have the option to filter their matches based on their tribe or LGBTQ+ subculture. Find people within your specific tribe to ensure you have shared interests and communities. Select from bear, clean-cut, daddy, discreet, geek, jock, leather, rugged, twink, and many more.

This filter has the potential to greatly limit your options depending on what area you live in. Stay flexible in which subculture your matches are a part of, or find pride in your tribe and match with people who feel the same.

Sexual Health

The gay community prioritizes sexual health and discloses their HIV status on Grindr. Filter your potential matches by positive, negative, or unknown. Hopefully, in the future, all dating apps will encourage users to disclose their sexual health!

Looking For

One of the most useful filters available on dating apps is narrowing your search by what users seek. Select this filter to match with people based on their search for chats, networking, friends, relationship, and right now.

It's useful to know exactly what you're looking for on a dating app and swipe through people exclusively searching for the same. This saves a lot of wasted time with dead-end matches or asking the age-old question, "what are you looking for on here?"


Taimi is a popular dating app within the LGBTQ+ community, designed similarly to social media. The app is for making friends, socializing, dating, networking, and so much more.

This has the largest user base of any LGBTQ+ app, giving you the most options for potential matches. The app features filters similar to many other dating apps. Unfortunately, most filters, including for gender, require a paid membership.

Taimi allows users to filter their potential matches by gender, age, location, education, sexual orientation, ethnicity, smoking and drinking habits, relationship status, and body type. Choose which features are non-negotiable and filter your results to match your criteria.

Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel is an up-and-coming dating app that encourages users to take their time dating but get off the app soon and meet in person for a coffee. Create a profile and swipe like many other popular dating apps.

Using dating apps

The app prioritizes compatibility and offers you potential matches that their algorithm finds for you. You also have the opportunity to match with people outside of their prescribed matches and discover different things.

With a paid subscription, match with more people per day and see more detailed profile information.

Coffee Meets Bagel features filters for age, distance, religion, ethnicity, height, education, smoking and drinking, and family plans.

Filter Your Swipes

If you know a specific feature you want in a love interest, utilize the filters on your favorite dating app. Be aware that these filters limit the number of people in your dating pool. Only use filters for details that are non-negotiable for you. Make sure you have a profile that shines to optimize your matching further.

Filters allow a more tailored experience on dating apps. However, they also have the potential to cause exclusivity in dating and limit you from experiencing connections with a variety of people. Be cautious not to overuse these filters, but make the most of them to find the best matches for you!

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