Dating is hard enough in the best of situations, but when you’re heading to work as the sun is going down it’s even tougher to connect with anyone, least of all that potential special someone. Online dating, then, offers the best chance for people who work the night shift to meet people. In this ultimate guide, we cover what it takes to be successful at night shift dating and review the best night shift dating sites you can use immediately.
Best Night Shift Dating Site: Top 4
Sites that allow you to create a profile and be instantly connected with matches, or that allow you the ability to search for your own matches, will be more successful for people who work the night shift than those that require steps before direct communication is allowed. Keeping all of this in mind, traditional online dating sites that require lots of steps to connect with matches aren’t as effective for people who work the night shift.
Mobile dating apps are often considered mainly for hookups, but the upside is that it’s possible to access the apps at any point and connect directly with people who check off the right boxes. Ease of access is something that also makes mobile dating services more ideal for the overnight crew.
Match is probably the top “traditional” online dating site for people who work the night shift and who are looking for an algorithm to determine potential matches. Match is one of the older dating sites and as such has the best name recognition. There’s also the added benefit of having access to the Match mobile site as well, so it’s really the best of both worlds. Signing up for Match is free but in order to communicate with your matches you’ll need a paid subscription.
Tinder is a free app, but paid subscriptions are available. Tinder Plus is $9.99, or $19.99 for subscribers age 30 and up. It might be the punchline to dating jokes, but Tinder is a great place for night shift workers who want to connect with people quickly.
Zoosk will allow users to access the service for free but if you want to talk to people who match your profile you’ll have to pay for the ability to communicate with them. Subscriptions run 12-months, 6-months, 3-months and monthly, with various discounts available from time to time.
Check out our more detailed comparisons of Zoosk:
Adult Friend Finder
Adult Friend Finder is available on mobile and online platforms and its focus is mainly on connecting with like-minded individuals to meet up for sex. The basic functions of the site are free but a paid membership will grant access to additional content and features.
What is Night Shift Dating?
The world of online dating is an all-encompassing umbrella that covers all manners of relationships and relationship-seekers. There’s a special group of relationship-seekers that aren’t officially recognized as a “category” and that is the people who work overnight. No matter what kind of relationship they’re looking for, be it a long-term romance or quick hook up, they’re faced with the challenge of meeting people when they work while so many of us are sleeping.
While it can be challenging, it’s not impossible to work the night shift and find love or companionship. It just takes a little extra effort and planning.
Night Shift Schedules
The night shift, which is also known as an overnight shift or the third shift, encompasses all of the work schedules that take place during the night when a majority of people are sleeping. If “traditional” hours are 9-5, then a typical overnight shift is anything that takes place outside of those hours that go late into the night and end early in the morning.
24-hour stores, bakeries, university custodial staffs and even some theme parks have what’s called a third shift so that there is a 6am-2pm shift, the 2pm-10pm shift and the 10pm-6am shift, or some variation thereof. That last shift is responsible for coming in and getting everything cleaned and ready for the next day. They’re mainly maintenance and custodial workers but can include all manner of employees who might be needed at night.
There are also industries, including healthcare and emergency services, that have employees working 12-48 hour shifts that take them through the night.
While there are many possible night shift schedules, one thing is clear: Anyone working the night shift is typically working while the vast majority of people are home sleeping. As such, night shift workers have learned to adapt to their schedules by running errands immediately before and after their shifts. Finding time to go on a date, though, can be a challenge when schedules don’t match up.
Burning the Midnight Oil
We live in a 24/7 world and many companies and industries have employees who work overnight. There are two main categories of night shift employees: Those that come in at night to prepare for the business day and those that are in 24-hour industries.
Night shift workers include everything from custodial workers who clean offices and stores at night while they’re closed to firefighters and hospital workers who are on call to respond to emergencies and care for patients overnight. It could also be anyone working at 24-hour big box stores, grocery stores, drug stores or convenience stores.
Ups and Downs of Working Nights
People who work nights find that there are lots of benefits to getting off early in the morning. They do their grocery shopping early in the morning when stores first open. Another benefit of getting off work at 6am is that there is little traffic on the road and stores aren’t crowded. Being able to be out so early actually cuts down on time spent running errands because of how few people are around. It’s also possible to run those errands before the night shift begins, well after the afternoon rush ends.
The downside of working nights is that you’re asleep most of the day. When you get off work at 6am and want dinner, most fast food chains are only serving breakfast – if they’re even open at all. Only so many stores and businesses are open that early in the morning, which means you have to run errands or make appointments later on in the morning before heading home to get sleep. In many cases you have to either stay up after your shift to take care of meetings or doctor appointments or wait until the late afternoon or evening after waking up.
Since a night shift takes place in the middle of the night it’s hard to meet up with friends outside of days off. Having a dinner date with someone who doesn’t work the night shift means coordinating schedules to have dinner before a night shift begins, which can disrupt sleep patterns.
Though it can be challenging, people who work the night shift have found ways to make the most of their nontraditional work schedules, but finding ways to date or meet people who don’t work night shifts can throw a wrench into things.
Night Shift Dating Sites: What to Consider
Let’s face it: Despite our 24/7 lifestyles, dating still fits best in that 9-5 mindset. Since there really isn’t a dating site created for folks who work nights (Hello, opportunity calling!) it’s up to you to make the most of what’s available. Though the system isn’t necessarily set up to work in your favor, it’s possible to be successful in your online dating endeavors if you play your cards right.
Make Your Availability Clear On Your Profile
Anyone who has ever experienced online dating knows that the biggest obstacle to success is a poorly constructed profile. Creating the perfect profile on any dating site platform is a challenge because this is what people will see before they ever have a chance to meet you. Once you’ve established your profile and made it clear that you work at night, the next step is to determine which site will lead to the greatest success.
Sites like eHarmony, which primarily rely upon a pre-established system of answering questions before direct communication is allowed, will be challenging for night shift dating. Since your matches aren’t screened for work schedules that match your own, potential matches could be responding to your messages whenever they’re awake, which means you’ll be sending messages while they’re sleeping, and your phone will be going off during the day while you’re trying to sleep. That delay in responding, especially given multiple series of questions, could lead to several days before you’re able to talk directly.
Set Right Expectations
Any dating site that connects you to matches and allows you to communicate directly from the outset will give you greater success. Match is one such site, and so too are hookup sites like Tinder and Adult Friend Finder, which focus on connecting you to people who meet your qualifications and leave the communication up to you.
When it comes to connecting with your matches, there are two sweet spots in your schedule: Immediately before and after your night shift. Talking to matches before your shift means you’re talking in the evening, and you might catch your matches in the morning if you send messages after your shift. From there you can arrange dinner or breakfast dates if you decide to meet, or you can plan to use your day off and have a full day to plan around.
Make it clear from the start that you work a job that requires you to work at night. This is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost it explains why you might not be as responsive to messages during the day, as you might be sleeping. On the other hand, you might not be able to access messages while you’re working at night. Explaining this from the start makes it easier to work around when you decide to meet someone.
It’s particularly helpful for healthcare professionals, first responders and people in the military to make it clear that they work shifts that can last upwards of 12 hours, particularly if you work a job that requires you to be on duty at night. It helps to clarify that you could be sleeping during the day as a result of your night shift.
By highlighting your work schedule from the start you’re making it clear to anyone you might meet that setting up a dinner date or chatting during a lunch hour will mean something different for you. It might seem trivial at first, but it’s better to clarify early on so potential matches don’t wonder why you don’t respond right away. After all, quick response times are incredibly important with online dating.
At the end of the day, Match, Tinder, Zoosk and Adult Friend Finder will all help you meet new people and it’s a matter of choosing the one that fits your personality the best. Match might be better suited for older (30+) users while Tinder and Zoosk definitely cater to a younger crowd, and Adult Friend Finder is the option for people looking for quick connections.
Without a dedicated night shift dating site that caters to people who work non-traditional hours, it’s up to night shift workers to make the available sites work for them. Dating sites with mobile platforms are the best for people who work overnight shifts and it’s really a matter of personal preference which one you choose.
Also, if all of this fails, you may consider finding a neighbor with benefits.