Online Dating: Is It WWWorth it??
Ah, online dating. The apparent bane of the dating world. Supposedly 20% of relationships begin online – I know tonnes of people who’ve dated online and, heck, even my girlfriend and I met via a dating website – but there is still a stigma attached to it. The frequently asked “So how did you two meet?” is one that is generally regarded with dread, and some people just don’t understand why you can’t meet people “in the real world”. But long gone are the days of standing by yourself at a pub and hoping that some fella will come chat you up; in my opinion, online dating really can be a brilliant gateway to finding potential partners.
As you grow up, there are less and less opportunities where you’re pushed into meeting people, which means less chances for meeting a partner. The main places for socialisation are when you’re younger – specifically, at school. Most people, however, aren’t lucky enough to stay with their childhood sweetheart, if they have one (this option would save a LOT of time on the dating front). Then comes college and university, if you attend, and then the last place where you’re almost guaranteed to meet people is at work… but there’s no promise they’ll be your cup of tea. Not to mention, do you really want to be dating someone AND working with them? This is a huge reason that online dating is great. It means that those who simply cannot find spare time to go out and meet people – or have no idea where to go – are still able to connect with others. This is also true of individuals who have long working hours or those who don’t really like going out. Online dating means folk can sit down at whatever time of the day and send a message to whoever takes their fancy, and the other party can respond when they’re free. Brilliant.
Not only this, but it can be difficult meeting people in the real world with similar interests and values (and it’s always good to have something in common). It’s also a risk as, in real life, you can’t always be sure who is actually single and whether they’re even interested in you (both questions are hard to ask face-to-face). Even worse, it can be hard to tell someone face-to-face that you’re not interested, if you do happen to get approached. Online dating removes some of this worry as it allows you to view likes/dislikes of a particular person, habits they may have (if they smoke, for example) and whether they’re physically appealing to you. You can indicate your interest through a simple “wink” or similar, reducing the potential embarrassment that rejection would give in real life. Even better, rejection on your side is nowhere near as harsh as you can simply ignore their messages, if need be. It makes things a lot simpler and less stressful for everyone.
Furthermore, the fact that you’re likely to spend some time messaging a person on a dating site – rather than jump right into going on a date – means that you’re more likely to actually suss out whether the person is a good match for you before you shell out for date expenses, saving you lots of money from dates that didn’t work out. Some people do actually choose to speak for a few months before meeting up and may even chat on the phone, or video chat, before taking the plunge. This means that individuals generally should waste less time and effort on dating people that turn out to be “not their type”, although it does depend entirely on the person – some people just seem to love jumping straight in and serial dating.
So there are some really good reasons why it pays off to be online, but there are also a few things to consider. The first of these things is that people aren’t necessarily entirely truthful online. Individuals may lie about a plethora of things to make themselves appear more attractive, with the extreme being heavily editing their profile pictures or using photos that are not even of themselves. Yep, catfishing does happen, and it’s not pretty. This can pose a problem when it comes to looking for relationship material as you can’t be sure about someone until you’ve met up with them; for this reason, it’s important to take profiles with a grain of salt.
Sadly, this isn’t the type of catfish you’re likely to find on dating sites.
Another drawback of online dating is that you’ll probably have to search through a lot of profiles to find people that are actually your thing. You will also probably get A LOT of messages from people that you have no interest in speaking to (which is why it’s handy that you can just ignore them). If you’re willing and prepared to put up with this then you probably won’t have too many issues with the sites. Also, many dating websites do expect some sort of fee for their services to allow you to contact other users, so this is something to consider before putting yourself out there. If you’re not really that bothered about finding a partner then you might want to think twice about shelling out cash.
Online dating offers a simple and generally stress-free way to meet individuals with similar interests and ideals, and is becoming an increasingly popular method of finding a partner. It can be a bit of effort to trawl through lots of profiles and messages from people that really aren’t going to be of interest to you, but it’s definitely worth it if in turn you find your ‘ideal’ match.
What do you think of online dating?