Online dating is the newest frontier in dating. With its easy access to hundreds of people and every site promising some sort of pseudo-science witchcraft to find you a soul mate, it’s easy to understand the inclination to hitch your wagon on it’s train.
Does this mean our days of fanning ourselves in the saloon waiting for a certain cowboy to saunter in are behind us? Or are we perhaps too quick to leave the methods we know behind in hopes of greener pastures. Online dating is a boom town with ramifications too deep to ignore, but it might not be wise to put all of our shotgun shells down its barrel.
1. Paging Judge Judy.
There are about a million dating sites, and whether you’re Jewish, vegan or a gun enthusiast (maybe all three, no stereotypes here), there’s probably one tailor-made for your interests. Even if you go with a broader strokes dating site like Match.com or OkCupid, the moment you log in you’re confronted with pages of potential matches.
For some people, that’s beneficial. In that capacity, you can use whatever manner of compatibility meter the site has for good. Maybe you and that freaky goth guy are both really into gardening, Civil War memorabilia or extended metaphors about cowboys. The plethora can be a really positive experience.
However, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed, and because of that, many users make snap judgments about potential dates based on even more superficial qualities than one might use in person. Scrolling through a Rolodex of profiles sometimes allows us to forget that there’s a living, breathing person attached to that photo and that you might have more in common than three paragraphs can explain.
2. Big expectations and big letdowns.
Online dating sites make a lot of lofty promises. While eHarmony and its 200 dimensions of compatibility stand out, most sites offer results based on some sort of mathematic magic. Not even the fun kind of math, like the land Donald goes to learn to cheat at billiards.
With promises of soul mates and aggressive add campaigns of people with nice teeth dancing to oldies, anything less than a walk down the aisle can be a letdown. You can’t always get a full picture of people with a survey.
Attraction is tricky and difficult to pinpoint for even the most self-aware individuals. It’s hard to quantify the way a person laughs or how they shove their hair behind their ear when they’re nervous. Sometimes you have to see for yourself.
3. But don’t count it out.
Meeting someone online is quickly joining the ranks of “through friends” or “in the produce section.” (Does that really happen? I think it must be code for something.) As the stigma dissipates, it reveals a lot of happy, healthy couples that decided to take their love life into their own hands.
Life isn’t a romantic comedy. Meeting people is hard. The guy who rear-ended your car is much more likely to be an old man with an out-of-date insurance card than “The One” you’re meant to be with. Online dating is by no means a bad thing, but just make sure you look up from your iPhone from time to time and make sure true love isn’t walking past.