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It’s easy to forget about the benefits of online dating when you’re in the thick of it and dealing with flaky dates, ghosted chats, and unsatisfying matches.
Online dating can get a bad rap sometimes — and we totally get why. When the first major dating site (Match.com) got started in 1995, most people were still wary of the internet and saw it as a last resort for desperate and lovesick singles.
However, as digital natives came of age, online dating became less of a taboo and more of a given. There are still some online dating skeptics who wonder how it could be better than meeting someone in real life. What does online dating offer that events, sports, school, and setups through friends and family don’t? Well, a lot, actually.
In this article, we’ll take you through 11 online dating benefits that just might convince you to give it a try.
On most dating sites, you can create a profile and start browsing through profiles within seconds. Often all you have to do is input your name, gender, location, age, email address, and basic dating preferences, and then you’re on your way. And it’s free.
While we recommend taking some time on your profile to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, if you’re really excited and just can’t wait, go right ahead. You can even shave off a few precious seconds by connecting through Facebook or Instagram. Just remember to come back to polish your profile later to make sure it’s attractive enough to win people over.
When you’re single and at a bar or club, you’re likely paying for your drinks, someone else’s drinks, an entry fee, and sometimes food — all of which adds up very quickly. Plus, there’s no guarantee you’ll actually meet someone special while you’re out there spending your hard-earned cash. Dating sites, on the other hand, offer free memberships that will put you in front of millions of eligible singles.
With so many options out there, we’ve selected three of our favorites for you. All of these sites allow singles to join the network for free and see what it has to offer.
Friends, Dates, and Relationships
Browse by zip, age, appearance, more
View Photos Now
Search, Receive Partner Suggestions
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Casual Dates, Deep Relationships
Personality test suggests matches
View Photos Now
Try Match.com FREE
Browse Profiles Free
All Straight Singles*
View Profiles FREE
Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships
Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more
Browse Free: View Photos Now
Relationships: Serious Relationships
Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions
Browse Free: View Photos Now
Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships
Match System: Personality test suggests matches
Browse Free: View Photos Now
These top-rated dating sites do have premium memberships with more advanced features (e.g., see when someone reads your messages), but a basic membership can be a good starting point to view your options, make a match, and build your confidence.
Statistic Brain Research Institute says more than 49 million people in the U.S. have tried online dating. However, if you’re at a bar, how many people do you think are there? Maybe 30 to 50? What about a club? A couple hundred? Your chances of catching someone’s eye, and vice versa, are significantly greater online. And you have the peace of mind of knowing that everyone on the app is interested in flirting and dating — that’s not the case in typical social scenes.
A singles night takes a lot of work — you have to decide where you want to go, you have to get all dressed up, you have to drive or Uber to the destination, and you have to be there for several hours, going up to people until you meet someone to have a conversation with. I’m getting tired just thinking about it. And, in the end, you still may go home without a number.
Online dating, though, can be done in your pajamas from the comfort of your couch. I’m not saying you should never go out or you should be lazy about your dating efforts, but when you can’t bear another night in a tight dress or uncomfortable blazer, turn to online dating.
Meeting singles in real life can be exciting because you never know what the person is going to be like or what they’re going to be interested in. But sometimes it’s hard to find out about important dealbreakers before it’s too late. For instance, I once flirted with a guy at a party and then was horrified on our first date when he took out a cigarette and asked if I wanted a smoke. Suddenly all thoughts of kissing him vanished from my brain.
If I’d met him online, I would’ve seen on his dating profile that he was a smoker, and I could’ve anonymously swiped left without anyone getting their hopes up or feelings hurt.
With online dating, you can list as many desires as you want and see who meets those before investing your feelings and time. For example, you could say you’re looking for a blond-haired, blue-eyed guy who’s 6 feet tall, has facial hair, is an actor, is passionate about the environment, and dances like a dad (yes, I just described Leonardo DiCaprio).
While you should probably be a little more open-minded than that, and Leo’s already taken anyways, you get the idea. Find that happy balance between expressing your needs without being demanding.
One of the hardest parts of meeting people offline is getting the conversation started after making a cold approach. Do you just walk up and say “Hey, my name is [name]. Can I buy you a drink?” or is that too forward and offensive? When and how do you ask them if they’re single and interested in you? Should you just stare at them and try to will them to come over with your mind? Kidding on that one.
Since online daters share so much information about themselves, it’s much easier to break the ice on a dating site or dating app. For instance, if you see in someone’s profile that they also like the cinematic genius that is “Sorority Boys,” you can put that in the subject line of your message and ask them who their favorite character is. Here are some good online dating questions to help you get the ball rolling online.
Since the beginning of time, people have been meeting their dates and partners offline. It may not seem so, since most of us have been attached to our phones for so long, but online dating is only a couple of decades old. It’s still a relatively young industry.
Even so, dating sites and dating apps have become incredibly popular because it takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders. In online dating, you are in control of your matches, dates, and convos, and you can log on at any time wherever you are. If you want to flirt, all you have to do is swipe on some cuties and send some messages.
Everything flows easier online because you have straightforward tools (as in, liking a profile) to show your interest and gauge the interest of the other person before you even say hi.
Yes, there have been plenty of scary stories about online dating, but overall, we’d say it can be safer than meeting a random stranger at a bar. At least you can vet the person online before meeting in person. Plus, you have reporting tools and verification tools to back you up on a reputable dating site like Match.
Unlike bars, clubs, parks, restaurants, gyms, or other places you could meet someone, dating sites have tons of safety features in place to protect their users. These include 24/7 customer support, extensive help pages, SSL encryption technology to prevent scammers from entering the site, moderators to remove fake profiles, and buttons to block and report abusive members. Some sites will also verify and/or do background checks on every member to prove they are who they say they are.
Not to trivialize online dating or turn people into objects, but it’s nice sometimes to be able to browse through a bunch of potential dates or partners all at once. That’s probably why Tinder is so popular. And, if you’re broad with your criteria, you’ll get to meet and go out with all sorts of people from various places and of various backgrounds.
Online dating has turned flirtation into a swiping game where you only get notifications when someone likes or messages you, so you face less rejection and risk, and it doesn’t take much time at all to get into some lively texting conversations.
Rejection sucks no matter what, but it might not sting as much if it happens online. You don’t have to see the look of disinterest in their eyes or try to hide the disappointment in your face. You can just move on to the next match the dating site suggests or take another look at the search results. Remember, millions and millions of people use online dating, so you’re sure to find that special someone… or a few special someones.
The most important benefit that comes with online dating is that it actually does legwork for people and scouts the dating scene for the most eligible and thirsty singles. Below are some impressive statistics that prove it:
Not to mention most dating sites have so many success stories and testimonials dedicated to sharing touching love stories from their former members. If you want to land a first date quickly, you pretty much can’t go wrong on the top dating sites and apps.
We’re big fans of online dating and many of our experts use it in their personal free time, but we know it isn’t for everyone. It’s O.K. to feel hesitant about it, and it’s normal to have some reservations or skepticism if you’re joining for the first time. Just don’t let those negative feelings hold you back from something really great.
We have seen online dating work time and time again, and we know it can work for you if you give it your best try. In this article, we’ve laid out numerous benefits of online dating, but the biggest upside is just the enormous opportunity it presents to meet new people, pick up dates, and learn how to build the kind of relationship you want.
Online dating isn’t a miracle worker, and it’s by no means perfect, but we think it’s an awesome way to put yourself out there and find an ideal match in no time. Just remember to have fun!
Photo sources: hollywoodreporter.com