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When computers were invented, a lot of people believed machines would never be able to calculate math or do other things as well as humans. When the internet was created, a lot of people thought it was just a fad and newspapers would always reign supreme. The same goes for online dating. When dating sites came onto the scene, a lot of people thought they would never be better than meeting someone through personal ads or friends, family, and coworkers. They just saw the negative.
While we’ll admit that there are some downsides to computers, the internet, and online dating, we believe the upsides definitely outnumber the downsides. Today we’re highlighting the negative effects people might experience if they’re dating online — followed by the numerous positive effects.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way and tell you a little bit about some of online dating’s potential negative effects — from your dating preference changing to your confidence increasing or decreasing.
On my dating sites and apps, you’ll click a check mark or swipe right if you like someone, or you’ll click an X or swipe left if you don’t. What you’ll see of a potential match is usually their photo, age, name, and location. That’s really not a lot of information, and bases your choices more on appearance. Studies show that online dating can make people be picky, so one bad photo and you could get skipped.
When we’re on our laptops, iPads, or phones, we have a screen and miles between us and the person we’re swiping left on, so perhaps we’re more likely to make quick judgments. In person, though, with someone looking us in the eyes, we’d probably be more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt.
According to the New York Post, people — particularly men — who use Tinder and dating platforms like it are more likely to experience lower self-esteem. Julia Bekker, a matchmaker in New York City, told the publication: “It can be very disappointing if you’re not matching with many people. My advice is not to look for a confidence boost from dating apps and [to] go into the online-dating world already knowing your worth.”
The research also shows that online dating could increase self-confidence, especially among women, who often receive more right swipes, likes, and messages than men. “I’ve always been confident, but when you use this tool and get 50 people wanting to see you, it can definitely be a confidence boost,” Taylor Costello told the New York Post.
The moral of the story is to not take online dating too seriously — you shouldn’t let one person swiping right or left on your photo determine how successful you are. More than 49 million people have tried online dating, so there are practically an endless number of fish in the sea.
As we mentioned earlier, swiping based on a photo and a couple of facts has sort of turned online and mobile dating into a game — it can be fun to make these quick judgments about people, right? His hair is too long — swipe left. Her eyes are blue instead of green — swipe left. He looks hot in a bathing suit — swipe right. She has perfect teeth — swipe right. These aren’t the things that great dates and relationships are made of.
It’s not unheard of for people to become obsessed with mindlessly swiping and/or voting yea or nay on matches. “The ease of remote dating, alongside personal boredom that’s likely present, provokes swiping left and right to be one’s desired activity for passing time,” said Slater Katz in an Elite Daily article.
If you’re now questioning whether you want to keep online dating or even try it in the first place, this section is here to make you feel better about it. As with everything else in the world, online dating has some cons, but it also has a lot of pros that outweigh the bad stuff.
The biggest benefit of using a dating site or app is that it saves you time and money. A majority of these sites or apps charge nothing to create a profile, upload photos, browse for matches, and receive match suggestions. Most are also 100% free to communicate in a variety of ways (e.g., likes, virtual winks or gifts, Favorites lists, and chat.). Plus, there’s nowhere else in the world that has millions of singles all in one place.
Trying to meet people offline often means spending money at bars or events, which, while fun, can be very costly. Not to mention you usually spend time getting ready, riding or taking an Uber to the location, and spending hours talking to people (or trying to talk to people) who may be incompatible.
While some people may be tempted to stick to their “type” when online dating, others see it as an opportunity to broaden their dating horizons. You’ve got millions of people from all different cultures and backgrounds and with all kinds of interests right at your fingertips. Engaging with people who are different than you will also increase your chances of meeting that special someone.
Expand your preferred search distance by 10 miles or so, don’t get so caught up on hair color or career, forgive a spelling mistake every now and then, message someone who practices another religion — you’ll be surprised at how differently your online dating life will be.
Look, no one likes to be rejected, but that’s a fact of everyday life, not something that happens just online dating. At least you’re not face to face with the person. Most of the time, they won’t even say anything to you — they’ll just ghost you. The next time you experience online rejection, remember this: Match has 30 million members, Zoosk has 40 million, and it’s the same with most dating sites and apps. There’s always another profile to look through or a cute guy or girl to message. You should just brush it off (as Jay-Z and Macklemore would want you do to).
In an article for CNN, authors Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz had this to say about online dating rejection: “Toughen up. Don’t take things so personally. Stop weeping onto your keyboard in the online quest for love. In short: Online dating is not for the easily offended. Save your sobbing for the disappointment of bad first dates, seemingly perfect mates who can’t commit, and the Ones Who Get Away. You know, the good stuff.”
The big hoopla about online dating is that you get to specify your individual needs and wants. But online dating is also a great way to learn about yourself — including your true passions, where you see yourself in five, 10, and 20 years, and the types of people you want to surround yourself with. Maybe you’ll discover that you were going for the wrong singles offline, or maybe, as you write your profile, you’ll realize that you actually don’t like your job. All sorts of revelations could happen.
With any new system, process, or invention, there are bound to be some drawbacks. Sure, online dating can be somewhat addicting, superficial, and ego deflating (or vice versa). However, when you think of all the improvements online dating has made to our love lives, you’ve got to admit that it’s better to have it than not!