It's not a secret anymore - online dating has become part of our daily landscape. From online personal ads to matchmaking sites with banks of profiles, to companies incorporating the online world with their in-person events like speed dating, more and more singles use online dating to help them find their mate. It used to be that people were embarrassed to mention they met their mate online; now, "We met online!" is a common answer when couples are asked, "How did you meet?". Some people swear by it and have had much success; others have tried it once and decided never to try it again... So what are the pros and cons of online dating, and how can we make the most of our online dating experiences?
Online Dating Pros vs. Cons
Pro: There are literally thousands of online dating sites these days, and in a culture where changing the channel is almost as easy as breathing, we can click away to our hearts' content. Speed Dating allows us to click away in person, giving us that short introduction which for most, is enough time to figure out if there's a possibility of something being there.
Con: So much variety can contribute to the "Grass is always greener" syndrome - where does it end and how do we decide with whom to cultivate a relationship when there are so many choices?
Pro: Online dating sites are relatively inexpensive - some are even free, so while you search for your mate it won't break your bank account.
Con: Having a cost associated with a service can often express its value. Free services can unfortunately be unorganized and poorly run due to lack of man power. As well, if someone's paying for a service, it indicates at least some commitment to the process and that they're serious about it.
Pro: Online dating allows you to move at your own pace. You can exchange emails with someone and get to know them before meeting them in person - you can even decide not to meet them at all.
Con: Some online daters can be afraid to move forward, and before you know it you've wasted time on someone who doesn't have the courage to meet in person and take your exchange to the next level.
Pro: As long as you're not giving out personal information on the internet, it's a generally a very safe way to meet people. If at any time you want or need to stop communicating, you can simply block them. You can also check out peoples' profiles at your leisure without them ever knowing, and without pressure to make a decision.
Con: People unfortunately don't always tell the truth on the internet. In fact many people using online dating sites are not single. You have to exercise extra caution when getting involved with someone whom you have no prior connection to (friends, family etc.). As well, there's comparison to a face to face meeting - if you're dating online it's important to arrange an in-person meeting so that you can figure out if there's really something palpable between you.
Tips to make the most of your online dating experience:
1. Be honest and direct in your profile and in your communications. Are you looking for a relationship? Are you just looking for something casual? Don't waste peoples' time who might be looking for different things than you. ALWAYS use a current picture. Posting a picture from 7 years ago when you looked like a supermodel and were 30 pounds lighter will NOT help you in the long run. If you deceive someone from the beginning, you will not stand a chance. Speed Dating, of course alleviates any of the physical appearance issues as you get to see right away who you'll be emailing with later on.
2. Don't be afraid to initiate contact - what have you got to lose? Don't wait around for people to contact you - internet dating is not as effective when you're passive. If you know what you want/don't want - go after it. If you don't find it - keep looking!
3. Be safe. Use a free email client like hotmail or gmail, and never include your full real name in your email address. When you've graduated to phone conversations, ladies - ask the man for his phone number first.
We live in a world where a lot of us exist in our own life "cubicles". Luckily technology is right there beside us to help us navigate through it all and find each other, so use it, but use it safely.
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