Online dating is becoming increasingly more popular. Answer some questions, like some photos, and sooner or later you’re bound to find true love, right? I’m skeptical though I know plenty of people who have found their significant other with the help of dating sites.
There are a few things that everyone knows about dating sites. First, there are tons of fake female profiles and a lot of effort goes into trying to convince men to pay for subscriptions to services so that they can get at these women. This is just something we have to accept. Obviously these sites weren’t created to bring people together. They exist to make money.
Let’s go a bit deeper than that though. Say you and your perfect match are both subscribed to the same dating site and happen to start talking. Do you think your personality translates well online? Maybe it translates better online than in person. Either way, this is the first place where you might trip up and miss out on that meaningful connection.
Of course, making a meaningful connection isn’t easy in person or online. I think a lot of people just go about it in the wrong way entirely. Most people want to talk. If they don’t want to talk, then they are already interested in you and they want to listen. Online it’s harder to judge if someone wants to listen or if they are just bored and passing time. You could be investing a lot of yourself into sharing and they could be just browsing YouTube videos during your chats. It’s hard to say.
If we assume that the person listening is doing so because they are interested, then they have a whole bunch of hurdles to overcome to gain the affection of their target. When you’re listening to someone the person talking is getting a burst of affection and attention that makes him or her like you, but you aren’t connecting. To connect with someone you both need to be as interested in talking as you are listening. After all, how will the person talking know how much you have in common if you just keep that all in your head? You have to let them know that you share common interests, enthusiasm, and beliefs otherwise they won’t have a lasting impression of you.
Now as the listener, it’s easy to get consumed in talking about yourself. The other side of the coin in the previous scenario should be pretty clear though. If you spend the whole time talking about yourself, you never learn about the other person. It’s very possible they had some stories more interesting than the ones you shared, but you’ll never know. In fact, you might as well not have gone out at all.
So why am I detailing all of this when I’m supposed to be talking about online dating? Because I’m trying to explain how this dynamic is delicate and maybe it can’t be completely done online. Sometimes people think they know someone before they do the listening part of this whole process. “I would never date someone who…” It’s a self-selecting process that is inherently flawed. Online you look for reasons not to talk to people where as if you meet them in person you would be able to judge their actions more than their appearance or their self-reflection of who they are.
Do I think online dating is terrible? No. It has a place, but I think people want it to work like a magic bullet. In most cases I think the people who are most willing to go on dates are also the most in need of company. They may be willing to over look personality or life goal clashes because they are afraid to be alone. There is no shame in that. People are social animals, but we should be willing to accept that relationships built on convenience don’t tend to be that strong as situations change.
To summarize, don’t take online dating serious. Use it as a tool to meet people and get to know your community. Spend more time on knowing yourself and enjoying your time here. As a smart person once told me, “you’ll attract the kind of people that your personality reflects.”