Online dating is by no means a new thing. These services have been around for a while now, and today, with the widespread of smartphones and apps, they seem to grow in popularity even more. The facilitated access to the Internet is the most apparent reason for this but by far not the only one and not even the most important one. Today’s average person cannot afford to spend time and effort on going on dates blindly. So, we jump at this unique opportunity to know more about the person before we go on an offline date. At the stage when the two of you choose to go out together, you already know about your common interests, common topics for conversation, etc. Moreover, to facilitate your search for kindred spirit even more, there are numerous theme free dating sites and apps – for instance, if you specifically want an interracial dating site. And even the general-themed ones allow you to apply such sophisticated filters to your search that people who are definitely outside your scope of interest will not even appear on your search results to waste even so much as a second of your time. “Does online dating work” is not the question. The question is – how it can work for you?
Still, the popular culture that raises us and shapes our personalities most often mentions beautiful relationships that resulted from an accidental offline meeting, suggesting that an accident is the only way to meet your true love. It may sound somewhat ridiculous when you say it out loud, but nevertheless, this is a very widespread stereotype that gives rise to skepticism toward online dating. Despite this skepticism, online dating is an ever-growing trend, and this serves as the best proof of how groundless such stereotypes are.
There is a persistent popular perception of online dating as a form of a game or entertainment, a place to find new friends at best. The stereotype mentioned above does not allow us to see it as a means to find the special one. It tells us that we can only meet this special person “under serious circumstances” – in other words, offline and by accident, but definitely not at a dating site. So, when we search for our significant other, we most likely expect to find them among our existing acquaintances or through common friends, in clubs or bars, art museums or libraries, and whatnot. And when it doesn’t work out, we tend to attribute it to our lack of luck, time, socials skills, etc. For many of us, it is still hard to acknowledge the simple fact that we could indeed avoid all this awkwardness and waste of time if we had just given due credit to online dating service and tried those out. Importantly, if your online acquaintance doesn’t work out, it will happen much sooner and with less disappointment and wasted effort as it happens with “real-life” dating. Nevertheless, it is necessary to talk about stereotypes about online meetings.
As we have mentioned, mass culture promotes the stereotype that the only way to meet your lifetime partner is offline – by bumping into this person at a party, having friends introduce you, etc. In reality, it often leads to awkward moments where it becomes more or less evident that this is not the right person, but you still give this “relationship” one more chance, and then one more, and then one more… If anything like this has ever happened to you – imagine how much disappointment you could spare if only you could get to know the person, their interests, life perception, etc. before going on an actual date and not during it – something you could easily do via a dating site for singles.
Another widespread misconception is that online dating is for “losers and perverts” who cannot “get a life” and so they “invent an imaginary world” to live in and to be someone they cannot be in real life. Moreover, if you specifically look for evidence online, you will surely find hundreds of posts where people share their less than fortunate experiences that prove just that. But – as picturesque as they can be – they barely give you the full picture. If you do want to get the full picture, then you would have to look not only at the negative side but also at the evident benefits of online dating.
As we have mentioned and as anybody can notice, the popularity of using a dating site in USA keeps growing, and – unlike the skepticism discussed above – it is an objective fact. This is a result of equally objective advantages presented by online dating: