Does the Internet make Dating Easier?

Posted on October 28, 2010

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Dating – Do you love it? Do you dread it? Are you trying to find the perfect person? Or do you use it as a means for passing your time?  I know that with the power of the Internet a certain amount of pressure can be taken out of dating.  Given the success of online dating, is it surprising that there are still so many people who are sceptical about it? 

 How many people do you know that would never sign up to a dating site but have actually met someone based on meeting them through a social networking site? I call this avoidance online dating; a shovel is a shovel no matter how you look at it.

I am quite happy to be out of the dating arena now and although online dating wasn’t responsible for me meeting my soul mate, I remember the first time I tried it, I thought why not?  I’m not going to meet anyone sitting at home and according to my Mum “you’ll never have a lasting relationship with someone you meet in a club” but I also remember the horror in her face when I told her I was meeting someone that I met on the Internet.  There was something in her eyes that said “if it works out, how am I going to live down the shame that my daughter had to go through a dating site” and then she said it, in fact so much that I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me but actually her main concern was based on the fact that I was meeting someone I had never met.   So what? Psychos and unstable individuals only come out on the internet! Let’s get with the seriousness of this.

Depending how sensible you are with meeting people through the internet, the truth of the matter is that if you’ve taken the time to chat regularly and connect online, then you probably know more about that person, when you meet for the first time than you ever would if you went on several dates and then started a relationship with someone you met in the street.

The beauty of it is that you can virtually date and take as much time as you want.  You can scan through potentials and find out about someone without having to meet them, look at their life in pictures and words and ultimately avoid wasting time, energy and make up until you are sure.  You can see whether they are single, attached, whether you have common interests and even the potential competition – how much easier is this than having to bare-faced ask the questions on a first or second date?

You can specify what type of person you are looking for, I’m pretty sure there’s a percentage of people who lie, sorry ‘exaggerate’ about themselves and I remember the time I met someone who had described themselves as average height.  When we first met I remember thinking ‘Average height – what for an 8 yr old! And heels were so not the right idea’ he was about 4’7, mind you at 5’8 flats weren’t a good idea either.  Regardless of these oversights being able to chat before meeting gives you very good odds to work out whether what they are telling you is true.  If I was regularly chatting to someone I would have a set of questions and over time I would rework the same questions into the conversation to test this.

In an ideal world when you see someone you like, imagine if you could go up to them in the street and give them a thumbs up to let them know you like them, well with social networking, etc you can.  It also works the other way, if someone likes you and you don’t like them – you can tell them nicely ‘thanks but no’ and if they don’t take ‘No’ for an answer, it’s simple the ‘Delete’ or ‘Block’ key were my best friends.  The power of the internet means in my eyes they are immediately teleported to some far distant dimension, they disappear from your vision and you never have to communicate with them again.  At least with social networking if someone takes your interest you can like them back instantly and move on from there.

The First Date without the intervention of the internet comes with its own set of pressures, what do you wear? How/where do you meet? What do you say? Imagine if all those conversations could be deleted and resaid to exactly what you want to say.  No worries about those potential goofy responses that make you look like you said “I carried a watermelon”.  Well with social networking, you can, because you can have a conversation and get to know someone without having to meet them.  Technically not a first date but I always think why not have a virtual first date? Almost like a dry run for the real thing.

I also had a standard set of rules for when I decided that I was going to meet up:

  • Arrange to meet for coffee or lunch rather than dinner, unless you can’t avoid this then at least meet in a public place that you know well and you know is easy to get to and from.   I never allowed anyone to pick me up from my home; the beauty of online dating is that they don’t need to know my home address.  I have even arranged to meet with a friend and double date, they lasted we didn’t! Hey just call me cupid.
  • Tell your friends and family who you are meeting, when and where and arrange to call or receive a call.  This works well, especially if the date isn’t going as planned and you need to get out of there.
  • Drive don’t drink, you want to make a good impression if it’s going well, getting half cut because you are so nervous is not going to go down well, also its great if you need to get the hell out of there and avoids any awkward ‘I so hope he doesn’t want to come in’ moments.
  • Some people think that men should always pay on a date, well that’s ok if you’re that way inclined but I always thought of it this way.  If you allow them to pay, are they going to expect something in return?  If you pay half there’s no pressure to give anything in return or even to ‘return the favour’.
  • Trust your instincts, if your date turns up with a roll of duct tape and a rope you know where you stand but it’s never going to be that obvious.   If something is telling you it’s not right, it’s probably because it isn’t and chances are you will feel more and more uncomfortable.  If this person is giving you the major heebie jeebies don’t be polite and stay for the sake of it, get your butt out of there.

    Beware of Duct Tape

    Image via Wikipedia

You may not meet Mr or Mrs Right the first time round but the more you investigate the possibilities the easier it will become.  There’s never going to be a right or wrong way of doing these things but with the tools you have available to you, for any kind of dating at least be sensible about it.

So tell me do you have experience of online dating? Would you give it ago or would you never do it?   

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