Online Dating | Should I Try It?

Should You Try Online Dating?

The short answer is … well … it depends. Here are a few things to consider and a few questions to ask yourself.

Most people have very strong opinions about online dating, They either love it or hate it. People on one side fully embrace it, consider it no big deal, and think of it as just a part of modern life, like email, social media, and online shopping. People on the other side think it’s stupid, it’s just for losers who can’t find a date, or it’s just too dangerous. I don’t think either of those views is absolutely correct. I believe there are times when it is appropriate to try online dating.

My Experience

First, I need to confess that my experience with online dating is limited to eHarmony. Also, I know that the online dating scene has changed a lot in the years since I remarried in 2009. At that point, Tinder didn’t yet exist and OkCupid wasn’t that well-known.

Honestly, I did not find the love of my life online. In fact, even though there was significant back and forth electronic communications and a few nice phone chats, none of that ever led to an actual, real-life, face-to-face date. That’s probably because I had to look farther and farther away from home to find the kind of people who match my weird combination of traits and interests.

But, despite one incident, which I’ll talk about later, my experience with eHarmony was mostly positive. Even though I am fairly tough to match, I did find a lot of good quality people with whom I had a lot in common.

Consider the Good and the Bad

Let me go through a few reasons why online dating can be good and a few reasons it can be bad.

The Good

There are some legitimately good reasons to give it a try.

Hard to Match

One of the big reasons I tried it was because, like I said, I am hard to match. Just the fact that I was looking for a genuine Christian, not a Christian in name only, significantly narrowed the field. If that’s you, it will narrow your options too. That automatically rules out a huge percentage of the population.

Plus, you may have other interests or personality traits that make you a tough match. Sometimes you’re just a “fish out of water” and there are not a lot of people in your immediate vicinity who enjoy a particular thing you enjoy. If that thing is really important to you, it may be a good idea to look online, because that exposes you to more potential matches with people with whom you have that common interest.

Gives You More Options

It could be that you live in an area where there just is not a large pool of dating options. You may live in a small community. As mentioned above, you may have interests that are uncommon in your area. There may not be many single people your age where you live. Using an online site or app can put you in touch with interesting, like-minded people you otherwise would never meet.

Good Practice

The best way to get good at anything is to get out and do it. If you want to learn to be more confident and interact with the opposite sex better, step out of your comfort zone and do it more.

By using an online dating site or app, you have more opportunity to interact with more people at a safer distance and build your confidence and competence. It is also a great way to learn about yourself, what you like and don’t like about different kinds of people. You get to see how you react and how you feel interacting with different personality types.

Plus, meeting online gives you the opportunity for lots of communication before you meet in person. By the time you go on an actual date, you have, hopefully, learned a lot about each other and have grown comfortable interacting with each other.

The Bad

On the other hand, there are some really bad things about online dating.

You Will Get Lied To

Just like in real life, you will inevitably run across people who are deceptive. Because it is even easier to misrepresent yourself online than in person, it will happen more often and to a greater degree there.

When I told a bit of my experience earlier I vaguely mentioned an “incident”. There was a woman with whom I spent significant time talking on the phone. I liked her a lot. Eventually, I had an opportunity to take a trip to where she lived. It was when I told her that we would finally be able to meet in person that she broke down and cried and told me the truth. She had used someone else’s pictures on her profile.

In this case, it turned out to be an otherwise very nice person who simply suffered from a poor self-image. That is not always the case. You cannot assume you know the motives, character, or even gender of the person on the other end of electronic communications. Be cautious! Beware! There are predators out there. There are people, online and in real life, on a mission to take advantage of you financially and/or sexually.

Check out my blog post on the dangers of dating. Everything I say there goes double, possibly triple for online dating.

You Might Lie

Okay, I know you would never lie, right? But, it is amazing how we can lie to ourselves and not be totally honest when we create a profile. It is so easy to fudge a few facts, polish up our image a bit, exaggerate this or that, or leave out a few pertinent facts that might make us look bad. Whether online or at a social occasion it is tempting to say what we know will make people like us instead of what we know to be true or what we really believe.

For instance, men tend to “round-up” their height and exaggerate their business successes. Women tend to “round-down” their weight, meaning they use the weight they got down to that one time on that really strict diet. And, of course, we use the picture we look our very best in, not the one that captures us most accurately.

So, Should You Try Online Dating?

It depends. If you are thinking about trying it, ask yourself a few questions.

Questions

What is your motivation?

Why do you want to try it? Are you trying to break out of a dating slump? Looking to enhance your chances of finding a good match? Just curious? Desperate? Let me give you a helpful hint here. If you are desperate, do yourself and everyone else a favor – DON”T TRY IT! 

What are your expectations for online dating?

Do you expect to throw together a profile, push a button, and have the love of your life magically appear? Or, do you expect the process take some work? Do you expect to put time and effort into crafting an accurate and compelling profile, then put more time and effort into communicating with people you connect with, then having that, hopefully, yield a few more dating options?

More to Come Next Week

The answers to those questions can help you determine if you should give it a try. Stay tuned for next week’s post “Online Dating | Things to Consider” where I’ll give you a few more things to ponder before you decide.

In the meantime, be sure to leave your questions and comments below.

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