Written by Madison Smith | Last Updated February 24th, 2020Madison Smith is a personal and home finance expert at BestCompany.com. She works to help others make positive financial strides in their lives by providing expert insight on anything from credit card debt to home-buying tips. Follow her on Twitter @maddie_mingus for weekly doses of thought provoking financial content and a chance to connect — don’t be shy!
When couples are asked how they met and the answer is online dating, why is there often a sheepish reply and a wordy justification to help ease the listeners' suspicions? Despite this negative perception, online dating's popularity soars. For millions of users, online dating truly makes many aspects of traditional dating simpler, more accessible, less intimidating, and more fun.
After a bit of research to help identify what major obstacles traditional daters face that perhaps online daters face less of, we found overwhelming themes regarding issues of time, awkwardness, and distance.
Maybe you’ve found yourself confronting one or all (yikes!) of these issues when attempting to initially meet someone face to face. If so, let go of the negative perceptions that you’ve associated with online dating for a few moments and be open minded to the fact that online dating could resolve the following obstacles that hurt your dating game.
Claiming to be “too busy” is one of the oldest excuses to avoid going out on unwanted dates, but what about those who genuinely are too busy? Due to school, career, and other demands of life, a lack of time and energy is a modern epidemic that is hurting the dating game for many — maybe you’ve experienced this yourself? Recent studies show that more people on average are spending increased time in the office, leaving less time for much needed vacations and social interaction outside the office.
Online dating can help solve the time epidemic hitting the dating world. Through the internet, time spent on the initial seeking out, getting to know each other, and developments towards the first date can all be sped up and streamlined.
For example, let’s compare a traditional dating scenario to that of online dating with the help of a fictitious woman named Lauren.
First, in the traditional scenario, Lauren is eager to meet someone new and decides to attend a friend's party after work. She spends several hours at the party and ultimately meets a guy and is bold enough to ask for his phone number. Lauren puts into play the classic three-day rule, waiting three days before reaching out to the guy from the party. Lauren finally contacts him, they text, flirt a little, and ultimately set up a date for the following weekend.
In this traditional approach, Lauren spent several hours at a party, three days of waiting around, and maybe a few more hours of casual texting before she got asked out and agreed to a first date. Let's compare this scenario to a possible online dating approach.
Let's say Lauren decides to try online dating due to her hectic schedule. She opens her dating profile, finds several matches, and eagerly starts digging to find the right ones that spark her interest. Within a few hours, she’s chatted enough with the men online to narrow down who she would like to meet in person. She boldly asks out one of the men, agrees to a time and place for their date, then pulls up her covers with a good book in hand ready to wind down for the evening, successfully setting up a first date all before it is time for bed.
So what do we learn from Lauren?
The time spent between the first encounter and the first date could take several days with the traditional face to face approach, or the whole process could be streamlined to a matter of hours if you opt to go online. Busy, single professionals now have a break through in their dating game, and Lauren can stay dedicated to her career as well as have her dating life back.
Trying to woo a random stranger at a party, the grocery store, or a bar relying on nothing but charm and personality is enough to make anyone feel timid and anxious. Typically, before you even work up the courage to go talk to someone, you've already convinced yourself that the situation is too awkward and vulnerable to even consider approaching that cute stranger. Cue feelings of shyness and stress.
Online dating can remove many of the awkward barriers that potentially stand in the way between you and your future relationship. First, the pressure behind the initial ice breaker practically vanishes. Approaching someone behind the screen can help to take the edge off of dating because of the limited range of social cues that accompany online dating communication. There is a certain remoteness in communicating online that puts just enough distance between you and the other person to make you feel more comfortable in being open, honest, and maybe even a tad bolder. Due to this more relaxed and casual online environment, awkward feelings typically associated with breaking the ice can now be replaced with enough digital confidence to chat up that cute stranger.
Second, can we admit that almost everyone has felt embarrassed by something they said or did when first meeting someone? If you think that you’re clumsier with your words in person due to the nerves of approaching someone, then the mediation of online communication is a huge bonus. It is easier to feel more comfortable when you’ve gotten to know someone already, so you might as well get to know each other online where the chances of an embarrassing slip up are lessened by the censorship of the “send” button.
This issue can arise whether you live in a small or big town. In a small town, you may have grown up with all the eligible bachelors in your town for years and are less than impressed by the prospects. Driving miles to neighboring cities, where your social and familial connections are most likely limited, is likely to be a roadblock that keeps you right where you don't want to be: single, in a town with a limited dating pool.
On the other end, dating in a big town has its proximity challenges as well. Being a small fish in a big pond doesn’t make it necessarily easier to find someone; it just means that you now have to weed through more people to find the right connection. You may be ready to expand your social circles, but the thought of wandering across the other side of town in search of a love connection seems nearly impossible without some sort of existing social ties or icebreaker to make the jump.
Online dating breaks down the distance barriers of traditional dating, small and big towns alike. Most online dating services have a feature that allows you to search for people by distance, zip codes, states, countries, or really any sort of geo filter that you can think of. Online dating helps you to establish your very own Goldilock's zone of dating — not too big, not too small. First, geo filters will help you expand and detract your dating pool to meet your specific needs. Next, dating services will help your dating pool even more by honing in on compatible people through special matching features unique to each platform. At last, a way to personalize a dating pool so that it is just right for you.
The bottom line
Online dating definitely has its benefits. If you find yourself stuck in a dating rut, then perhaps these are the answers that you’ve been searching for.
Don’t know which dating service is right for you? Compare the top-rated dating platforms right here.