Whether it’s through Facebook, a fun social meetup app, or a dedicated dating app, online dating has been a rising trend for decades and continues to grow in popularity, challenging the more traditional forms of dating to step up or step out.
But the question that begs to be asked is this: is online dating an evolution of humanity, the next rung on the ladder of an ever-developing society, or could this algorithmic advancement be a sign that we are slowly but tragically losing our own humanity? Well, even if it’s not all as existential as Kierkegaard, online versus traditional dating is still a hot topic. So let’s take a deep dive into the two sides of the discussion and see which one fares better in a head-to-head battle.
Numbers don’t lie. Currently, there are more than 40 million singles with an online dating account. And that’s just in the United States alone. If you are open to the international dating scene, you cast your net even wider. This is great because it opens you up to people who have similar interests to you but live in a different location, so you wouldn’t have otherwise met. Even if you’re not going international, you can have a much larger dating pool of singles either in your area or the surrounding ones.
In fact, online dating is a great choice if you are looking for something very very specific. That’s because today there are thousands of sites catering to the smallest, most obscure niches imaginable. Bi-curious? There’s a dating app for that. Highly intellectual? We’ve got you covered. Hate the word Tuesday because it is actually the third day of the week and irks you for its displacement in the calendar? There’s probably a niche dating site out there for you wacky individuals as well.
Niche dating apps are particularly good at finding those interested in particular details and pairing them up with one another with encouraging success. Particularly the LBGTQ+ community has seen an upsurgence in the past few years. So if you’re looking for something specific (and I mean very specific), online dating is going to yield far better results than the more limited dating pool your aunt Agatha has in her Rolodex.
Here’s an obvious one. If you’ve been social distancing or avoiding going out altogether lately because of corona, then online dating is a great option for you. You can meet, get to know, and develop a relationship with someone all from the comfort of your own couch. At some point you may even want to put some pants on.
Online dating is sooooooooooooooo much easier. You don’t have to spend hours primping, showering, and preparing, traveling, sitting, waiting, and talking. You can chat on your phone in bed while watching Netflix. There’s really no comparison.
You can also date a lot of people simultaneously without much commitment. Hey, it’s a perk for some. Of course, there are also drawbacks to online dating. For example, anyone can say anything they want on their dating profile and you wouldn’t know until a lot later on in the game whether or not it was true.
Also, some people find the sheer numbers they’re dealing with overwhelming. After all, 40 million profiles is a lot to sift through. Of course, you can narrow down those numbers significantly by using a reputable dating app, choosing one that has a smart matchmaking algorithm, and using the filters on the site. If numbers make you nervous it’s also a good idea to avoid signing up for multiple dating apps, a popular tactic for singles who just want to cover as much ground as possible.
On the other hand...
Let’s face it. There is a lot of lying out there in the digital dating world. One member says he’s 5”11 and it turns out he is, when he’s standing on his cousin’s shoulders. Another member says she’s blonde and 25. Well, at least she was blonde when she was 25—after coming home from the hairstylist! In short, it’s hard to trust people online. So some people prefer a face-to-face because it’s just the raw truth. Sometimes it’s ugly and sometimes it’s pretty. But at least it’s honest.
You also get a better feel for someone’s personality when they’re sitting in front of you, versus over a computer or phone screen. The way they sit, interact with people around them, react to noises, lights, and commotion. Everything is a message, and they come across a lot more clearly when the person is right there in the room with you.
If you go on a date and the answer is no, generally speaking (except for the rare weirdos), you won’t have to deal with these people again. For some reason, when there’s a screen between you, a lot of the common decencies go out the window(s 98!). Many singles, women in particular, have reported harassment from online dating profiles, unsolicited sexual proposals, and inappropriate messaging even after they said a clear no. For this reason, many people prefer to opt-out of these types of dating situations.
Another reason people shy away from online dating apps is the scam factor. Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of online dating profiles that are completely fake. They’re just looking to get your attention, your money, or even your identity. Identity theft and online scamming are real things. So be aware of these ne’er-do-wells if you do choose the online route.
If you’re meeting someone in person chances are it’s because someone who knows you and the other person thought of you for one another. That’s a lot more intimate than a computer algorithm.
So which platform wins the gold medal of dating prowess? Regrettably, we have to call a stalemate. Or perhaps a tie game would be more appropriate. After all, for some singles, online dating is the obvious choice. It’s fresh, it’s mobile, it’s got way more options, and it’s a lot more comfortable than dealing with those awkward face-to-face meetings that everyone (I mean EVERYONE) dreads. Then again, for other folks, the more traditional method of getting to know someone that your co-worker, aunt, best friend thought would be compatible with you has its own charms, including safety, honesty, and straightforwardness.
And truthfully, online dating is just a stepping stone to get you to the eventual face-to-face meetup. So bottom line, do what works for you. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea. And you only need to find one.