Looking For Love
The old stereotype of internet dating being used by the ‘socially awkward’ or ‘perverts’ has been superseded.
Sure, some such characters do frequent online dating sites but these people also frequent bars, gyms, dance classes, community groups, workplaces, church congregations, park toilets and the like! The reality is that online dating sites now attract a wide range of people.
People of all ages, from all walks of life and of all persuasions are now logging online to pursue love (and its many variations).
By linking you into a singles’ network much larger than what you could otherwise access, online dating can improve the odds of meeting someone with whom you are compatible. So…. the issue is not whether internet dating can help you find love. It can, and for thousands of people it already has.
There are, however, a number of issues which make internet dating unique to more ‘traditional’ ways of meeting people. Being cognisant of these differences can help you be a more ‘streetwise’ internet dater and improve your chances of success online.
When people communicate in a solely text based environment over a period of time, without having met in person, they often disclose more about themselves than what they would otherwise. In short, they are less inhibited. Such seeming ‘openness’ can lead to a sense of false familiarity or intimacy.
Whatsmore, such confidences are often selective – the sender will present the best bits of him or herself. This latter point is common in all early stages of getting to know someone (we all like to ‘put our best foot forward’), regardless of place of meeting. The potential pitfall with online communication, however, is that the recipient has less opportunity to check for congruence between what is being reported and the sender’s behaviour i.e.
They do not have visual cues or other non-verbals.
To guard against falling victim to ‘false advertising’ and/or of misrepresenting oneself online, online dating may best be viewed as a portal to getting to know potential matches. Online communication does not on its own provide a comprehensive way in which to get to know someone.
It can, however, facilitate an awareness of, and desire to know more about another person. To truly understand, appreciate and know another person takes time and, for most of us, such knowledge is only established through being in their company, enjoying shared experiences, and through verbal and non-verbal communications.
So, if you are looking for love, online dating offers a highly effective way in which to ‘hook up’ with other singles but, just remember, the real ‘hooking up’ takes place offline!